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Dhaka Tribune

Who was Anwarul Azim Anar, the MP murdered in India?

  • Allegedly involved in illegal drug, gold trade
  • Was once arrested as a wanted fugitive by Interpol
Update : 25 May 2024, 04:50 PM

Jhenaidah-4 MP Anwarul Azim Anar went missing after travelling to India for medical treatment on May 12. 

His body was discovered in Sanjeeva Garden, located in the Newtown area of Kolkata, the Bangladesh Embassy in Kolkata said on Wednesday.

Three individuals have been arrested in connection with his death, sparking widespread discussion and speculation about the circumstances surrounding it.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said the murder of Jhenaidah-4 lawmaker Md Anwarul Azim Anar in Kolkata was premeditated. He said Jhenaidah is a violence-prone area.

Who was Anwarul?

Anwarul Azim Anar hails from Madhuganj Bazar in Kaliganj, Jhenaidah. He earned the love and respect of everyone in the area with his football skills. Using that popularity, in 1993, he was elected the first Commissioner of Kaliganj Municipality.

Then, in 2009, he was elected chairman of Kaliganj Upazila Parishad. Then he was elected MP from the Awami League three consecutive times in 2014, 2018 and 2024.

MP Anar had several business interests, including transport, and is an influential leader in the sector.

Brush with the law

Local sources allege that Anar once controlled extremist groups in southern and western Bangladesh. 

He was listed in police records for involvement in arms and explosives smuggling. Despite this, he evaded law enforcement and became known as a godfather of terrorists and extremists.

 

Anar faced over nine cases for various charges, including arms, explosives, and narcotics smuggling, extortion, and harbouring extremists. 

In 2008, Interpol had issued a notice against him in connection with several criminal cases, including arms and explosives, as there were several pending cases in Jhenaidah and Chuadanga.

Drug trade

Activists in Jhenaidah said that Anar allegedly entered the drug trade around 1986, during the Jatiya Party's rule. 

They claimed he smuggled goods through the Bagda border of India to the Baghadanga border of Bangladesh. During this period, his forces made monthly contracts, or "tokens”, with various police stations. 

These tokens allowed drug-carrying vehicles to pass unchallenged, earning him the title of the "Drug King" of the Southwest.

Gold trade

Anar amassed significant wealth through the drug trade. In 1991, he allegedly began smuggling gold with Paritosh Tagore, a fellow smuggler from Jhenaidah. They transported large gold consignments through the Baghadanga border.

In 1996, Anar joined the Awami League from the BNP.

Later, he expanded his operations to include arms smuggling, partnering with a Kaliganj municipality commissioner. 

His illegal arms were sold to extremist cadre Samsil, also known as Robin. Even after going into hiding in India, Anar continued arms smuggling with government-recognized top terrorist Prakash. 

In 2007, the then border guard force, Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) seized 12.95kgs of gold in Chuadanga.

 

The gold smugglers later learned that one Saiful Islam, a C&F businessman, revealed the information to law enforcers. Saiful was later murdered.

Anar and others were implicated in this gold smuggling syndicate and were accused of murdering Saiful. In 2009, a special court in Chuadanga issued a public notice for Anar's arrest.

In 2012, Anar and some others were relieved from the case. By 2014, when he was elected MP, he had been acquitted of most charges.

How he disappeared

According to sources, the MP crossed the Darshana-Gede border into India for treatment on May 12. Anar went to his Indian friend Gopal Biswas’s home in North 24 Parganas district, West Bengal. 

The following day, he went out at noon to see a doctor and was supposed to return in the evening.  However, he apparently went to Delhi instead and sent a WhatsApp message to Biswas, saying he would call if necessary. 

Since then, he could not be reached by phone. 

Biswas became concerned, and Anar’s family in Bangladesh also grew anxious. 

Biswas then filed a missing person’s report with Baranagar police station on May 18, leading to a police investigation and the eventual discovery of his body.

The next day, Anar’s brother Enamul Haque Iman also lodged a missing person’s report with Kaliganj police station.

Anar's personal assistant, Abdur Rauf, had previously told Dhaka Tribune that the MP had been in contact with his family and party members for the first two days of his trip. “However, since Tuesday (May 14), all communication with him has been lost. He is also unreachable on WhatsApp.”

Timeline: Jhenaidah-4 MP Anwarul Azim Murder
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