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8 Bangladesh ruling party’s activists to hang
Publication Date : 19-12-2013
A Dhaka court yesterday sentenced eight BCL activists to death and 13 others to life imprisonment for killing tailor Bishwajit Das in Old Dhaka a year ago.
Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) is the student front of the Bangladesh ruling party Awami League.
Sentencing the activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League, a pro-Awami League student body, the judge observed that the Bishwajit murder case was quite sensitive and different from other lawsuits.
The crime was committed in broad daylight, not in the dead of night. It was a heinous and deplorable killing, said the court about the incident that happened during the opposition’s blockade on December 9 last year.
Of the eight condemned killers, two are absconding, while 11 of the 13 convicts, who got life term, are also on the run.
Bishwajit as he tries to escape his murderers on December 9, 2012.
The court observed that footage of the murder that had been broadcast on national and international media shocked all. The brutality of the offence had tarnished the country’s image before the entire world.
“Considering the gravity of the offence, the tribunal decided to hand down the maximum punishment to the accused in order to uphold justice,” said Judge ABM Nizamul Haque of Speedy Trial Tribunal-4.
Some of the convicts broke down in tears as the judge pronounced the verdict in a packed courtroom at 12:25pm amid tight security.
Talking to reporters in the courtroom, Bishwajit’s elder brother Uttam Kumar Das expressed satisfaction at the judgment in the sensational murder case.
“We want immediate execution of the verdict. We urge the government to arrest the remaining convicts, who are on the run”, he added.
Public Prosecutor SM Rafiqul Islam said he was happy with the verdict.
However, the defence lawyers rejected the verdict, and said they would appeal to the higher court against the convictions.
The BCL men who got death penalty are: Rafiqul Islam Shakil, Mahfuzur Rahman Nahid, Emdadul Haque Emdad, GM Rasheduzzaman Shaon, Md Saiful Islam, Qayum Mia Tipu, Rajon Talukdar and Noor-e-Alam Limon. Of them, Rajon and Limon are on the run.
The ones given life imprisonment are: AHM Kibria, Saiful Islam Saiful, Golam Mustafa, Alauddin, Obaidul Quader Tahsin, Imran Hossain, Khandaker Md Yunus Ali, Tarique Bin Zohur, Azizur Rahman, Al Amin Sheikh, Monirul Haque Pavel, Mosharraf Hossain and Kamrul Hasan.
Of them, only Kibria and Mustafa are behind bars while the others have been absconding.
The incident took place on December 9 when Bishwajit, 24, was going to his Amantron tailoring shop at Shankharibazar from his house at Hrishikesh Das Lane in Sutrapur.
As he was walking through the road in front of Bahadur Shah Park, a crude bomb went off nearby around 9:00am during the BNP-led opposition’s blockade.
Immediately, a group of activists of Jagannath University BCL unit swung into action. They mistook Bishwajit for a blockader, and chased him.
Bishwajit ran for his life and hurried to the second floor of a nearby building. The BCL men hunted him down as he tried to take shelter in a dental clinic on that floor.
They dragged him down to the street. For about five minutes, the BCL men hacked him with sharp weapons and beat him with iron rods and hockey sticks.
Biswajit killers Bishwajit made a desperate attempt to escape and finally managed to free himself from the attackers. As he crossed the road, he collapsed.
Some pedestrians then took him to the Mitford Hospital where he died.
TV channels and newspapers carried reports on the murder with visuals and pictures of the attackers, who were identified as BCL activists studying at Jagannath University.
Later, the university authorities expelled the students whose photos were published in the reports.
On December 13, Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad made a startling statement, claiming that no BCL activists were involved in Bishwajit’s murder.
Speaking to reporters at the Prime Minister’s Office, he gave particulars of six alleged murderers, including two ex-members of Islami Chhatra Shibir, a pro-Jamaat-e-Islami student body.
At that time, some AL ministers also commented that Bishwajit’s attackers were not BCL activists, rather they were infiltrators.
In its judgment yesterday, the tribunal said the punishment of the fugitives will be effective from the day of their arrest or surrender.
The death convicts can appeal against the verdict to a higher court in 30 days after receiving a copy of the judgment.
The court also said if the convicts got released on political grounds, it would be unjust for the victim’s family, and such brutal killings will take place time and again.
The trial began on June 14 with the deposition of Jalal Uddin, sub-inspector of Sutrapur Police Station, who filed the case the day Bishwajit was killed.
The court took into cognisance the confessional statements of four accused, TV footage, and pictures published in national dailies.
During the investigation, the four — Shakil, Nahid, Emdad and Shaon — made confessional statements before magistrates on different dates.
Police pressed charges against the 21 BCL men on March 5, while the tribunal framed charges against them on June 2.