Four identified armed miscreants still not arrested
During 16 UP polls in Satkania on last 7 February, extensive violence and clashes took place in six unions including Khagaria. Two people died.
Even after two months, four identified armed persons associated with Union Parishad (UP) polls violence in Satkania Upazila of Chattogram, have not been arrested yet. Those four are- Kamrul Alam Azad alias Sumon, Shawkat Hossain alias Shakhawat, Md Azahar and Md Absar.
The first three are followers of Md Akhter Hossain, Awami League-backed chairman candidate in Khagaria union. The other is the follower of independent candidate Md Jasim Uddin. Among them Azahar is from Dohazari of Chandanaish. The others are residents of Khagaria of Satkania.
During 16 UP polls in Satkania on last 7 February, extensive violence and clashes took place in at least six unions including Khagaria. At that time, a schoolboy named Md Tasib in Nalua Union and an outsider named Abdus Shukkur in Bazalia union, died in the violence.
However, the most use of arms occurred between the followers of two Khagaria UP-Chairman candidates. Photographs of the armed clashes were published in Prothom Alo then.
Many of the criminals fled, as their photos got published in media. Our drives to arrest the miscreants and to recover the weapons are continuing.
Reports were also published identifying eight armed persons. Out of those eight, seven were supporters of boat candidate Akhter Hossain. Four of them were arrested then.
It was learnt, following publication of their photos carrying weapons, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) personnel arrested Akhter’s employee Nasir Uddin and his step brother Mohamma Kayes along with a gun, conducting separate drives on 14 and 15 February. Earlier, police arrested Samsuddin Nishan and Zoinal Abedin along with two firearms during a drive on 13 February. They all are in jail now. But, the amount of weapons displayed on the day of the election, could not be recovered entirely.
When asked about the arrest of those armed persons and recovering of the weapons, SM Rashidul Haque, superintendent of police, Chattogram said to Prothom Alo, “Many of the criminals fled, as their photos got published in media. Our drives to arrest the miscreants and to recover the weapons are continuing. Firearms are being recovered as well.”
After the incident of extensive violence and shooting during Satkania elections, the police super held a press conference at her office on 14 February. In that press conference he mentioned that as many as 23 cases were filed, pre and post elections. Of them 16 cases were filed centering the incident of the day of the polls. 51 people were detained in connection to these cases right after the election.
On the day of the polls, shootout continued for almost two hours between two parties, centering Khagaria Ganipara Govt Primary School and 7th Union Parishad polling centres. In that connection, voting was stopped at those two centres. Later on 21 March, polls were held in those two centres again.
After counting the votes cast in all centres, Akhter Hossain was unofficially announced the winner of the chairman post. Akhter is the current labour affairs secretary of upazila Awami League unit.
Independent candidate Md Jasim Uddin too is an accused of two election-related cases. Of the two, he is the main accused of the case filed in connection to an attack on Partha Sarathi Chowdhury, south district Jubo League general secretary, on 6 February night. Police said that he is a fugitive now.
However, allegations of harassing innocent people in the name of operations have been raised against police. Several residents of Khagaria without disclosing their names told Prothom Alo that innocent people are being harassed in the name of arms recovery and drives. But, there are no actions for arresting recognised armed miscreants.
For the negligence of law enforcing agencies in this issue, many armed miscreants including those identified four have remained untouched. They cannot avoid this liability.
Tareq Md Abdul Hannan, officer-in-charge of Satkania police station denied the issue of harassing innocent people. He said drives are ongoing for arresting marked armed criminals and recovering weapons.
Akhter Kabir Chowdhury, Chattogram secretary of Citizens for Good Governance (Sujan) expressed astonishment over the fact that identified armed violators could not be arrested even after two months.
While talking to Prothom Alo he said, “For the negligence of law enforcing agencies in this issue, many armed miscreants including those identified four have remained untouched. They cannot avoid this liability. Hopefully, those armed miscreants will be arrested quickly.”