The rise of Dakat Shahid

The Daily Star July 5, 2012

Shahidul began living the life of a criminal when he was only 14 or 15 years old. With time, his influence over the crime world increased until he was killed in a shootout with Rapid Action Battalion Tuesday night.

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Born to a farmer’s family at Srinagar in Munshiganj, he never followed his father’s footsteps, said intelligence sources. Within five years of his debut into crimes, Shahidul, son of late Shamsul Haque Bhuiyan, rose to notoriety as Dakat Shahid by robbing launches and buses in and around the capital.

In 1990, he was elected joint secretary of Dhaka Bikrampur Bus Sramik Committee — a position that boosted his confidence and exposed him to a darker world of extortion and arms peddling.

A robbery case was filed against Shahidul that year and he was jailed for three months. On release, he went to Kuwait in 1991. Three years later, he returned home and began to live at Jurain in Dhaka.

With the help of Abul group, a gang of criminals, he engaged in tender “business”. He communicated with top-listed criminal Liakat to expand his business in Wari area, Rab said in a statement.

In 1998/99, Shahid bought some 66 weapons and killed Sultan and Kalu, two operatives of notorious Sanaullah group, creating a reign of terror.

Shahid started extortion and tender business, establishing control over truck and bus stands in 2002-2003.

In 2004, he had an argument with an officer of the Detective Branch of police, named Jahangir. Later, Assistant Commissioner Akram arrested him with five firearms.

He served one year in Dhaka Central Jail this time. After his release, he relapsed into the world of crimes.

Shahid left Dhaka and went to Jessore six to seven months after Rapid Action Battalion was formed in 2004. During the time in Jessore, he introduced himself as Arman.

In 2005, Shahidul went to India. Kalam alias Kalu, who was killed along with him in the Rab shootout on Tuesday, used to send him Tk 1.5-Tk 2 lakh a month by hundi (illegal money transfer). Shahidul lived in Nadia, Kolkata, and Orissa for some time and then went to Nepal in 2010.

Shahid used to keep regular contact with other top-listed criminals during his stay in India and Nepal, said intelligence sources.

Between May and June this year, Shahidul became active in Dhaka. Kalu, Mihir and Mamun were extorting people using Shahidul’s name.

There are 18 cases, including six for murders filed against Shahidul with the capital’s Ramna, Uttara, Sutrapur, Kotwali and Keraniganj police stations. He was sentenced to life in a murder case and 17 years’ imprisonment in an arms case.

Locals and police say Shahidul had several hundred cadres in his group in Old Dhaka. He had encouraged youths from poor families to join his group and helped people detained on different charges get bail.

Shirin Aktar, 50, mother of two associates of Shahidul, from Srinagar, came to Sir Salimullah Medical College in Dhaka yesterday to see Shahid’s body at the morgue.

She said her elder son disappeared three years ago while the other was killed by Rab. “I lost my two sons just for him. He coaxed my sons into joining his group.”

Nobody came to get the body of Shahidul yet.

The family of Shahidul is not interested to take his body, reports our Munshiganj correspondent.

Nurul Islam, 52, brother of Shahid, told The Daily Star that he had not informed his 80-year-old mother of Shahid’s death, as she was not well. His father died in 1990.

“I didn’t have a good relation with my brother. I don’t want to claim his body as trouble might follow it,” he added.

He said Shahid did not keep contact with his in-laws either. “His wife, Saleha Begum, and two daughters are now in Kolkata.”

However, hundreds of people visited the morgue to take a look at Shahid’s body.

An Old Dhaka trader said Shahid’s cohorts had shot him a year ago, as he refused to be extorted. “I had to stay in hospital for a long time. I wanted to see who had caused me so much suffering.”

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