A grocery shop was torched by criminals on Wednesday night at Suktagar Bazar in Rajapur upazila while the owner and his wife were sleeping inside the shop.
The owner and also shopkeeper Gopal Biswas, 55, and his wife were slightly burnt and took first aid from the village doctor.
Goods worth around Tk 15 lakh were burnt, which was his total asset, Gopal said.
The criminals locked the shop from outside so that the couple would be killed when the shop was torched, according to the police of Rajapur Police Station.
They also locked other shops and houses in the bazar from outside so that none could come to rescue them, said Sabur Hossain, an eyewitness of the area.
Gopal had filed a case in 2016 against some musclemen of the area for vandalising a memorial and yesterday was the date for argument in Jhalakathi Judge's Court where Gopal was supposed to be present.
The shop might have been torched to stop him from going to the court so that he could not be present there for the argument, said Uttam Biswas, a cousin of Gopal, adding that he (Uttam) filed a case against the same men in 2014 for vandalising a temple in the area.
“I thought we would die as we could not come out from the shop through the door. We finally came out by breaking the wooden wall of the shop,” Gopal said, adding that he cried for help but none could come as their doors were locked from outside.
Police officials visited the spot and will take necessary steps as soon as they get any written complaint, said Md Jahidul Islam, Officer-in-Charge of Rajapur Police Station.