Shariatpur youth ‘mauled in DNC’s custody’
As with most evenings, Nur Alom Madbar was hanging out at the Ganganagar Bazar in Shariatpur on August 10, when a group of men grabbed him and took him to a side alley.
What transpired next upended the life of the 21-year-old and left him staring at the possibility of a bleak future.
The men, who happened to be from the Department of Narcotics Control (DNC), beat him up and then dragged him to a house, where they mercilessly beat him up further.
They then arrested Nur Alom, who completed his higher secondary education this year, on the grounds that they have found 52 yaba pills on him.
They filed a case against him with Palong Model Police Station under the Narcotics Control Act. The next day, DNC produced Nur Alom before a Shariatpur court.
But, no drug was recovered from him, he told The Daily Star.
"Due to the narcotics case, I cannot get admitted into the honours course -- I am suffering both mentally and physically," he added.
He is at wits' end over why the DNC men zeroed in on him in that crowded place that night and proclaimed they found yaba pills on him.
"I know Nur Alom and his family members well -- I never heard or seen him abusing drugs," said Gotam Das, former ward member of Shaulpara Union Parishad in Shariatpur Sadar Upazila.
Das said he saw the DNC men beating up Nur Alom mercilessly.
When presented before the court in August, Nur Alom said that he was physically and mentally tortured in custody by members of the DNC's raid team.
After recording his statement, Shamsul Alam, a senior judicial magistrate, directed the superintendent of Shariatpur Sadar Hospital to submit a medical report after examining Nur Alom's body following the Torture and Custodial Death (Prohibition) Act.
On August 22, the magistrate, after scrutinising the medical report that mentioned several injury marks on various parts of Nur Alom's body, directed the Superintendent of Police (SP) of Shariatpur to register his statement as a regular case.
Police on September 13 registered his statements as a regular case under Torture and Custodial Death (Prohibition) Act against five to six unknown persons.
After investigation, sub-inspector Ibrahim Patwary of Palong Model Police Station, on November 16 submitted a charge sheet to the Chief Judicial Magistrate's Court of Shariatpur, stating that four DNC personnel tortured Nur Alom in custody.
The four DNC personnel are Apurbo Biswas, assistant sub-inspector Tofail Ahmed and sepoys Prokash Roy and Priyanka Ghoramy.
The abuse started with Apurbo and Prokash hitting Nur Alom in a side alley at Ganganagar Bazar in Shariatpur, according to the charge sheet.
Nur Alom was taken to the house of one Sumon Robi Das adjacent to the Ganganagar Bazar, where Apurbo and Tofail beat him up with plastic pipes and injured various parts of his body.
Prokash hit Nur Alom's left eye so hard that it caused a blood clot, while Priyanka verbally abused him and hit him on his cheeks.
"The accused, despite being members of the law enforcement agencies, kept the complainant in their custody at the time of the arrest, and inhumanly tortured him physically and mentally," the charge sheet added.
The charge sheet lays bare the extent of the brutality of the accused and their crimes, Shahidul Islam Sajib, the victim's lawyer, told The Daily Star.
"After this, the accused cannot continue their service in the DNC legally."
Anticipating a premature end to their employment, three of the accused went to Nur Alom's house on Friday and pressed him to withdraw the case, according to Sajib.
"At that time, some 20-25 people, including local influential political leaders, accompanied the accused. Now my client is feeling insecure," the lawyer said, quoting Nur Alom.
Contacted, Tofail acknowledged they went to Nur Alom's house for an out-of-court settlement.
"But could not reach a solution," he added.
Harun Mollah, a former ward member of Shaulpara Union Parishad in Shariatpur Sadar Upazila, told The Daily Star yesterday that he along with some other local people went to Nur Alom's house on Friday to patch up the sad episode.
"The DNC officials apologised to Nur Alom. The administration people now realised that they filed the narcotics case based on wrong information," he added.
THE NARCOTICS CASE
On October 19, DNC pressed charges against Nur Alom in the narcotics case.
The charge sheet says Tofail filed the case, while Apurbo investigated it. Prokash has been named in the charge sheet as a witness.
In the charge sheet, Apurbo said the DNC men searched Nur Alom's body before three local men -- Alomgir Madbar, Maruf Madbar and Lutfor Chowdhury -- and recovered 52 yaba pills from his possession.
However, the three men on September 14 told The Daily Star that the DNC officials did not recover any yaba pill from the 21-year-old.
"Soon after I heard the incident, I along with some people rushed to the spot. There I saw the narcotics in one of the DNC staff's hands. The DNC men told me to give my address and I did," Alomgir said.
Lutfor and Maruf echoed the same.