When he was alive, Abdul Jabbar Hawlader, would be made an accused almost every time a political violence would take place in the capital's Mirpur area.
Now, two years after his death from cancer, police named him as the second prime suspect in a case filed against 109 BNP men over vandalism inside Government Bangla College in Mirpur on July 18.
His family said Jabbar, once a general secretary of a pro-BNP organisation in Mirpur, died of cancer on October 11, 2021.
The same case accused another dead man, Shafiqul Islam Suman, former vice-president of Bangla College unit of Chhatra Dal, BNP's student wing. He died about nine months ago, also from cancer.
Plaintiff Mohidur Rahman, a staff member of the college, said he did not give any names to the police.
"I only lodged a complaint about the vandalism. I didn't give any names. Police put the names," he told .
Shiekh Aminul Bashar, officer-in-charge of Darussalam Police Station, blamed it on the complainant.
"I don't know how he could say that. As a plaintiff, he signed the case statement after going through it," he said.
He added they are investigating how the two dead men got included in the case.
"We have already informed the court about the matter," he said.
Noted rights activist Nur Khan said that such fictitious cases are nothing new. Dead men were also named in such cases in the past, especially before elections.
"These cases are filed to suppress the opposition parties," he told.
Over 1,200 BNP men were sued in two cases over the July 18 clash between BNP and Chhatra League activists of Bangla College unit in Mirpur.
Mohidur Rahman filed one of the cases with Darussalam Police Station. It is in this case that 109 named and 500 unnamed people were made accused on charges of illegally entering the college and carrying out vandalism.
Jabbar's wife Marzina Begum said her husband withdrew from active politics after was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2019. Before that, he was general secretary of Sramik Dal, the labour wing of BNP.
"Since the current government took office, he faced 20-30 cases just because of his political identity," she said.
The family once owned a bus that ran between Gabtoli and Sadarghat. They had to sell the bus to pay for Jabbar's medical treatment and legal expenses relating to the cases he faced.
Their daughter, who works as a schoolteacher, now takes care of the monthly expenses.
"We are still in debt of Tk 12 lakh. Now, when they make my dead husband an accused in another case, then you can very well understand our situation," she said.
Suman, who was made accused number 73 in the case, died on November 9, 2022, his brother Tariqul Islam said.
Suman distanced himself from politics after he was diagnosed with blood cancer in 2018, but was made vice-president of Bangla College Chhatra Dal unit about a month before his death, said his cousin Samsul Huda Sohag.
Ghostly cases against opposition men saw a rise before the 2018 polls. At the time, BNP provided a list of cases against its leaders and activists to the Election Commission, saying more than 4,000 cases were filed against BNP men.
BNP Standing Committee Member Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury said the ruling party is applying the same tactics this time around too.
"This is part of their election rigging project. They have no public support. They have been using corrupt law enforcers," he said.
According to media reports, more than 300 cases have been filed over the last two months against BNP men.- Source:The Daily Star