12:00 AM, December 16, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:31 AM, December 16, 2018

From campaign trail: Chattogram

Ghost cases, again

BNP man, who died 8yrs ago, made accused in murder case

Abu Taher died of cancer eight years ago.

The trees planted by his grave near his home at Maijdee in Noakhali have grown taller and greener in all these years.

Yet Taher, who was once involved with BNP politics, has now been made accused in a case for unlawful assembly and killing of a man around 16 kilometres from his home.

Ariful Islam Sumon, joint convener of Ewazbalia Union Jubo League, filed the case with Sudharam Police Station on December 12, accusing Taher and 364 others following the death of a Jubo League man during a “clash” between Awami League and BNP men the previous day.

Mohamamd Hanif, general secretary of ward-9 Jubo League of the same union, was killed when BNP men attacked an AL campaign passing by a BNP programme, according to the case statement.

Taher's son Abul Hossain Bahadur thinks his father was implicated because of his involvement with BNP politics.

"If police want, they can dig my father's grave and take his corpse to the police station. It is really shameful that my dead father has been made an accused," he said, standing by his father's grave around 5:30pm.

Bahadur is the general secretary of Jubo Dal's Kadir Hanif union unit.

About two hours after he spoke to The Daily Star, police arrested him in the case, although he was not a named accused. Saifur Rahman, sub-inspector of Sudharam Police Station, confirmed his arrest.  

The case also names Qatar expatriate Harun, who has been living in the Middle-Eastern country for more than five years. He last came to the country in December last year and left for Qatar around six months ago, his family said.  

"Then how come he was present at the spot on that day?" said Harun's younger brother Rasel Mahmud, also a BNP activist.

Besides, at least six identical names were mentioned twice in the case. The names of their fathers are also identical, exposing the flaw of the case statement.  

This case brings to mind the dozens of cases filed in September where dead men, bed-ridden patients and expatriates, some of them involved with BNP politics, were made accused.

Asked about the latest case, a local BNP leader said it was meant to harass former and current BNP leaders and supporters as well as their families in Noakhali-4 constituency.

Police intensified their raids on the houses of BNP men since filing of the case, he alleged.

"Only 40 to 50 BNP men were holding a programme when the killing [of the Jubo League man] took place in Poschim Ismail Nagar. But they made 365 BNP men accused in the case,” said the BNP leader.

Asked why he named a dead man and an expat in the case, complainant Ariful Islam Sumon said he was in a meeting and asked this correspondent to call him an hour later.

But he did not receive any call afterwards.

This correspondent yesterday visited the killing spot, which is virtually a deserted place. Jubo Dal leader Abdur Rahim Rejvi's house is just behind the spot. Three more houses are beside Rejvi's.

The area is five to six kilometres away from the main road and is surrounded by crop fields, with only a handful of houses faraway.

Even four days after the clash, 30 to 40 damaged chairs were found scattered in front of Rejvi's house where, BNP leaders said, they were holding a meeting attended by local BNP men. 

They alleged that AL men, armed with firearms, attacked them and that Hanif was killed by AL men themselves.

But no one from the village was willing to talk to this newspaper fearing reprisal.

"I don't know" or "I don't want to say anything" were the replies of all the three people The Daily Star talked to yesterday.

One woman from a nearby house said, "Please go away. If they saw you with us, they will harm us."

She walked away without saying anything when asked who would harm them.

Anwar Hossain, officer-in-charge of Sudharam Police Station, said the names of dead or expatriate, if any, would be dropped after investigation.

Denying the allegation of harassing BNP men, the OC said police were acting neutrally.

At a press conference at Noakhali Ainjibi Samity auditorium yesterday, Mohammad Shahjahan, a BNP candidate from Noakhali-4, alleged the ruling party men launched the attack on them on that day (Dec 11).

He blamed Hanif's death on the ruling party's infighting, and alleged the case was filed with a political motive.

But AHM Khairul Anam Chowdhury Selim, president of Noakhali district AL, refuted the allegation. "No one from our party made the attack. My party activist was the victim of BNP's brutality instead."

He said three of their men were pasting posters after campaigning in the area when the BNP men chased and caught one of them. They tortured him and shot him to death, he alleged.

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