DHAKA • Bangladesh police were yesterday hunting a group of men who lashed a 13-year-old boy to a stake and beat him to death, filming the attack on a smartphone.
The 28-minute video, in which the boy is seen begging for water as he lies dying in the north-eastern city of Sylhet, has sparked huge protests in Bangladesh since it went viral on social media over the weekend.
Police said an autopsy on the boy, who has been identified as Samiul Alam Rajon, revealed injuries all over his body. He died from internal bleeding. "Samiul Alam Rajon died on July 8 as a result of merciless beating," local police chief Alamgir Hossain told Agence France-Presse news agency. "His body had at least 64 injuries, including in the head."
Junior home minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said police had arrested two people in connection with the killing and were looking for four others. "They will be arrested and given tough punishment," he told reporters.
The chief suspect, Muhit Alam, was remanded in custody for five days by a court in Sylhet yesterday after police pressed murder charges. Police said the attackers tied Samiul, a part-time vegetable seller who dropped out of school to help his impoverished family, to a pole for allegedly committing a burglary - a charge his family denied.
"My son is not a thief. Everyone knows it. I want justice for my child's murder," Samiul's mother Lubna Aktar told reporters.
In the video, the terrified youngster can be heard screaming in pain and saying repeatedly: "Please don't beat me like this, I will die."
Samiul's attackers can be heard on the video trying to force him to confess to his involvement in the burglary, according to an Agence France-Presse journalist. He was at one stage told to walk away but as he tried to get to his feet, one of the attackers shouted: "His bones are okay. Beat him some more."
When the youngster begged for water, he was mocked and told to "drink your sweat" by his attackers, who can be heard discussing the idea of posting the video on Facebook so that "everyone can see the fate of a thief".
Alam was arrested as he was seen trying to dump the body in an isolated area of the city.
Hundreds of people formed a human chain outside Samiul's home yesterday to protest against the killing which prompted soul-searching on social media about the prevalence of violence in Bangladesh.
Cricketeer Mushfiqur Rahim yesterday joined in the chorus of condemnation, bdnews, Bangladesh's first Internet newspaper, reported.
It said he posted a photo in which he is seen holding a placard that reads "Say no to child abuse" on his official Facebook page. In the post, the cricketeer said there could never be a worse crime than abusing an innocent child to death.