Mystery shrouds DU student’s death
The Dhaka University student's death remains shrouded in mystery as his family members and friends demand an impartial investigation.
Hafizur Rahman's brother identified his body at Dhaka Medical College morgue on Sunday, over a week after Shahbagh police found the fatally wounded young man on DU campus.
He was a student of information science and library management in 2015-16 sessions. The 24-year-old man was also the general secretary of Mime Action, an association of mime artists.
His family members and friends said Shahbagh police was negligent in that they found Hafizur with his throat slit near the Central Shaheed Minar on May 15 and took him to the hospital, but didn't bother informing the family.
The matter subsequently remained unknown to his family, friends and DU authorities for a week.
Mamunur Rashid, officer-in-charge of Shahbagh Police Station, told The Daily Star, "Around 8:30pm on May 15, police received information that a man slit his own throat in the Shaheed Minar area after taking a crescent dagger from a coconut seller there."
Hafizur's friends and family members demanded a fair investigation by scrutinising the CCTV footage.
Saddam Hossain, general secretary of DU Chhatra League, said yesterday that police should question three of Hafizur's friends, who were with him on the evening of May 15.
According to family sources, Hafizur returned to Dhaka from Brahmanbaria on May 15, a day after Eid, and informed his family that he had reached safely.
His family later found his phone switched off and, failing to communicate with him or trace his whereabouts, filed a general diary with Brahmanbaria's Kasba Police Station.
Later, Shahbagh police was informed about Hafizur going missing.
On Sunday, the deceased's elder brother Habibur Rahman visited the Shahbagh Police Station and asked about his brother, said OC Mamunur. Police then told him there was a body at the DMCH morgue matching his brother's description, and Habibur went there with police and identified the body, the OC said.
Meanwhile, a 24-second video clip was doing the rounds on Facebook yesterday where Hafizur was seen sitting on a footpath, wearing only three-quarter pants, with his throat slit. Seconds later, he stood up and then three policemen were seen helping the injured Hafizur take a rickshaw.
Shahbagh police filed an unnatural death case in this connection.
According to the inquest report by police, Hafizur's body had a slit throat, and stab wounds in his right hand and left leg.
Anwar Hossain, the coconut seller and also the first witness of the incident, refused to comment when called on the phone. Another witness, Mohammad Jalil, who runs a tea shop in front of Dhaka Medical College Hospital, said that he saw a man in a bloody state in front of the outpatient department of the medical college. "Later, police took him to the hospital in a van. I don't know anything else."
The mobile phone of a third witness, identified in the inquest report, was found switched off.
Hafizur's family members said they have yet to decide whether to file a murder case.
Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, Hafizur's elder brother Habibur Rahman said, "Hafizur told us he was going to Dhaka to discuss business matters with his friends."
Asked whether he sensed distress in his younger brother, Habibur said, "I did not see any frustration. He celebrated Eid with joy."
Ariful Islam, inspector (operations) of the police station, who is investigating the case, said the autopsy report would determine whether it was a suicide or murder. Police will investigate why Hafizur came to Dhaka just a day after Eid, and see whether there are business matters involved.
He refused to give any further information.
Dhaka University Proctor Prof Dr AKM Golam Rabbani said the campus was almost empty the day after Eid. Such a big incident took place in Shaheed Minar area, but the proctorial team was not aware of it -- only the police knew about it, he said.
"We request everyone to provide evidence to the police," he said.
In a statement, DU Vice-chancellor Prof Akhtaruzzaman requested the DMP Commissioner to take steps so that police can submit a full probe report over the death.
Assistant Proctor Liton Kumar Saha told The Daily Star that the university had formed a four-member probe committee, headed by himself.
Meanwhile, many of Hafizur's friends and fellow DU students expressed their deep shock on social media at his death.
On Facebook, a DU student Mahmud Abdullah Bin Munshi wrote, "If Shahbagh police and the OC were aware of this, why did they keep the matter secret for seven days? Didn't Hafizur have an identity card? If so, why did the police not inform the university? If Shahbagh police members were present at the scene, why didn't they take the GD when Hafizur's classmates and friends went to the police station? Even after getting a description of Hafizur's, why didn't Shahbagh Police inform that they had left a boy of the same description in the DMC morgue on the same date?"
Shahbagh Police Station OC Mamunur Rashid said, "As there was a GD filed at Kasba Police Station, another one wasn't recorded at the Shahbagh Police Station.
"Hafizur did not have an ID card or a wallet, which is why we could not identify him. His body was kept as an unidentified dead body at the morgue."
FAIR PROBE DEMANDED
A group of students of Dhaka University formed a human chain at the Raju Memorial Sculpture at the university and demanded a proper investigation into Hafizur's death.
They also made three more demands: DU authorities must file a case, police members who found Hafizur wounded have to answer over their negligence in duty, and to ensure the safety of DU students in surrounding areas.
At the protest, Saddam Hussain, former assistant general secretary of DUCSU and general secretary of DU Chhatra League, demanded that police question three of Hafizur's friends who were with him that evening and investigate what happened to Hafizur before his death.
Saddam said Shahbagh police was informed that Hafizur had gone missing but they did not consider it necessary to verify the body found they had taken to DMCH.
"If anyone fails to perform their professional duties, departmental punishment should be taken against them," Saddam said.