‘Police said I would live for a week’

Uzir Mia

“My son was in a very critical condition when he was brought back home. He held on to me, crying and saying, 'Ma, the police have beaten me mercilessly. They said I would live just one more week. So you can see me just for one more week. Take care of me however you want this week, because I won't live much longer."

Banessa Begum, 65, the grieving mother of Uzir Mia, said this while lamenting his son’s death. Uzir Mia’s sister Baby Akhter sat crying beside her.

This was the scene at Uzir Mia’s house in Shatrumardan village of Shantiganj upazila in Sunamganj on Tuesday afternoon. Uzir Mia’s wife Shafia Begum has been bedridden since the death of her husband. Uzir Mia, 40, died on Monday at noon. He used to run a small business in the area. He once lived in Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, the district administration and police formed two separate committees to investigate the death of Uzir Mia. The committee formed by the district administration is headed by additional district magistrate Anwar-ul Halim. Sunamganj’s additional police super (crime) Abu Sayeed is the head of the probe committee formed by the district police.

Uzir Mia’s family alleges that some members of Shantiganj police station picked him up from the house in the middle of the night on 9 February. Then he was tortured by the police in custody. A day later, he was shown arrested in a theft case and was produced before the court. On the same day, he was released on bail from the court. After bringing him home, they saw signs of torture all over his body.

Later, Uzir Mia was taken to Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College after his physical condition deteriorated. After receiving treatment there for five days his physical condition improved a bit and he was brought back home.

But his physical condition worsened again on Monday morning and the family member took him to a local Koitak Hospital where he was declared dead by the physician on duty.

Meanwhile, Sultana Kamal, president of Manabadhikar Shongskriti Foundation (MSF), strongly condemned the incident and expressed deep concern over the matter.

Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), in a press release, have demanded proper compensation for the family of the victim.

In a separate statement, Jobaida Parvin, secretary of Bangladesh National Woman Lawyers' Association (BNWLA), has demanded a fair and impartial trial, divisional investigation and exemplary punishment for those involved in the incident.