Posters demanding punishment to the killers of Narayanganj panel mayor Nazrul Islam and lawyer Chandan Sarker on a wall on the Narayanganj court premises. The duo along with five others were abducted and murdered, and their bodies were dumped in the Shitalakkhya late last month. Photo: Palash Khan
If you take a walk along the streets of Narayanganj city, you can't help noticing numerous posters with gory images on the walls on both sides. Severed hands and legs, battered heads, bullet-ridden or bloodstained bodies -- such gruesome pictures would send shudders down your spine.
And all the posters have the same words inscribed: "We demand arrest: Hang the killers".
These terrifying posters clearly demonstrate the horror the people of the port city live in.
"Every day I come out of my house wondering whether I would be able to return home safely. It seems unsafe everywhere. We have been robbed of our peace and serenity," said Sheikh Abu Raihan, who works at a private organisation in Narayanganj.
Previously called the "Dandee of the East", the port city is now known for abduction, killings, drug trade and all sorts of illegal activities one can imagine. The recent incident in which Narayanganj city panel mayor Nazrul Islam and six others were abducted and brutally killed has only made the situation worse.
With all fingers pointing at a particular law enforcement agency for the incident, the only question that now buzzes among the panic-stricken inhabitants of the city is: "Are we safe?"
"We feel scared to send our kids to schools. It's a suffocating situation here," said Raihan, father of two children.
Many alleged that crimes spread in the city under the aegis of the law enforcers, who often turn a blind eye to the complaints of victims.
"Every businessman has to pay extortion money. Otherwise they are harassed in one way or another. Narayanganj has become a city of terror," said a small trader at Chashara intersection, wishing not to be named.
City dwellers blame the years-long order of impunity of known criminals in the area for the current situation. With the prime accused of the seven-murder incident still at large, many even don't want to speak up fearing reprisals.
"What is the benefit of saying anything? Have we seen justice in any past incident like this?" said a middle aged man, referring to the Twaki murder.
Tanvir Mohammad Twaki, 17-year-old son of Narayanganj Gonojagoron Moncho organiser Rafiur Rabbi, was abducted on March 6 last year and was found dead in the Shitalakkhya river two days later. People, including the victim's father, blamed the members of a particular family in the city for the murder. But the killers are yet to be arrested.
A teacher of Narayanganj Girls' High School believes had the murders of Twaki been arrested, the situation could have been entirely different now.
"We thought of seeing justice after the brutal murder of Twaki. But now we have lost that hope," said the teacher, who did not want to be named either.
However, his optimism for a better day has not faded away yet. "We no more want to see our brothers and sons getting murdered," he said.