With the December 30 election approaching, people in Satkhira, known as a stronghold of the Jamaat-e-Islami, fear that the party may resort to violence again, the way it did in 2013 centring a verdict on Delawar Hossain Sayedee.
Police also claimed to have intelligence on violence in the district.
Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, Kachpukur village's Nazrul Islam, a victim of Jamaat's atrocities in 2013, said, “It seems Jamaat men were plotting something over the election”.
Several others in the district echoed his views.
Nazrul claimed that he survived with injuries two attacks on his life by Jamaat-Shibir men in 2013. “First they opened fire on me and when they failed, they hurled bombs at my business establishment. It all happened for my links with Awami League politics.”
He also claimed that the attackers killed his brother and burned down at least 10 houses belonging to his family members and other relatives.
In between February 28 and December 15, 2013, at least 18 people in Satkhira, mostly leaders and activists of the AL, lost their homes and valuables to Jamaat's atrocities.
The district had been made isolated as the Jamaat men blocked roads felling trees after party leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee was sentenced to death for war crimes.
Law enforcers could hardly reach the district as large holes were dug on roads at different points. People also could not get out of the district, locals recalled.
Mir Mostak Ahmed Robi, Awami League candidate in Satkhira-2, said, “Intelligence reports suggest that they [Jamaat-Shibir] may unleash violence again in Satkhira. The Border Guard Bangladesh and the Rapid Action Battalion told me that they are on alert.”
Sazzadur Rahman, superintendent of police in the district, said he had been focusing on the issue since he joined office a year ago.
“Using different video footage and documents, we are still identifying and arresting those involved in the 2013 attacks,” he said.
“According to intelligence reports, there are possibilities of further attacks. But they will not be able to do anything as our capabilities have increased,” the SP said. “We are raiding various Jamaat-dominated areas”.
Police sources said law enforcers were trying to prevent Jamaat-BNP men, out to create violence, from gathering in different areas. According to Satkhira police, 11,338 people were arrested in the district between June and November this year.
However, there were allegations that some unscrupulous policemen were detaining innocents and releasing them in exchange of money.
Locals in Debhata, Assasuni and Kaliganj upazilas also alleged that AL men were leading police to the arrests and some innocent people, who have enmity with the ruling party men, were becoming victims.
Locals said they were wrapping up their daily activities and returning home before dusk. “You will hardly see anyone outside after 8:00pm as they fear they might get arrested,” said Asaduzzaman, who runs a shop in Debhata.
Asked about the allegation, SP Sazzadur denied it. “If anything happens to anyone, the individual can come to me. I will take action immediately”.