Mastermind Shibir man
An Islami Chhatra Shibir activist orchestrated the killing of blogger Ahmed Rajib Haidar, detectives yesterday quoted the five arrested students of North South University (NSU) as saying.
The students confessed to their involvement in the killing, Monirul Islam, joint commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), told reporters at a press briefing.
The five, all aged between 19 and 23, were arrested during raids in different parts of the capital Friday night, the DMP official informed.
The mastermind, whom the arrestees mentioned as â€œBorobhaiâ€ [senior brother], and another alleged killer were absconding, he added.
According to primary interrogation, the decision to kill blogger Rajib was taken one and a half months ago, the detectives said.
Split in two groups, intelligence and execution, at least six including the five NSU students accomplished the killing on February 15, the detectives added.
The revelations came during a press briefing at the DMP media centre yesterday morning, three days into Home Minister MK Alamgir's claim that seven had been arrested in connection with the murder.
Although the five were present at the briefing, journalists were not allowed to talk with them.
The detectives identified the five as Faisal bin Nayeem alias Dwip, 22, Maksudul Hassan Anik, 23, Ehsan Reza Rumman, 23, Naim Sikder Irad, 19, and Nafis Imtiaz, 22.
Dwip and Anik, who hail from Matuail and Keraniganj in Dhaka, are students of electrical and electronic engineering, while Rumman and Irad, who hail from Jhenidah and Brahmanbaria respectively, are students of electric and telecommunications.
Imtiaz, who hails from Sandwip in Chittagong, is a student of business administration.
Dwip passed the HSC examinations from College of Development Alternative, Anik did his O- and A-levels from Maple Leaf International School and Imtiaz from Sunshine Grammar School.
Rumman and Irad passed the HSC from Jhenidah and Brahmanbaria districts respectively.
All are from well-off families, the detectives said, adding, fathers of Anik, Rumman and Nafis are businessmen. Dwip's father works as an executive engineer at Chittagong LGED, while Irad's father lives in Dubai.
According to Detective Branch of police, the five came to know each other at the NSU prayer room and became friends. They later started to meet and share their ideas through Internet.
The law enforcers have found posts related to Shibir on their Facebook pages, Nazrul Islam Mollah, deputy commissioner of DB (North), told The Daily Star.
â€œBut we haven't yet found their direct political involvement.â€
The â€œBorobhaiâ€ gave the NSU students links of some blogs and asked them to collect information about the bloggers.
Analysing the posts, the group decided to kill Rajib, who used to write under the pseudonym of â€œThaba Babaâ€, Monirul Islam, the DMP joint commissioner, told the newspersons.
Once the decision was taken, an â€œintelligence groupâ€ was formed to collect detailed information about the blogger analysing his posts on blogs and Facebook, and track him down.
The â€œexecution groupâ€ consisted of three members -- Dwip, Anik and Irad.
After collecting all the necessary information about â€œThaba Babaâ€, the â€œintelligence groupâ€ started a mission to identify him physically on February 9, Monirul Islam said.
Within the next couple of days, the group identified Rajib through his friends.
On February 11, Rumman followed their target from Shahbagh Projonmo Chattar to Mirpur-10 intersection. â€œRajib was in a bus and Rumman followed him by a bicycle,â€ said the police official.
Rumman failed to find out Rajib's house that day. But the next day he succeeded to locate his place at Palashnagar.
â€œThe group later started to collect information from locals regarding his profession, lifestyle, relatives, etc to finalise their killing plan,â€ said Monirul.
Anik and a couple of others went to Notun Bazar and bought machetes and knives. Anik paid the money, the arrestees said.
On the day of the killing, the group came to know from Rajib's Facebook page that he would not go to Shahbagh that day and rushed hurriedly to Palashnagar by bicycles and bus, said Monirul.
They reached there around 4:00pm, carrying the machetes and knives in schoolbags.
The group started to play cricket in an alley near the blogger's house to monitor his return.
As the sun was going down, Rajib was seen returning home. When he neared the gate of his house, Dwip hit him with a machete in a bid to sever his head from the shoulder, but failed to succeed in doing so.
After two more hits, the victim fell on the wall and Dwip continued to chop him, said Monirul.
Anik joined Dwip this time and started to stab Rajib with a knife.
As Dwip continued stabbing Rajib indiscriminately, he accidentally hit Anik in his big toe.
When the killers were sure about Rajib's death they fled the scene.
AFTER THE KILLING
The killers left a machete near a tea stall while hurriedly fleeing Palashnagar after accomplishing the mission, said the DMP official.
Hurt in his leg, Anik went to Kakrail and threw away his sneakers in front of Department of Films and Publications office there.
After several raids in Kakrail, Khilgaon, Baridhara, Bashundhara and Panthapath areas, detectives succeeded to arrest Anik.
Acting on information gleaned from him, they later netted the rest four from different parts in the capital.
According to Monirul Islam, police recovered Anik's sneakers from Kakrail and some more machetes in a sewage line beside Sher-e-Bangla Nagar School.
The law enforcers recovered total six machetes, a bicycle, a laptop, a bag and eight mobile phone sets from the possession of the arrestees, he added.
Producing the five before the Court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Dhaka yesterday after the briefing, Mainul Islam, a DB inspector who is investigating the case, sought 10 days' remand.
Metropolitan Magistrate Tanvir Ahmed granted seven days for interrogation.
The group chalked out the plan and executed it like professional killers, Monirul Islam said.
â€œFrom his description of stabbing Rajib, you can visualise Dwip as a skilled carpenter chopping woods.â€
Sometimes before February 15, the group threw a ball inside Rajib's house on the pretext of playing cricket and had a view of the inner side, he added.
The group had earlier made an attempt to kill Rajib but did not find him in a suitable location, Monirul added.
â€œThree of them told us that they were not repentant for what they have done. They said it was their religious obligation to kill Rajib.â€
"The authorities in a meeting yesterday suspended studentship of the five enrolled students who are held for the murder of blogger Rajib Haidar,â€ Belal Hossain, public relations officer of NSU, told The Daily Star.
â€œThe authorities have blocked their ID's, which is the first stage of cancelling studentship as per the office rule," he added.
He said, "A meeting will be held tomorrow to make a decision of cancelling their studentship from the university."