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Kunio murder case

PP Rathish goes missing

Locals blocked road in Rangpur for tracing

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01st-Apr-2018       
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Staff Reporter :
Special Public Prosecutor (PP) Rathish Chandra Bhowmik, who represented the State in Japanese national Hoshi Kunio and Khadem Rahman Ali murder cases, has been missing since Friday morning.
Rathish, 55, went missing 12 days after the verdict of Khadem Rahmat Ali murder case, in which seven JMB men were awarded death penalty.
He was also the prosecution witness in the war crimes case against Jamaat-e-Islami leader ATM Azharul Islam.
Rathish Chandra is General Secretary of Sammilito Sangskritik Jote of Rangpur unit, Treasurer of district Lawyers Association and Law Affairs Secretary of Rangpur Awami League and also a trusty of Hindu, Buddhist, Christian Okya Parishad in Rangpur, said our local coreesporendent quoting family members and Police.
Dipa Bhowmik, wife of the victim, said,  "Rathish went out of his house wearing Panjabi and payjama around 6.00am  on Friday and since then he is missing.
His mobile phone has been switched off, she said.
Before going out of his house, he told his family members that he would return home within an hour, she added.
We verbally informed Rangpur police about his disappearance on Friday night and filed a general diary with the police the following day, she added.
Superintendent of Police (SP) Mizanur Rahman told bdnews24.com that Rathis's family had informed him about his missing at 11:00pm on Friday. "We are trying to trace him. His mobile is switched off."
Rathis left home with another man riding on a red motorbike around 6:00am on Friday but did not return home yet, he said quoting victim's family members.
Rathish Chandra was the 13th prosecution witness in the war crimes case against Jamaat leader Azharul Islam, he said.
District Awami League President Mamtaj Uddin Ahmed said, "We have requested the police to find out lawyer Rathis as soon as possible. We are also trying."
Sushanta Bhowmik, the lawyer's brother, said he had informed police over phone about the matter soon after learning about his brother's disappearance on Friday night.
Rathish's colleagues and relatives looked for him all over Rangpur, but failed to find him until Saturday morning.
Rangpur Puja Udjapon Parishad's President Bonomali Pal said that the administration had not taken any step even after he received death threats.
"Police only guarded his house for several days after the Kunio murder case verdict, but did not take any step to ensure his security after the March 18 verdict of Khadem Rahmat Ali," he added.
Meanwhile, locals and Awami League activists have staged protests demanding the lawyer be rescued. They also threatened to intensify their agitation if Rathish was not rescued within 24 hours.
Rathish Chandra was the public prosecutor of Kunio Hoshi and Khadem Rahmat Ali, who were killed in Kaunia upazila of Rangpur on October 3 and November 10 in 2015 respectively, local cources said.
The Special Judge Court of Rangpur sentenced five members of militant Islamist outfit Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh to death in Japanese national Kunio Hoshi murder case on February 28 last year, while the same court convicted seven JMB militants to death for killing Khadem Rahmat Ali on March 18 this year, according to him.
On May 18, 2014,  Rathish Chandra gave testimony to the International Crimes Tribunal-1 about how narrowly his father had escaped death when the Pakistan occupation army accompanied by Azharul Islam, the then Islami Chhatra Sangha president of Rangpur town, shot him during the Liberation War. His maternal uncle Shanti Chaki was killed in the same incident on April 14, 1971, according to Rathish Chandra.
In December 2014, the tribunal handed down death penalty to the Jamaat leader and his appeal against the verdict is now pending with the Supreme Court.

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