A bus driver was allegedly beaten to death by a group of plainclothes men who claimed to be detectives in Patiya upazila of Chattogram early yesterday.
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Sarak Paribahan Sramik Federation (east) and Chattogram Zila Sarak Paribahan Sramik Federation have jointly called a 24-hour long transport strike today and another on April 28, protesting the incident.
The dead was identified as Jalaluddin, 55, from Dinajpur.
He was a driver of a Shyamoli Paribahan NR Travels bus, said Azim Uddin, supervisor of the bus and also witness of the incident.
However, the detective branches of both the district and Chattogram Metropolitan Police have denied the allegation, claiming no drive was carried out by the DB in Patiya.
Speaking to The Daily Star, Azim said, “The incident took place between Shantir Hat and Shikalbaha area on the Chattogram-Cox’s Bazar highway around 11:45pm, while we were going to Gazipur via Chattogram from Cox’s Bazar.”
“A group of eight to 10 plainclothes people, introducing themselves as DB men, intercepted the bus and asked us to open the door. They weren’t wearing any uniforms or jackets but were carrying firearms,” claimed Azim.
He said soon after opening the door, they started to search the vehicle and at one point, they handcuffed Jalal saying he was smuggling yaba, and then took him off the bus.
“They took Jalal out of the bus and started beating him. After 10-12 minutes, they took him back inside the bus and asked where the yaba pills were,” Azim added.
Azim further alleged that Jalal was taken out, beaten again and left unconscious after he denied the allegation of smuggling drugs.
“After Jalal fell unconscious, they asked me to take him inside the bus and leave the spot,” he said, adding that the “DB men” then left the area.
Azim later informed the company’s higher authority about the incident, and another driver was sent from the city to take the bus and the duo to Colonel Hat main bus counter.
“From there, we rushed him [Jalal] to Chattogram Medical College Hospital [CMCH] where doctors declared him dead around 2:00am,” Azim said.
When asked about the vehicle number of the “DB men”, Azim said he did not notice it as he got busy taking care of Jalal.
Speaking to The Daily Star, CMP’s Deputy Commissioner (DC) (Port) of DB SM Mostain Hossain said, “We conducted no drives in the area on Tuesday night and no DB men from my zone went to the spot.”
“The place of occurrence is out of CMP’s jurisdiction but we will investigate the incident if any complaint is filed with us,” told DC Mostain.
Noor-E-Alam Mina, Superintendent (SP) of Chattogram police, said, “We have learned about the incident yesterday around 11:00am,” He, however, said that the place described by the transport authority falls under CMP’s jurisdiction.
“They told us that the men who introduced themselves as DB were in plainclothes. No team of DB went to Patiya or Shikalbaha on Tuesday night. We asked them [the transport authority] to file a case with Patiya Police Station once the place of occurrence has been confirmed,” SP Mina said.
TRANSPORT STRIKES CALLED
The Bangladesh Sarak Paribahan Sramik Federation (east) and Chattogram Zila Sarak Paribahan Sramik Federation jointly called a 24-hour transport strike starting from 6:00pm today protesting the murder of Jalal.
Transport leaders said no passenger vehicle would leave Chattogram from 6:00pm onwards.
Speaking to The Daily Star, Mrinal Chowdhury, president of the Bangladesh Sarak Paribahan Sramik Federation (east) said that they were suspending operation of all buses from Chattogram.
“We urged the authorities to arrest the killers immediately, ensure punishment of the perpetrators and give due compensation to the victim’s family,” Mrinal added.
Mrinal further said they declared another 24-hour strike involving passenger and goods-laden transportation for April 28.