By rahnuma ahmed
The problem with Limon — from RAB’s point of view — is that he has lived to tell the tale. Usually, RAB’s victims don’t.
Take Rasal Ahmed Bhutto, for instance. A 34-year old shopkeeper, he was picked up by men in plainclothes outside a friend’s shop in Dhaka on March 3, 2011. A week later, men in vehicles, including ones marked RAB, brought Bhutto back to his neighbourhood. A volley of gunshots. Family members rushed out, they found him slumped against a wall. Dead.
RAB insists, there had been a shootout.
Or take Mohiuddin Arif, a? 32-year old surgery technician at Apollo Hospital, Dhaka. He was picked up from his home on January 24, 2010 by 3 plainclothes men who claimed to be officers from RAB-4. Arif died 10 days later, after having been transferred to police, after having been sent off to Dhaka Central Jail. When jail authorities informed his father that his son was dead, he rushed to the DMCH morgue. Arif’s legs were `smashed,’ `flattened.’ They had turned green. From repeated beatings? His skin had been scraped off from parts of his body. His feet were swollen, they looked as if they were falling apart.
According to police, Arif had been sacked from work on charges of corruption. Not true, say hospital authorities. According to police, Arif had taken part in a robbery. Not true. Arif’s time punch card shows he was on hospital duty when the alleged robbery took place.
Thirty-two thousand taka poorer — 16,000 allegedly to Pallabi police station in exchange for assurances that he wouldn’t be tortured, another 16,000 reportedly to a court clerk, CMM court, Dhaka in hopes of getting early bail — his family has decided not to file a case. What’s the use? I won’t get my son back, says his father (Human Rights Watch report, Crossfire, May 10, 2011).
Dead men don’t tell tales.
But there are other problems with Limon. I mean, `problems’ from RAB’s perspective.
His innocence shines through, there’s no denying that. Thick black hair, a steady, unwavering look. Sad, but with a tinge of indictment. Look at what you’ve done to me. How could you?
He comes from a humble background. His father, Tofazzel Hossain, a share-cropper cum day-labourer, left Saturia village (Rajapur upazilla, Jhalokathi district) this February in search of better work, better pay. He managed to find work in a wholesale fruit market in Savar EPZ, Dhaka.
A college student, Limon’s HSC finals were days away when the incident occurred. Bent on getting good grades, he’d been studying harder. He wanted to fulfill his mother’s dreams. To be educated, to make her proud of him. He worked in a neighbouring brick kiln, lowly work, menial work, which upper class kids in cities, heady with lifestyle concerns, the `d-juice’ generation, cannot imagine. Neither can their parents. Limon also tutored children, meagre earnings to supplement an unsteady household income.
Limon Protest from Shahidul Alam on Vimeo.
Continue reading “LIMON HOSSAIN: Shattered dreams, ruthlessness, and the govt's spinning factory”