Bone-chilling account of 23 who were burnt alive in Rautahat by Mohammad Aftab Alam and accomplices

Reporters Club Exclusive: Member of the House of Representatives (HoR) Mohammad Aftab Alam from the Nepali Congress (NC) has been accused of murder and destroying evidence related to a bomb explosion that happened 12 years ago. On April 9, 2008, a bomb exploded in a cowshed, and within the night the evidence was destroyed. The evidence of the scene of the crime was wiped, and it was Rukhsana Khatun who came and spoke at the Reporters Club regarding the incident, and the attempt to destroy all possible evidence regarding the case.

The Chief District Officer of Rautahat and the Police in charge all turned a blind eye and refused to investigate or accept an FIR of the incident. Shri Narayan who wanted to make a formal complaint was denied. The wounded were mercilessly thrown into the furnace of the brick kiln and were burnt alive.

With all evidence destroyed and severe political influence posed a big challenge toward the investigation. The family of Aftab was not questioned and while the entire incident was politicized. The local law enforcement and high ranking officials were involved in a massive cover-up of the entire incident, and this has been duly exposed.

The eyewitnesses to the case were influenced through monetary measures. Shree Narayan Singh was coaxed into not filing a complaint from a relative working in the local Police. Compensation was said will be provided but since the victims and members of the family of those who were brutally burnt alive refused and were determined to take the case forward.

Eyewitnesses of the incident say that the Nepal police were involved in covering up the scene of the crime and aiding to hide and destroy any remaining evidence of the incident. The enforcement was utilized not to arrest the perpetrators but to aid the culprit. Aftab Alam was finally arrested on Sunday 13 October 2019.

Sarajul Mohammed who survived the explosion who was working in Rautahat had come to the capital to reveal the details of the case. Reporters Club which was located in Putalisadak in the capital was the venue for these revelations.

He was agitated and visibly frightened by what transpired and revealed at the Reporters Club that NC leader Mohammed Aftab Alam had collected bombs at his relatives’ place to be used to threaten the voters in the elections. The bomb exploded and wounded several people and the ones who were wounded were thrown into the furnace of the brick kiln and burnt alive.

The insecurity following the incident made Sarajul flee Rautahat and come and seek support in the capital city. Sarajul had come in contact with the Reporters Club and had said “three people injured after the blast were thrown into the furnace which I saw happening in front of my eyes, I had also informed the family members of those three who perished, and I realized that living in the area was a threat to his life. The ones alive after the blast were begging for mercy to be allowed to leave but were instead thrown into the furnace of the brick kiln”.

He also stated that the police aided in throwing the wounded into the furnace, an individual Owase Akhtar Miya who was killed was the son of his employer. Akhtar Miya was taken by unidentified people who were campaigning for Mohammad Aftab Alam during the elections. Miya was taken by the bike-borne people to Fardahawa, and Sarajul followed them on his cycle.

After reaching Fardahawa Sarajul saw that bombs were stacked in a cowshed where 30-35 people were smoking beedis and cracking jokes in laughter. At around 6 pm there was an explosion, instantly killing two and wounding the rest, while cries for help could be heard. Survivors were drenched in blood, and Sarajul saw Owase Akhtar Miya’s face blackened due to the smoke, and he was heavily injured. Sarajul wanted to get Owase to safety but wasn’t allowed by Aftab Alam’s men who were on the spot. Fearing for his own life Sarajul then ran away and spent the night near the wheat field nearby, and despite his account as an eyewitness the law enforcement paid no heed, and there was a lot of pressure that undermined this case.

Over 23 people were hurled and burnt alive that day in the brick kiln as a measure to destroy evidence and witnesses. Shree Narayan Singh the father of victim Pintu has said ” following the blasts, people from across the border in India come looking for their family members who disappeared during the elections”. Singh had gone to various parts of India across the border looking for his son but came to know the details through one of the survivors of the incident Saifuddin. He then went to file an official complaint because his son was never found, and was most likely burnt alive in the brick kiln. Following the incident, Shree Narayan was coaxed not to tell the authorities and was attempted to be bribed.

Mother of late Owase Akhtar a victim of the blast who was later burnt alive in the furnace of the brick kiln Rukhsana Khatun was informed of the incident by Sarajul. The last remains of her son that she received was a sweater and a pair of shoes. She says “Mohammad Aftab Alam his brother Mehtab and the local police are involved in the killing of her son and the rest. They also offered her money to shut the case but she was determined to punish those responsible for the death of her son” she said.

(File Photo)