Ansar Ali Khalifa, father of Rafiqul Islam Shakil who hacked Bishwajit Das with a machete, died of cardiac arrest yesterday morning, an hour after Shakil was nabbed by police.
On hearing about his son's arrest, Ansar felt serious chest pain around 6:00am and was taken to Barisal Medical College Hospital where doctors declared him dead, family sources said.
Ansar, 65, fell ill on December 9 at his village home in Barisal as he watched on TV his son indiscriminately hacking Bishwajit, a 24-year-old tailor, during the early hours of the opposition blockade.
Two days after the ghastly incident in Old Dhaka, Ansar told The Daily Star that he wanted his son to get punished for the brutal act. “I couldn't believe what I saw on television. I knew that my son was involved in student politics but I didn't know he became such a danger man.”
Relatives said Ansar was too shocked to bear the pain of what his son's misdeed.
Taking Bishwajit for a pro-blockade activist, a group of Chhatra League activists of Jagannath University (JnU) swooped on him around 9:00am on his way to work, witnesses said. The victim was declared dead at Mitford Hospital around 10:00am.
With the arrest of Shakil around 5:00am yesterday, the number of arrestees in the murder case rose to 10.
Shakil is a second-year student of Islamic history at JnU. Photos and video footage of the murder scene show Shakil hacking Bishwajit with a machete, which detectives recovered from a shop on the JnU campus last night.
Police said they caught Shakil from a relative's house in Barguna through tracking his mobile calls. He was brought to detective headquarters in Dhaka after the arrest, and would be produced before a court today.
Nurul Islam, officer-in-charge of Bakerganj Police Station, quoting Shakil said the arrestee was a BCL activist and that he hacked Bishwajit not realising that the victim would die.
Shakil's admission is in total contrast with the government and Chhatra League claims.
The government and the BCL, a pro-Awami League student body, maintain that Chhatra League has no link with the murder. But The Daily Star through its own inquiry identified 15 people who directly took part in the murder. According to campus sources, they are all BCL activists of the JnU campus unit.
Earlier on December 13, detectives arrested three suspects while the four others held on December 11 were shown arrested in the murder case filed with Sutrapur Police Station. On Friday, police nabbed two more accused.
The case was transferred to the Detective Branch of Police yesterday.
SAIFUL, SHAON REMANDED
Meanwhile, a Dhaka court yesterday placed Saiful Islam and Rasheduzzaman Shaon, the two arrested on Friday, on an eight-day remand each.
Mahbubul Alam Akand, a sub-inspector of Sutrapur Police Station and also the investigation officer (IO) of the case, produced the duo before the Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate's court that gave the remand order.
The remand petition said Saiful and Shaon swooped on Bishwajit and indiscriminately beat him. The IO also said police identified the duo from their photographs and video clippings run in the media.
During primary interrogation, Saiful and Shaon also confessed to their involvement in the killing, police officials told The Daily Star.
Speaking in the BBC Bangladesh dialogue yesterday, State Minister for Law Quamrul Islam said Bishwajit's killers would be tried under speedy trial.
COPS-DOCS UNDER FIRE
Meanwhile, National Human Rights Commission Chairman Mizanur Rahman has blamed police members and hospital authority's negligence for Bishwajit's death.
Bishwajit was attacked in front of the police but they did not save him while the hospital authorities failed to play their due role when the victim was taken to the hospital, the NHRC boss told reporters in the capital yesterday.
Also yesterday, Transparency International Bangladesh demanded a judicial probe into the murder and punishment of the perpetrators.
“Although the identities Bishwajit's killers are known to the countrymen, the government is making unacceptable and motivated remarks, which is tantamount to conspiring to keep the criminals above law,” TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman said.
He added: “It would be suicidal for the government if it does not ensure severe punishment of those responsible, leaving behind the debate over the political connections of the attackers."