Wife and daughter of Sangram, who was killed in a “crossfire” involving Rab, crying inside a three-wheeler in front of Mitford Hospital in the capital yesterday. Photo: Rashed Shumon
Two suspected kidnappers and a robber were killed in separate "shootouts" with Rab and police at Kadamtali in the capital and in Savar yesterday, raising the number of deaths in such gunfights to 43 in the last two months.
The dead in Kadamtali shootout were identified as Wasim Mia, 52 and Sangram Chowdhury, 45. However, the identity of the other deceased could not be known.
Wasim, who lived on Madina Masjid Road in Alambagh area, had the lease for toll collection of Buriganga Bridge-1, and Sangram, who lived in the same area, used to collect toll for Wasim.
Like in previous occasions, law enforcers yesterday came up with an almost identical version of the “shootouts”, saying they had to open fire for self-defence.
On many occasions, rights bodies, including the National Human Rights Commission, have raised questions about the credibility of the law enforcers' versions of "shootout" and demanded that extra-judicial killings be put to a stop.
According to a report of rights body Ain o Salish Kendra, the number of extra-judicial killing came down to 91 in 2012 from 229 in 2009. It, however, rose to 208 last year and showed upward trend in the first two months of this year.
In Kadamtali yesterday, a "gunfight" broke out around 12:00noon between Rab and alleged kidnappers at Wasim's seven-storey building where four abducted people were kept in the attic, said Rab.
On information that the abductors had confined the four in that building and demanded ransom, a team of Rab-10 raided the building around 11:00am, Golam Sarwar, commanding officer of Rab-10, said at a press briefing at Rab-10 headquarters in Dhalpur.
Sensing the presence of law enforcers, the abductors tried to escape through the staircase and by climbing down pipes, he said.
At one stage, the abductors encountered the Rab members and opened fire on them. The law enforcers had no other option but to retaliate, he said.
Wasim and Sangram suffered bullet wounds in the gunfight, and were taken Mitford Hospital where doctors pronounced them dead.
"They were criminals. About 12 cases on different charges, including murder, possession of illegal arms, extortion, gambling and stealing of CNG-run auto-rickshaws, were filed with several police stations against them," Sarwar said.
Four people -- Akhter, Rana, Jony, Jahangir -- were rescued from the building. Rab also recovered two foreign pistols, two magazines and nine bullets, said the Rab-10 commanding officer.
Three Rab members were also injured in the incident, he said.
Jony, who was rescued by Rab, was present at the press conference.
In Savar, a "gunfight" between police and alleged robbers took place around 2:30am.
A patrol team led by SI Rafiqul challenged a group of 10 to 12 people on the Dhaka-Aricha highway near Police Town residential area, suspecting them to be robbers, said Shafiqul Islam, assistant superintendent of police of Savar Model Police station, told The Daily Star.
The gang exploded three crude bombs and opened fire on the policemen, prompting the law enforcers to retaliate, the ASP said.
One of the attackers was hit by bullet during the "gunfight", while his accomplices fled the scene.
He was whisked off to nearby Savar Upazila Health Complex where doctors declared him dead around 2:45am, said Shafiqul Islam.
Four policemen, including Rafiqul Islam, sub-inspector of Savar Model Police Station, were wounded in the "gunfight", he claimed.
Rafiqul is now receiving treatment at Enam Medical College and Hospital, added the police officer.
Police recovered three crude bombs and two sharp weapons from the spot.