The incident involving Dhaka Tribune’s journalist Ariful Islam is nothing new for this government official
Journalist Ariful Islam Reagan was not the first person in Kurigram to suffer the kind of terrifying raid at home, by a mobile court in the dead of night, with Senior Assistant Commissioner Nazim Uddin leading the charge as some kind of in-house "muscle power" for the district administration.
Similar to the incident of Ariful, Kurigram correspondent of Dhaka Tribune and Bangla Tribune, other innocent people from the district’s different areas were frequently captured by law enforcement officials led by Nazim and sentenced to jail by mobile court.
Nazim would subsequently release them in exchange for money.
On February 26, Nazim raided the house of Khalequzzaman Majnu, a farmer of Panchayetpara of Vitorbond union in Nageshwari upazila, to capture him, and in the process Nazim and law enforcement officials under him beat up Khaleq’s family and neighbours.
Majnu described to UNB the mistreatment he received that night.
"Law enforcement officials pulled me out of my room after breaking in. I asked Nazim Uddin what was my crime to be treated this way, but he didn’t answer. Instead, he ordered to arrest me," he said.
"Then after going half way to the Deputy Commissioner's (DC) Office, he [Nazim] told me whether I have Tk2 lakh or not. He told me that he would spare me if I gave the money," Majnu added.
Majnu, now out on bail, was sentenced to six months of jail by Nazim that night at Kurigram DC office as he failed to give him any money.
Another local of Vitorbond union, Bishwanath Das, who is still in jail, was captured and punished in similar fashion as a result of a feud over leasing a jalmahal on February 26.
His wife Paru Bala Das was speaking at the Kurigram Press Club about her husband's misery on Sunday.
Biswanath was taken out of his house around midnight in the same fashion. Nazim demanded a large sum of money from him as well.
He was sentenced to two years in prison for failing to pay, but Biswanath's family has not received any copies of the case document till now.
"My husband was beaten up and taken to jail. Even when my two young children were begging him [Nazim], he kicked them away. He kicked me too. Even the neighbours were beat up as they arrived to request him not to take my husband away. What will my children eat if they don't let him go?" Paru Bala's cries echoed at the Kurigram Press Club.
Former Vitorbond union chairman Shafiul Alam Shafi said: "Nazim Uddin harassed many residents of the union in the name of the mobile court. I demand a fair trial of these misdeeds."
Nazim Uddin was stand released from his duties as land commissioner of Cox's Bazar Sadar upazila for his involvement in various crimes.
A video of him torturing a 62-year-old local elderly, named Naku Majhi, had also gone viral on social media during his service there.
Nazim and two other magistrates of Kurigram district administration were withdrawn on Monday for their alleged involvement in torturing Dhaka Tribune’s journalist Ariful Islam.
Ariful was jailed for one year and fined Tk50,000 for "possessing narcotics" by a mobile court at the dead of the night.
The local administration claimed that the journalist was arrested with 450ml of local liquor and 100g hemp.
But Ariful's wife Mostarima Sardar Nitu claimed that a group of law enforcement officials entered their home at Charuapara in the early hours of Saturday and took him away forcefully without giving any reason.
After getting bail and hospitalized on Sunday, Ariful said he was tortured by the magistrates.