Killing of ex-Army Major Sinha: Three youths caught up in accusations | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 06, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:23 AM, August 06, 2020

Killing of ex-Army Major Sinha: Three youths caught up in accusations

Just before heading to Cox's Bazar a month ago, Shipra Debnath, a student of Stamford University in Dhaka, told her brother Suvojit Debnath: "I will direct a documentary."

However, this aspiring young filmmaker's dreams were shattered on July 31 after Teknaf police shot dead an ex-army major Sinha Mohammad Rashed Khan, who was producer of their travel documentary.

All three crew members -- Shipra, Shahedul Islam Sifat and Tahsin Rifat Nur -- students of Stamford University's Film and Media Studies department -- are aspiring filmmakers, said their family members, teachers and friends.

Shipra and Sifat, third-year students, are in jail now. Police handed over Rifat, a final-year student, to his guardians' custody.

The three students and Sinha were staying at Nilima Resort in Himchhari area of ​​Marine Drive Road to film the documentary.

Ramu Police arrested Shipra from the resort in a narcotics case on early August 1, claiming they recovered bottles of liquor from her room.

Her terrified family said the allegations against Shipra are untrue and fabricated.

Shipra's brother Suvojit believes her sister is a victim of police action. "They tried to create a plot in which they can cover up their misdeeds and select the most-known technique, involving drugs," Suvojit said.

The brother added that he was able to talk to Shipra after police picked her up from the resort on that night. Till then, she had no idea what was happening as police did not inform them.

Later, police released Rifat, but arrested Shipra in a narcotics case.

Suvojit said his parents are now sick and living at their village home.

Another arrestee Sifat was arrested in two cases -- one on murder charges of his co-worker Sinha and the other for narcotics.

His uncle Masum Billah termed the cases fictional.

"Police wrote in the FIR that ex-major Sinha was killed by their guns and bullets. But they charged Sifat under section 302. It is self-contradictory," Masum said.

Masum told this correspondent that he was able to talk to Sifat after the incident.

"Sifat informed me over phone that they were carrying camera, tripod, hard disk, laptop, … Police are providing no information about the seized items."

"However, police in the case statement mentioned that they recovered 250 grammes of cannabis and 50 yaba pills. The digits of the recovered items itself show that it is fictional," he claimed.

Masum, who is now in Cox's Bazar, alleged that police are not helping them with any information.

Hailing from Barguna, Sifat had been living at Masum's place in Dhaka.

Advocate ZI Khan Panna, chairman of Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK), which is offering legal assistance to the accused students, told The Daily Star, "The families are not even being able to protest publicly for their release because the state is involved here."

The rights organisation in a statement yesterday called on authorities to not harass the young students. 

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