In a gruesome incident in Burimari of Lalmonirhat's Patgram upazila, an angry mob beat a man to death and later burned the corpse to ashes after he reportedly hurt Muslims' religious sentiment on Thursday.
The grisly lynching, covered by both local and international media outlets, created a huge buzz at home and abroad and drew a huge criticism.
But what prompted the locals to kill the man? The Business Standard has tried to uncover the real story.
Who is Jewel?
The deceased was identified as Shahidunnabi Jewel, son of Abdul Wazed Miah of Shalban Mistripara of Rangpur Municipality area.
After completing his higher studies from Dhaka University, he started work at Rangpur Cantonment Public School and College as a librarian. He was subsequently terminated last year, which had an adverse impact on him.
What happened that day at the mosque?
The incident took place at the Central J'ame Mosque of Burimari Bazar. According to witnesses, Jewel said his prayers that day and tried to take a Holy Quran from a rack at the mosque.
Some religious books inadvertently fell down at his feet. He picked them up from the floor and promptly replaced them on the rack.
The incident triggered a brawl between him and the Muazzin of the mosque. The altercation gave locals the impression that Jewel had tried to disrespect the Holy Quran.
They stepped in to preserve the honour of the sacred book and confined two youths - Jewel and Sultan Jubaer – in a room of the nearby Burimari Union Parishad complex.
When informed, Patgram Upazila Parishad Chairman, Upazila Nirbahi Officer, Officer in-Charge of the local police station, along with other government officials, all arrived at the scene to avoid any untoward incidents.
In the meantime, a rumor quickly spread throughout the market and the surrounding villages that two youths had been apprehended for disrespecting the Holy Quran. At one stage, the angry mob broke into the Union Parishad complex and snatched Jewel. Later, they lynched him and set the body on fire on the Patgram-Burimari regional highway. They subsequently staged a protest on the highway, blocking it for several hours.
All efforts of law enforcement agencies to control the situation went in vain. At one stage, they opened fire on the mob, but this was also a futile attempt.
At least ten policemen, including Patgram OC Sumanta Kumar Mohant, were injured when demonstrators hurled brick chips.
Later, Lalmonirhat Deputy Commissioner, Abu Jafar and Superintendent of Police (SP) Abida Sultana, rushed to the spot with additional police force and brought the situation under control at around 11pm.
Probe body formed
A three-member probe body, headed by additional district magistrate, TMA Momin, has been formed to look into the brutal murder. They have been requested to submit their findings within three working days.
Meanwhile, Commanding Officer of Rangpur RAB forces, Reza Ferdous Ahmed, said they had launched a shadow investigation into the incident.
Patgram Police Station Officer-in-Charge, Sumant Kumar Mohant, said three cases have been filed over the incident.
No arrests have been made so far. Police are working to identify those involved in the incident, he added.
When contacted, Deputy Commissioner Abu Jafar said legal action will be taken upon submission of the probe report.