An elderly BNP leader died reportedly while trying to escape arrest by police in Sadar upazila of Jessore on early Sunday. However, police claimed they had no connection to the death as they did not carry out raids to arrest anyone in the area.
Relatives of the deceased Motleb Mia, 71, hailing from the upazila's Panchbaria village, alleged the incident took place when he was fleeing from his home to avoid arrest, after being called by his elder daughter Jasmine Nahar Borsha, who lives with her in-laws in the neighbouring village of Phulbari.
Jasmine called him by phone around 11pm on Saturday, saying police had raided their residence to detain her husband. She also asked Motleb to flee his house, the relatives added.
Nazmun Nahar Poly, Motleb's younger daughter, said he did indeed try to flee the location after receiving the phone call.
“As my father advanced a little further, he fell on the ground and died,” she said, adding that their relatives and neighbours recovered the body and took it back home.
Motleb served as the chairman of Ichhali Union Parishad (UP) for 27 long years and was actively involved with BNP's politics.
Due to his role as a BNP leader in the locality, he faced police harassment regularly right until his death, his family members alleged.
In order to negotiate with police, he bribed them repeatedly through the local UP chairman and the district unit Awami League General Secretary Afzal Hossain, family sources claimed.
“We gave at least Tk7-8 lakh to Afzal to hand over the money to the police. Even three days ago, we gave him [Afzal] Tk1 lakh after mortgaging a motorbike,” Poly said.
Afzal, however, defended himself, terming the allegations false.
“They are lying about me. Being an Awami League leader, it does not suit my status to bribe police on someone's behalf,” he said.
“They [Motleb's relatives] support BNP. Hence, they are spreading false information against me. Had they been my party men, I would have called the police to make a compromise,” Afzal further said.
Meanwhile, Kotwali police station's Officer-in-Charge Azmul Huda said: “We did not even send a police team to Panchbaria village. But, I heard that Motleb died of stroke."
Jasmine said her father was buried on Sunday afternoon and they did not file any complaint with the police station as they believed they would not to get justice for their father.
Ichhali Union Parishad unit BNP President Kamruzzaman also confirmed the news of Motleb's death.
However, he claimed to be unaware of Motleb bribing the police.