People of Chatmohar upazila have been spending sleepless nights patrolling different villages in the upazila with law enforcers for the last one week due to a rise in theft and robberies from the beginning of this month.
Around 250 villagers of 11 unions in the upazila are guarding 50 important places. A group of four to five villagers, accompanied by police and chowkidars (village police), patrol one spot in the upazila, police said.
“Looting of cattle from different houses in the upazila increased from early this month. Over 15 cows and three buffaloes were reportedly looted from different areas in the upazila till January 15. The thieves loot domestic animals and take them away in covered vans,” said Sheikh Nasir Uddin, officer-in-charge (OC) of Chatmohar Police Station.
Villager Md Robban Ali, 60, of Ramnagar village chased a covered van carrying looted animals at about 4:30am on January 16, but he was crushed by the van and died on the spot. The death of Robban angered the people, villagers said.
In the first two weeks of January, three cows were stolen from Mohoramkhali village and three from Vadra, while two buffalos were stolen from Megharpara village, according to the villagers. In most cases, the victims complained to the police but the stolen animals could not be recovered or the thieves held, they said.
“In last few weeks, the thieves stole many domestic animals from different villages. Villagers are worried about protecting their domestic animals, so we started guarding the village so that nobody dares to steal from here,” said Babul Akter of Baludiar village.
Thirty-two people, divided into four groups, are spending sleepless nights to guard four important places in the village, he added.
The OC said robbery and stealing increase every year during the winter.
“After holding meeting with the union parishad chairmen of all 11 unions, we engaged the villagers and chowkidars to assist the law enforcers,” the OC said.
“Robbery increases in the winter, so the community drive is likely to continue for another month,” the OC added.