Shamim Billah had a reputation in his village. He got a scholarship in the eighth grade and secured A+ in both his secondary and higher school certificate examinations.
His father dreamt of his son becoming an engineer. Today, Shamim stands near the gallows. Politics has destroyed everything, his father says.
Shamim's father Aminur Rahman, a truck driver from Khanpur village in Bhurulia union of Shyamnagar upazila of Satkhira, said he often repeated that his family did not engage in politics.
When his son decided to do so, the dream of a lifetime was over.
Shamim Billah is one of the 20 convicts sentenced to death in Abrar Fahad murder case. He is the 14th accused in the case.
His father Aminur had worked hard to get his son into the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet). For the past four years, he had been driving a truck on a commission basis, earning around Tk1,100 a month.
When his son was admitted to Buet, Aminur was sure that fortune had finally smiled upon them. But the scourge of student politics had taken everything away.
Shamim was a student of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering in the 17th batch in his second year of BUET.
He lived in room 2004 of the Sher-e-Bangla Residential Hall. He was the boy in the helmet in the videos of the incident.
His father recalled buying him a motorcycle with his hard earned money. He had just bought the motorcycle, after paying the first installment. His father claimed that when Shamim reached the hall after making his purchase, his seniors called him away. They asked him to bring cigarettes and water. Aminur maintained that his son had nothing to do with Abrar's murder.
Shamim told me he did not kill Abrar, Aminur said.
"I told my son many times that we poor people should not get involved in any politics," Aminur said.
"Maybe my son did not kill Abrar but he was still caught up in the murder. What do I do now? My family is devastated. I dreamt of my boy becoming an engineer. I spent all my money on my children," he said.
Asked if he would appeal, Aminur said he was a poor man. "If I can raise the money, then I will appeal."
His father still remembers his son getting the Golden A Plus in his SSC exams in 2015. After this, Shamim was enrolled at Saint Joseph's College in Dhaka, where he went on to secure another Golden A Plus.
"I have already married off my daughter. And now I have no other desire left in life. I can no longer cry, I am all out of tears," he said.
Shamim Billah fled after the murder of Abrar on October 6, 2019. Then on October 21, 2019, he was arrested from his home area in Satkhira and taken to Dhaka by members of the law enforcement agencies.
The court on Wednesday (November 8) sentenced 20 accused, including Shamim, to death for their involvement in Abrar's murder.
Bhurulia Union Parishad Chairman Farooq Hussain said Shamim was talented and a gentleman. Due to his education, he had a good reputation in the area.
He said the family were Awami League supporters. "I have heard that the death sentence has been passed. The family is now helpless. We also can't believe how the quiet boy got involved in such an incident," he said.
Shyamnagar Police Station Officer-in-Charge (OC) Kazi Wahid Morshed said that only meritorious students got admission in Buet. Shamim also got a chance in the merit list. "I have never received any complaints about him since I joined," he said.