MP Liton murder

Sisters want fair probe

05 January 2017

Slain MP Manjurul Islam Liton's widow may have seconded the Awami League view that Jamaat-e-Islami is involved in her husband's murder, but his sisters hope that the investigation takes into account other possible angles as well.
On Tuesday while interacting with journalists at their residence, sisters Touhida Bulbul  and Fahmida Bulbul Kakoli, without going into details, said they hoped that the investigation do not merely revolve round the Jamaat. Earlier, Liton's wife Khurshid  Jahan Smriti told journalists she believes that her husband became a victim of political rivalry at the hands of the Jamaat-e-Islami. Jamaat has, however, refuted the allegations and has said that they are being falsely blamed to hide the real culprits.
Last Saturday, unidentified assailants came to meet the Gaibandha-1 MP at his residence in Sundarganj Upazila's Sarbananda village and sprayed bullets on him. He was rushed to Rangpur Medical College Hospital where he died. Fahmida had also started a murder case against five unidentified persons.            
Although police have detained several people suspecting their links, they have failed   to identify the culprits or arrest any of them even three days into the incident. On Monday, a prayer meet was held at the MP's ancestral home. Liton's wife and sisters interacted with the press after the prayer during which fear was writ large across their faces. Afroza Bari, Liton's sister-in-law said, "It's not enough to say Jamaat, Jamaat. If it is Jamaat, so be it. If it is Awami League, so be it. If it is me, so be it. Anybody. We want their punishment. We want nothing else." Mukut, known to be a friend of the late MP and close to his family, said, "It may be the Jamaat. But it has never been directly said that the Jamaat has done it." Fahmida Kakoli said, "I wish to know who is or are my brother's killers and I want exemplary punishment." Gaibandha Additional SP (A Circle) Robiul Islam said, "Police are conducting the investigation keeping in mind every angle ranging from political , family or local feuds, financial transactions and Jamaat-terrorist factions. We hope the killers shall be caught soon."
Barring his wife and his brother-in-law, Badrul Ahsan Bedar, and one or two others, no one else was at home when the murder took place. Quite a few servants and drivers were also at home.
According to eyewitnesses, five assailants came riding two motorcycles that day. Of them, two entered Liton's living room to talk to him. This was followed by sounds of gunshots. Fahmida said, "Let police examine every angle and see how some people like this entered the village and left after killing.
"Liton was my brother. I deserve to demand punishment of the perpetrators. As long as I live. As long as justice is not delivered, so long shall I continue to demand justice," she said, breaking into sobs.
Elder sister Touhida said, "We can't bear this murder happening at home. On the other hand, she (Kakoli) is the complainant. We are also afraid. "What if they target her now. A section has also told us 'you siblings rather be careful'." Gaibandha Mahila Awami League leader and wife Smriti recalled that her late husband in 1998 stalled a Jamaat-e-Islami public meeting with Ghulam Azam. She belives that he has been murdered to settle those scores. "At that time, Jamaat cadre from Fotekhan village Hefoj and other cadres would make threat calls and messages to him on his mobile." In response to a query from a journalist, Smriti said her husband's revolver and shot gun licences were impounded following "an incident of well orchestrated lie" centering round shooting of minor Shahadat Hussain on Oct 2, 2014.  She claimed Jamaat knew he had no weapons at home with which to defend himself against an armed attack and they just seized that opportunity.
Liton had served some time in prison and was out on bail last year on charges of shooting the minor.
Many party workers and leaders would stay in their house every night. Arrangements for nightlong police watch were also in place. Generally, Liton would head for his office near Bamandanga Railway Station accompanied by his party colleagues every dusk. "But I do not know why that day there was no party leader or worker at home," Smriti said. She said at that time, her brother Bedar, niece Marufa Sultana Shimu, aunt Shamin Ara, a few servants and she herself were at home. "My brother and I were near the kitchen by the courtyard when we heard gunshots and he (Liton) made his way through the inside door and said 'they have shot me, first catch them'. "He had clutched his chest and the left side of his chest was bleeding," the wife recalled.
She said on hearing him shout, driver Furkan Mia rushed out to catch them. Smriti, Ismail and Bedar rushed out with Liton. With neither car nor driver available, they set off for hospital on a motorbike with Liton sandwiched between. But the driver returned in the meanwhile.

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