Many suspect the elite force mistook Akramul for someone else during an anti-drug crackdown on Noakhaliparha neighbourhood in the wee hours of Sunday.
A former president of Teknaf Juba League, the 46-year old ruling politician had been elected ward councillor three times in a row.
He had served as president of Teknaf Bus Station Traders’ Association and convenor of Teknaf HiAce Microbus Workers’ Union.
In the media release issued on his death, the RAB wrote his father’s name as Mojahar Mia alias Abdus Sattar.
His address was given as Nazir Parha instead of his home at Kaiyukkhali.
The release said his name appeared on a Department of Narcotics Control list of ‘top drug dealers’.
Describing him as a ‘top yaba godfather’, the RAB also said Akramul had more than one cases against him at Teknaf Police Station under narcotics control law.
The elite police unit claimed the gunfight took place when drug traders opened fire on RAB personnel during a raid on Noakhalipara neighbourhood around 1:30am on Sunday.
Akramul’s bullet-hit body was found at the scene after the ‘gunfight’, RAB-7 Commander Lt Col Miftah Uddin Ahmed had told bdnews24.com.
The law enforcers also claimed to have seized 10,000 methamphetamine tablets or yaba, a pistol, a gun, six bullets and five bullet cases from the scene.
Akramul’s brother Ehsanul Haque Bahadur, however, told bdnews24.com some people in plainclothes posing as members of an intelligence agency took Akramul away around 9:30pm on Saturday, saying they wanted to speak to him over some land issues.
Ehsanul said they later came to know about the death of Akramul in the ‘gunfight’.
Citing the anomalies in the RAB media release, he said their father Sattar had no aliases and there was no area by the name of Nazir Parha in Teknaf Municipality.
He said the sons of one Mojahar Mia at Nazir Parha under Teknaf Sadar Union Parishad were accused of trading yaba.
Ehsanul suspected the RAB killed his brother on wrong information.
Akramul’s wife Ayesha Khatun insisted he had never been involved in yaba trade.
Teknaf Police Station OC Ranjit Kumar Barua said Akramul had two cases against him – one over a clash and the other over narcotics.
“The case over clash has been settled in court. And the final report on the drugs case has also been submitted to the court. It said no involvement of Akramul in drug business was found,” he said.
bdnews24.com could not reach any RAB official for comments on the suspicion of Akramul’s family, the anomalies in the media release, and the cases against him.
Leaders and activists of the ruling party and its affiliates Juba League and Bangladesh Chhatra League, and locals in Teknaf have protested on the social media against the murder of Akramul.
Mahabubur Rahman, the acting mayor of Cox’s Bazar Municipality and Organising Secretary of the Awami League’s Cox’s Bazar district unit, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Facebook where he demanded investigation into the death of Akramul.
Teknaf Upazila Awami League General Secretary Md Nurul Bashar told bdnews24.com Akramul could not even complete construction of his home in two decades due to a lack of funds.
“He struggled to pay his children’s tuition fees every month. It’s ridiculous to tag him as a yaba trader,” Bashar said.
Teknaf Awami League President and former MP Mohammad Ali said, “There must have been some mistake. The law enforcers must clear the issue.”
Cox’s Bazar Additional Superintendent of Police skirted a direct reply when asked whether Akramul’s name was indeed on a DNC list of yaba traders.
“Police, RAB and other law-enforcing agencies are conducting the crackdown based on lists made by the home ministry and the Department of Narcotics Control…The operations are launched only after we get correct information and evidence against the listed people,” he said.
He also said police took maximum precaution so that no one gets harmed in the anti-drug purge due to wrong information.
At least 92 people have been killed in such operations across Bangladesh, including four in Cox’s Bazar, since May 18 after Hasina declared the war on drugs.
Most of the suspects were killed in so-called gunfight with the law enforcers while some were killed in firefight among between themselves, the security agencies claim.