A high-power government committee on Tuesday started inquiring into the death of former Special Security Force member and Bangladesh Army retired major Sinha Mohammad Rashed Khan Adnan in police firing at a checkpoint on Cox’s Bazar-Teknaf Marine Drive at Shamlapur in Cox’s Bazar on July 31.
The death triggered widespread criticism leading authorities to withdraw 16 policemen posted at the Baharchara Investigation Centre in Shamlapur.
Four days after the incident, prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday morning phoned Nasima Akhter, the mother of the former SSF member, who served the force for about four years.
The prime minister in her 20-minute conversation assured the family of justice, said Sinha Mohammad Rashed Khan Adnan’s eldest sister Sharmen Shahria Ferdush.
She said, ‘It was a murder and we demand justice. If he had committed any crime, the police might have shot at his leg. But they shot in his chest and head. Why on the chest?’ she added.
Sharmen also said that they were considering filing a ‘murder’ case.
She also said that her brother was buried at Banani Military Graveyard on Sunday.
The retired major with his combat jogger and full-sleeve with desert-boot, along with his videographer Shahedul Islam Sifat, was returning from Marishbunia in Teknaf on his silver-colour sedan car and at about 9:15pm he was intercepted at the police checkpoint and was shot dead.
The four-member committee, headed by the Chattogram additional divisional commissioner Mizanur Rahman, held a meeting on Tuesday and visited the place where he was killed and spoke to a number of witnesses of the incident.
The other members of the committee are Lieutenant Colonel Sajjad, additional deputy inspector general of Chittagong Jakir Hossain and Cox’s Bazar additional district magistrate Shajahan Ali.
Mizanur Rahman told New Age that they spoke to witnesses over the incident. ‘We are inquiring whether the man (Rashed) was carrying his gun or not. We got information but we do not want to disclose this now,’ he added.
Following incident, the police filed two cases with the Teknaf police station accusing Rashed of raising his gun at police inspector Liyakat Ali as he tried to question him.
In one of the two First Information Reports, the Baharchara Police Investigation Centre subinspector Nandalal Rakkhit said that some members of community police at Marishabunia cordoned of two people while they were coming out of a jungle and called the police after one of the two men pointed his gun at villagers.
On information, Baharchara police filed a general diary and consulted Teknaf police officer-in-charge Pradeep Kumar Das.
On Pradeep’s instruction, the Baharchara police started checking vehicles from 9:15pm onward and found the car of Rashed heading towards Cox’s Bazar town from Teknaf.
At the checkpoint, the FIR read, police inspector Liyakat intercepted the car and asked the driver and its passengers to come out of the car and raise their hands.
Liyakat got into an alternation with Rashed, who was on the driving seat.
The FIR read that Liyakat asked Rashed to detail his identify.
Rashed said he was an army major and suddenly he pulled his gun out.
Liyakat immediately responded and shot Rashed four times to protect himself and his colleagues.
The FIR claimed that second person, Sifat, came out of the car raising his hands while the police seized Rashed’s pistol and belongings, including his mobile phones.
The police claimed that they also seized marijuana and Yaba pills.
The police arrested Sifat and later raided the hotel where Rashed and his team had been staying for their documentary shooting since July 3.
Rashed was later brought dead at Cox’s Bazar district hospital at about 11:55pm.
A senior investigator told New Age that the Teknaf police station officer-in-charge Pradeep called district police superintendent AMB Masud Hossain at 9:33pm while he was in a video conferencing with deputy commissioner Kamal Hossain.
The investigator said Pradeep informed Masud that a man was shot dead during an altercation, and he was heading toward the spot.
The investigators said on information, Masud immediately informed Army Security Unit at the Ramu Cantonment and BGB officials to verify the identity of Rashed.
Lieutenant Colonel Mohammad Faisal Hasan Khan, the commanding officer of BGB Battalion-2 in Teknaf, said Rashed was appointed as operations officer after the Rohingya influx in 2017.
He said they were examining a speculation whether Rashed had any misunderstanding with Pradeep in past.
The police, however, said Pradeep took charge of Teknaf in October 2018 but had served in Moheshkhali in the past.
The police later prosecuted Sifat with 50 pieces of Yaba pills and 250 grams of marijuana.
The police said Sifat was sent to jail custody in the case. The police also detained two others during raid and also prosecuted them.
SM Matiur Rahman, an associate professor at the film and media studies department at the Stamford University, said three of their students were with Rashed.
He said all three students including a female were excellent in film making. The female student, who was with the team and later the police arrested with drugs, had worked with number of film makers as assistant, the teacher said. He said they were attending their class on online and usually work in the field.
Rashed family and colleagues told New Age on Tuesday that he took his early retirement from the army in November 2018 and was planning to go for a world tour in the beginning of January from China.
‘Coronavirus delayed his plan. He spent three months in Rajshahi border to spend his leisure time at the place of his friend. And he went to Cox’s Bazar for his travel show and had planned to surprise with its debut,’ said Sharmen, the victim’s sister.
She also said that the army chief, General Aziz Ahmed, in the morning also sent a condolence message to the family.
Marine drive was considered notorious in recent months after dozens of people were killed after the government had launched anti-drug drives in April 2018.
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