Chief of outlawed Purbo Banglar Communist Party (PBCP Marxist-Leninist) Lal Pataka faction Dr Tutul was killed in "crossfire" between police and his accomplices before dawn yesterday in Naogaon.
In a separate incident in Natore the same day, an outlawed party member and a suspect in the Bamihal police killing and arms looting case was killed in a similar fashion.
A physician-turned outlaw, Tutul is believed to have masterminded the killings of political figures in Rajshahi, Natore and Naogaon as well as the police killings and arms lootings at Bamihal in Shingra, Taherpur in Rajshahi, Randhunibari in Sirajganj and Chowbaria in Naogaon, said police.
He was wanted in over 200 cases filed with different police stations in greater Rajshahi, Pabna, Sirajganj and a number of other northern districts.
The 42-year-old extremist group leader, son of Daud Hossain Biswas from Kotchandpur in Jhenidah, was known under several aliases including Dr Mizanur Rahman, Rafikul Islam, Masud, Milon and Dada Bhai, the police added.
Earlier on Saturday night, hours before Dr Tutul was killed, his 80-year-old mother Novera Khatun through a press conference at Jhenidah Press Club pleaded the government to save her son from "crossfire".
The police describing his arrest said near about 80 police personnel from Atrai, Raninagar and Sadar police stations cordoned off Kaligram Eidgah field at around 4:00am after receiving a tip-off regarding a secret meeting of 50 to 60 armed members of an outlawed party.
Aminul Islam, additional superintendent of police in Naogaon and the commanding officer of the raid, said soon after the criminals sensed their presence, they opened fire on the police. The police also retaliated and fired at least 100 rounds, he added.
The criminals at one stage fled the scene leaving behind one of their bullet-hit accomplices, who was later identified as Dr Tutul, claimed the police adding that after he was taken to Raninagar Health Complex, the doctors declared him dead.
Police seized two locally made firearms, 17 bullets, 7 gun cartridges, a rifle magazine, two knives, two machetes and a few sharp weapons from the scene.
Locals of Raninagar distributed sweets in celebration of Dr Tutul's death, said the police.
TUTUL'S MOTHER AT JHENIDAH PRESS CLUB
Our correspondent from Jhenidah reports: At around 8.30pm on Saturday, Tutul's mother Novera Khatun told journalists at Jhenidah Press Club that the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) members had arrested Tutul from Uttara in the capital on Friday night.
In an appeal to the government she pleaded for the safety of her son claiming that although Tutul was involved with an underground party, he did not participate in any killing or extortion.
Tutul dedicated his life to provide medical treatment to the underprivileged and he had even sold pieces of ancestral land for the cause, the mother said.Instead of killing Tutul in crossfire, she urged the government to put him on trial under the laws of the land if he committed any crime.
Earlier in the afternoon, the elderly woman went to the office of Jhenidah deputy commissioner to submit her plea to the government, but since the office had closed by then, she had to rush to the press club and make her request through the press, she told journalists.
A Bangla national daily (Jugantor) on Saturday in a report said the Rab has arrested Tutul from Uttara.
However, the Rab did not confirm the arrest.
Born in 1959, Tutul completed his higher secondary education from Kotchandpur in 1977. He obtained MBBS degree from Rajshahi Medical College (RMC) in 1985.
He practised medicine at Sabaihat of Manda in Naogaon and in Rajshahi town for a year alongside his government job at RMC Hospital.
Tutul, a former member of Chhatra Moitree (student wing of Workers Party), became active in PBCP activities during his studies at RMC after he made his acquaintance with PBCP leader Mofakkhar Chowdhury who was subsequently killed.
He went underground in 1986 and became a fulltime activist of PBCP. In the mid 90s, Tutul developed rivalry with his guru Mofakkhar Chowdhury.
In 1997, Tutul and Quamrul Islam Mastar, two dissident followers of Mofakkhar-led PBCP, formed a faction named PBCP Lal Pataka (red flag).
Mofakkhar's faction was called PBCP Janojuddho and he led the faction until his death in crossfire in December 2004. Abdur Rashid Malitha Tapan, who took over Janojuddho, was also killed in crossfire recently.
Quamrul, the co-founder of Lal Pataka, was also killed in crossfire in August 2006 and Tutul had been leading the faction ever since.
CROSSFIRE IN NATORE
A correspondent from Natore adds: Ansar Ali, activist of an outlawed party and a suspect in the Bamihal police killing and arms looting case, was killed in a shootout between police and his accomplices at Kankian village in Singra upazila early yesterday.
Earlier on Thursday, police arrested Ansar from Bamihal area and following his confessional statement, the law enforcers took him along to the scene to capture his accomplices and retrieve arms.
As soon as the police reached the scene, Ansar's cohorts started to shoot at the law enforcers, triggering the gunfight. At one stage Ansar attempted to flee and sustained bullet injuries, claimed the police adding that he died on the spot.
A pipe gun, four bullets and a sharp weapon were retrieved from the scene, the police said.
Human rights group Odhikar yesterday demanded independent judicial inquiry into the killing of Dr Mizanur Rahman Tutul, a top leader of Purbo Banglar Communist Party (ML-Lal Pataka).
Police claimed that Dr Tutul died after receiving bullet shots during a 'shootout' between outlaws and the police at Kaligram Eidgah field in Raninagar upazila of Naogaon at around 4:00am yesterday.
Expressing concern over Tutul's killing, Odhikar said, "… the victim was reportedly not involved in any violent means to propagate his political believes… If this trend continues, those with 'different' views could now risk being targeted.
"Condemning the killings in 'shootouts', the rights watchdog said 197 persons were killed in the so-called crossfire, shootout, gunfight or encounters by Rab, police and other law enforcement agencies since January 11, 2007 till date under the state of emergency.
"Extra judicial killings are the worst form of rights violation … A persons' life cannot be taken away without due legal process, which is the foundation of a civilized society.
Continued extra judicial killings are eroding the foundation of Bangladesh's polity," reads a press statement of Odhikar.