• Wednesday, Oct 05, 2022
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

Are power game, drugs behind Rifat murder?

  • Published at 06:01 pm July 25th, 2019
Rifat Sharif-Barguna
File photo of Rifat Sharif Collected

Several allegations, including the involvement of political influential quarters and drug trade, were pointed as the reasons behind the murder

Raising questions on the investigation of the sensational murder of Barguna youth Rifat Sharif, police arrested the victim's wife Minni, who was the prime eyewitness of the gruesome killing, 26 days after the incident happened in broad daylight.

Within 24 hours of her arrest, Ayesha Siddiqua Minni was taken on 5-day remand, to be grilled as an accused of the murder case.

Several allegations, including the involvement of political influential quarters and drug trade, were pointed as the reasons behind the murder, bringing a different dimension to it. Netizens wondered thinking how did a group of young men, and teenagers in such a small town dare to commit a crime in broad daylight?

Rifat Sharif, 22, was hacked to death by criminals in front of his wife Minni, in broad daylight, in the district town on June 26. 

Soon after the incident, footage of the incident went viral on social media.

Rifat’s father, Dulal Sharif, filed a murder case against 12 named and five or six unknown attackers with Barguna police station.

To date, 15 people have been arrested in connection with Rifat Sharif's murder, and all of them have confessed to their crimes.

Around a week after the murder, a prime accused, Sabbir Hossain Nayan, also known as Nayan Bond, was killed in a gunfight with police on July 2.

Locals said the patrons of the "Bond Group" were politically influential, but would not give any name and the members of this group were directly involved with the drug trade. Rifat Sharif, a close friend of Nayan Bond, was also a member of the same group.

According to sources, three to four cases, including drug-related ones, were lodged with the Barguna sadar police station against Rifat Sharif and Nayan Bond. According to the police, although they were accused in drug-related cases, their names were not listed by the Drug Control Directorate of Barguna district, pointed fingers to the influential quarter.

How Minni becomes an accused

Ayesha Siddiqua Minni, wife of the deceased Rifat Sharif, has been charged with conspiracy to murder her husband. Police have collected various data and are analyzing them to prove the allegations brought against Minni, although she had given a confessional statement before the court under section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Later, the court sent her to jail. No lawyer represented her at the time, and her father Mojammel Hossain Kishor claimed local lawyers did not take the case because they were influenced and threatened by some politicians.

Rifat's father claims Minni's involvement

Claiming that Minni was involved in the killing, Abdul Halim Dulal, father of slain Rifat Sharif on July 13, demanded the arrest of his daughter-in-law.

Indicating the new video footage which was circulated on social media recently, he said: "Ayesha was seen reluctant when Rifat was attacked by the criminals and I believe she was involved in the killing.

He also repeated his claim at a human chain on July 14 at the Barguna Press Club, which was attended, among others, by Local MP Dhirendra Debnath Shambhu’s son Sunam Debnath, who is also the Baguna District Awami League’s science and technology affairs secretary.

Sunam is said to have been backing Nayon, the key suspect – an accusation the MP’s son denies.

‘Minni wants to withdraw confessional statement’

Minni’s Lawyer Mahmudul Bari Aslam, general secretary of the Barguna District Lawyers’ Association, visited her at Barguna jail on July 24 and later, he told reporters: "Minni now wants to withdraw her confessional statement."

She was forced to give her confessional statement, Aslam told journalists quoting Minni.

Minni's name was mentioned on the register book at the Barguna Sadar Hospital as the companion of the injured Rifat. 

According to the information mentioned in this register, Rifat was brought to the hospital at 10:20am and was referred to the Barisal Sher-E-Bangla Medical College Hospital at 10:40 am.

Dr Abu Rahman, who was on duty that time, told Dhaka Tribune that Minni brought Rifat to the hospital. "We had him here for about ten minutes. Rifat's neck and some other parts of the body were severely hacked by sharp weapons. As the duty doctors could not manage to stop his blood from the injuries, he was referred to the medical college in Barisal," he said.

Staff at the emergency department said when Minni wanted to accompany Rifat to Barisal but Rifat's friend Manzurul Alam John did not allow her to board on the ambulance. 

John is the organizing secretary of the Awami League district and son of Raisul Alam Ripon, the panel mayor of the Barguna Municipality. 

Later John went to Barisal on his motorcycle following the ambulance. It is alleged that when Rifat was pronounced dead in the afternoon, Minni's father was not allowed to see his son-in-law.

Allegations are also there that Minni and her family members were not allowed to see Rifat for the last time as John and his accompanies barred them.

Minni’s father claims involvement of former MP’s wife

Minni's father claimed that Rifart was killed as a sequel to an altercation with Shamsunnahar Khuki, wife of Barguna Zilla Parishad Chairman, and former lawmaker Md Delwar Hossain.

He said, a few days ago, before the murder, Rifat and his wife went to a restaurant beside the house of former lawmaker Md Delwar Hossain, when his wife, and Rifat locked into a confrontation over parking Rifat's motorcycle in front of their house.

At one point during the squabble, Rifat hurled abuses at Shamsunnahar, while she threatened Rifat of teaching him a good lesson, he said.

Shamsunnahar complained against Rifat to her two nephews -- Rifat Farazi, and Rishan Farazi -- who were seen at the forefront of the murder spot in the video footage of the killing.

"Rifat Sharif's father Dulal Sharif being instigated by a local influential group demanded our arrest. I strongly protest it. 

"Minni was arrested to cover up Rifat's murder, and now it would be possible to hide the masterminds of the killing ifmy wife and I are also arrested," he added.

Row over a mobile phone

Sources at the police station said that two days before his murder, Refat took away the mobile phone of a young man called Helal.

Helal went to Nayan Bond to help him recover his mobile phone and Nayan requested Minni to do it.

A meeting between Minni and Nayon was held the day before murder, said the investigating officers. “Minni was physically abused by her husband when she tried to recover the phone. She told Nayan Bond about the incident who in turn sought to punish Refat for attacking her,” said a police official, requesting anonymity.

A member of Barguna district police, said: "Actually, the accused planned to beat up Rifat not to kill him. But, accidentally he died of stabbing by Nayan Bond and Rifat Farazi." 

Minni also asked him not be present during the attack. In the evening on June 25, the Bond gang had a meeting and prepared to launch the attack on Rifat Sharif.

Seeking anonymity, a member of the district police, said Minni along with Rifat went out of the college. After a while, several members of Bond gang started beating up him when Minni was seen walking normally.

Suddenly, Nayan Bond started beating Rifat which was not in plan. At that time, Minni appeared in the scene and resisted Nayan from beating Rifat.

Timeline

Rifat Sharif was hacked to death on June 26

Rifat’s father Dulal Sharif filed a case accusing 12 people on June 27

Main accused Nayon Bond was killed in a "gunfight" with police on July 2

Rifat's wife Ayesha Siddiqua Minni was arrested on July 16

Minni was put on a five-day remand on July 17

Minni confesses her involvement on July 19

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