New Delhi: The death of five brothers from a Hindu family in an alleged accident near the Cox’s Bazar city of Bangladesh last week has taken a murkier turn with the family calling it a “premeditated murder”. The family said they had been threatened before because they planned to build a temple in their village.
Local authorities, however, said it was “reckless” driving by a pick-up van driver that caused the fatal accident in Chakaraia locality on the foggy morning of February 8. The accused was later arrested from Dhaka.
Quoting the Rapid Action Battalion or RAB, the anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police, a report in BDnews24.com said accused Shahidul Islam alias Saiful, 22, was recklessly driving his pick-up van to deliver vegetables from Chakaria to Cox’s Bazar, and he did not notice the family of 5 due to low visibility amid fog.
The deceased were identified as Anupam Sushil (46), Nirupam Sushil (40), Dipak Sushil (35), Champak Sushil (30), and Swaran Sushil (24). Roktim Sushil, another brother, and sister Hira Sushil sustained injuries in the accident. Roktim’s condition is stated to be critical.
According to the news report, these siblings had recently lost their father. On February 8, these seven, along with another sister (Munni Sushil) and brother (Plaban Sushil), were returning to their house in Hasinapara village after performing a ritual at the local crematorium for their father.
Saiful’s speeding van hit them near Malumghat Bazar Nursery when they were waiting to cross the Chattogram-Cox’s Bazar Highway. The report said the vehicle got dragged around 100 feet ahead even after the driver applied the brakes as it was running at a speed of around 65-70 km.
Saiful has reportedly admitted to his involvement in the incident, and the keys of the vehicle were recovered from him. Two others travelling with him are at large.
‘A Premeditated Murder’
While the RAB said Saiful claimed he did not know the victims, the family has alleged that it was a planned murder.
“It’s a premeditated murder. If not, why did the vehicle crush my brothers who were away from the road instead of killing the two of us who were standing on the road?” The Daily Star quoted Munni Sushil as saying.
“My six brothers and one sister were about two arms’ length away from the road… My other brother and I were on the street. Instead of hitting us, the pickup van targeted and crushed my brothers. The vehicle then came back and crushed my injured sister…,” she said.
Munni said they had been threatened before, because the family wanted to build a small temple in Hasinapara.
“On January 29, 40-50 miscreants attacked our house. They threatened to kill my father. The next day, January 30, my father died of a heart attack,” she said.
Munni said her father had been arranging Durga Puja in the locality for the last 10 years.
She said it was in the second week of January that her brother Dipak Sushil, who lived abroad and was visiting the family, had taken the initiative to build the temple.
“Since then, my father had been receiving threats,” Munni told The Daily Star.
The five brothers are survived by their mother, wives and children. Deceased Champak Sushil’s daughter is just a month old, the report quoted Mrinalini Sushil, their mother, as saying.
Around 30-35 Hindu families reside in Hasinapara, and the Sushil family has been living in the village since 2010, according to the report.