Jamil Mahmud and Shaheen Mollah
The Shitalakkhya, which had been a lifeline for the residents of Narayanganj for decades, has virtually turned into a dumping ground for bodies in recent years.
Bodies are found either floating in the river or lying on the banks, said locals.
“The situation was different six to seven years ago. Fishes were aplenty and water was clean. But now fishes are relatively scarce, but not bodies,” said Nazrul Islam, a “lineman” at Madanganj trawler ghat.
The ghat is nearly one kilometre away from Shantinagar, where the bodies of ward councillor Nazrul Islam and five others were found on Wednesday, three days after they were kidnapped from the Narayanganj District Judge's Court area.
On Thursday morning, police recovered the seventh body from the area.
Nazrul, who has been working at the trawler ghat since 2004, said more bodies are found in the one kilometre stretch of the river banks from Madanganj to Shantinagar than the other parts of the banks.
“In most cases, bodies of middle aged men were found. Also, there were children and women victims,” he added.
Most of the bodies were found with hands and legs tied. At times, bodies were dumped in sacks tied to bags full of bricks or stones.
According to an estimate by Toki Mancha, an anti-terrorism platform in Narayanganj, over 30 bodies were found in the Shitalakkhya since February 15 this year.
Rafiur Rabbi, convener of the platform, said about 50 bodies were found in the district in the last two and a half months. The rest of the corpses were recovered from the Balu river, some other small water bodies and the ground.
Rabbi's 17-year-old son Tanvir Mohammad Toki was found dead on the bank of the Shitalakkhya on March 8 last year, two days after he went missing.
Since the brutal killing of Toki, as many as 20 children have been killed in the district, mentioned Rabbi.
The overall law and order in the district has deteriorated alarmingly after the January 5 parliamentary polls, he added.
Visiting the Fatullah Police Station on Thursday, this correspondent saw the parents of an adolescent crying their hearts out.
The body of their 17-year-old son Nur Alam was found floating in a water body in Shashangaon area on Wednesday, said victim's father Abdus Sattar.
A garment worker, Nur had been missing since Sunday evening when he went out of home.
Seven people, aged around that of Nur, abducted and later strangled him to death as he owed Tk 15 to one of them, said Akhtar Hossain, officer-in-charge of Fatullah Police Station, quoting an arrestee.
Police arrested two people in this connection.
Meanwhile, one Mohsin claimed that his nephew Al Amin, 16, has been missing since April 1. He repeatedly asked for police assistance in rescuing the child, but in vein.
Al Amin went out of home at Ishdail under the police station after receiving a phone call and did not return home.