What first appeared to be mob justice to some arsonists has taken a mysterious turn as it is now found that the bodies of the three men killed in mob beating bear at least 57 bullet injuries.
At least 30 bullets were pumped into their bodies. The empty shells and the ropes possibly used to tie them up were still lying at the spot yesterday.
Neighbours said they heard about 30 to 35 gunshots from the alley where the bodies were found. Police claimed the trio were caught by locals while preparing to firebomb a vehicle.
“There was no evidence of torture on the bodies. Five bullets were still inside the bodies,” said sources at Dhaka Medical College morgue, after conducting autopsies.
The identities of the victims, all aged around 20, could not be known as of yesterday evening.
One inquest report that police prepared at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital around 12:50am yesterday says 22 bullet marks were found on the body of one youth. He was shot eight times in the chest and once in the abdomen, in addition to several shots in other parts of his body.
This victim, wearing a maroon half-sleeve shirt and blue gabardine trousers, was about five feet five inches tall.
The body of another man, wearing yellow half-sleeve T-shirt and black trousers, bore 19 bullet wounds, including five in the back, says his inquest report prepared around 1:50am.
He too was shot several times, including twice in the chest and twice around the navel.
The inquest report identified him as non-Muslim with a height of five feet four inches.
The third victim, in black-and-white stripe shirt, black T-shirt and yellow gabardine trousers, had 16 bullet wounds on his body. He was about five feet four inches tall.
He was shot four times in the chest alone.
Moinul Islam, officer-in-charge (investigation) of Mirpur Police Station, told The Daily Star early hours yesterday that locals caught the three when they were about to hurl petrol bombs at vehicles around 11:00 on Sunday night.
They were caught near the Krishibid Bhaban on Rokeya Sarani at Kazipara, police claimed.
They were then taken to Baishbari area, some 250 yards from the Krishibid Bhaban, and then beaten and shot by the mob, Sub-inspector Masud mentioned in the inquest reports.
The SI said he gathered this information after primary investigation and talking to locals.
On information, Mirpur police went to the spot and took the three to DMCH around 1:20am where doctors declared them dead.
In the death register, however, officials did not record the cause of their deaths, which is unusual, sources said.
Locals at Baishbari said yesterday that they heard gunshots coming from an alley around 10:00 on Sunday night. They did not see or hear anyone chase around the time.
“The gunshots continued for a while. But I could detect people in the alley for nearly an hour. After that all was quite. I did not dare to come out even though it seemed no one was outside,” said a security guard of a residential building there.
He said he saw pools of blood, bullet cases and bloody ropes in the alley yesterday morning.
Another resident in the same alley said he heard gunshots nearby but did not hear any scream or shout from mobs.
Police filed a murder case yesterday, accusing around 100 to 150 unnamed persons, said SI Sardar Nizamul Haque of Mirpur Police Station.
Police recovered two litres of petrol, two firebombs and three crude bombs from the spot, he claimed.
OC Moinul Islam said they were trying to find out who shot the three.
In another development, the family of Abdul Wadud, who died in an alleged shootout early yesterday, claimed he was killed by the police.
Police claimed he was convener of Sramik Dal’s ward-10 unit in the capital’s Mirpur and was killed in a “shootout” between law enforcers and his cohorts at Kalyanpur in the capital.
But Chan Mia, uncle of the victim, said Mirpur police arrested him near the police station while he was going to his garment leftover business outlet at Mirpur-10 on Sunday morning.
“He was on his motorbike,” he added.
Someone called his father Abdul Alim over the phone in the afternoon and told him about the arrest, said Chan.
When his father went to the police station he saw Wadud’s motorbike parked there, but police denied arresting him, he added.
Later, the family saw the news of his death on TV.