Business owners and general public in Gaibandha yesterday participated in a human chain protesting the death of a shoe store owner at the house of a now-suspended Awami League leader.
After the human chain in front of Asaduzzaman market, they marched to the office of the superintendent of police and demonstrated there.
During the programmes partly organised by Gaibandha Chamber of Commerce, all shops and businesses remained shuttered from 11:00am-1:00pm.
Hasan Ali, a shoe store owner, was found dead on Saturday at the house of Masud Rana, who was the deputy office secretary of Gaibandha Awami League until he was suspended on Sunday.
Hasan's wife Beethi alleges that he had been held captive at Rana's house since mid-March and it was three police officers who let Rana take her husband.
At yesterday's demonstration in front of the police superintendent's office, members of the local chamber of commerce and industry demanded punishment in 24 hours for the three officers of Gaibandha Police Station: Officer-in-Charge Mahfuzar Rahman, Assistant Sub-inspector Mosharaf Hossain, and Inspector Mojibur Rahman.
Moksedar Rahman Shahan, president of the Gaibandha Shop Owner's Association, said, "We submitted a memorandum to the SP demanding action.
"We also want a probe body with high-level police officers to properly investigate the allegations. We reject the present probe committee formed by the police."
Shahidul Islam Shanto, president of the Gaibandha Chamber of Commerce said, "We gave the police a 24-hour deadline to take action against the police men involved. If they do not take any action, we will announce tough programmes, including hartal."
He told this correspondent that the local business community leaders demanded a judiciary enquiry into the role of police prior to Hasan's death. "The SP talked to us and promised to take the necessary steps."
Contacted, Touhidul Islam, superintendent of police in Gaibandha, said, "We have promised that we will provide expenses for the education of Hasan Ali's younger son.
"We formed a probe body to find out the truth. They will submit their report soon. We will take actions if the probe finds them guilty. Police are raiding different places looking for the absconding accused."
Police recovered 48-year-old Hasan's body hanging from the ceiling of a bathroom at Rana's house. A court placed Rana on a four-day remand.
Beethi filed a murder case accusing Rana and two of his cohorts.
According to the case statement, Hasan was abducted by Rana and his cohorts from Lalmonirhat on March 5.
Police later rescued him from Rana's house after Beethi filed a general diary. Police then arranged a meeting at the police station and told Beethi to pay Rana the money Hasan owed Rana or a blank cheque and a piece of paper.
When Beethi denied it, ASI Mosharaf Hossain and Inspector Mojibur Rahman handed Hasan to Masud.
The case statement added that Hasan borrowed Tk 1.5 lakh from Rana, but the latter demanded Tk 19 lakh with interest.