A gang of local Chhatra League and BNP men attacked an electronics supply shop of a Hindu trader and looted goods worth around Tk 1 lakh at Kulaghat Bazar of Lalmonirhat Sadar upazila on Sunday night.
The attackers also forced the businessman to sign a blank non-judicial stamp before fleeing the scene with the loot on an easy bike (battery-run three-wheeler), reports our Lalmonirhat correspondent.
Police yesterday arrested three people at Kulaghat village of the upazila in connection with the attack. They are Farooque Hossain, 25, ward unit BCL joint secretary, and Kulaghat union unit BNP members Enamul Haque, 23, and Amzad Hossain, 30.
Shop owner Nayan Chandra Roy, 30, of Kulaghat village said about six to seven miscreants, with sharp weapons in their hands, stormed his shop around 9:30pm and looted electrical goods.
“I don't know why they attacked my shop, looted the goods and forced me to sign the blank non-judicial stamp,” he mentioned.
Nayan added that though he had no transaction with any of the attackers, he knew their identities as they all were from the same village.
Locals said pedestrians and other traders at the bazar witnessed the attack, but did not dare to resist the armed gang, which is notorious for snatching, torture and looting at Kulaghat Bazar, Kulaghat Boat Ghat and Lalmonirhat-Fulbari road.
On receiving information, a police team visited the spot and later raided some houses in the village to nab the culprits. The effort went in vain.
The victim Nayan Chandra Roy filed a case with Lalmonirhat Sadar Police Station early yesterday, accusing six people of launching the attack on him.
Three of the accused were arrested yesterday, while the rest, Biplob Hossain, Azadul Islam and Lion Islam, are on the run. The three escapees are members of Kulaghat union unit BNP, said party sources.
Contacted, Mansur Ali, officer-in-charge (investigation) at the police station, said police had ensured protection for Nayan and his family members.
Arrestee Farooque Hossain during primary interrogation told police that the gang forced Nayan to sign the blank stamp to terrify the Hindu trader into not complaining about the incident at the police station and also to blackmail the trader later.
Law enforcers have recovered the non-judicial stamp from Farooque's possession, said police.
Talking to The Daily Star, Kulaghat union unit BNP president Rezaul Islam claimed that none of his party men were involved with the looting of the Hindu trader's shop.
On November 4 last year, Hindu village Satpatki Majhipara of Mohendranagar union in Lalmonirhat Sadar upazila came under attack by some BNP men.
During the January 5 national polls, BNP men attacked the house of a Hindu woman UP member at Karnapur village of Mogholhat union in the same upazila.
Besides, attacks on the houses and businesses of religious minorities by local BNP and Sramik League men have been reported in the upazila on January 6 and 7.
NAB LAND GRABBERS: HC
The High Court yesterday directed the superintendent of police in Lalmonirhat to arrest those responsible for forcibly grabbing a plot of land belonging to a Hindu family in Lalmonirhat within 48 hours.
The court came up with the directive in response to a writ petition filed by a rights organisation. The HC also ordered the district police chief to submit a report before it after complying with the court's directive in seven days.
On February 9, a group of Awami League men picked up Bhabani Kanta Sen and his two sons of Rasulpur village in Patgram upazila of Lalmonirhat, and held them hostage at the house of party leader Nazrul Islam in the same area.
Later, the three were forced to sign a non-judicial stamp stating that they were handing over the ownership of a 32-decimal plot of land to Rabiul Islam Miron, president of Bawra union unit AL.
The HC also asked the inspector general of police to probe the land grabbing allegation and submit a report before it in the next 30 days.