Vol. 5 Num 630 Tue. March 07, 2006  
Front Page

Victims find some solace, at last

Families of those slain or tortured by Bangla Bhai and his men at Atrai, Raninagar in Naogaon, Bagmara in Rajshahi and Naldanga in Natore yesterday expressed satisfaction over his arrest and demanded capital punishment for him.

They also demanded arrest of the ministers, lawmakers, administrative and police officials and local political goons, who patronised them to set up at least 16 torture camps.

"Bangla Bhai and Rahman are the enemies of the country and Islam. It's a great relief that they have finally been arrested. Sedition charges should be brought against them and they should be awarded death sentence," said Asir Uddin, a Union Parishad member in Jugipara.

"The yells of my son still haunt me. I want a similar death to Bangla Bhai. He is a devil," said 65-year-old Khodeza Begum, mother of Golam Rabbani Mukul.

Mukul was tortured at an open meeting on April 11 in 2004 and died of his injuries on April 16. Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB) men even amplified Mukul's cries using a loudhailer.

"I want Bangla Bhai to be tried before us like they killed and tortured people in open torture cells," said Ismail Hossain, father of Yasin Ali of Kunapara Maria in Bagmara.

Yasin was kidnapped, hung upside down in a tree in front of Kodapara Madrasa and was beaten to death on June 29, 2004.

"How they dare kill people openly? Who helped them? We want the state to award them under punishment," his father said in tears.

Rabeya Khatun, mother of Abu Taleb Bhutto, said, "I always prayed to Allah for justice as the government was reluctant to capture him. He has been arrested now and I want a speedy trial and death sentence for him."

Bhutto was abducted on April 7, 2004 by Bangla Bhai's men and went missing since then.

Hearing the news, hundreds of people at Bagmara yesterday took to the streets and marched in a procession to hail the arrest of Bangla Bhai.

Several loudspeakers announced the news in Bangla: ''Good news, good news. Bangla Bhai is held. Hang him to death. Try him in public."

Fazlur Rahman of Hasanpur village termed Bangla Bhai a devil, saying he should be tried in such a way that tortured people feel vindicated.

"Bangla Bhai himself beat up me with an iron rod at my school gate after JMJB cadres dragged me out of the classroom. I could count 30 hits before I got fainted. My father sold land to bear the cost of my treatment," said Abdul Malek, a class nine student at Hamirkutsa High School.

Mahabur Rahman, a former Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal general secretary, was offering sweetmeats to reporters. He said he demands death sentence of Rahman and Bangla Bhai and its execution in a firing squad.

"I am yet to know what my faults were. They pierced my hands and legs with nails for nothing," he said.

The so-called operations against outlaws by JMJB started with the broad daylight murder of Wasim Osman Babu on April 1, 2004.

According to a list prepared by Ain O Salish Kendro, 22 murders and several hundred incidents of tortures were reported in the newspapers from April 1 to July 31, 2004.

Abdul Quayum Badshah was beaten to death with bamboo poles and hockey sticks. JMJB men hanged him in a roadside tree in Nandigram in Bogra. Khejur Ali's body was found cut into pieces.

Badsha and Khejur were murdered after daylong announcement in loudspeakers and people were asked to witness the killings.

Other victims include Afzal Hossain, Mosharraf Hossain, Ziaul Haque Zia of Raninagar upazila and Sheikh Farid, Diponkor Roy of Atrai in Naogaon, Ali Akbar of Taherpur in Bagmara and Saifur of Peergachha in Natore.

Sources said two police officers on May 23, 2004 went to a Raninagar house where Bangla Bhai was staying. Shortly afterwards, a microbus without a registration number took him away, they added.

A testimony of Bangla Bhai's reign of terror. PHOTO: Star File Photo