• Saturday, December 20, 2014

Freedom in the air

Another abduction claim against Rab

Wife alleges her businessman husband picked up in front of a crowd a month back

Shaheen Mollah and Jamil Mahmud
Sentu's daughter holding her father's photo
Sentu's daughter holding her father's photo

Amid allegation that three Rab officials were involved in the abduction and killing of seven people in Narayanganj, the wife of a businessman in the city has claimed that the elite force abducted her husband last month.
Rahmatullah Sentu, a transport businessman, was picked up by some Rab-10 men from Roy Shaheb Bazar intersection in Old Dhaka on April 9.
His wife Afreen Lovely said it happened in front of her and several hundred locals in broad daylight.
Since then there has been no trace of Sentu, although Lovely filed an abduction case and also went to the Rab-10 office to seek help.
The fresh allegation against the elite force comes two days after three top officials of Rab-11 were fired over their alleged involvement in abducting and killing seven people in Narayanganj in exchange for money.
The trio are Lt Col Tareque Sayeed Mohammad, Maj Arif Hossain and Lt Commander SM Masud Rana. Tareque is the son-in-law of Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya.
At a press conference at the Jatiya Press Club, Lovely yesterday said it was around 11:00am on April 9 and she and her husband were coming from the office of a lawyer's assistant.

When they came near Jalal Store on Goalnagar Lane, 10 to 12 plainclothes men came out of the blue and started dragging Sentu towards English Road.
“My husband and I started screaming for help and several shop owners and other locals came forward and tried to save him," she said.
Locals even had a scuffle with the abductors, but they overpowered the locals and forced Sentu in an off-white microbus parked before a shop, Subu Hardware Store, on Johnson Road.
Lovely then sought help from the policemen who were on duty in the area. When some police members tried to stop the microbus, three to four men in Rab uniform, and equipped with arms, came from nearby.
“The Rab men started beating the locals. In panic, I stepped aside. The Rab men then made way for the microbus to drive away,” she said.
Soon afterwards, a vehicle marked with Rab-10 arrived there and the uniformed Rab men left the scene in that vehicle.
The Daily Star has spoken to at least 50 shop owners and locals who said they witnessed the abduction and tried to save the man.
They even tried to block the way of the microbus by placing several rickshaws and other things in front of the vehicle. But they could not hold on for long when the uniformed Rab men started beating people.
 “We rushed as a woman was crying: 'save my husband, save my husband,'” said a shop owner on English Road.
At least eight people were injured in the beating by the Rab men, said another shop owner, requesting not to be named for fear of retribution.
One of the injured is Salahuddin, an employee of a workshop, he added.
A father of three, 38-year-old Sentu also runs a hardware business at Shanarpar of Siddhirganj in Narayanganj.
He is an accused in a murder case, and went to meet a lawyer's assistant, Shah Alam, to talk about the case that day.
The case is for the murder of Khairul Alam, general secretary of Bus Owners Association at Sayedabad Bus Terminal and also an Awami League leader, last year in the capital's Motijheel.     
At the press conference, Sentu's wife said immediately after the abduction, she went to the Rab-10 headquarters at Dhalpur in Jatrabari to seek help. "But they did not let me enter the office compound and denied that their members picked up my husband."
Later on April 16, she filed an abduction case with Kotwali Police Station, accusing Shah Alam and 10 to 12 unnamed people, as police would not take any case against Rab men.
According to her, Alam is the only person who knew about their appointment that day.
Contacted, Rab-10 Commanding Officer Lt Col Khandakar Golam Sarwar said they did not receive any written complaint in this regard. He suggested that the family lodge an official complaint and talk to them.
KM Firoz, officer-in-charge of Kotwali Police Station, said they had visited the abduction spot and spoke to some locals and preliminarily found Lovely's allegation to be true.
“We are trying to arrest Shah Alam as he is the lone named accused in the case. Once we arrest him, it will be clear who were behind the abduction,” he said.
On April 27, seven people -- Narayanganj panel mayor Nazrul Islam and his four associates and senior lawyer Chandan Sarker and his driver -- were kidnapped separately, but around the same time from the Dhaka-Narayanganj link road.
Six bodies were found in the Shitalakkhya river three days later and another the next day.
Nazrul's father-in-law Shahidul Islam on Su006Eday alleged that Rab men killed Nazrul in exchange for Tk 6 crore from Nur Hossain, a ward councilor and the prime accused in the case.
Shahidul later said a son of an influential AL lawmaker brokered the deal with the Rab men.
The Daily Star could not independently verify the claim and therefore kept from naming the AL lawmaker, also a minister, and his son.

Published: 12:03 am Friday, May 09, 2014

Last modified: 10:16 pm Friday, May 09, 2014

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