Monday, 29 May, 2023

Auto-rickshaw hijackers active ahead of Eid

With the holy Eid-ul-Fitr festival drawing nearer, an organised gang of auto-rickshaw hijackers in the guise of passengers has sprung in and around the capital to hijack vehicles.

Detective sources said hijackers swoop on their targets, hijack their vehicles and even kill drivers.

A police source said auto-rickshaw hijacking gangs move from place to place to commit the crime. At least five gangs are active in Dhaka-Aricha highway, Keraniganj, Narayanganj and Gazipur areas.

Detective police have got the information after arresting several hijackers from different places of the capital and its nearby areas.

During interrogation, the arrested hijackers confessed to killing several auto-rickshaw drivers and hijacking their vehicles.

One of the arrestees, Sujon Munshi, said, “It was around 10 o'clock at night. I, Palash, Russell and Swapan plan an autorickshaw hijacking. Russell hired an auto-rickshaw from Kathgara in Ashulia area of Dhaka. I sat in the driver's seat. The rest sat behind.”

“Palash and Russell asked the auto-rickshaw to stop the car after going some distance from Baishmail towards Nabinagar.”

When the driver stopped the car, Russell told the driver, “You leave the auto-rickshaw and go home with your life.”

The driver replied, “I will not leave the auto-rickshaw anywhere.”

Then Russell hit him on the head with a wooden stick inside the car, knocking the driver unconscious.

Later, they dumped him in a canal beside Dhaka-Aricha highway. After that, three people left the spot by driving the auto-rickshaw.

On February 2, police recovered the dead body of an auto-rickshaw driver named Imam Hossain (46) from a drain near Savar cantonment.

Umme Habiba, daughter of the deceased, filed a murder case at Ashulia police station against some unknown persons. Police arrested a person named Sujan Munshi in that case.

Later on February 8, Sujan Munshi gave a confessional statement to the court, admitting the killing of auto-rickshaw driver Imam Hossain.

A few cases of murder have come out in the investigation, the gang members go around in the guise of passengers to hijack auto-rickshaws.

According to police sources, Sujan Munshi worked as an assistant to the driver of the passenger bus. He worked as a driver's assistant during the day but hijacked at night.

According to police, on January 14, 2021, an auto-rickshaw driver, Mofazzel Hossain, was killed at Kaishabari Batantek in Ashulia area.

Mofazzel was killed for stopping him from hijacking an auto-rickshaw. His father Muzaffar Rahman filed a murder case.

Police arrested six persons in the case. One of them was acquitted and police submitted a charge sheet in January last year.                According to court sources, Mofazzel was killed to snatch the auto-rickshaw worth Tk 50,000. Additional Superintendent of Police of Dhaka District Police Abdullahil Kafi told the journalists that some cases of murder have come out in the investigation.

On March 13, the police recovered the body of an auto-rickshaw driver Masum from an abandoned toilet in Paschimdi area of Keraniganj.

Police arrested five persons, including three, who participated in the murder. During interrogation, the mystery of the murder was revealed.

Officials related to the police investigation said three members of a robber gang got into the rickshaw of Masum in the guise of a passenger. Later, they took him to a secluded place, tied his hands and feet, stabbed him to death and fled in an auto-rickshaw.

Several members of these gangs have been arrested by the police at different times. The Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) says that 216 battery-powered auto-rickshaw and easybike drivers have been killed by hijackers in the country in the last 6 years from 2015 to 2021.

In the latest development, police recovered the body of an auto-rickshaw driver, Badsha Mia (28), in Haluaghat of Mymensingh on Thursday afternoon.

Haluaghat Police Station OC (Investigation) Md Zahirul Islam Munna said that in the morning, locals informed police after seeing the body of a young man lying with his throat cut beside a bridge in Atkapara area of Sadar upazila in Mymensingh.

Later, police recovered the body and sent it to Mymensingh Medical College Hospital for post-mortem.

The OC further said Badsha was an auto-rickshaw driver by profession. He is believed to have been taken away in an auto-rickshaw after the murder.