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Minor boy killed in city 'shootout'

Mother forced to withdraw murder case

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Staff Reporter :
A youth was shown killed in crossfire after he was tortured to death in police custody in the city's Wari Police Station in early April this year and the victim's mother was forced to withdraw the murder case, according to media reports.
The name of the victim is Rakib Hawlader whereas the police gave his identity as Md Rakib alias Chhoto Rakib. The family said that he was only 15 years of age but the police claimed that he was 22.
Rakib's mother Rita Hawlader, based on her own witnessing and accounts of others she talked to, alleged that her son was tortured to death in Wari Police Station on April 5. His body was then taken to a nearby place called Joykali Mandir and shown killed in crossfire.
The police, however, called Rakib a snatcher and claimed that he was shot in crossfire during an incident of robbery at Toyenbee Circular Road of the capital.
"When I went to the police station gate, I heard the people were regretting    that the boy was killed. The dead body was shown fallen after a crossfire near Joykali Mandir," said Rita Hawlader, recalling her experience in the morning of April 6.
She added, as she received the body from Dhaka Medical College and Hospital morgue, she found his right hand broken, head injured and marks of torture in other parts, especially abdomen and legs.
Rita named then Officer-in-Charge of Wari Police Station Rafiqul Islam, Inspector (investigation) Mohammad Selim, Assistant Sub-Inspector Jyotish Chandra Roy and police informer Mosharraf Hossain in the case when she filed it with a Dhaka court on April 11.
As the police and influential people allegedly pressured, Rita's family filed an appeal on May 10 to withdraw the case.
"The police threatened to kill us unless we withdraw the case. Influential people also put pressure on us to do so; otherwise, we will be evicted from the area," she told the media on July 5. She also said, "I told the court that my son Rakib was killed in the thana premises and I want justice and I want to continue the case."
Based on an investigation report submitted on May 24, the court of Dhaka's Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Asaduzzaman Noor observed on June 25 that it appeared from the report that the plaintiff did not want to continue the case. The court also relieved the accused from the case.
"If the case is withdrawn due to intimidation by the police and influential ones, the state and the judiciary should have investigated the matter," said chairman of Children Charity Bangladesh Foundation Abdul Halim.
He also pointed out that the investigation should not remain incomplete despite any application from the plaintiff to withdraw the case since there is an issue of intimidation involved.
Insisting that all extrajudicial killings should be investigated and culprits be tried, human rights activist Sultana Kamal said, "If we supposed that Rakib's mother backed out, out of fear, we've reasons to be worried."
Rakib's grandfather Abdul Latif Sarkar, President of Ward No. 38 of Kaptan Bazar unit of ruling Awami League, alleged, "Local Awami League leaders and the police officers asked us to compromise and forced us to withdraw the case."
He explained to the media that a mugger named Rakib was involved in the murder of Talha, nephew of AL leader Mahiuddin Mahi. "But, the police detained my innocent grandson Rakib and tortured him to death in custody. And then, he was shown killed in crossfire. He was not involved in the Talha murder either," he added.
Denying the allegations of forcing Rakib's family to withdraw the case, former Wari Police OC Rafiqul Islam, said, "We forced no one to withdraw the case." Currently, he is the OC of Badda Police Station.
He also claimed that they never detained any one named Rakib, "We didn't nab anyone named Rakib."
According to family, Rakib, who acted as a child artist in two movies, was caught by ASI of Wari Police Jyotish Chandra Roy from Kaptanbazar around 10:00 o'clock in the night of April 4, 2018.
Rita Hawlader said she saw her son at Wari Police Station the next morning. They talked to the police officer who allegedly said Rakib would be freed after quizzing.
But Jyotish Chandra Roy declined to say anything, just saying that the higher authorities would make statement in this regard if needed.
In her written complaint to the court, Rita said she heard that her son was crying in another room. She found a cloth tied around Rakib's mouth and he was stripped of his pants. Rakib's mother was asked to leave.
The next morning, Rita wanted to offer some food to her son but the police declined to receive it, she said. The police rather hurled abusive words at her, she alleged.
According to her complaints, the officer-in-charge even said there was none named Rakib at the police custody. She was then not allowed to enter the police station.
Rita said the day she filed the case the police tried to abduct her from the court premises. On 19 April, a team of police led by Sub-Inspector Zakir Hossain came to Rita's house and threatened the family. As they declined to sign on a piece of paper the policemen insisted on the law enforcers engaged in scuffling with the family members, Rita received wounds in her eye.
About withdrawal of the case, Rita said although Rakib was killed, she had no allegation against anyone. "I seek justice to Almighty Allah."
Rita's lawyer Moshraq Ahmed said the police personnel intimidated his client.

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