Four-year-old Tahsin Tuba plays with a doll that her mother had given her just two weeks ago. Minutes later, she puts the doll away and starts watching cartoons.
She laughs. Then, all of a sudden, she begins to cry.
“Mother is very bad. She does not bring chocolates, clothes or dolls for me anymore, “ Tuba says in between sobs.
“Call mother and tell her to come soon,” she says. Her mother Taslima Begum Renu, though, is never coming back.
Taslima, 40, was killed by a mob in the capital’s Badda on Saturday. They apparently suspected her of being a child kidnapper when Taslima went to Uttar-Purba Badda Government Primary School in hopes of getting Tuba admitted there.
As for Tuba, the child is still too young to fully comprehend what death is. Whenever she asks her relatives about her mother, they busy her with toys, many of which they have newly-bought for her or take her in their laps.
But the minute she stops being distracted by toys or cartoons, she cries inconsolably.
“Tuba gets very angry nowadays. This was not the case when her mother was alive,” Tuba’s cousin Syed Nasir Uddin Titu said.
“Despite being a grown man, I cannot sleep well thinking about the brutality [Taslima faced]…,” he said.
Taslima’s two children -- Tuba and 11-year old Tahsin Al Mahir are now staying with Titu’s family.
Renu’s mother Sabura Khatun has fallen sick with grief.
“My daughter usually left home early every day for morning walk… they killed my daughter calling her a child kidnapper,” she said.
The family demanded highest punishment of the killers and a fair probe into whether there was negligence on anyone’s part, including the police and school teachers. They also demanded a probe to ascertain whether police were negligent in rushing to the spot to save the woman.
WERE POLICE LATE?
Ziaur Rahman, a teacher of the primary school, said two women brought the victim to the school office on the first floor of the four-storey building on suspicion.
By that time, several hundred others had gathered on the school compound. They were all growing angry and restless.
Seeing the crowd, a staffer of the school locked the collapsible gate of the building to save the woman. Even the students were screaming in panic. A sense of foreboding prevailed in the school compound.
“We first called 999, then the officer-in-charge of Badda Police Station, managing committee president, local councilor for steps, sensing something terrible,” he said.
But before help could arrive, around five minutes after the distress calls, the mob broke the collapsible gate and reached the headmistress’s room. They pushed the headmistress and me aside, and forced the woman on to the ground,” he said.
Some locals, school staffers and employees of nearby shops alleged that police reached the spot nearly an hour after the death of the woman. All they did was take the body to the hospital.
Officer-in-charge of Badda police station Rafiqul Islam, however, denied the allegation and said he sent a police team immediately after receiving the phone call from the school.
“We reached the spot and rescued the victim. Then we took her to Dhaka Medical College Hospital,” he said.
FIVE MORE ARRESTED
Five more people were arrested from different areas in a case filed over the Renu murder.
The arrestees are Murad, 22, Sohel Rana, 30, Billal, 28, Asadul, 22 and Raju, 23, Rafiqul Islam, officer-in-charge of Badda police station told The Daily Star.
So far, 13 people have been arrested over the incident.