Height of brutality
It was a hellish afternoon he would never forget.
Eliyas Numan, a Swechchasebak League leader, was hacked and beaten unconscious by a group of Jubo League men in Mymensingh’s Gafargaon on September 2.
When the 28-year-old man regained consciousness after two days, he found his left hand amputated and bandages from the waist down.
The brutal attack has left him in trauma.
Lying in a bed at the capital’s National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopaedic Rehabilitation (NITOR), Numan, a supplier of construction materials, said his only fault was he had tried to help some villagers of Khodaboxpur get electricity connections.
He is now deeply worried about the future of himself, his wife Mahmuda Akhter
and their four-year-old daughter Ishrat Jahan Nowshin.
Ishrat kept asking about her father’s amputated hand. “Where is it? Bring it to me, I’ll fix it,” said the little girl, leaving his father in tears.
Distraught, Numan wonders how he would take his daughter out on his motorbike like he used to do every day.
“How will I take her on my motorbike?” he asked as his voice cracked.
Numan, an executive member of Mymensingh district Swechchasebak League, further said some villagers of Khodaboxpur gave Tk 1.8 lakh to a local Jubo League leader and his men for 30 electricity connections a year ago. But they failed to arrange power connections from local Palli Bidyut office.
“Later, the villagers made efforts to get electricity connections, and I helped them in this regard. This was my fault,” Numan told this newspaper yesterday.
Palli Bidyut officials, along with local policemen, went to the village on September 2 morning to give electricity connections, he said.
“When they were working, those who took money from the villagers tried to stop them. Police then chased them away. They [those who took money] thought I was behind it [arranging power connections],” Numan said quoting villagers.
Around 5:30pm, a group of armed men, led allegedly by Rezaul Karim Sumon, president of Jubo League Joshora union unit, attacked him when he was returning home from Bhaluka upazila by his motorbike.
“I was first hit by stones. When I fell to the ground, they attacked me with machetes, pipes and iron rods.”
Numan said among the attackers, he could identify Sumon, Rakib, Akib, Wahid, Faisal, Mahfuz, Olad, Mustakin and Sarwar Jahan Dhanu.
“I could hear them scream ‘kill him, kill him’ … Sumon, Mahfuz and Olad started hacking my left hand with machetes. Then I lost consciousness.”
Numan was first taken to Bhaluka Upazila Health Complex. As his condition worsened that night, he was brought to NITOR in the capital.
Hours later, Numan’s left hand was amputated. The doctors were struggling to stop bleeding. He needed five bags of blood, said his family members.
Numan’s wife Mahmuda filed a case with Gafargaon police station on September 2 against 15-16 people, including Sumon. Nine of the accused were named and the rest unnamed.
“They carried out the attack to kill him,” said Mahmuda.
She said it was beyond her imagination that she would have to see her husband in such a state.
Expressing unhappiness over police’s role, she alleged that the accused were roaming free in the area but law enforcers were not arresting them.
“Police arrested only one of the accused, but he too was released on bail,” she said.
Sub-inspector Ahsan Habib, also investigation officer of the case, said they arrested Sarwar, president of Jubo League Ward-3 unit in Joshora union, for his alleged involvement in the attack on September 2. But he was freed on bail.
Of the accused, Wahid and Akib were arrested for drug peddling in August this year and a Mymensingh court sent them to jail. They were later released on bail, added the official at Gafargaon police station.
Asked about the family’s allegation of police negligence, Monirul Islam, inspector (investigation) at the same police station, said the claim was not true, and police were carrying out drives to arrest the attackers.
Aminul Islam, a resident of Khodaboxpur village, said he along with several others had given money to a local Jubo League leader to get electricity connection a year ago but didn’t get it.
“Recently, we made efforts on our own to get power connections, and Numan helped us.”
Demanding immediate arrest of the attackers, Aminul said it was sad that Numan was attacked for helping them.
The Daily Star tried to reach Sumon on his mobile phone several times yesterday but found it switched off.
Talking to this newspaper, Tariqul Islam, chairman of Joshora union parishad, said Sumon was watching a football match on Dowlatpur High School ground when the incident took place.
“Sumon was not involved in the incident. He may have been implicated in the case out of rivalry in local politics,” said Tariqul, member of Gafargaon upazila AL unit.
Asked why no organisational action was taken against the alleged attackers, Salahuddin Polash, convener of Gafargaon Jubo League, said the matter was still under police investigation.
He further said they were “observing” the developments.
[Our Mymensingh correspondent contributed to this report]