Family members of a fisherman, who has been missing since the trawler he had boarded from Chattogram's Patenga Ghat for deep sea returned ashore over two weeks ago, have been denied filing a general diary with police.
Azizul Haque (48) left on a fishing trawler along with his seven other colleagues on October 10, said his family members. However, before the countrywide fishing ban started, the boat came back from sea on October 13 but the fisherman did not return, they alleged.
When the family members queried about him, the boat owner and the "majhi" (captain) refused to talk to them, said they added.
Azizul's son Emran Aziz told The Daily Star, "I last spoke to my father on October 11 night, when he told me his health condition was not well and said the majhi of the boat, Ariful Islam, did not cooperate with him despite his ailments."
"Five minutes later, I found my father's phone switched off and since then he has remained missing," said Emran, a security guard by profession.
"We waited for my father's return after the boat came back, but failing to get him, we stated to look for his co-workers and traced a colleague of his, a teenage boy, who said my father died on the boat and boatmen dumped his body into deep sea," said Emran.
Mahmudul Haque, Azizul's younger brother, said, "We contacted boat owner Mamtaj about the incident on October 20, but he asked us to go to police."
"The boy (who was on the boat) told us that my brother's body was dumped into the sea tied with bricks; we have his statement on video," said Mahmudul.
"After talking to him, we went to Patenga Police Station to file a missing person diary, but police said it is out of their jurisdiction."
Emran said, "My father's last location was in Patenga. But Patenga police did not help us."
Contacted, Officer-in-Charge Jobayer Sayed of Patenga Police Station said, "The 14-year old who witnessed the incident told police that the body was dumped to Shangu river channel of the sea which is in Banshkhali, after Aziz died suddenly on the boat."
"We asked them to go to Banshkhali Police Station along with the witness to lodge a complaint there," said the OC.
Several mid-level police officials told this newspaper on condition of anonymity that a general diary should be recorded in such a case with the police station concerned of the missing person's last known whereabouts.
Contacted yesterday, boat owner Mamtaj said majhi Ariful, who he had rented out the trawler to, has gone into hiding after stealing some items from the boat.
"Ariful's phone is switched off since the boat came back. I have filed a complaint with Patenga police against him, mentioning that some items are missing from my trawler," he told this correspondent.
The missing fisher's brother-in-law Abdul Kader and son told this newspaper yesterday that they are preparing to file a case with the court as they are not sure what Banshkhali police will tell them once they go there to lodge a GD.
"They may end up saying that part of the sea is out of their jurisdiction as well," said Emran.