Abrar murder: Police knew but didn’t act

Staff Correspondent . Dhaka | Update:

Abrar Fahad. Prothom Alo File PhotoMembers of police went to BUET campus receiving information that a student, Abrar Fahad, is being beaten up at Sher-e Bangla Hall but returned without taking any action, a number of students alleged.

But Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s Lalbagh zone additional deputy commissioner Kamal Hossain said a team from Chawkbazar police station went to the dormitory but was not allowed to enter there.

The policemen returned after waiting for some time there, he acknowledged.

When asked who barred the law enforcement, Kamal Hossain advised this correspondent to talk to the policemen who went there.

Chawkbazar police station sub-inspector Delwar Hossain went to the gate of Sher-e-Bangla Hall.

“When I went to Sher-e-Bangla Hall around 1:30pm, Bangladesh Chhatra League’s BUET unit general secretary Mehedi Hasan Russel asked me to wait at the guest room,” Delwar told Prothom Alo.

More than one students of Sher-e Bangla Hall said Abrar could have been saved if police acted timely.

Abrar, 21, a student of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), was found dead on the staircase of Sher-e-Bangla Hall in the small hours of Monday.

The members of police returned after waiting for about an hour at the guest room.

Asked why they did not take any action when a student was being beaten up, Delwar said, “We didn’t enter the hall without permission considering something might happen for this.”

Former additional inspector general of police Nayeem Ahmed told Prothom Alo that under any emergency situation, the main duty of police is to rescue the victim.

If someone is at risk, the main task is to rescue him or her, he added.

Sources involved in Abrar murder investigation said BUET BCL unit general secretary Russel monitored everything including calling Abrar from his room, beating him and informing police.

Other leaders of BUET unit BCL assisted him in hiding the body of Abrar and destroying evidences of the murder.

According to police, a team of 24-25 people participated in the killing. A case has been filed against 19 BUET students in this connection.

A total of 13 accused have so far been arrested in connection with the murder of Abrar Fahad.

Detective Branch of DMP has been given the charge of investigation of the murder.

The court put 10 students on 5-day remand each. They are -- BCL BUET unit general secretary Mehedi Hasan Russel, its vice president Muhtasim Fuad, organising secretary Mehedi Hasan Robin, information and research affairs secretary Anik Sarkar, sports secretary Meftahul Islam, literature secretary Moniruzzaman Monir, deputy social welfare secretary Ifti Mosharraf Sakal, deputy office secretary Mostoba Rafid and two members Muntasir Al Jami and Ehtemamul Rabbi.

Sources involved with the investigation said the BCL leaders were following Abrar for a few days. Reading Abrar’s Facebook status, they suspected him as a member of Islami Chhatra Shibir. The BCL men were angry as on social media Abrar criticised a number of instruments the Bangladesh government recently signed with India.

Earlier, Abrar protested at the low quality of food in the hall. He had an altercation with BCL leader Russel over the matter. Russel could not accept the protest.

During the interrogation, arrested students admitted that Russel and Muntasim Fuad had planned to beat up Abrar suspecting him a member of Shibir couple of days ago, investigation officers (IO) told Prothom Alo.

Quoting the arrested students, IOs also said their plan went in vain as Abrar went to his village home. When Abrar returned to the hall on Sunday afternoon, the BCL leaders decided to beat him up at that night.

As per the plan, four students led by BCL leader Muntasir Al Jemi took Abrar to Room No. 2011 from his Room No. 1011 after 8:00pm. BCL leaders stay at Room No. 2011.

Ifti Mosharraf alias Sakal, Mehedi Hasan alias Robin and Meftahul checked Abrar’s facebook and messenger. Then they beat up Abrar with cricket stumps. Hearing Abrar crying, several students went there. They were told that a member of Shibir has been caught. The students left the spot then.

After sometime, several BCL men including Rafat, Moniruzzaman and Akash entered the room. They also beat up Abrar with the stumps. At a stage two stumps were broken. Around 1:00am Abrar became very weak.

The BCL leaders started discussion about their next course of action then. One of them suggested handing over Abrar to police tagging him a Shibir member. Russel informed the matter to DMP’s Lalbagh division additional deputy commissioner Kamal Hossain over the phone around 1:30am.

Kamal Hossain, however, insisted that Russel did not call him, rather he phoned to the police station. “I came to know the matter from the police station.”

Receiving phone call from Russel, sub-inspector Delwar Hossain, who was on petrol, went to the hall. BCL leaders, however, were in dilemma over handing over Abrar to police. They informed police that they caught a Shibir member and would hand over him to the university authorities. Russel barred police from entering the hall. Waiting in front of the hall for about an hour, police returned.

A student of the hall told Prothom Alo that police returned instead of entering the hall after learning the incident. Abrar would have survived if police had taken him to hospital, he said.

Another student said after police had left the scene, four BCL activists brought Abrar to room No. 2005 from Room No. 2011. Abrar fainted there.

Following the incident, top leaders of BUET unit BCL were called there for discussion. But they failed to take any decision. Some suggested throwing Abrar on the road outside the hall while some wanted to hide him on the rooftop or leave at the stairs. However, they wrapped unconscious Abrar in a cloth and kept the body on the stairs between second and fist floor.

An employee of the hall phoned provost Zafar Iqbal Khan and informed him about the incident. The provost arrived in front of the hall gate.

“I got the information around 2:45am and immediately phoned university physician Mashuk Elahi. The physician arrived and declared the boy dead. Later we informed the matter to the police,” the provost said.

In an on-the spot investigation Chawkbazar police station SI Delwar Hossain wrote that he got the information through wireless at 4:07am on Monday and sent the body of Abrar to Dhaka Medical College Hospital in the morning.

But according to the case statement, Abrar was taken to the emergency of DMCH. He died there.

Former law minister Shafique Ahmed said the policemen should have informed the higher officials that they are being barred from reaching spot.

If they could have reached the spot, such gruesome killing might not have happened, he added.

*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam.

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