Friday, September 20, 2019 | ePaper

Who will protect businessmen from extortionists?

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IN the last few months, at least three businessmen were killed by unidentified assailants after they disavowed the mysterious calls for extortion in the city's Kachukhet area. It's a common trend that, a section of law enforcers and professional criminals start extorting businessmen, shop owners and other affluent people on the eve of Eid. The authorities have failed to ensure the security of ordinary law-abiding citizens, who provide tax only to beef up the security of government high-ups.
News media reported that unknown assailants stabbed Shahjahan Rubel to death following his refusal to give extortion money to terror Shahin Shikder, who has become a byword for terror in the area. Rubel had filed a GD on October 31 last with Bhashantek Police Station, saying he had received death threats from Shahin, but he didn't get any protection from police. Another one, Mizanur Rahman, was killed in the same way just 15 days before Rubel's murder. And a month before that, one more trader in the area, Abdur Rahman, survived a similar attack. Every time after the incidents, fellow traders of the victims received phone calls where the caller introduced himself as Shahin and then claimed responsibility for the attacks. He also reminded the traders of similar consequences if they turn down his demand for extortion money.
Law enforcers said the calls were made using the internet and the illegal VOIP, thus remain untraced. Media report said Shahin is not the only one with this modus operandi. Rather several other listed criminals, including Shahadat Hossain, Subrata Bain, Noruttam Saha Ashik, Mehedi alias Kolinch and former Jubo League leader Ramjan, are demanding and taking extortion money from businessmen and traders in the city.
Over a dozen people have been killed in the capital over the last two years by gangs run from abroad, while many had to pay extortion money to them by either hundi or bank accounts. These crimes have been continuing unabated for years as law enforcers cannot trace the criminals.  The main reason is; police mostly remain busy to provide political service to the government and protection to the high-ups. So they can't find sufficient time to spend behind the hardcore criminals though it's their main duty.

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