Bangladeshi-origin Briton, son’s deaths in Sylhet leave Cardiff in shock

Relatives have flown out to Sylhet to try to establish the circumstances of their deaths

Published : 28 July 2022, 03:29 PM
Updated : 28 July 2022, 03:29 PM

The death of a British father and his teenage son in an apparent poisoning in their country of origin, Bangladesh, has left the residents of Cardiff in shock, the Guardian has reported.

Relatives have flown out to try to establish the circumstances of their deaths after five members of the UK-based Bangladeshi family were found unconscious at a house in Sylhet’s Osmani Nagar on Tuesday.

Rafiqul Islam, 51, a taxi driver from Cardiff, and his son, 18-year-old Mahiqul Islam, died on the way to the hospital.

Rafiqul’s wife Hosne Ara Islam, 40, their daughter Samira Islam, 19, and son Sadikul Islam, 21, were currently under treatment at Sylhet’s MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital.

Rafiqul’s in-laws lived in a flat next to the one his family rented. Police took Raiqul’s father-in-law Anfor Ali, mother-in-law Badrunnesa, brother-in-law Delwar Hossain and Delwar’s wife Shova Begum for questioning, but said they did not find anything significant.

There was shock and disbelief in the Riverside area of Cardiff, where the family lived. They were on a two-month holiday visiting relatives in Bangladesh and renting a flat in the eastern city of Sylhet.

“It’s very terrible. I’ve known the family for many years. Riverside is the hub of the Bangladeshi community in Cardiff and they were very well liked there. It’s very tragic, hard to take in,” the Guardian quoted Muhibur Islam, an official at the Jalalia Mosque & Islamic Education Centre in Cardiff, as saying.

“The circumstances are not clear. We’re praying that those who have survived will pull through.” He said Rafiqul’s mother and two siblings had flown to Bangladesh. “We’re praying for them all.”

One of their neighbours, who asked not to be named, told the Guardian: “It is so shocking. We’ve been living near them for more than 25 years. They are a quiet family who do their own thing. They were just a nice, neat family.”

A Labour councillor for Riverside, Kanaya Singh, said: “Clearly this is a worrying and tragic event. Everyone I have spoken to in the community speaks very highly of the family and our thoughts are with them.

“There is also a great deal of concern because many people from Riverside go to Bangladesh on a regular basis. I hope that the authorities are able to get to the bottom of this as quickly as possible.”

Rafiqul Islam’s brother-in-law, Abdul Mumin Khan, described him as a “very nice guy” and his son as “very sweet and friendly”, according to the report.

Mohammed Haroon, general secretary of the Bangladesh Association Cardiff, who used to work with Rafiqul, said: “He was a very nice person, very helpful person who was at the mosque all the time and constantly working with the community.” Haroon said that Rafiqul was a member of their local badminton and football teams.

The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson said: “We are providing consular assistance to a British family following an incident in Bangladesh and are in contact with the local authorities.”

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher