• Tuesday, Nov 20, 2018
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Siddheshwari school used as drug den, torture cell

  • Published at 07:35 pm April 26th, 2018
  • Last updated at 08:23 pm April 26th, 2018
Siddheshwari school used as drug den, torture cell
Three people identifying themselves as Jubo League leaders are allegedly running a drug business and other criminal activities using the classrooms and playground of Siddheshwari Boys’ High School in Dhaka. The alleged suspects also set CCTVs around the school to keep an eye on the movement of law enforcement officials, said the school authorities. The three people are Golam Mostafa Shimul, 42, Dewan Alim Uddin Shishir, 38, and Masud Rana, 38. The school authorities also complained that the three are using some of the classrooms as torture cells during the night. They allegedly lock up and beat people in the classrooms. Their targets are mostly people who fail to meet their extortion demands.

No room for protests

When the teachers protested over the criminal activities of the alleged Jubo League leaders, the criminals, carrying firearms in broad daylight, came to the school and gave death threats to three teachers – Aminul Islam, Ruhul Alam and Mosarraf Hossain - at gun point. The president of the school managing committee also received death threats when he protested against such criminal works at the school building. Admitting this, Siddheshwari Boys' High School Principal Sheikh Fariduzzaman said: “Shimul, Shishir and Masud are marked drug peddlers and extortionists in the area. When anyone protests against them, their cohorts deliver threat at gunpoint and say that the residents of the area have to tolerate their business. Our three teachers, who received such threats, lodged a case with the local police station. Now the miscreants are pressuring them to withdraw the case.” Police and local sources said the associates of the trio collect Tk60,000 per day from different shops and hawkers adjacent to Siddheshwari Boys’ High School, Mouchak’s Anarkali Market and the adjoining areas. They also occupy the school playground and use it as transport parking, said a local trader named Abdullah Al Noman. Several teachers and security guards of the school, seeking anonymity, told the Dhaka Tribune that the criminals installed several CCTV cameras around the school building so that they can monitor the movements of the locals, their targeted people and police. A night guard of the school said the alleged criminals force them to keep the main gate of the school open for movement of their vehicles that carry drugs. “If we protest, they beat us and give death threats at gunpoint,” he said. The students complained that they cannot play on their school ground due to the aggression of the goons. A 10th-grade student named Rumman (not real name) said he and his friends were playing in the playground one afternoon when they encountered the drug dealers. “Suddenly some youths, riding bikes, came and told us to leave the ground. They also threatened us. When we protested, two of them slapped one of my friends.”

Using playground and classrooms for antisocial activity and torture

Another local Masum Haque said the allies of the three use the school playground to store stolen vehicles. Their cohorts are allegedly involved with stealing vehicles from different areas of the city. An office assistant of the school told the Dhaka Tribune that the goons force the school staff to keep the classrooms unlocked after school. “After sunset, they go in the school with women and drugs for antisocial activities. They also use the rooms as their storage for contraband items. Sometimes, they use the classrooms to hold their targeted people captive after kidnapping them.”

'Not affiliated with Jubo League'

Dhaka South City Corporation Ward 19 Councillor Munshi Kamruzzaman Kajol, who is also the president of the school’s managing committee, also received a death threat from the followers of the three men when he lodged a general diary with the local police station in this regard. “The three people are just using the identity of Jubo League even though they do not hold any post in the organization. They are running criminal activities in the area with muscle power," he said. “Shimul is accused in two murder cases while the three are accused in several cases lodged with different police stations in the city. “He [Shimul] is one of the donor members of the school managing committee. He forcibly took the post to ease his and his associates’ illegal jobs,” added the local public representative. The mobile phone numbers of the three people were found switched off. Ramna police station OC Moinul Islam said: “A case has been lodged with the police station regarding the recent beating of school teachers. Besides, a general diary was also filed the following day. “We are conducting drives to nab them. We also increased patrolling at the school area for the security of the teachers,” he added.