Justice eludes victims of militant attacks
Mohammad Jamil Khan

  • Gonojagoron Moncho stages a protest against the killing of writer-blogger Avijit Roy in front of the National Museum in the capital’s Shahbagh area yesterday  
    Photo- Mainoor Islam Manik

Islamist militants were found responsible for the killing of at least 15 people, including progressive teachers and bloggers, committed in the last decade. But justice seems much too far.

None of the verdicts already given in three cases has been executed, while the investigating agencies are still working on 11 of the cases and a court is now holding an indictment hearing in another case.

Nearly 48 hours into the murder of eminent blogger and science writer Avijit Roy, who is a US citizen, and attack on his wife Rafida Ahmed Bonna, the law enforcers are yet to arrest any suspect even though the couple had long been threatened by some identified extremists.

A twitter account named “Ansar Bangla 7,” suspected to be run by militant outfit Ansarullah Bangla Team, also claimed responsibility for the killing within a couple of hours.

Shibli Noman, assistant commissioner of police, told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday that they were investigating the incident as an act carried out by the militants.

The trial against five leaders of banned Islamist outfit Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), for the murder of noted writer Prof Dr Humayun Azad, is underway. A Dhaka court has so far recorded the testimonies of one-third of the prosecution witnesses.

Prof Azad was injured critically after unidentified assailants attacked him on Dhaka University campus on February 27, 2004. He succumbed to the injuries in Germany on August 12 the same year.

A Dhaka court has set March 9 for further hearing on the charge framing matter against Ansarullah Bangla Team chief Jasim Uddin Rahmani and seven of his followers for the killing of architect and blogger Ahmed Rajeeb Haider. The Detective Branch of police pressed the charges on January 29 last year – nearly a year after the murder, on February 15, 2013.

The DB police are yet to submit a probe report in the case of TV presenter and Islamist leader Sheikh Nurul Islam Faruqi, a presenter of religious programmes on TV, who was killed on August 27 last year.

Family members and detectives claimed that he had been killed for opposing extremist views and superstitions. A number of militant leaders have been arrested and taken on remand. Six television presenters, including a central Jamaat-e-Islami leader, were also sued for giving death threats to Faruqi.

Saiful Islam, additional deputy commissioner of DB, said: “We suspect that members of fanatic religious groups conducted the killing.”

So-called “Pir” Lutfar Rahman Faruk, his elder son, and four others were slaughtered in the capital’s Wari on December 21, 2013. Four JMB members were shown arrested in the case, but none of them admitted their involvement.

Jahangir Hossain Matubbor, a DB deputy commissioner, claimed that they had identified some suspects and were conducting drives to nab them.

The mystery behind the murder of Ashraful Alam, a student of Daffodil University, still remains. He was killed in his rented house in Ambagan area of Savar on September 30 last year by “Ansar Al Islam Bangladesh,” which claimed responsibility.

Rasel Shaikh, assistant commissioner of Savar circle police, said they were investigating the matter.

Arif Raihan Dwip, a third-year student of Buet and leader of Chhatra League, was stabbed in a dormitory of the university on April 9, 2013. He succumbed to his injuries on July 2 while undergoing treatment.

Lone arrestee Mezbah Uddin, 24, of the same university admitted to have stabbed Dwip because the latter had assaulted the Imam of MA Rashid Hall mosque for helping Hefazat-e-Islam’s long march supporters. Police are yet to submit a probe report in the case.

Killing of three RU teachers

Rajshahi University Prof Yunus Ali of the Economics department was killed on December 24, 2004. A court sentenced two JMB men to death on January 29, 2010, but the verdict is yet to be implemented.

On February 3, 2006, the body of Prof Sheikh Taher Ahmed of the Geology and Mining department was recovered from a septic tank on the campus. Six people including a Jamaat-backed teacher were awarded death penalties on May 23, 2010. The Supreme Court on April 21, 2013 upheld the death sentence of two, and commuted the punishment of two others to life imprisonment. The order is yet to be executed as the full verdict has not been released.

Prof AKM Shafiul Islam of the Sociology department was killed by some assailants on November 15 last year. Although police and RAB have arrested a number of accused and remanded, the mystery behind the killing is yet to be unearthed. 

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