“We have arrested three attackers in these cases and another was killed in an operation but we still need more information to close the investigation,” Monirul Islam, chief of Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit, told the Dhaka Tribune.
Monirul said: “We are now looking for the mastermind, sacked army officer Sayed Ziaul Haque and some other accused. We can only submit the charge sheet after reaching a specific point in the investigation.”
On October 31, 2015, unidentified assailants hacked to death Jagriti Prokashony owner Dipan at his office in Shahbagh Aziz Supermarket. Around the same time, publisher Tutul and two of his friends – Ranadipam Basu and Tareq Rahim who had come to his office to draw up a plan for their new books – came under attack by another group of militants at his Shuddhashar office in Dhaka’s Lalmatia area.
Two separate cases were filed in the incidents. They are now being investigated by the police’s Detective Branch. CTTC unit is also assisting in the investigation.
[caption id="attachment_21901" align="alignnone" width="900"] Ahmedur Rashid Chowdhury Tutul
Photo: Arne Olav Lunde Hageberg/ICORN[/caption]
On June 16, DB police arrested Sumon Hossain Patwari alias Sihab. He gave a confessional statement before the court on June 21. According to Sihab’s statement, Ansar al-Islam (banned militant outfit Ansarullah Bangla Team) is responsible for Dipan’s murder.
Two separate teams of Ansar al-Islam, which is an affiliate of al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), attacked Tutul and Dipan in different places the same day.
Another top accused, Shariful Islam alias Mukul was killed in a “gunfight” with police on June 19.
Investigators say Shariful was the planner of the murders of war crimes trial campaigners and secular activists Oyasiqur Rahman Babu, Nazimuddin Samad, publisher Dipan, LGBT rights activist Xulhaz Mannan and his friend Mahbub Tonoy.
Based on the information derived from Sihab, detectives arrested another accused Sifat alias Shamim alias Mainul on August 24. Sifat gave confessional statement before the court five days later.
Later, detectives also arrested Abdus Sabur alias Raju alias Saad alias Samad alias Sujon on September 3. He also gave a confessional statement on September 9.
Investigators said they have found a lead from the confessional statements of three accused.
“Using the lead that we found from the statements, we are now searching for the other accused and absconding member of Ansar Al Islam,” said Mashruqure Rahman Khaled, deputy commissioner of DB of Dhaka Metropolitan Police.
DC Khaled said the confessional statements indicate that sacked army official Sayed Ziaul Haque was the mastermind behind all these attacks.
“Bounty has already been declared on his head and we are conducting drives to arrest him. We are hopeful about arresting him,” he added.
In Aziz Market, Dipan's old workplace has been named Dipan Corner by the market authorities. The shop remains closed and no one has opened it since the incident.
The new office on the ground floor of the building is operated by Dipan's wife Dr Razia Rahman Jolly.
Stating that they are still trying to recover from the pain, Jolly said their two children often recall the loss of their father and were trying to cope with it.
Replying to a query about publishing secular books again, she said: “We have lost enough. Do you think it will be a wise decision to publish those kinds of works again?”
Dipan's father Prof Abul Kashem Fazlul Haque said they have nothing to say regarding the trial of his son’s murder case.
“I have only one wish, these kinds incidents need to stop and the real reason behind it should be identified,” said the former Dhaka University teacher.
Dhaka Tribune tried to contact the family members of publisher Tutul but they could not be reached over the phone. Now staying abroad, Tutul was named winner of the International Writer of Courage award by Margaret Atwood on October 13.