Vol. 5 Num 636 Mon. March 13, 2006  
Front Page

Jubo League Leader's Death
Intact shirt saps crossfire claim

The Rapid Action Battalion's claim that Iman Ali, a Jubo League leader of Savar, died Wednesday in "crossfire" comes under question as locals and family members say they found the bullet-hit body in a shirt that had absolutely no bullet holes.

The family members suspect Iman was tortured to death and then the body was shot at and dumped near Panna Textile Mill in Khagan Village.

Neighbours and family members allege a certain influential quarter used Rab-4 to kill Iman in reprisal for his leading role against its attempt to occupy 10 acres of land in Miton Village last month.

"There were three bullet hits in Iman's chest, but surprisingly none of the bullets went through the shirt he was wearing," remarks a security guard of a textile mill who is one of the people who first saw the body sprawling in Khagan.

Seeking anonymity he says the body was lying straight and there was no scratch or sign of struggle on the ground, which indicates the killing took place somewhere else.

"If someone takes a bullet, the body usually thrashes about, twitches and jerks, leaving scratches on the ground."

Rab arrested Iman, 35, a member of Dhaka District Jubo League, Tuesday afternoon on the Dhaka district magistrate's court premises, where he went to appear in a case.

The next morning his body was found in an open space in Khagan. Rab claims he was killed in "crossfire" between his accomplices and Rab members. The shootout started as Iman's accomplices opened fire on the Rab-4 team that went to Khagan to recover his arms cache, describes the elite police force.

In a press release on Thursday Rab termed Iman a terrorist, extortionist, killer and one involved in land grabbing.

But, many a local says Iman was very polite and popular in the locality. "If Iman was a criminal then why did some 10,000 people take part in his Namaj-e-janaza," questions Ali Ahmed Mian, a septuagenarian villager of Shamrai.

He says Iman was planning to contest in the local union parishad election, which might also be a reason for his death.

On the Rab allegation that Iman was accused in 11 cases including three for murder, his elder brother Nazrul Islam says the police and Rab arrested him twice under the 4-party alliance regime and implicated him in at least eight cases.

"He has been released of the charges in all the cases excepting a murder case," Nazrul claims, adding, "If he is a criminal then how did he get released?"

According to him, Iman was a broker of land and construction materials; he had no need for illegal money, as his family owns around 50 acres of land in Savar. "Rab earlier arrested Iman in November and implicated him in an arms case. But he was released of the charges. Had he become such a dreaded criminal in only five months that Rab had to kill him?"

Iman's sister-in-law Julekha Begum claims Rab members entered their house in November. They forced every one to go out and then planted a firearm in a drawer of Iman's cupboard. "I peeped through a hole and saw the Rab men planting the gun," she narrates, "As I shouted in protest, they assaulted me."

Iman was badly tortured after his arrest on Tuesday, alleges Iman's family. "There was no skin on his back and the arms. This suggests he suffered repeated electric shocks," Nazrul reckons. He says he saw needle marks under all the nails of Iman's hands.

There was very little blood at the Rab-claimed crossfire spot, which also suggests that Iman's death did not happen there, he argues.

Family members claim at the time of his arrest Iman was wearing a gold chain, a gold ring and a diamond one, besides he also had a cellphone set and no less than Tk 35,000 cash with him. These items are missing on Rab's seizure list, they point out.

But, Rab-4 Acting Director Major Samad says all the personal belongings of Iman are kept at the Rab storeroom and will be handed over to his relatives when they come to collect.

Samad says as these items have no value as evidence in the case filed in this connection so they were not on the seizure list.

Brushing off the claim of family members and locals that Iman was not involved in any criminal activity, Samad reiterates that he was a listed criminal and extortionist.

A four-day programme protesting what Awami League and its youth wing term killing of Iman will start at Akran Village on Friday, the day of his Qulkhwani.

After the Qulkhwani, Dhaka District units of AL and Jubo League will set up a dais at Saver Bazar and conduct protest meetings for the next three days. Central leaders of the AL and its 14-party alliance partners will speak in the rallies.