Vol. 4 Num 77 Tue. August 12, 2003  

Pirates rule Meghna
20 trawlers looted, 20 fishermen abducted for not having 'pre-paid security card'

Gangs of pirates looted 20 trawlers, abducted 20 fishermen and threw another five into the Meghna.

The horror befell the fishermen in Char Gazaria and Boyer Char areas near Tazumuddin as they had no 'pre-paid security card' and 'identification flag' after toll payment to pirates' syndicates.

The Swoop continued from Thursday noon till Friday night.

It came to light when eleven of the fishermen thrown into water were rescued from shorewaters in Mehendiganj on Saturday.

The survivors said the four fishermen and a trawler ownerFaruk Majhi thrown into water are still missing.

They said they did not purchase the 'clearance documents', asked by the pirates earlier.

The pirates were in three gangs allegedly led by Joynal Speaker, Faruk Ahmed Bagerhati and Jahangir, they claimed.

During the swoop, the pirates checked trawlers to see if those had purchased 'pre paid security card' and 'identification flag' issued by the pirates' syndicate.

Those having no 'clearance documents' were looted and fishermen on board thrown into water at will, the survivors said.

The twenty trawlers looted were owned by Abdur Rob Khan, Shahabuddin Mawlana, Salauddin Sikder, Abdul Hye, Faruk Majhi and Siraj Majhi.

During the swoop, the pirates also issued 'demand notes' to trawler owners to pay Tk 50,000 for a big trawler and Tk 20,000 for a small one. Any trawler owner delaying in purchasing the 'clearance documents, have to apologise to the syndicate, they said.

The mass piracy has scared the fishing community in Barisal region and angered people.

Some local Union Parishad chairmen and members talking to this correspondent demanded an anti-crime operation by joint forces in Daulatkhan, Tazumuddin, Hatia, Laxmipur areas.

Hazipur UP Chairman Abdul Mannan said fishermen are reluctant to go for fishing in the river due to frequent such incidents.

Bhola Police Superintendent Mallick Fakhrul Islam when contacted said he has information that four trawlers were looted and their fishermen abducted.

Police are trying to rescue them, he said.

In another incident, eight shops were looted in a mass dacoity at Peari Mohan Taltala under Sakuchia union in Bhola district in the early hours of Saturday.