Bangla underworld crime lord hanged

Himalayan News Service

Dhaka, May 11:

An underworld crime lord, who is believed to have murdered at least 57 people, was today hanged in a jail in southwestern Bangladesh. Ershad Sikder, who began his career as a docks porter and became a millionaire leading a lavish life, was hanged at one minute past midnight in the city of Khulna, known as death valley. Sikder was associated with almost all political parties, including the Jatiya Party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and the Awami League, in the last 25 years.

He became commissioner of a Khulna city ward during the rule of the Jatiya Party led by H M Ershad. He then joined the BNP that was voted to power in 1991 after the fall of Ershad. Later, Sikder joined the Awami League when the party came to power in 1996. But the party expelled Sikder and arrested him in 1999. Sikder was indicted in 57 murder cases and convicted for 24 killings after his former bodyguard told the police he had ordered those killings and in some cases himself perpetrated the murders. The bodyguard told police that Sikder would bathe in milk after committing a murder. Khulna is notorious for its violence, with politicians, business people and journalists frequently attacked. In the last 10 years at least 12 journalists were killed in the southern districts.