A mother and her two daughters were beaten up by their landlord and his family allegedly for not being able to pay rent.
The incident took place at Kalachandpur in the capital on Sunday. The victims are Subhra Ghagra, and her daughters Jhumu Ghagra (17) and Mou Ghagra (25).
Subhra alleged that they were attacked for not paying this month's rent while the landlord, Nazrul Islam, and his family claimed there was a "minor scuffle" between them as they did not want the tenants to bring their relatives or guests inside the building frequently amid ongoing shutdown.
According to Subhra, the homeowner on Sunday morning asked for this month's rent and she requested him to wait till May 20.
As her daughters, who work in parlours, are now out of work and needed more time. She said the rent is Tk 12,000 for two rooms on the 5th floor.
"Nazrul became angry and misbehaved with us," she said. Around 5:30pm, her daughters and three-year-old granddaughter while coming back from a local kitchen market found the main entrance of the building closed.
They asked guards to open but they did not as per Nazrul's order, alleged her eldest daughter Mou.
Meanwhile, Nazrul came down and engaged in an alteration with them.
At one point, his wife Fatema Begum appeared and started hitting them in front of passersby, she alleged. Soon her son joined in.
"Our dresses were torn and my younger sister was strangled by the landlord's son," alleged Mou, adding that all the groceries they bought fell on the street.
When her mother came down to help them, she was also attacked by the owner's family, she further alleged.
They said they were not able to enter the building until they went to the nearby Gulshan Police Station and complained. Upon their complaint, an SI from the station helped them get in, she added.
Contacted over phone, Nazrul Islam's wife Fatema Begum denied the allegations. "They were bringing guests frequently and we asked them not to do so amid the shutdown. But they did not listen and brought guests that day. An altercation took place between me and the girls, nothing more," she added.
At this point of the conversation, she handed the phone over to her son, Fahad Islam, saying her husband was not feeling well. Fahad, a university graduate, also denied the allegations.
Asked, Mou Ghagra said, "We did not bring any guest or relative. They [owners] always have such restrictions. You can ask other tenants,"
This correspondent spoke with a number of locals who said they witnessed the incident and the mother and daughters were attacked and beaten by the landlord and his family members.
One of the guards from an adjacent building said, "I saw the landowner's son strangling one of the girls and the wife slap the other."
Wishing anonymity, a tenant of the building said the landlord often misbehaves with them and their guests.
Upon verbal complaint, Sub-inspector Mohammad Belal of Gulshan Police Station visited building around 9:30pm. "I have asked for CCTV footage from the landowner and upon inspection, we will go for action," he said. No general diary has been filed yet, he said.
Contacted, DNCC Ward Councillor-18 Zakir Hossain said, "It is unfortunate that such an incident took place. No matter what, landlords cannot beat their tenants," he said,
"As far as I know, this issue is being handled by Gulshan police. I want a free and fair investigation and police are doing so," he assured.