After the murder on New Year’s Eve, at least 110 people, mostly Jamaat activists, were detained. Of them 23 were shown arrested for alleged involvement in the murder. Gaibandha’s Sundarganj has for years been known as a Jamaat stronghold.
Therefore it came as somewhat of a surprise when Jatiya Party (JaPa) leader and former MP Abdul Quader Khan was linked to the murder and later confessed to it.
District police said their findings surprised them all and they cross-checked each and every detail before arresting Quader on February 23.
Several rumours spread in the press and among the public about Quader’s Jamaat connection. One claim went that before the murder, Quader had a meeting with former Jamaat MP Abdul Aziz, known as Ghoramara Aziz or Ghora Aziz in the area.
Local Awami League leaders, especially those close to MP Liton, say they believe that Quader might be linked to Jamaat.
Awami League leader and Dhobadanga union former chairman Jahangir Alam Suja claimed that Quader had Jamaat’s backing during the election of 2008 and many Jamaat activists had worked for him.
“Being an outsider, if he did not have Jamaat’s support, he would not have been able to win the election,” he said.
Quader during his interrogation and confession claimed that MP Liton defeated him in 2013 by rigging the election.
Sundarganj JaPa General Secretary Abdul Mannan told the Dhaka Tribune that he knew very little about Quader.
“The man was an outsider and our local activists did not accept him. They became inactive and Quader was mostly accompanied by his relatives,” he said.
“However, Jamaat had a lot of supporters that year. Quader might have had some issues with Jamaat but I did not hear about his involvement with the party,” he said.
Quader’s relative, JaPa activist and Dakkhin Rajibpur UP Member Idris Ali told the Dhaka Tribune that when he worked with the man, he seemed to be antagonistic towards Jamaat.
“After that, I do not know because I became detached with him since. But I can surely say that since he moved to Gaibandha he has never been seen with a Jamaat leader or member,” he said.
Quader’s personal secretary AJM Shamsujjoha could not be reached at his home in Kismat Haldia village or his shop in Naldanga Bazaar after several attempts.
His neighbour Amirul Haque told the Dhaka Tribune that he had not seen Joha with any Jamaat activists.
The shop’s manager Mizanur Rahman told the Dhaka Tribune that law enforcers had taken away Joha’s mobile phones and therefore he was out of reach.
Gaibandha police’s Additional SP Rabiul Islam said they were yet to find any information about a meeting held between Quader and Aziz.
“The two did not have any meeting in Gaibandha as far as our investigation suggests,” he added.
“Quader in the interrogation said he disliked Jamaat as their activities were one of the reasons behind his defeat to MP Liton in last election,” he said.
Gaibandha PBI Additional SP Anwar Hossain said they had heard of a meeting between the two but could not get any proof of it.
Bogra PBI and Bogra police told the Dhaka Tribune they had no information of the two having met there.