Dead wife of Bangladesh police officer feared for family’s security, says neighbour

The murdered wife of a Bangladesh police officer, who conducted several raids against militants, had worried over her family’s security, a neighbour has said.

Uttam Sen Gupta Chittagong Bureaubdnews24.com
Published : 5 June 2016, 09:22 AM
Updated : 7 June 2016, 04:52 PM

Mahmuda Aktar, she said, used to say the family was considering moving from its apartment in Chittagong city.

She was married to Superintendent of Police Babul Aktar, who is now posted at police headquarters in Dhaka.

Her husband had led several raids on militant hideouts and investigated several terror-related cases as additional deputy commissioner with the Detective Branch in Chittagong.

On Sunday morning, three men on a motorcycle stabbed Mahmuda before shooting her in the head while she was on her way to drop off her son at a bus stop for school.

Mahmuda used to take her daughter to a nearby nursery school while her son, escorted by a police constable, would catch the school bus, said constable Saddam Hossain.

But when no one came to take the boy to the bus stop on Sunday morning, Mahmuda went along with him, leaving her daughter in the care of a house help, he said.

The pattern of the killing in the port city — assailants on a motorcycle armed with sharp weapons and guns — resembles the murders in the last two years, for which police have blamed Islamist radicals.

A Rajshahi University teacher, a Hindu tailor in Tangail and Hindu priest in Panchagarh were killed in a similar way earlier this year.

There were three assailants each time in last year’s killings of a policeman in Ashulia and the attempted murder of an Italian priest in Dinajpur.

Police have found the involvement of the banned outfit Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) in some of these killings and arrested some of its operatives.

In the last two years, officer Babul Aktar played a key role in nabbing top militants and busting their hideouts in the southern coastal district.

His investigations led to the busting of a hideout of the JMB and the arrest of its military wing chief Md Javed in October last year.

He was promoted in April this year and was transferred to headquarters in Dhaka, but his family continued to live in Chittagong.

His wife lived in an apartment with their 6-year-old son, 4-year-old daughter and a house help at a 15-storey building in the port city’s OR Nizam Road.

One of her neighbours told bdnews24.com that for the last few days Mahmuda had expressed concerns over her family’s security.

“She mentioned it quite a few times recently. A few days ago she said, ‘Everyone knows this address. We need to move from this place’,” said neighbour Sharmin Aktar (no relation to the victim’s family).

As the daughter of a policeman and the wife of another, Mahmuda was well aware of the risks.

Her father Mosharraf Hossain retired as a police inspector. Babul Aktar’s father also served in the police.

“Since Babul Aktar was in counter-terrorism, we suspect that militants are behind the murder of his wife,” detective branch Deputy Commissioner Moktar Ahmed told bdnews24.com.

Speaking to the media, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal echoed his claim and said the authorities were ratcheting up security measures for families of police officers.

Meanwhile, a helicopter carried Babul Aktar to Dampara Police Line at Chittagong.

From there he went to Chittagong Medical College Hospital, where his wife’s body was being kept.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher