N’ganj seven-murder case
Rozina Islam | Dec 21, 2014
India is ready to send Nur Hossain, the main accused in the Narayanganj seven-murder case, back to Bangladesh. The Indian external affairs ministry stated this in a letter last week. They wanted to know where and when they could hand over Nur Hossain.
The Bangladesh government has begun preparing to take Nur Hossain back, after receiving this letter. A letter has been sent to the police headquarters regarding necessary measures to take Nur Hossain back at a specified time and place. The home ministry has told the police headquarters to take BGB’s help in this regard if required. Home ministry sources have confirmed that he will be brought back next week or any day this month.
State minister for home affairs Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal and senior secretary of the home ministry Mozammel Huq Khan have confirmed the receipt of the letter. The state minister for home told Prothom Alo, “We kept up communication with India all along regarding Nur Hossain, to bring him back for trial. It was a part of this effort that India has now sent the letter stating that they were prepared to hand him over. We expect the matter to be settled within seven days.”
The home secretary said, “The Indian government has stated they will be able to hand over Nur Hossain any time. The police headquarters has been instructed to take necessary cautionary measures.”
At the 4 September Bangladesh-India joint working group meeting held in Dhaka, Bangladesh urged India to return Nur Hossain who was imprisoned in Kolkata. India assured Bangladesh that it would return Nur Hossain and all suspected criminals who had fled to India.
Nur Hossain fled to India after the 27 April seven-murder incident in Narayanganj. On 14 June Nur Hossain was arrested in Kolkata by the law enforcers there. So far 17 persons have given confessional statements in court, under Section 164, regarding the seven murders. Of them, 15 are members of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). However, even over the eight months that have lapsed, the police have been unable to submit any charge sheet.
Narayanganj police super Mahid Uddin yesterday told Prothom Alo, “We hope to submit the charge sheet once Nur Hossain is brought back.” He said he was aware of the Indian government’s letter.
In the meantime, the Narayanganj seven-murder case has been making no progress as Nur Hossain hadn’t been brought back to the country, The administration-related committee, formed on orders of the Supreme Court, hasn’t been able to submit its report as yet. A member of the committee said that it was not possible to prepare the full report without Nur Hossain’s statement. That is why the government wants to bring Nur Hossain back as soon as possible. RAB, in its own investigations, has brought charges of involvement against 21 officers.
When asked under what process Nur Hossain would be sent back, the home ministry officials said that the letter made no mention of this. On 7 October last year, the cabinet had approved of the proposed extradition treaty which provided scope for exchange of under-trial or convicted criminals. Bangladesh and India would be able to exchange prisoners under this agreement. Previously in 2011, the transfer of prisoners (TSP) agreement was signed. So far no such exchanges have taken place under these agreements.
According to the TSP agreement, any Bangladeshi person sentenced in India could be brought back to Bangladesh to serve the sentence. Under the extradition treaty, persons under trial in a criminal case or convicted persons could be exchanged.
Such persons can also be sent back under by pushback and also under the Commonwealth Harare scheme.
Diplomatic sources say, however, this matter is being settled by a political decision through the home ministries of the two countries.
Other sources in the home ministry say that once Nur Hossain is handed over, the process to hand over Anup Chetia, leader of Assam’s insurgent group ULFA, will begin. India is willing to take him back. Bangladesh will also take back other criminals hiding in India.
The home secretary has said that Nur Hossain and Anup Chetia are not being exchanged for each other. These two issues are completely separate. Anup Chetia has served his sentence. And Nur Hossain’s matter is still under trial.