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Questions have been raised over police officers’ responsibility’, centring on the attack on writer Avijit Roy and his wife on Dhaka University campus on Thursday night, as police are deployed at several points surrounding the place of the attack.
Bangla Academy had installed 40 CCTV cameras to ensure security for the Amar Ekushey Book Fair; there are also six police check posts in the area.
Witnesses said there were seven policemen on duty at the police barricade and the entrance of the Suhrawardy Udyan, and the place of the attack was just 25 yards away.
They said Avijit and his wife Rafida Ahmed Bonna were returning from the book fair by rickshaw around 9pm when three young men got off a CNG-run autorickshaw, and started hacking them with machetes at Bot-tola near the TSC roundabout.
Akram Hossain, a witness, said: “The attack took place right in front of the police barricade.”
Shahbagh police station is 250 yards north of the spot; the Nilkhet police outpost on the west, and the Suhrawardy Udyan on the east. There are police check posts at all entrances to the Dhaka University campus.
Moreover, the book fair was closed at 8:30pm and it was rush hour for people returning from the fair.
Thousands of people visit the fair every day and it was no different on Thursday.
Witnesses and people questioned how the assailants could have escaped the area after committing the crime amid such security and the rush of people.
Many said they had not gone forward to save the couple, thinking it was an internal clash of the Bangladesh Chhatra League, the student front of the ruling Awami League, which they said often happened on the campus.
Police also have no convincing answer and clue as to how the incident happened.
Shahbagh OC Sirajul Islam said: “Police were far from the spot. When they heard about the attack, they rushed to the spot.
“A group named Ansar Bangla Seven has claimed on Twitter that the killing was a victory for them. We are investigating this, but primarily we think militants were behind the incident,” he added.
The OC also said: “Two persons were involved in the incident. One wore a white shirt, while the other had on a coat. They were about 30-35 years old. They took about two-three minutes to complete their mission.”
Witnesses said they saw the two attackers escaping in two different directions – one towards the Suhrawardy Udyan and the other towards the Milon Chattar.
A number of people questioned why the police could not trace the attackers from the CCTV footage; the dresses of the criminals could be bloodstained.
Police Commissioner Asaduzzaman said: “The militants proved on Thursday how desperate they can be. The police station is just beside the spot and there were policemen in front of the entrance to the book fair … policemen were at all entrances to the campus.”
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