Police have been accused of vandalizing and setting fire to the houses of BNP and Jubo Dal leaders in the name of arresting the accused. On Sunday night, police raided and vandalized the houses of Shawkat Hossain, ward no. 3 secretary of BNP from Bhayana city area Magura, Jubodal leader Utpol Kazi and Jubodal activist Shobuj Sheikh, looting valuables, money and gold in the process. Family members of those affected have complained as such to reporters. All of them have been charged with vandalizing vehicles and arson attacks carried out during blockade program of 20 party alliance at Magura.
Feroza Begum, wife of Shawkat Hossain, complained to reporters that on Sunday at around 12 pm midnight, 25-30 police woke them up and raided their house, smashing furniture and valuables on the pretext of searching for Shawkat. Feroza Begum further said that police come several times before in search of Shawkat. But they had never acted like this before. Jubodal leader Utpol Kazi’s sister Snigdha and his sister – in – law Bonna informed reporters that Utpol had been living in a house in Dhaka with his family for the last couple of days. Police had raided the house on Sunday night and had vandalized valuables like the television, fridge and furniture. At the time there was nobody in the house. Witnessing the devastation wrought by the security forces, his sister and sister- in- law, who were living next door, were afraid to come in front of police.
Hasina Khatun, mother of BNP supporter Shobuj Sheikh of the same village burst into tears when she informed reporters that police, after raiding their house on Sunday night, vandalized the refrigerator, TV, furniture and dishes, leaving with cash and gold which she had kept in the house in preparation for her daughter’s wedding. Shobuj’s wife Priya Khatun said, “The things I brought from my father’s house have been vandalized by police. After they went away, I could not find the cash I had kept in the house. During the raid, no man was present at the time in the house.”
Terrified of police vandalism, and wary of being arrested themselves, female members of households were forced to take refuge elsewhere. As a result there was no one present in the house during police search, giving police free reign to misappropriate personal belongings.
On the other hand, Shamsunnahar, the wife of the district BNP secretary Ali Ahmed Biswas, emotionally recollected how they were unable to forget the horrors of Saturday night. She said, “On Saturday morning a police team arrived with in several micro buses and police cars in search of my husband. When I informed them that he was not present at the house, they asked me to leave the house, taking with me any copies of Quran that were present in our house. I did as I was told, bringing out with me the copy of the Quran which which we had inside. After some time, the police came out of the house and gave me the rosary beads and toupi (prayer cap) as well. Then they poured petrol to our mattresses and living room accessories, set them on fire and left.”
Later, the neighbors came forward to put the fire out.
However, Magura police super Shudarshan Kumar Roy denied any such accusations, saying that the allegations against his department were untrue. He said that an operation to arrest the accused named in various blockade related vandalism complaint cases was underway. The enraged relatives of the accused were the ones carrying out propaganda against the police.