The competition for securing lease to the Badda cattle market and the control over local jhut trade were the likely reasons behind Thursday’s attack in Badda that killed three people, sources close to the victims have claimed.
Locals said the killing of the three men might have also been caused by disputes surrounding the distribution of extortion money and political infighting.
The police, however, said a number of different reasons might have been behind the premeditated attack; but it would take some time to ascertain the true reasons.
The deceased were Mahbubur Rahman Gama, 40, the cultural affairs vice secretary of Dhaka (north) city unit of Swechchhasebak League; Samsuddin Molla, 53, the vice president of Dhaka’s ward 6 unit of Awami League; and Firoz Ahmed, 40, a friend of the deceased with no political affiliations.
Abdus Salam, 44, senior vice president of Badda Jubo League, survived the attack and is now being treated at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
Aminur Rahman Ripon, a cousin of deceased Swechchhasebak League leader Gama, said the attack might have been carried out because of Gama’s attempt to secure this year’s lease for the Badda cattle market ahead of Eid.
Requesting anonymity, a cousin of deceased Awami League leader Samsuddin told the Dhaka Tribune that several Chhatra League leaders stand to gain from the murder as they would now be able to take over the local jhut trade that had been under the control of Gama.
However, Golam Mohsin Polash, another cousin of Samsuddin, said the deceased AL leader ran his own business and had no rivals. He also expressed suspicions that the witnesses knew the identities of the killers but would not reveal any name out of fear.
Sources, meanwhile, said Firoz was not associated with any political party and was a friend of the deceased. He was the former manager of Badda’s Al Sami Hospital and had recently left the job to start his own business.
Swechchhasebak League General Secretary Pankaj Debnath, while visiting the DMCH to see bodies of the deceased yesterday, said no internal clash had been behind the murders.
Hinting at the BNP’s involvement in the murders, Pankaj said only a certain party could do such a heinous act at the time of National Mourning Day.
Deputy Commissioner of DMP (Gulshan Zone) SM Mostaque Ahmed Khan said the profiles of all of the deceased would be verified. Not only the shooters, but also the mastermind behind the murders would be arrested, he assured.
No case had been filed with Badda police station as of filing this report yesterday evening.
Tahsir Rahman Saikat, who was with the victims at the time of the shooting, said he was standing beside Swechchhasebak League leader Gama when three people approached them silently and shot at the leader.
Saikat said he dropped to the floor at the sound of the gunshot and later saw that Samsuddin Molla and Abdus Salam had been shot. He also saw Firoz being shot at while trying to flee from the attackers.
Maruf Ahmed Manik, who was also there at the time of the shooting, told the Dhaka Tribune that he was inside a nearby toilet when the shots were fired and could not see or identify the shooters.
Seeking anonymity, different sources also described to the Dhaka Tribune a similar chain of events taking place.
They said the attack took place soon after a meeting had taken place inside the operator room of Adarshanagar water pump, where local leaders discussed the distribution of money that had been extorted in the name of organising National Mourning Day programmes.
Several of the men present at the meeting left the scene soon after the meeting ended around 8:30pm, while the rest were sitting beside the room when the attack happened.
The shooters, all aged around 30 years, carried out the attack swiftly before fleeing the scene while firing shots in the air, the sources added.