Looking but not seeing

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 4.10.07

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said on Wednesday that he was “looking into everything” (shobi dekchhi) related to the death of Rizwanur Rahman.

However, comments by politicians and officials suggest the focus has now shifted singularly to the role of police in the controversial events that led to the death of the young man.

CPM state secretary Biman Bose vowed nobody would be spared but his words indicated the immediate priority is to act against the officials. “Let me say that all the guilty would be punished. It doesn’t matter whether the officers are in their posts or not,” he said.

Home secretary Prasad Ranjan Roy, too, said: “It (removal of the accused police officers) is in our consideration. If the probing agency recommends their removal, it will have to be done.”

The resolve to punish guilty officials is laudable but lost in the declarations is a fundamental question that no agency has been able to settle nearly a fortnight after Rizwanur’s body was found: was it suicide or murder?

A CID investigation has started flagging after the initial burst . A judicial commission is at work but such a panel is not expected to have the expertise to inquire into what increasingly looks like a sordid crime.

The Telegraph reproduces damning questions and disturbing pieces of evidence thrown up over the past few days, which the current focus on perfunctory measures and little action elsewhere is threatening to overshadow.


Rizwanur had called up Sujato Bhadra of the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights on the morning of September 21 at 10.11am, some 20 minutes before his body was found by the railway tracks. The APDR had promised to help him get his wife back.

“Rizwanur called me up to tell me that he had got all the documents ready with him and that at 2.30 that afternoon he would meet me in front of Lalbazar. We wanted to meet three police officers — Gyanwant Singh, Ajoy Kumar and Sukanti Chakraborty — and ask them why they acted in the manner they had and find ways of getting his wife back,” Bhadra told The Telegraph.

But 20 minutes later, Rizwanur was dead. If indeed he was contemplating suicide — and was so close to committing it — why would he take the trouble of calling up Bhadra and confirming the meeting?


On the morning of September 21, around 8.30, Rizwanur had rushed out of his uncle’s house on Samsul Huda Road near Park Circus after receiving a call that was traced to a PCO in Lake Town. Rizwanur told his aunt that he would return soon as he had not yet eaten breakfast.

His body was found beside railway tracks not far from the PCO. Who made the call? Was he lured there with the promise that he could get to meet his wife? Was he murdered then and his body dumped near the tracks?


S.P. Sinha, the driver of the train that the police said had run over Rizwanur, has told investigators that he merely saw the body lying by the side of the tracks and that his engine had not knocked down the youth.

The police have so far been unable to produce any other driver who said his train had hit Rizwanur. This lends credence to suspicion that he was murdered and his body dumped by the tracks.


The lone injury on Rizwanur’s body was on his head, which was smashed. Experts said multiple bruises are the norm when a train runs over a person. Railway police superintendent Barun Mullick, who has seen many bodies hit by trains, said: “I don’t remember any case where there has been only a single wound on the body.”


Rizwanur had stayed up several nights preparing an exhaustive account of the events that followed his wedding. Titled “A first person account of harassment related to legal marriage”, the dossier is so meticulous it is giving the entire administration sleepless nights and restless days now.

On the night of September 20, Rizwanur had told his brother Rukbanur that he would fight a legal battle to get his wife back. The next morning he was dead. “My brother was determined to take the legal course,” Rukbanur said. “He told me he was getting ready for that.”

Even on the morning of his death, around 9.30, Rizwanur called up his cousin Ejaz and asked him to deliver to Rukbanur some documents related to his marriage. Rizwanur told Ejaz, too, of his intention to fight a legal battle.

Why would a person in such a combative frame of mind commit suicide?

“My son was a fighter who made a success of his career even though he led a difficult life,” Rizwanur’s mother Kishwar Jahan said. “He was the last person who would commit suicide. He would fight to get what he thought was his due.”