Implicated despite being dead, imprisoned, staying abroad

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Prothom Alo illustration

Shawkat Hossain, joint secretary of ward-46 of Dhaka south city BNP (Bangladesh Nationalist Party), has been named among the accused in a case lodged on the allegation of carrying out an attack with rods and sticks and exploding cocktail (crude bomb).

The case has been filed with Gendaria police station in Dhaka. And the incident, which has been mentioned in the case, happened last Saturday.

Shawkat Hossain’s uncle Abul Kashem said that if the incident mentioned in the case is true, then he might have been living somewhere even after his death last December.

Speaking to Prothom Alo over the phone Tuesday afternoon, he said his nephew died of a sudden cardiac arrest last December. He was buried in a cemetery in Faridabad area of Old Dhaka. Accusing a deceased person in such a case is quite unfortunate, Abul Kashem added.

Apart from Shawkat, an imprisoned person and two other persons, who are not in the country, have been made accused in the same case.

According to the case statement, Shawkat along with other leaders and activists of local BNP suddenly assaulted local Awami League leaders and activists with rods, sticks and machetes at Murgitola intersection on the Distillery Road of Gendaria at around 11:30 am on Saturday. They also blasted cocktails at the time.

It has also been mentioned in the case statement that the BNP activists also hurled brickbats towards the police as soon as they reached the spot. Gendaria resident Shah Alam is the plaintiff in the case. He is locally known as a source of the police.

Assistant office secretary of BNP in ward-46 of Dhaka South City Corporation, Saddam Hossain has also been named among the accused in the case.

Speaking to Prothom Alo over phone on Tuesday, his wife said, “Police detained my husband from our home on 26 July. He has been imprisoned in the Keraniganj jail since then.”

Sheikh Shawkat Hossain is another accused in the case. He runs a business in Old Dhaka’s Islampur. His younger brother Mohammad Ali Altaf said Shawkat Hossain has been out of the country since June. He is in the US now, Ali Altaf added.

He further said, “We, three brothers have been made accused in all the fictitious cases lodged in Old Dhaka since 2018. We have been accused in the most recent case filed with the Gendaria police station as well.”

The name of the other brother is Sheikh Omar Faruq.

The BNP leaders in Gendaria said that none of that family is holding any post in the BNP. However, they support the BNP. This is the reason they are made accused in all the fictitious cases filed in the area.

Md Hossain Khan, joint convener of the Jubo Dal unit in ward-46, has also been named among the accused in the case.

Speaking to Prothom Alo on Tuesday night, his younger brother Hasan Khan said, “My brother has been in Malaysia since last February. He has taken up a job there.”

The no. 1 accused in the case is Gendaria thana BNP president Makbul Islam Khan. He was elected as councillor in Gendaria twice.

He said, “The plaintiff of the case (Shah Alam) is a police source. Police put pressure on him to file the case. Our (BNP’s) movement is in the final stage. These fictitious cases are being filed against us to hinder our movement. These fictitious cases are being lodged to harass the members of the oppositions, repress the movement and harm us financially.”

Some 154 have been named as accused in the case. Almost all of them are affiliated with BNP’s politics.

Prothom Alo spoke to Shah Alam, plaintiff of the case, on Tuesday. He introduced him as a Jubo League activist. When asked about the names of deceased and imprisoned persons in the list of the accused in the case he filed, he said, “There were hundreds of people during the clash that day. There might be a mistake. We are human as well. We too can make mistakes.”

Prothom Alo tried repeatedly to contact Gendaria police station officer-in-charge (OC) Abu Sayeed Al Mamun. However, he didn’t respond.

The Gendaria police station falls under the Wari zone of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP). Prothom Alo spoke to the assistant police commissioner of this zone Suranjana Saha Tuesday night. She said she would talk about this issue later. However, she didn’t receive the phone call later.

What do the injured people say?

The Murgitola intersection on the Distillery Road in Gendaria has been mentioned as the place of the incident in the case statement. This correspondent spoke to several shopkeepers in that area. Most of them said it was the day of holy Ashura. The shops were closed on the day. Therefore, they don’t know what happened there.

They also said they have not heard any incident of BNP activists attacking the leaders and activists of ruling Awami League that day.

Owner of a tea-stall at the Murgitola intersection told Prothom Alo, “There are some incidents involving the BNP in Dholaikhal area. Nothing happened here. There were many Awami League supporters and police members at the intersection on that day.”

According to the case statement, seven people were injured in the attack. Prothom Alo spoke to two of them. One of the injured is councillor of ward-46 of Dhaka South City Corporation and president of Awami League’s Gendaria thana unit.

Speaking to Prothom Alo Tuesday afternoon, he said he was not at the Murgitola intersection on Saturday. He took position with his fellow AL leaders and activists in the Loharpul area to prevent BNP activists from doing any harm to people. Nobody attacked him on Saturday.

Another injured Jahirul Islam, general secretary of Awami League in ward-45 of Dhaka South City Corporation. He was not at the Murgitola intersection on the Distillery road on Saturday either.

He was surprised hearing that he was named among the injured in a case filed against BNP for attacking Awami League activists. He asked the name of the plaintiff. When this correspondent told him the name, Jahirul Islam said he does not know the plaintiff.

*This report appeared in the print and online versions of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Ashish Basu