Reasons behind shooting Shibpur upazila chairman

Shibpur upazila chairman Harunur Rashid

Nasingdi Shibpur upazila’s chairman Harunur Rashid might have been shot due to Awami League’s internal conflict or over the lease of the Putia Bazar cattle market, suspect the ruling party’s local leaders. They said both the issues are interrelated.

Harunur Rashid was shot at his own residence in Shibpur municipality area at around 6:15 in the morning on Saturday. He is now undergoing treatment at Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Two bullets were removed from his back in the hospital. Harunur is now under observation for 72 hours.

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Harunur is the former president of Shibpur upazila Awami League.

Harunur’s family said many people come to visit him from morning till night every day. When he was preparing for morning walk on Saturday, a person called several times on his mobile phone and wanted to meet him. Later three persons came to the second floor of the house and Harunur himself received them. At one point, one of them pointed a pistol towards Harunur. He quickly turned around to parry the attack and two bullets hit him in the back.

His son Aminur Rashid Khan said his father might have been shot by a pistol fitted with a silencer as they did not hear any gunshot. Hearing Harunur’s scream, they found him lying on the floor soaked in blood. They rushed him to hospital.

Harunur’s nephew Fazle Rabbi Khan has been staying with Harunur since he was shot. He thinks the miscreants targeted to hit Harunur on the chest but failed as he turned around. The attackers are professionals, he said adding that such an incident could not have been happened without help from some local person.

Harunur could identify all three miscreants and passed information about them to the police, Fazle Rabbi added.

Firuz Talukder, officer in charge of Shibpur police station, said three suspects have been identified but are yet to be arrested. The motive behind the incident would be clear after investigation.

AL leaders said the ruling party men are divided into two groups in the area. One faction is led by current lawmaker Jahirul Haque Bhuiyan and the other by Sirazul Islam Mollah. Harunur is influential in the local politics as he was president of upazila AL for a long time. Both the factions want to keep Harunur in their favour due to his well connection with the grassroots activists. Harunur maintained a balance supporting both the factions in different times.  

Harunur was with Jahirul Haque Bhuiyan when the latter became a lawmaker defeating Abdul Manna Bhuiyan in the ninth parliamentary election. Later he parted ways with Jahirul and took side with Sirajul Islam Mollah, who become a lawmaker in the tenth parliamentary election contesting as an independent candidate. As Harunur had differences with Sirajul too, he again joined Jahirul, who won the in eleventh parliamentary election. Then Harunur again had a disagreement with Jahirul. Harunur is now doing politics with Sirajul.

It is suspected that Arif had sent the three assailants. Ruling party men said Arif is a close associate of lawmaker Jahirul. Arif left the country on Friday night.

Meanwhile, some Khurshed Haji and Arif Sarker jointly got the lease of Putia Bazar cattle market, the biggest in the district, last year. Upazila chairman Harunur awarded Khurshed Haji the lease, removing Arif Sarker. This decision infuriated Arif. It is suspected that Arif had sent the three assailants. Ruling party men said Arif is a close associate of lawmaker Jahirul. Arif left the country on Friday night.

Lawmaker Jahirul said those who shot Haurnur are terrorists and they cannot have any other identity.

He said the attackers must be arrested in no time and brought to book.

Former lawmaker Sirajul said Harunur himself confided to him that Arif sent the three assailants to kill him.

He claimed as the former lawmaker Jahirul wants to become a lawmaker again, he wanted to clear his way by removing Harunur from the scene.

Jahirul used Arif to send the assailants, the lawmaker claimed.