• Wednesday, Feb 26, 2020
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Mentally ill ‘militant’ caught with toy gun

  • Published at 12:11 pm November 21st, 2018
The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) detains a suspected militant during a drive in Jhenaidah’s sadar upazila on Wednesday, November 21, 2018Dhaka Tribune

RAB commander claims intelligence reports led to arrest of youth, as neighbours support father’s protest

The family and neighbours of a young man arrested in Jhenaidah Sadar upazila on Wednesday say he is a mental health patient and so cannot possibly be a militant as law enforcers claim.

Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested Akhteruzzaman Sagar from his family home in Kaluhati village of Ganna union on Wednesday morning.

According to the law enforcement agency, he was found in possession of jihadi books and a dummy gun.

His father Sharafat Hossain Mandal, a farmer, said his son has been exhibiting mental instability for some time and was being treated by doctors at Jhenaidah and Pabna mental hospitals.

To prove the point, Sharafat gave reporters copies of Sagar’s prescriptions and medical test results.

Dudu Miah , a neighbour and local farmer, said Sagar went mad while studying at a school in the locality. 

“He was taken to doctors (and) was later admitted to Kaluhati Madrasa,” he said. “Recently he became unstable again and was admitted to Pabna Mental Hospital. I cannot say if he has militant links.”

Several neighbours said Sagar’s mental health problems were well known in the area. 

Some days ago Sagar arrived at his in-law’s house dressed in a burlap (hessian) sack. Before that, he had driven a motorcycle to Jhenaidah town and left the vehicle there.

When RAB members brought Sagar out of his home, he was wearing a pagri (turban) and was smiling. He did not exhibit any signs of fear or guilt.

Asked how a mental health patient could be a militant, RAB 6 Jhenaidah camp Commander Hasan Emon Al Rajib said intelligence reports had indicated a person involved in militancy was frequently visiting the house.

“Accordingly we conducted a raid at this house on Wednesday morning and detained the youth named Akhteruzzaman Sagar,” he said. 

“He is a member of JMB [Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh] and a dedicated worker. He will be handed over to the local police station, who will look into his mental health issues.”