Angry people blocked a highway in Lalmonirhat for six consecutive hours in protest against the death of a youth in police custody.
The deceased identified as Robiul Islam Khan, 25, son of Dulal Khan of Kazichora village under Mahendranagar union, was arrested on suspicion of gambling.
Lalmonirhat’s Additional Superintendent of Police Rabiul Islam, however, said the ‘real cause of death’ will only be known after an autopsy.
A fair was organised in Lalmonirhat Sadar Upazila’s Hiraminik on Thursday as a part of the Bangla New Year celebrations. However, a gambling den was set up next to the fair venue, according to police.
Acting on a tip-off, police from Lalmonirhat sadar station went to the spot around 11:00 pm and arrested two people.
Robiul’s family members said he got into a scuffle with the police when he objected to getting into the police van, claiming that he had not gambled. At one stage, police started beating Robiul and took him away by the van.
Later, he was taken directly to Lalmonirhat Sadar Hospital as he ‘fell ill’ and after administering the first aid, the doctor on duty recommended that Robiul be sent to Rangpur, according to the police officer.
A pall of grief soon descended on the hospital as Robiul’s beloved ones rushed to the hospital.
“My son never gambles. He went to the fair to see me. He was beaten to death by the police.
I want justice,” said Robiul’s mother Safia Begum.
As the news of Robiul’s death spread, angry locals and relatives blocked the Rangpur-Lalmonirhat highway in the Mahendranagar Battala area by torching tyres and putting logs on the road.
The protesters also vandalised a police van parked nearby. The blockade brought traffic in the area to a halt for about six hours, leaving hundreds of goods-laden trucks and passenger vehicles stranded on both sides of the road.
Traffic eventually returned to normalcy after police removed the protestors from the highway around 4:00am.
Meanwhile, Sub-Inspector (SI) Abdul Halim, who allegedly torture Robiul, has been withdrawn on Friday, said Sadar Police Station Officer-in-Charge (OC) Shah Alam.