An upazila Awami League chief was gunned down and killed right before his family in Rangamati yesterday, hours after seven people were shot dead in another upazila of the district.
Unknown assailants opened fire on Bilaichhari AL President Suresh Kanti Tanchangya while he along with his family members was travelling in a boat from Farua union to the upazila town, Alamgir Kabir, superintendent of police in the district, told The Daily Star.
The attack around 9:30am left Suresh dead on the spot. Others in the boat were unhurt, police said.
The law enforcers were trying to identify the attackers and know their motive, the SP said.
Talking to journalists, the victim's son Nirupom Tanchangya said three to four men intercepted the boat and shot his father at close range.
Contacted, the district unit AL General Secretary Hazi Mucha Mathbar alleged that the Parbatya Chattagram Janasanghati Samity (PCJSS-Santu Larma) might have a hand in the killing.
But PCJSS General Secretary (Rangamati) Nilutpal Khisa rejected the allegation and termed it ill-motivated.
On Monday evening, unknown gunmen opened a hail of gunfire in Noymile area of Baghaichhari upazila, killing seven people, including two polling officials and four Ansar personnel.
The polling officials and security personnel were coming back to the upazila town from a polling centre at Sajek union during the second phase of upazila elections.
Panic and tension has since gripped the area.
Vehicle movement was brought under restrictions and shops remained closed yesterday. Additional law enforcers were deployed to avert further untoward incidents.
Meanwhile, senior officials from the police and the district administration met the family members of the victims at the Baghaichhari Upazila Parishad conference room.
After the meeting, Rangamati Deputy Commissioner AKM Mamunur Rashid said each of the families of the deceased was given Tk 20,000 for completing burial. Each of the injured got Tk 10,000 for treatment.
He announced that a joint force would soon launch drives to arrest killers.
No one was arrested till last night.
Bodies of the victims were handed over to the family members following autopsy.
On the other hand, Chattogram Divisional Commissioner Abdul Mannan yesterday formed a seven-member committee to investigate the brutal attack on Monday.
The probe body, headed by a director of the local government division in Chattogram, was asked to submit report in 10 working days, said the DC.
Locals, under the banner of “Baghaichhari Upazilabashi”, demonstrated in the upazila town area, demanding immediate arrest of the killers.
Parbattya Nagorik Committee President Goutam Dewan and the United People's Democratic Front (UPDF) in separate statements condemned the killings and demanded that the attackers are punished.
Meanwhile, Parbatya Bangalee Chattra Parisad, another local body, yesterday staged protests in Rangamati town around 6:00pm yesterday. From there, the announced a daylong hartal for today in Khagrachhari, demanding arrest of the killers.