Inspector General of Police Hafizur Rashid was in great anxiety. After reaching his office in the morning he had got several phone calls. Thereafter his tension began. Practically he was in hypertension. He decided not to receive any more telephone calls. He ordered his personal officer not to give him the line except for official calls. He did not even allow any visitor.
He sat in silence in his office. He was thinking over the issue. From the information and proof he had got it was apparent that Akmal was innocent. He was implicated in a false case. Shariful Azam, by virtue of his power, had compelled the police to do something very wrong. This case would not hold in the court. From the statement of the younger daughter of Shariful Azam it appears that Akmal had no relation with the elder daughter of him. She loved another boy. Besides, she did not write her younger sister who had written the note. After getting the proof a case should be started against Shariful Azam and a warrant of arrest should be issued besides some members of the police force would be in trouble for their treatment of Akmal. It is certain that the main accused would get help from those in power. If the image of the police force was to be maintained no concession should be given to the accused. He was asking himself, whether the issue should be discussed now. But in that case a lot of problems would crop up. It would be better if discussion followed Azam’s arrest. If the higher authority wanted to know why he was arrested, he’d produce the proof.
The IGP then opened a new file on Sariful Azam. While he was preparing the file Manzur Ahmad rushed to his room.
‘Sir, I am sorry to enter your room without your permission,’ said Manzur Ahmad.
‘No problem.’ said the IGP.
Manzur Ahmad said, ‘I’ve got some sensational information. Once I tell you would be stunned.’
‘What information?’ the IGP wanted to know.
‘Sir, it is about the fabricated case against Akmal’ replied the Additional Inspector General.
‘What information did you get? The IGP became curious.
‘Sir, he was implicated in a false case.’ said Manzur Ahmad.
‘Who told you this?’ the IGP asked him.’
‘Sir, I have the proof with me to substantiate my statement. Take this cassette and listen to it. Shariful Azam himself confessed everything.’ said Manzur Ahmed.
‘How was his voice recorded?’ the IGP wanted to know.
‘Sir, it’s long story. I shall tell you some other day. First listen to the cassette and do whatever you deem fit.’ said Manzur Ahmed.
The IGP called his personal officer and asked him to bring a micro cassette player. A cassette player was produced in on time. The IGP listened to what Shariful Azam had said. He was started. Shariful Azam did not bother to hide anything. As the proverb goes, ‘Ants get wings to embrace their death.’ That odious fellow also gets wings. Death was waiting him otherwise, can any man be so obdurate. The IGP said to himself, ‘Since I have such proof I have nothing to fear. After his confession and statement of his daughter no hustle remains to arrest that culprit. As long as he remains outside of the prison he might harm others`.
The IGP thanked Manzur Ahmed several times. He said, ’Manzur, you have done a responsible job. This has strengthened us. Please sit. Let me ring a Superintendent of Police (S.P). I am giving instruction to arrest Shariful Azam.’ The SP could be reached over telephone. The IGP boldly ordered him to arrest Shariful Azam immediately. There was no need to discuss it with anyone. After taking with the SP, the IGP put down the receiver.
Manzur Ahmed said, ‘Thank you sir.’
The IGP said, ‘listen to me. The news I am going to break to you may sadden you.’
‘What news?’ Manzur Ahmed wanted to know.
‘I am feeling a great pain to break the news to you.’ said the IGP. My voice is becoming choked. But I have to tell you even if it is very painful to me.’
‘Sir, do you want to say something about Akmal?’
‘Yes, you have correctly identified the point. Akaml Kabir is the son of professor Humayun Kabir and your only nephew a brilliant student of Dhaka University. He was an innocent boy.’
‘Sir, why are you talking in this manner?’ Manzur Ahmed questioned.
The IGP looked at monzur with sorrowful eyes.
‘Sir, your throat is trembling’ said Manzur.
‘No, no! Let me finish what I was saying. Why are you interrupting me?’ Said the IGP.
‘Sir, please go ahead’
‘Akmal was killed in police custody.’ The IGP said.
‘No, no! It can’t happen!’ shouted Manzur Ahmed’ I don’t believe it. Our Akmal can’t die. The police can’t commit such a big crime!’
Manzur began to cry for Akmal. The air became heavy. The sense of sorrow engulfed the room. The IGP could not control his tears to hearing the cry of Manzur Ahmed. He tried unsuccessfully to control himself, Then in a choked voice said, ’Manzur, don’t cry like this, Just wait. I’ll not spare any of them to go unpunished. Those who are responsible for Akmal’s death must repent. No one will be spared. No one.’
Manzur Ahmed looked at the IGP with a vacant face. He was trying to say something but he could not say what he wanted to say.
Mansur Ahmed was standing in front of the grave if Shipra. He was looking at the grave with rapt attention as if he always did when he spoke. He was saying something now. He was not praying. Perhaps he always repented for showing neglect to her. Tears rolled down his eyes. Several times he wiped his face with a handkerchief. Then he started for the Teachers Student Center (TSC).
He had not seen to the campus for a long time. He felt some nostalgia for the University. He felt, if he went to the campus he would feel better. He had many memories of the T.S.C. He hadn’t forgotten then.
He tried to refresh the lost memories. He was walking in slow steps and reminiscing when he met Professor Humayun Kabir coming from the opposite direction. Both stopped. Humayun Kabir had been walking aimlessly. seeing Manzur Ahmed he was relieved. He told himself, ‘It is nice to meet Mansur Ahmed. I can spend some time without feeling the constant weight on my best. It was evening. Professor Humayun Kabir had decided to take his brother-in-law Mansur Ahmed to Manzur’s house for a follow-up of the event of the cassette. Manzur could ring me, but did not do so as the professor was in great tension. He asked him in a hurt tone, ‘Brother where are you going alone?’
‘I am going to the T.S.C.’ replied Mansur Ahmed.
Are you coming from new market? Humayun Kabir wanted to know.
‘No, no. I went to visit Shipra’s grave.’ Mansur Ahmed replied.
‘Oh! Where are you going now? Have you anything special to do?’ Humayun asked.
‘No, I have no job to keep me busy, you see.’ said Mansur Ahmed.
‘It’s just that I haven’t come to T.S.C for quite a long time.’
‘As I had some free time I felt to visit the T.S.C. Will you go with me, professor?’ Then added, But I don’t think you like to go with me.
‘Why?’ asked Humayun.
Of course, I shall enjoy walking with you. We don’t see T.S.C in this manner everyday. I see people will around and sing in the area. Is the T.S.C as it was? Or has it changed?
‘Then let’s walk together,’ said Mansur Ahmed.
‘Of course.’ replied Humayun Kabir
‘Humayun, do you have any news about Akmal?’ Mansur Ahmed wanted to know. Humayun sighed and said. ‘No brother, no news. I have no news about him. Manzur is supposed to inform me. I haven’t yet got any information from him. ‘Do you know that we called for Non-cooperation Movement on the issue of Akmal?’ Mansur Ahmed asked.
‘I saw in the newspaper. It was a protest against the rise of fundamentalism and mal-treatment to Akmal.’ Humayun replied.
‘I placed both the proposals at our general meeting.’ ‘Brother I know that, your Non-cooperation movement will start in two days. How is your preparation? Can this movement get ground? ‘We have prepared ourselves to the best of our ability. Preparation is still going on. I think the movement will get momentum. People are very much fed up.’
‘That’s right.’ said Humayun. But the People seem to be depravity. So many problems we have, but nobody talk and care about it. So many reporting in the newspapers, but the government is quite indifferent. In olden times, whenever there was report on any issue the government used to become alert. Now–a–days, the government doesn’t give a drama. But should the people remain silent and stay within the four walls of their houses? Won’t they come out? Won’t they protest?’ Humayun Kabir asked.
‘When the people come down in the streets the government will find no way to escape. The government will fall automatically. We shall have to take up the responsibly of walking the people up. If we remain non-committed nothing will come out. Once the movement starts, many will express solidarity with our movement. We’ve got positive response from the common people’ said Mansur Ahmed.
‘You are not a pessimist. That’s why you hope so much.’ Humayun said.
No, no’ replied Mansur Ahmed. ‘I have told you in the reality. I have been in politics more than forty years. I could understand the political turmoil in the country. This time something must be happen in country.
‘May your optimism come true? Brother what will you do now? Will you go to your party office?’ Asked Humayun Kabir.
‘No I won’t go there today. I am a bit depressed.’ said Mansur Ahmed.
Then will you go with me to home? I had a mind to go to Manzur`s house. Let us see, whether he could do anything about Akmal.’ Suddenly Humayun Kabir stopped in front the Guru Nanakshahi’s Sikh temple. Darkness had seen falling all around. The neon lights were on. The play of light and darkness could be seen. There was imprint of surprise on the face of Humayun Kabir. He looked around with keen eyes. He asked himself, ‘Is it a forecast for the University to become restless again? But why is the doubt? There is something in the air. The situation is going be worse. Some unusual events might take place. He pulled Mansur Ahmed to stop, ‘Brother please stops. Are you getting any smell?
‘Where? What sort of smell?’ asked Mansur Ahmed.
‘Aren’t you getting any smell at all?’
‘Humayun, I can’t make out what are you saying.’ replied Mansur.
‘Is there any fire burning? Any bombing or any firing?’ Humayun wanted to know.
‘You can tell better in which way your University will move. I can’t say anything in this regards’ Mansur said.
‘Stop and please to asses the situation.’ Humayun Kabir requested Mansur Ahmed.
By this time Mansur Ahmed also could feel some thing. He looked at Humayun with surprise. ‘Humayun your nose is very sensitive.’
‘How?’ Humayun wanted to know.
Mansur said, ‘you have been right all alone. I think I’m also getting the smell. This is the smell of gunpowder. Am I right?’ Masur Ahmed wanted to know.
‘Yes brother. I also feel the same.’ said Humayun. I wanted to ascertain it from you.’
‘What’s the matter? Is there any firing anywhere? Mansur asked.
I can’t tell.’ replied Humayun Kabir.
Mansur Ahmed and Humayun Kabir were standing erect on the sidewalk. They could not decide whether they would advance or retreat. The smell of gunpowder grew stronger. They were feeling the stinging smell of Tear gas. Their anxiety began to mount.
After a long deliberation they started for their destination. There were bomb blasts all around. From Some where acute sound of firing came. In the midst of mass bombing, slogans were heard.
The words of the slogans were not clear. Both the men felt that millions of people had come down to the streets. Humayun told Mansur Ahmed, ‘Brother, then you have started your movement two days earlier than the schedule.’
‘I don’t understand what is happening. Try to find out the words of the slogans,’ Mansur Ahmed said.
Suddenly a few words came out from a loudspeaker. The words pierced the hearts of Humayun Kabir and Mansur Ahmed. ‘We have come to the streets to protest the premature death of Akmal Kabir in police custody. The protest will continue till the misrule ends.’
Humayun Kabir felt laced by a thunderbolt. He was speechless. He stood like a statue. Tears rolled down his eyes. Mansur Ahmed put his hand on Humayun’s shoulder. In a feeble voice Humayun said, ‘Brother I’ve lost everything.’
Mansur Ahmed said in bold voice, ‘Your son has sacrificed himself for the survival of the country. His death is like the spark of a fire.’ Mansur Ahmed Finished by saying, ‘The spark will ignite a huge fire that will burn and destroy all sorts of misrule. Haven’t you seen, how many people have come down to the streets?’