The recently-observed Eid-ul-Adha has apparently wiped away normalcy from two remote villages in Cox's Bazar as developments following Major (Retd) Sinha Md Rashed Khan's killing have stirred their usually staid lives.
A large number of males of the two villages – Marisbunia and Shamlapur – have fled from their neighborhoods to avoid police harassment that came down on them as they talked to the media.
Those who are still in the villages have expressed their concern for their security with the home ministry investigation committee organising a public hearing to be held on August 16. They shared that they doubt individuals will share statements against the police at the public hearing.
After shooting a travel documentary at Marisbunia, Sinha on July 31 headed for Cox's Bazar. He was shot dead at Shamlapur checkpoint on Marine Drive by police.
Later, a number of Shamlapur villagers spoke up against police to the local press claiming the shoot-out was a murder. Subsequently, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested three persons from Marisbunia for their alleged involvement in the killing.
Wishing not to be named, a Shamlapur union member told The Business Standard, "They left these areas amid fear of being framed or ending up into trouble."
Shamlapur Baitun Nur Jame Masjid Muezzin Mohammad Amin, Imam Hafez Shahidul Islam and CNG-autorickshaw driver Kalam talked to the media over the police firing.
The imam said the muezzin went missing after Eid while plain-clothes police have already threatened him. The autorickshaw driver also said police raided his residence and assaulted him.
The muezzin's wife said police have come to the house four times since the incident. Police threatened the wife that if she fails to find her husband, there will be problems. They also video recorded questing the wife.
The mosque is adjacent to the checkpoint and previously the imam said they were on the rooftop after night prayers when the firing took place.
Imam Shahidul told the media that Police Inspector Liakat Ali had opened fire on the retired army officer who stepped out of his car putting his hands up.
"They [police] also visited me and said not to talk to the press further. They said I should concentrate on prayers instead of telling people what I saw on that night," the imam told The Business Standard.
In the meantime, autorickshaw driver Kalam, who claimed he had witnessed the incident, alleged that Teknaf police broke into his house last Monday and assaulted him.
Kalam said, "Police wanted to know what I said to the journalists. I replied that I told the media exactly what I saw on that night."
According to the allegations, Sub-Inspector Arun Kumar Chakma of Teknaf Police Station visited each of the three witnesses or their families.
However, he was unavailable for any comment. While contacted, Cox's Bazar Superintendent of Police ABM Masud Hossain also declined to make any comment in this regard.