Major (retd) Sinha Mohammad Rashed Khan left his Uttara residence in Dhaka for Cox’s Bazar on 3 July, with a view to filming a documentary. He would talk to his mother Nasima Akhter and elder sister Sharmin Shariya Ferdous before going to sleep every night. On the night of 31 July, Nasima Akhter called Sinha around 11:00pm for five to seven times but no one answered.
Nasima thought Sinha was busy. She knew he would call her later. But she didn’t know that when she was calling his son, his bullet-ridden body was lying on a cold bed of Cox’s Bazar Hospital morgue. Sinha was shot dead by police at Shamlapur check post in Teknaf at 9:25pm that night.
Just before midnight, Sinha’s mother received a call from an unknown number. The caller, without introducing him, asked some information about Sinha.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, Sinha’s mother Nasima Akhter said, “I couldn’t contact my son over phone around 11:00 on the night before the Eid day. But I got a phone call just before 12:00am. The man asked me about Sinha’s relation with me. I said Sinha is my son. Later, he asked me what does Sinha do? I said Sinha was an army person. He doesn’t do anything now. Then the man asked how many children Sinha has? Then I told him that I couldn’t contact Sinha over phone. Where’s he? The man said Sinha is a bit away from us. I told him to give the mobile phone to Sinha. At a stage the man said why are you talking to me in this way. Then he introduced him as officer-in-charge of Teknaf police station. OC Pradip then asked me why Sinha left the job. I said he left the job as he wished so.”
Nasima Akhter came to know about the death of her son about 22 hours after his murder. Sinha’s batchmate, who is now on a foreign mission, informed this to her through Sinha’s sister around 7:30pm on 1 August
When the Teknaf police station OC hung up the phone, Nasima Akhter got a bit worried. But she didn’t imagine that his son could be killed.
She, however, assumed that her son is for some reasons in the police station and the Teknaf police station OC phoned her to be sure of his identity.
What the witnesses told me, police did not listen to him anymore. They just shot. If police had opened firing thinking him a criminal, they should have shot at legs. But four shots were fired at my brother’s chest. He fell down
Then Nasima Akhter made phone calls to Teknaf police station OC many a time but he did not pick up. Without finding any alternative, Nasima Akhter phoned one of Sinha’s batchmate friend who is still in the army and told him that the Teknaf police station OC called her to know about Sinha. She also informed her that she found Sinha’s mobile phone switched off.
The night passed by but she could not know anything about Sinha. She phoned Sinha on the Eid-ul-Azha day but even then found his phone switched off. She was a bit hesitant to call his son’s friend as it was the Eid day. But around 10 in the morning that day, Sinha’s batchmate army official phoned her but did not say anything about his death. He took the phone numbers of Sinha’s elder sister Sharmin and her husband Md Shamsuzzaman.
Nasima Akhter saw three policemen, a sub-inspector (SI) and two constables, in front of the house around 11:00am. She brought them inside. Uttara (West) police station SI Sumon Chandra Das asked many things about Sinha but did not tell her that police shot him to death. The SI took many photos of Sinha, too.
A reform is necessary. Every person has the to right to legal protection, even if he is a criminal. He must be given right to defend. Extrajudicial killing is in no way acceptable. This extrajudicial killing in Bangladesh has to be stopped forever. Let’s hope my brother’s death would be the last in extrajudicial killing
“It was beyond my imagination that they would kill my son. Killing a person, no matter how big a criminal he is, is beyond the imagination of any person. No one should be killed this way even if he’s a criminal. I couldn’t imagine my son was dead. Three policemen came to my home around 11:00am. They asked me about my son’s date of joining, resignation and many other things. They even took photos of my son. I thought maybe they have come to crosscheck my son’s identity. But the police did not inform me that they killed my son,” a lamenting Nasima Akhter told Prothom Alo.
Acknowledging that they went to the home of former major Sinha, Uttara (West) police station SI Sumon Chandra Das told Prothom Alo, “We went to Sinha’s home following the order of high officials. I knew Sinha was dead but did not inform her considering her age.”
Nasima Akhter came to know about the death of her son about 22 hours of his murder. Sinha’s batchmate, who is now on a foreign mission, informed this to her through Sinha’s sister around 7:30pm on 1 August.
What Sinha’s sister knows
The village home of Sinha is in Chandpur. His father Ershad Khan was an additional secretary. He has two sisters, the younger one lives in the US while the elder, Sharmin Shariya Ferdous, lives at Uttara, Dhaka. Sharmin also learned about Sinha’s death around 22 hours after the murder. But police did not inform the death of Sinha to his family.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, Sharmin said, “I went to Cox’s Bazar to file a lawsuit. Witnesses told me that Sinha introduced him at the BGB check post and they let him go. Sinha arrived at Shamlapur check post in Teknaf at 9:25. Sinha’s companion Sifat went out of the vehicle lifting his hands above the head. My brother had a licenced gun but the gun was in his vehicle. My brother told police inspector Liaqat that I’m a retired major Sinha. Please, enquire about me.
“What the witnesses told me, police did not listen to him anymore. They just shot. If police had opened firing thinking him a criminal, they should have shot at his legs. But four shots were fired at my brother’s chest. He fell down. I talked to a witness. He is a soldier of Bangladesh Army. At that time, he was not on duty. On information, he came to the spot. My brother was still lying there when he reached the spot. His eyes were open and he was alive. He was breathing, sought help to live. But none was allowed to help. The soldier was pushed aside. Pointing guns, they had said no one could go near Sinha. Then Teknaf police station OC Pradip had kicked my brother. Police ensured Sinha’s death by excessive bleeding. Still he was alive when they boarded him on a pick-up. He could have been taken to the hospital in 45 minutes but he was taken there after 1 hour and 45 minutes. The witness told me this.”
Sharmin further said, “Sinha was an efficient officer. He was the best in shooting. He was so skilled that he could complete shooting in four seconds. If he wanted to save him, he could have done that but he had no gun for that. He left that behind in the vehicle. He was a member of law enforcement. Police also is a law enforcement agency. He showed respect to police. Sinha said enquire about me. If they were so angry with him, they could have taken him to the police station, shot at legs. But why did they shoot at my brother’s chest? Who ordered this? We don’t know. We want justice. We won’t get him back, however we try. Just Justice.”
Why Sinha retired
Sinha retired from the army in 2018. Regarding this, his mother Nasima Akhter said, “More than once he said, ‘I’ve gained the knowledge I could’ve from the army. I want to do something new.’ I asked him what new would you do. Sinha said he wants to travel the world and do various researches. He retired from the army to do something innovative and for the peace of his mind.”
Sinha’s sister said, “The reason of my brother’s retirement is very simple. He left the job to travel around the world.”
There shouldn’t be any more extrajudicial killing
Sinha’s mother and sister stressed that Sinha’s death should be the last extrajudicial killing.
Sharmin told Prothom Alo, “Cases are filed on a specific thing. I’ve filed the lawsuit seeking trial of my brother’s murder. The investigation is going on. The accused are arrested. They will be quizzed from Sunday. I think all the extrajudicial killings have to be stopped. Let there be set up an example through the trial of Sinha murder. A reform is necessary. Every person has the to right to legal protection, even if he is a criminal. He must be given right to defend. Extrajudicial killing is in no way acceptable. This extrajudicial killing in Bangladesh has to be stopped forever. Let’s hope my brother’s death would be the last in extrajudicial killing.”
* This report has been rewritten in English by Shameem Reza