Woman’s death in Naogaon: Probe committee talks to relatives, witnesses

Sultana Jesmin

An inquiry committee, formed by the cabinet division to investigate the death of Naogaon land office assistant Sultana Jesmin in custody of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), has talked to two witnesses, her son, brother, maternal uncle and her landlord.

The committee members talked to them at Naogaon Circuit House on Monday afternoon.

Deceased Sultana Jesmin’s maternal uncle Nazmul Haque and her brother Sultan Mahmud talked to media after the meeting with the investigation committee at around 6:30 pm.

“The investigation committee listened to us about the details of Jesmin's arrest, and what happened afterwards at hospital and until her burial. We found documents of money dealings between Jesmin and the plaintiff Enamul in Jesmin’s home. We presented those to the committee. Hopefully, they will conduct a neutral investigation and submit the report within the stipulated time. We are hopeful of getting justice if the investigation is neutral,” said Nazmul Haque.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Jesmin’s brother Sultan Mahmud said, “My sister was well. She fell ill after RAB had arrested her and then died under treatment in their custody. I think RAB is responsible for this. I hope the actual culprits will be identified.”

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A team from Joypurhat camp of RAB-5 picked up Sultana Jesmin from Muktir Mor in Naogaon at around 10:30 am on 22 March. Jesmin breathed her last while undergoing treatment at Rajshahi Medical College Hospital in the morning of 24 March.

Her family has been alleging that Sultana was tortured and killed in custody of RAB. The rights organisations became vocal about the death. The High Court also asked for information in this regard.

RAB said Sultana Jesmin fell ill after she was arrested on charges of fraudulence. She was immediately taken to hospital. But she died under treatment.

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Following the HC order, the cabinet division formed a high-powered probe body to investigate the death of Sultana Jesmin, an office assistant at Chandipur union land office in Naogaon sadar upazila, in custody of RAB.

Md. Mahmudul Hossain Khan, secretary (coordination and reform wing) of cabinet division, was made the head of the committee. Other members of the committee are - an additional secretary of the public administration ministry, an additional secretary of the home ministry, senior district and sessions judge of Naogaon, chief judicial magistrate, civil surgeon, additional district magistrate and an additional police superintendent nominated by Naogaon police superintendent.

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Senior district and sessions judge Abu Shameem Azad, chief judicial magistrate Mohammad Imtiajul Islam, additional district magistrate Abdul Karim, civil surgeon Abu Hena Mohammad Raihanuzzaman and additional police super Gaziur Rahman were seen entering the circuit house on Monday afternoon.

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Speaking after the relatives and witnesses, head of the committee Md. Mahmudul Hossain Khan told media at around 10:00 pm Monday, “The committee members and I talked to Jesmin’s family members, her landlord, and several witnesses today. We will talk to all the concerned people gradually. The report will be submitted in time.”