Home  -  Back Issues  -  The Team  -  Contact Us
   Volume 10 |Issue 06 | February 11, 2011 |

 Cover Story
 Food for Thought
 Ekushey Boi Mela
 Star Diary
 Book Review

   SWM Home


Fatal Ties

Home is supposed to be the safest place on earth. Yet sometimes the deadliest enemies are those that are the most trusted.

Shudeepto Ariquzzaman

Journalist Farhad Khan

No host can expect their houseguests to murder and rob, especially when the person in context is one's nephew, related by blood. Sadly that is what happened in the case of Farhad Khan, senior assistant editor of the Daily Janata, and his wife Rahima Khanam. The elderly couple was found brutally murdered at their Naya Paltan residence on January 28, 2011 with their throats slit, lying in a pool of blood.

On February 1, Detective Branch (DB) officials arrested Nazimmuddin Yon, a 22-year-old man and the nephew of the slain journalist, in connection with the double murder. His initial testimony has more or less confirmed the motive and the circumstances leading to the gruesome crime.

Speaking at the press briefing at the DB office, Yon confirmed his role as the main culprit. The motive behind the crime was robbery. Failing to bear his living expenses at a mess, he decided to rob the elderly couple. The possibility of murder was decided earlier, as Yon confessed that he told his other partner Razu that he would kill the couple if they interfered with his plans. The cold blooded murderer also attended the funeral of his uncle whom he killed.

Police sources have also informed that this is not the first time Yon has been involved in crime. Although preliminary investigation points out that Yon is not a member of any gang or he is not involved with the underworld, he has previous records of theft. Among some of his feats, he has been accused of stealing large amounts of gold and other ornaments from his mother and sister.

The exact details are expected to emerge once the detectives finish questioning him following the four-day remand granted by a Dhaka court. However, an idea of the circumstances surrounding the crime has already begun to emerge according to police sources and the testimony of the murderer at the press conference held at the DB office.

Yon and Razu came to the Naya Paltan residence of Farhad Khan as guests for the night. Accordingly the couple arranged a bed for them at approximately 11pm.

Rahima Khanam, wife of Farhad Khan who was slain along with her husband.

At midnight, the couple went to sleep. About two hours later, they entered the couple's bedroom, and started their search for the keys but failed to find them, and instead woke the couple up. The two had stuck to their plan of murder and had brought knives from the kitchen with them.

While more details may emerge from the investigation, preliminary investigation points out that Farhad Khan was murdered along with his wife on January 28, at approximately 2am. Their bodies were recovered at around 5:30 pm the next day when police broke open the doors.

Police sources have indicated that Yon might be a drug addict whose extravagant expenses have led him to commit crimes against his own family members, ultimately leading to the murder of Farhad Khan and Rahima Khanam.

The double murder of Naya Paltan is hardly an isolated case where people have fallen prey to the greed of their family members or close relatives. Even cases where sons have murdered their parents are not uncommon. There are instances where even children have not been spared.

On January 13, 2011, Afsana, a child succumbed to her injuries suffered from an acid attack after a month of unspeakable agony at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital four days ahead of her first birthday. On December 11, 2010, the baby along with her mother Asma Begum and her mother's sisters, Suraiya and Nazma suffered injuries when a criminal threw acid at them.

Nazma was in a feud with her husband's first wife, and the victim's family alleged that the latter's brother Sohel had committed this horrendous act. Md Asaduzzaman, officer-in-charge of Keraniganj Police Station told The Daily Star that Sohel and his brother Harun were arrested and were taken into remand for five days, but they have not confessed to their involvement in the incident. Dulal Mia, the child's father commented that although their only child was dead, and his wife's face severely disfigured by acid burns, the alleged perpetrators have not been brought to justice.

The same day, in the city's Begunbari area, a shopkeeper Al-Amin died after a dispute with his father and brother Khorshed Alam and Alamgir Hossain, over sharing of the income between the two brothers. Although, the motive for murder was probably absent in this case, the incident how seemingly insignificant family feuds can result in the death of one of their members.

On August 4, 2010, one of the most barbaric acts of murder was exposed as Khilgaon police arrested Halima Yasmin Toma on the allegation of murdering her only child, Jennifer Islam Tanha, in association with her lover Rajib. Police recovered the decomposed body of three-and-a-half-year-old Tanha from a sun shed on the third floor of a five-storey building where the victim's mother used to stay with Rajib.

Although Toma denied her part in the murder, trying to shift the blame on Rajib, evidence pointed to a different scenario. According to Bashir Ahmed, the caretaker of the residence, a stench in Toma's flat aroused his curiosity as he went to collect the rent. When he enquired to the source of this unpleasant odor, Toma claimed that it could be the dead duck she threw out of the window. However, instead of a dead duck, a dead baby was discovered.

Speaking to The Daily Star, Tanha's father Faruk Gazi said that Toma called him over the mobile phone on the morning of July 27, 2010 and announced that he was leaving him. Since then, he had no idea about the whereabouts of his daughter and former wife, whose phone was switched off. It was only on that fateful day, that Gazi could reach his ex-wife over phone. When he enquired about the condition of his daughter, Toma said that she was dead. Gazi also said that when he enquired about the circumstances of Tanha's death, his ex-wife's reply was vague and each time she gave different accounts of what had happened. Later, at approximately 3pm, the police called and confirmed the recovery of the child's corpse.

On August 25, Rajib confessed to slaying the child though he had previously denied such allegations.

These incidents of murder show that in a modern society, there are many unfortunate men, women and children who may fall victims at the hand of close family members or relatives. These loathsome murders, especially instances when mothers plan and assist the murder of their own children reveal the monster within apparently 'normal' human beings.

All these murders have a similar pattern – those who participated in the murders are relatives of each other. The recent trends of murders indicate that deaths as a result of family feuds are increasing in number.

The breakdown of social values gives rise to greed and the desire for more luxurious lifestyles and the need for more money. Material wants become more important than family ties.

The murderers and those who abet in the crimes are not professional criminals. But they are dangerous sociopaths. The deterioration of law and order provides motivation as it endows a confidence among them that they shall not be apprehended by law enforcement. At the same time it is necessary to delve into the reasons behind this disturbing trend where those who are trusted the most turn out to be a victim's worst enemies.


Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2010