Bangladesh Police Brass Warns Officers Not to Abuse People

Kamran Reza Chowdhury
160208-BD-police-probe-620 The family of tea vendor Babul Matubbar mourns his death in Dhaka, after a group of policemen allegedly killed him for not paying extortion money, Feb. 4, 2016.

Amid recent reports of misbehavior by policemen, including the killing of a tea vendor by some officers who allegedly tried to extort money from him, Bangladeshi authorities say they will weed out rogue cops.

“This is not acceptable that the audacious attitude of a handful of rogue members would harm the image of the entire police force,” the national police force said in a statement issued, after Bangladesh Police Inspector-General A.K.M. Shahidul Haque convened an urgent meeting in Dhaka on Sunday over complaints about alleged human rights violations by officers.

Among the groups raising concerns about police misbehavior is a leading rights advocacy group, Ain-O-Salish Kendra (ASK).

It sent a letter to Haque, the nation’s police chief, in which it accused police of conducting a flawed investigation into the alleged sexual harassment of a student at ASA University in Dhaka by a police sub-inspector on Feb. 1.

According to reports, the harassment occurred when on-duty officers stopped the student on suspicion that she was carrying drugs. Police claim that a court-ordered review cleared Sub-Inspector Ratan Kumar of any wrongdoing in the case.

But Ain-O-Salish Kendra disputes the findings.

“We carried out an investigation and we are sure that the police officer harassed her sexually. The police investigation was designed to make the police officer innocent,” ASK activist Nur Khan Liton told BenarNews.

“There should be a judicial inquiry into the allegations of rights violation by the police,” Liton added.

Tea vendor’s murder

Other Bangladeshis reacted skeptically to the vow by national police to rid their ranks of abusive officers.

“I think the IGP’s warning to the policemen would not work. People want every incident of rights violation be investigated properly and the culprits must be visibly punished. Otherwise, this is meaningless,” Mohammad Shamsuzzaman told BenarNews.

Shamsuzzaman is a trader in the Mirpur section of Dhaka, where a group of policemen and an informant allegedly burned tea vendor Babul Matubbar by pushing him into a vat of boiling oil on Feb. 3. The 45-year-old died of his injuries the next day at Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

“The policemen demanded money from my father. Because he refused to give them the money, the informer kicked him into the boiling oil,” Matubbar’s son, Raju, told BenarNews.

The incident created a sensation on social media, with people demanding punishment for the police assigned to the Shah Ali police station in Mirpur, Dhaka.

According to news reports, four officers have been suspended over the incident.


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