Police have arrested five students of Dhaka College in connection with the beating and hacking of delivery man Nahid Mia to death during clashes between students and shopkeepers in Dhaka's New Market area on 19 April.
A Dhaka court on Thursday placed each of the students on a 2-day remand.
The students are Md Abdul Kaiyum, 24, (4th year), Palash Mia, 24, (final year), Mahmood Irfan, 24, (4th year), Junaid Bugdadi, 19, (first year) and Foysal Islam, 24.
But the main accused of the gruesome murder, Emon Basar, is still on the run.
AKM Hafeez Akhter, additional commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP, Detective Branch), briefed journalists about the arrest.
"They were arrested from different places of the capital," said the police official, adding the law enforcers would interrogate the arrestees about who provided them with the arms and who had instigated them.
On the night of 18 April, deadly clashes erupted between Dhaka College students and New Market traders, which spilled over into the next day, leaving Nahid and shopkeeper Morsalin dead, and at least 50 injured.
Five cases, including two murder cases, were lodged so far. Police arrested local BNP leader Makbul Hossain in one of the cases.
Hush-hush about political affiliation
Students involved in the ruling party's student wing Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) Dhaka College chapter said although the arrestees did not hold any positions, they were activists of the affiliate of the ruling party.
The arrested students are followers of incumbent central BCL committee leader Samad Azad Zulfiqar and former member of the BCL central committee Jasimuddin, as confirmed by sources.
But police did not confirm such political identity during Thursday's media briefing. Earlier on Wednesday, detectives said they were not supposed to be looking into the political affiliations of the suspects.
"Currently there is no Chhatra League committee there [Dhaka College]. Those who ran amok wearing helmets are terrorists and they will be brought to the book," said DMP Joint Commissioner Mahbub Alam.
But media reports quoting witnesses and referring to video analyses confirmed that the assailants responsible for Nahid's death are leaders and activists of Dhaka College Chhatra League unit.
A BCL leader requesting anonymity told The Business Standard that there were two Chhatra League committees in the college in the past one decade. The first committee was dissolved after a student died in a clash. The second convening committee was abolished in 2016 following another clash, leaving the student wing of the ruling party in the college in several factions.
They were in disguise
Detectives say the suspects were identified after at least 45 videos and closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera footage were analysed. Police found some of the suspects had shaved their heads to change their appearance, while others were roaming around impersonating vagabonds.
The suspects, however, could not provide police with any lead on the whereabouts of the main accused Emon.
"Initially the killings did not appear to have been pre-planned. Rather the killing could have taken place due to the escalating tension during the clashes," said Hafeez Akhter.
The detective branch official said there were numerous bruises on Nahid's body. Besides, he had wounds on the head, shoulders and legs.
He said detectives are working on the Morsalin murder case, adding that the investigation might take some time.