Although some of them frequently visit Dhaka and attend parties, police claim to have no clue about the fugitives convicted for murdering tailor Bishwajit Das in 2012.
About seven years after Bishwajit was brutally killed in Old Dhaka, most of the convicted killers are still absconding.
During a strike enforced by the BNP-led opposition, a group of Chhatra League activists attacked Bishwajit while he was on the way to his tailoring shop at Laxmibazar, Old Dhaka on December 9, 2012.
The barbaric attack, conducted in broad daylight, was caught on the cameras of four TV channels, and several newspapers.
In 2013, a speedy trial tribunal convicted 21 members of Chhatra League in the case over the murder. Among them, eight were sentenced to death, and 13 to life imprisonment.
In August 2017, the High Court upheld the sentence for two out of the eight Chhatra League men sentenced to death, acquitted two, and reduced the sentence for four to life imprisonment. Among the 13 previously sentenced to life imprisonment, two were acquitted.
As a result, 17 convictions were upheld by the High Court, with two sentenced to death, and 15 to life imprisonment.
Among the convicts, five are currently in custody. They include death row convict Md Rafiqul Islam Shakil, as well as Mahfuzur Rahman Nahid, Emdadul Haque Emdad, GM Rasheduzzaman Shaon, and Tarique Bin Zohor Tamal, who have been sentenced to life imprisonment.
The remaining 12 convicts, all activists of the Chhatra League Jagannath University unit, are still at large. They include death row convict Rajon Talukder, who is in Kolkata, as well as Mir Md Noor-e-Alam Limon, Monirul Haque Pavel, Obaidul Quader Tahsin, Imran Hossain, Khondoker Md Yunus Ali, Azizur Rahman Aziz, Al Amin Sheikh, Mosharraf Hossain, Rafiqul Islam, Md Alauddin, and Kamrul Hasan.
Frequent visits to Dhaka
Although law enforcement agencies have so far failed to arrest the convicts, sources claim that many of them regularly visit the capital to attend parties, and also maintain Facebook updates.
Fugitive death row convict Rajon Talukder left the country in July 2013, and is living in Kolkata, but he frequently visits Dhaka, and keeps regular contact with the convening committee of Chhatra League’s Jagannath University unit, said a leader of the same unit on condition of anonymity.
Rajon had also regularly been posting on Facebook, congratulating Chhatra League members on various occasions, but the account was found to be inactive yesterday.
“We saw him [Rajon] visit Dhaka just a few months ago. He was here to meet some people at Dhaka University,” the source said.
However, Kalmakanda Police Station Officer-in-Charge Mazharul Karim said Rajon had not returned to his home district Netrakona since the murder, with locals saying he is in India.
Kamrul Hasan, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment, was involved in the public exam question paper leak last year, and has hotel businesses in Cox's Bazar, said sources who are familiar with him.
They added that he was seen attending Chhatra League rallies on several occasions, and was arrested last year before being released on bail.
The Dhaka Tribune could not independently verify any links between Kamrul, and the question paper leaks.
One of Kamrul’s batch-mates claimed the convict had gone to Malaysia, but could not confirm whether he had returned.
Khondoker Md Yunus Ali, another convicted to life imprisonment, lives in his home district Magura, and is a businessman. He often visits Dhaka to meet with leaders of Chhatra League, sources close to him said.
Convict Imran Hossain lives in Dhaka, and often visits the Jagannath University campus, and attends various programs.
“He visits Old Dhaka on a regular basis. He also meets with Chhatra League leaders when he visits the campus,” said a Chhatra League Jagannath University unit member, asking not to be named.
Sadarpur Police Station OC (investigation) Abul Khair Sheikh said they do not know Imran’s location.
Azizur Rahman Aziz was seen in front of Awami League central office at Bangabandhu Avenue on August 15 – National Mourning Day - two years ago, but his current location is unknown, several Chhatra League leaders of the Jagannath University unit said.
Friends of convict Obaidul Quader Tahsin said he has been doing business in Doha, Qatar, for a long time.
Among the other convicts, Limon is in Bangladesh, Al Amin went to Kolkata, and Rafiqul lives in Dhaka.
Although his friends say M Alauddin works in Gazipur, Atwari Police Station Officer-in-Charge Mohammad Abdur Razzaque said the convict’s whereabouts are unknown, and he had never returned to his home district.
Bhairab Police Station officer in charge M Mokhlesur Rahman claimed he has no idea where convict Mosharraf Hossain is.
“I will check if there is any warrant, and will try to get an update,” he said.
Family thinks justice will not be served
Bishwajit’ s family members yesterday expressed fear that justice would not be served.
Ananta Das, Bishwajit’s father, said there is no word to describe their grief and disappointment, as the High Court earlier commuted the sentences of four death row convicts to life imprisonment, and acquitted two others.
“We have come to know from media reports that Bishwajit's killers are moving around freely, dodging the eyes of police. We were hopeful, but we no longer feel that justice will be served,” he said.