Bangladesh’s controversial force back PM’s adviser’s claim

Limon Hossain lying on a hospital bed in Jhalakati under police watch.

THE media wing of elite force Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) on Monday appeared with a new version linking the whole family of college student Limon Hossain with a local criminal gang in a stark contrast with the force’s chief’s statement.

According to the new claim, which was first revealed by the prime minister’s defence adviser Maj Gen (retd) Tarique Ahmed Siddique on Thursday, the Rab said Limon was shot during an encounter with the elite force and all his family members are associated with local criminal gang of Morshed Bahini.

“We have all the evidence regarding their (Limon and his family) involvement and will fight this case in the court of justice,” Rab Media and Legal Wing Director M Sohail said at a press briefing at Rab headquarters at Uttara in the city.

Sohail claimed they had received reports of four out of five investigation committees formed to investigate shooting of Limon.

The reports showed that Limon, a first year student of Kathalia PGS College in Jhalakati, is a member of Morshed Bahini and received the bullet wound in an encounter. The Rab personnel on the day did not shoot Limon in the leg point blank, he claimed.

The reports on Limon incident published in a top newspaper of the country are false, Sohail said, adding that the Jhalakati correspondent of the newspaper had exaggerated the incident.

According to several written statements issued by the law enforcement body after the March 23 incident, Limon was an armed criminal who received bullet in his leg during a ‘shootout’ between Rab and his cohorts at Chhaturia village in Rajapur.

However, on April 11, Rab Director General Mokhlesur Rahman admitted that Limon Hossain is not a notorious criminal.

He said the college student is rather a victim of a ‘shootout’ between Rab and criminals.

On Thursday, the PM’s Defence Adviser Tarique Ahmed echoed Rab’s statement made during Monday’s press briefing.

Home Minister Sahara Khatun on Sunday defended Tarique Ahmed, saying his remark on Limon is a government statement.

“His [Tarique’s] comment must be a government statement as it was made surely following a government decision,” she told reporters at her secretariat office.

Talking on the PM’s adviser’s statement on Monday, Saohail said Tarique’s remark on Limon was on the basis of the reports submitted to the PM.

Rab Director General Mokhlesur Rahman was present at the press briefing.

A Rab team shot and injured Limon on March 23, drawing a lot of flak at home and abroad. Later, the 16-year-old’s left leg had to be amputated.

The elite force also filed two cases — for possessing illegal firearms and obstructing law enforcers from carrying out their duties and attempted murder — accusing the boy.

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