The Rapid Action Battalion has arrested four detainees linked to the Jubo Dal on charges of setting a bus on fire in the Kalshi area of Mirpur. The elite force says that they were committing arson and vandalism for money at the instruction of the BNP affiliate’s leaders.
Commander Khandaker Al Moin, director of RAB's Law and Media wing, said on Tuesday that after torching the vehicles, they divided up the payout among their groups. They also took videos of the arson attacks and sent them to local Jubo Dal leaders, he said.
The four arrestees are Al Mohammad Chan, 27, Md Sagar, 25, Md Al Amin Rubel, 29, and Md Khorshed Alam, 34.
They were arrested in the Mirpur area, Al Moin said at a briefing at the RAB Media Centre on Tuesday.
The BNP and other opposition parties have been staging hartals and transport blockades since Oct 28 to demand elections under a non-partisan government. Since then, there are incidents have been reports of arson attacks on vehicles across the country.
RAB official Al Moin said that on Nov 18, around 11:30 pm, the arrestees set fire to a Basumati Paribahan bus on Kalshi road. The four are associated with the local Jubo Dal, but do not hold official positions in the BNP’s youth wing.
Plans were made to set buses ablaze in areas around Mirpur and Pallabi, RAB Commander Al Moin said.
Chan, Sagar, and Rubel searched for vehicles to torch in the Mirpur-11, Taltala Navana, Kalshi Road and Ceramic Road areas at night, he said.
"Chan took petrol from a friend's motorcycle and gave it to Al Amin on the day of the incident. Then Al Amin and Sagar escaped after pouring petrol onto the Basumati Paribahan bus parked next to the mosque on Kalshi Road. Chan monitored the situation from the side of the road.”
In the press conference, Al Moin said, "Khorshed was asked to send the videos of the incident so that no one else could take credit after taking pictures of the attack and sending them to the top leaders. They were supposed to get Tk 20,000 for setting the fire, but they got Tk 10,000. Of this, he gave Sagar and Al Amin Tk 7,000 and kept the rest himself."
The RAB says Chan is accused in multiple drug-related cases at Pallabi Police Station. He allegedly recorded videos of himself engaging in sabotage and violence to improve his standing in the party.