A year after Xulhaz, Tonoy murders, police say charges not anytime soon

Police have failed to complete their investigation a year after the murder of LGBT activists Xulhaz Mannan and Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy.

Golam Mujtaba Dhrubabdnews24.com
Published : 25 April 2017, 03:59 PM
Updated : 25 April 2017, 05:39 PM

The charge sheet “cannot be submitted anytime soon”, said Rajib Al Masud, the Detective Branch additional deputy commissioner who has been supervising the case, on Tuesday.

“We are quite sure who did it. We’ll try until the end to make the arrests, and then submit the charges.”

Xulhaz Mannan, a programme officer with the USAID, used to edit Bangladesh’s first LGBT magazine ‘Roopbaan’.

A year ago, he was hacked to death by suspected militants inside his apartment at Dhaka’s Kalabagan along with his friend and theatre activist Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy.

The murder that came amid a series of militant-linked assassinations of secular activists and religious minorities was claimed by the Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS).

Xulhaz’s older brother Minhaz Mannan told bdnews24.com that there was no momentum in police’s investigation.

“The investigation’s result is a massive zero. No one is interested and there is no progress. There was some discussion when it happened. But afterwards, no one cared.

“The police made contact on the day of his murder. They made no further contact in this entire year. We are very disappointed with this investigation.

“Our mother is ok was in the house when my young brother was killed. She is now 78 or 79. She forgets things," Minhaz added.

“We could not tell her what happened to Xulhaz. When she asks about him we say he is at the office or on a foreign trip.”

The five killers who posed as delivery men to enter his apartment building shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ as they hacked Xulhaz and Tonoy to death, according to security guard Parvez Molla who was injured after following the killers upstairs.

A CCTV from a nearby building caught the killers running away as people watched on the street.  SI Momtaz, who was patrolling the area, managed to snatch away a bagpack from one of them.

A pistol, a locally made firearm, bullets and a mobile phone was found inside.

The two cases filed with Kolabagan police over the murder keep to the arrest of two suspects, who have since testified under Section-164.

But the investigator has failed to submit charges despite 12 extensions granted by the court.

The next deadline was on May 8 but the charge sheet will not be ready by then, said ADC Rajib Al Masud.

Activists under the banner of 'Free Thinkers Movement BD' have joined a demonstration to commemorate the victims at Dhaka's Shahbagh. They lit candles to demand justice for the slain LGBT activists and other victims of religious extremism. 

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
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