A Rajshahi court yesterday awarded eight outlaws with life term -- 31 years of rigorous imprisonment -- for the murder of three policemen of Dhalar Char Police Outpost in Pabna’s Bera upazila nine years ago.
Two of the eight convicts are fugitives. They are Zahurul Islam and Md Hashem alias Khokon alias Bachchu, said Entazul Haque, public prosecutor of the court.
The six others -- Joson Mollah alias Jabed, Nijam Fakir, Md Rafiq alias Joitha Rofik, Ayub Ali, Sukur Ali Sarder and Zahangir Alam alias Kana Alam -- were present in court during the verdict delivery, he said.
Judge Anup Kumar, of Rajshahi Speedy Trial Tribunal, also fined each of them Tk 10,000 each, in default of which they will have to spend one year more in prison.
On July 20, 2010, the outlaws of the banned outfit Purbo Banglar Communist Party’s Red Flag faction shot and killed three policemen -- sub-inspector Md Kafil Uddin, nayek Abdul Wahed and constable Shafique Ahmed of Dhalar Char Police Outpost in Pabna’s Bera upazila.
Police recorded a case against Ohab Kazi and 20 unnamed people for the gruesome murder and later the law enforcers mentioned16 outlaws as accused in the charge sheet.
Other than the eight convicts, Akkas Ali Sarder, Nuru Mondol, Yaar Ali alias Billal and Nader Pramanik were acquitted, while Ohab, Md Khalek alias Gedu, Moktar alias Azam alias Amin and Younus Mollah were killed in “gunfight” with law enforcers, Entazul said.
He added that the murder was committed when the three policemen, without precaution and in plainclothes, were visiting Malda Hat, an area on the bank of the Jamuna, which was frequented by the outlaws.
The Dhalar Char Police Outpost was set up with an aim to control the outlaws in the area. Criminals led by Ohab had a feud with the police over setting up of the outpost.
Four policemen -- SI Kafil, nayek Wahed constables Shafique and Rashidul Islam -- of the police outpost had contacted one Gani Sardar of Malda hat to purchase firewood.
On the day of the incident, the four policemen, along with Gani and Manju, a buffalo cart driver, went to Malda Hat to buy firewood for the outpost at 3:00pm. Around 6:00pm, Gani invited the policemen to one Akkas Ali Sardar’s house in the area.
Right at that moment, the outlaws were gathered at nearby village and received information about the policemen being in the area. Most of the outlaws did not want to take action, but Joitha proposed “teaching the police a lesson”.
The criminals surrounded Akkas’s house. Sensing their presence, Akkas, Manju, Gani and Rashidul managed to hide but the three policemen were trapped.
They were forcefully taken back to Malda Hat where the outlaws shot them dead in public.
Defence lawyer Raisul Islam said most of the accused were innocent and they would appeal to the higher court.
He said, nearly a dozen outlaws were killed in “gunfights” with law enforcers during the investigation period and the latest killing -- of outlaw leader Nistar alias Jahid alias Nizam -- occurred during the trial process in February 2017.