8 killing in 55 days: Nation in grip of high profile murders

Muktadir Rashid

There has hardly been any significant progress into the investigations of eight sensational killings that took place in the past two months across the country, drawing local and international attention, while recurrence of similar killings continue.
In the latest incident, elderly Buddhist monk Maung Sai U Chak was hacked to death on Saturday.
Investigators suspect the septuagenarian monk’s killing bore the signature of other militant attacks claimed by either Islamic State or by Ansar al-Islam, the Bangladesh division of al-Qai’da in the Indian Subcontinent.
The investigators said they needed more time to arrest the suspected killers in the eight killings between March 20 and May 7, but they had arrested some local level Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Jamaat-e-Islami leaders and supporters on suspicion.
Among the eight killings is the murder of Comilla Victoria College student Sohagi Jahan, found dead in Comilla Cantonment on March 20. There has been no progress in the case so far, and special superintendent Nazmul Karim Khan, the lead investigator from the Criminal Investigation Department, said he was ‘frustrated’ at the roadblocks to the investigation, on which he however refused to elaborate.
The remaining seven killings are believed to be connected to suspected militants. The counter-terrorism and transnational crime unit of police officials in Dhaka told New Age they were yet to identify the masterminds in those cases.
Two to five people, mostly wearing helmets and riding a motorbike, had hacked to death five victims in Kurigram, Dhaka, Tangail and Rajshahi. Seven assailants were involved in killing LGBT magazine publisher Xulhaz Mannan Moonon and his activist friend Khandaker Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy in the capital’s Kalabagan on April 25.
‘As the killers are not brought to justice, a deep sense of insecurity prevails in society…if the law enforcing agencies delay in their investigation, it will ultimately affect the overall law and order situation,’ said Nur Khan Liton, the acting executive director of Ain O Salish Kendra.
The police’s counter-terrorism and transnational crime unit chief Monirul Islam claimed that plotters will be identified in the present militancy cases, as was done in the past.
Just two days after the killing of Tonu in Comilla, three assailants hacked to death Christian-convert Hossain Ali, 65, near his house in Kurigram town on the morning of March 22.
The killing was later claimed by Islamic State.
Police investigators managed to arrest three people for helping the attackers and said they were the members of outlawed militant outfit Jaam’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh.
‘We are yet to arrest the assailants,’ said Kurigram police station officer-in-charge Jamir Uddin.
Two weeks later, at least five assailants hacked to death Nazim Uddin, who had criticised Islamism on Facebook, in the capital’s older part on April 6. His killing was claimed by Ansar al-Islam, the Bangladesh division of al-Qai’da in the Indian Subcontinent.
With no progress in sight, the Criminal Investigation Department replaced inspector Mohammad Shahjahan this past week and assigned a new investigator, assistant police superintendent Ehsan Uddin Chowdhury, confirmed CID’s special superintendent Abdul Kahar Akand.
Two week later, three assailants riding a motorbike and wearing helmets once again hacked to death Rajshahi University English department professor AFM Rezaul Karim Siddiquee near his house in the city on April 23. The IS claimed responsibility for the murder, although the police continue to deny the involvement of IS.
‘We have arrested three people,’ said the case investigation officer inspector Rijaus Sadik, who refused to confirm whether any of them were directly involved in the killing.
Just two days after the killing, at least seven assailants hacked to death the country’s first LGBT magazine publisher Xulhaz Mannan Monon, also a USAID official in Dhaka, and his activist friend Khandaker Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy in the capital’s Kalabagan on April 25. Ansar Al Islam claimed responsibility for the killing.
‘We are still investigating the case…we need a little time to trace the killers,’ said detective branch’s additional deputy commissioner Razib Al Masud.
Five days after, three assailants riding a motorbike and wearing helmets hacked to death a Hindu tailor, Nikhil Chandra Joarder, in a roadside village in Gopalpur in Tangail on April 30.
IS claimed responsibility for hacking to death the ‘blasphemer.’ Three BNP and Jamaat leaders were arrested from the area and were allegedly tortured in remand, according to their lawyer.
‘The killers have not been identified as yet…we need more time [to solve the case],’ said Tangail detective’s subinspector Tofazzal Hossain.
In the latest incident, two assailants picked up Mohammad Shahidullah, an adherent of a Sufi shrine in Poba upazila, and he was later found dead in Tanore Friday night.
No one claimed responsibility for the killing until Monday evening.
‘We are clueless…we need time to trace the killers,’ said the case investigator, subinspector Humayun Kabir of Tanore police station.

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