Burial under cop guard
“I couldn't touch him and see his face for the last time, as police hurriedly buried him. Police didn't let us wrap his body with the piece of shroud we bought…they wrapped him with the one they bought.
“They also didn't allow us to attend his funeral,” a mother cried.
Shahnaj Pallabi, mother of Mostafa Jamal Haider who died on Sunday after being hit by bullets during a violent protest in Rupganj on Saturday, cannot believe how it happened all so fast.
Mostafa was buried at a local graveyard around 1:00am yesterday giving the family members and villagers very little time to see his body. Relatives and neighbours alleged that police barred them from attending his namaz-e-janaza and burial.
His body was taken to his Harina Nodir Par village home under Kayetpara union around 12:15am yesterday.
Md Forkan Sikder, officer-in-charge of Rupganj Police Station, however, denied the allegation. He said police and “representatives” of the people participated the funeral.
Mostafa's father Md Abdur Rafiq told The Daily Star that police drove away the villagers threatening to arrest them.
Apart from himself, one of his brothers and 15 to 20 villagers were allowed to attend the namaz-e-janaza and the rest were police personnel and administration officials, he said.
“I waited for almost 10 hours at the hospital to get my son's body. On receiving, police didn't give us time for ablutions to attend the janaza. I don't understand why they wanted to bury my son so hurriedly.”
Meanwhile, tension and panic have gripped Rupganj.
Most males in Rupganj and Kayetpara unions fled homes to avoid arrest.
Police filed a case against some 3,000 unidentified villagers following the clash between locals and law enforcers over "forcible purchase of land" for an army housing project in the area.
But Rafiq does not fear arrest. He fears to lose more if he files a case to seek justice for his son's death.
“When the funeral of my son wasn't in my hands, how can I expect punishment to his killers? They are very influential people,” he said when asked whether he will lodge a case in this connection.
He said the money he will spend to go to the police station to file the case will be a total loss since he knows he will not get justice.
“I've already lost one of my three children and I don't want to lose anything more,” he said, his blank eyes fixed outside the window.
He said his son was killed by bullets shot by the army, and the theory of police and Rab opening fire on the villagers is “totally wrong”.
Rupganj police told The Daily Star on Sunday that they did not open fire on people.
Rafiq and Shahnaj have lost their son. All right. But they do not want to lose the piece of land that provides for their family bread, Rafiq said.