Killers still at large | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 11, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 11, 2010

Killers still at large

16 out of 27 accused identified from video footage; one arrested; quiet hartal in Natore; police role under scrutiny

Rappu: Lone arrestee

Natore police yesterday identified 16 people from video footage of the Friday's attack that killed Boraigram upazila chairman Sanaullah Noor Babu, but arrested only one of them in this connection.
The 16 are among the 27 accused by name in the murder case filed late night on Saturday by Mohua Noor Kachi, wife of Babu.
Natore Superintendent of Police Rafiqul Islam said, “Some 16 of the accused have been detected in video footage we collected."
The arrested, Russell Hossain Rappu, is a Bangladesh Chhatra League activist of the upazila. Natore Detective Branch arrested Rappu from his Mohisdanga village home in the early hours of yesterday.
Inspector General of Police Hassan Mahmood Khandker said the culprits would be arrested within the shortest possible time through a massive hunt. Babu murder case was transferred to the Natore DB for intensive investigation.
In another development, the government is probing if the law enforcers present at Bonpara Bazar during the incident had any negligence in their duty.
Home Secretary Abdus Sobhan Sikder and IGP Hassan Mahmood said the role of the local law enforcers, who were present on the spot during the killing, would be examined and actions be taken if their negligence is found.
"The government has taken the issue very seriously and some outcome will be visible soon," the secretary told The Daily Star.
Asked why police remained inactive when Awami League men swooped on the BNP procession and beat Babu to death, the IGP said, "Police are probing the matter from many angles. Apart from arresting the killers, we are investigating the role of law enforcers concerned."
He claimed the killers wouldn't be spared even if they were ruling party men.
M Obaidullah, acting deputy inspector general of Rajshahi division, visited Natore Saturday night and held a two-hour meeting with senior police officials at the SP office.
Meanwhile, Natore BNP observed a daylong hartal peacefully in the district yesterday protesting the killing and gave a 24-hour ultimatum to the local administration to nab the murderers, reports our Natore correspondent.
Wearing black badges, hundreds of locals including BNP men formed a kilometre-long human chain for one minute along the Natore-Pabna Highway at Bonpara Bazar.
They later lay down on the road as a symbolic demonstration to show how Babu was lying helpless on the ground after the attack.
The main opposition staged demonstration across the country.
Local witnesses said police, instead of rescuing Babu, were playing the role of spectators while AL men equipped with lethal weapons were roaming around the BNP leader bleeding profusely for an hour.
During the dawn-to-dusk hartal in Natore, the local BNP leaders threatened to wage tougher movement if the killers were not arrested and punished immediately.
Although some trains crossed Natore town, life at the entire Bonpara almost came to a halt. No vehicles, except for a few three-wheelers, plied the streets and no shops were open. Educational institutes remained closed.
Eight platoons of police were deployed to maintain law and order.
Talking to The Daily Star, Babu's wife alleged KM Zakir Hossain, ex-information and research secretary of the AL's Natore district unit, led the attack and it was he who started beating Babu.
According to police, Zakir is an accused in the murder of Jatiyatabadi Swechchhasebak Dal Boraigram upazila president Alimullah.
Zakir's father Ainul Haque -- the then AL president of the upazila unit -- was also murdered allegedly by BNP men within an hour of killing Alimullah on March 28, 2002.
Zakir, a member of the upazila unit AL, is a lecturer of Psychology at Khaishadanga College, Boraigram.
The accused in the case are: Zakir's brothers Jubo League worker KM Jamil Hossain and upazila Chhatra League president Zillur Rahman Zinnah, Ashraful Islam, Moazzem Hossain, Masud Sonar, Bonpara municipal AL joint convenor Khokon Mollah, Saikat Hossain, Rezaul Karim Rikon, Russell Hossain Rappu, Selim, Hashem, Badsha, Hashem, Goutam Ghos, Shafiqul, Ripon Sonar, Abdul Malek, Mahbub, Jony, Ashraful alias Mintu, Habib, Momin, Babul Mollah, Lutfar, Babu and Abdur Razzaque.
Boraigram upazila BNP president Ekramul Alam said Zakir and Khokon Mollah were seen at their Bonpara residences till Saturday night.
Sub-Inspector Abdul Hannan, the investigating officer of the case, said they had started investigating to nab the culprits.
Local MP Abdul Quddus told The Daily Star that upon prime minister's directives, he has already started a process to find out the culprits through video footages. He claimed some men who were recruited in the party afresh are likely to be involved with the unexpected incident.
Leaders of Bangladesh Upazila Chairman, Vice-chairman Oikya Parishad will hold a protest rally and human chain in Natore this morning demanding punishment of the killers.

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