After Fardin murder: Crime den for long, Chonpara now hogs limelight
An uneasy calm has gripped the Chonpara slum, a haven for drug dealers, which is now under the radar of law enforcement agencies following the killing of Buet student Fardin Noor Parash.
In the last three days, at least five to six alleged drug dealers were picked up from the slum for their suspected involvement in the murder, said sources.
Since then, drug trade in the slum has cooled down.
This reporter visited at least four well-known drug hotspots in the slum yesterday and found it to be eerily quiet, even though according to locals, these spots used to bustle all day long.
Wishing anonymity, a local, said drug dealing has been going on there since the 1980s and it grew significantly over the last decade.
He claimed, "Neither police nor local leaders ever took any steps to stop the illegal trade in the slum."
But the recent raids have finally made things better in the slum, he added.
According to locals, a committee led by Bazlur Rashid, chairman of Kayetpara Union Parishad, was formed to prevent drug dealing in the slum.
But the chairman soon began backing the illegal trade in exchange for money, claimed locals.
Speaking to The Daily Star, Bazlur, however, refuted the claim.
"I've always taken a stand against drugs, but now I'm the target," he claimed.
Shockingly, Shaheen Miah alias City Shaheen, 35, wanted in 23 cases and killed in crossfire with Rab on Thursday, was also a member of the committee.
Asked about the rise in the drug trade in Chonpara, Abir Hossain, assistant superintendent of police (Rupganaj, Araihazar circle), said although police routinely raided drug hotspots and arrested dealers, the accused returned to their old profession after securing bail.
The slum became a place of interest after Fardin's murder as his last known location, based on his cell phone activity, was near the slum, according to police.
His body was also recovered few kilometres away from the slum at the Barnali Ghat of the Shitalakkhya River in Narayanganj's Siddhirganj on November 7.
Law enforcers are now operating on the assumption that Fardin might have been killed there and they are investigating the possibility of drug dealers' involvement.
On Saturday, Raihan Mahmud, an associate of the slain City Shaheen, was picked up by law enforcement in Barisal.
His wife Dalia Begum claimed two of Raihan's associates, Uzzal and Roni, were also apprehended along with him.
She told The Daily Star that law enforcement officers alleged that her husband killed the Buet student. "But my husband is not involved in the murder. He was home asleep when it happened."
Another alleged drug dealer Nuruzzaman was similarly picked up on Friday, according to his relative Shahida Begum.
But she claimed Nuruzzmaan was also not involved. "He only hung out with Raihan."
However, there was no official confirmation from law enforcement agencies about any arrests until this report was filed around 8:00pm yesterday.