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High Court: How dare the police act like courts?

  • Published at 10:52 pm April 2nd, 2019
File photo of Bangladesh High Court

The court remarked that the entire police force suffers from bad reputation due to some police personnel

The High Court has come down hard on Satkhira’s Shyamnagar police for refusing to accept a case, and warned strongly against a practice of law enforcement picking and choosing what cases to accept.

“How do they do that and from where do they get such audacity? How dare they act like courts?” the court questioned.

The bench of Justices FRM Nazmul Ahasan and KM Kamrul Kader made these observations on Tuesday while hearing a writ petition filed, challenging legality of refusal by the officer-in-charge (OC) of Satkhira’s Shyamnagar police station to register a case for torturing one Md Fazlul Rahman and looting his valuables.

During Tuesday’s hearing, the attorney general’s office informed the court that the allegations against the Shyamnagar OC are at least partially true.

The court remarked that the entire police force suffers from bad reputation due to some police personnel.

“Many policemen live a life of hardship. But some have four, five houses. Is this a country of thieves?” the bench asked.

The court fixed April 7 for further hearing and passing order on the petition, advocate Md Shamsul Huq Kanchan, a lawyer for writ petitioner Fazlul Rahman, told the Dhaka Tribune.

Citing the petition, he said one Yusuf Ali and his men attacked and tortured Fazlul Rahman at Sora village under the jurisdiction of the Shyamnagar police station on the night of February 15.

They also looted Tk2 lakh in cash, two gold chains, and valuables worth Tk50,000 from Fazlul, and damaged the wall of his residence, he said.

Fazlul complained to the Shyamnagar police station OC Habil Hossain over cell phone and requested for help.

Confirming the matter to Dhaka Tribune Fazlul Karim said: "I work at a private company in Dhaka. I came back to my native home on February 13. Around 11:30pm, on February 15, multiple individuals vandalized my house,  attacked my family, and robbed us. 

"When I contacted Shyamnagar police station for help, the Officer-in-Charge (OC) told me that he was busy with something else. When I told him that we had been attacked by robbers, he told us that police was not our personal servant. He also told me that police would not come to our house right when we called for help."

He continued: "Responding to my 999 call, after I had notified the Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) of Kaliganj Circle, an ASI from the Shyamnagar police station came to  my house and told me to call the OC of the same police station. 

"The Shyamnagar police station OC told me that I would not be able to file a case as I had informed higher police officials of the incident. He proposed that I sit with our chairman and come to a settlement with the people responsible for the attack. I rejected this and filed a written complaint with the Satkhira police super regarding the incident."

But, the OC refused to help Fazlul saying that he was busy and he will look into it later. 

Fazlul then informed Satkhira’s superintendent of police (SP) of the incident by calling 999, who deployed an assistant sub-inspector to the spot.

When contacted for a comment regarding the proceedings, Satkhira Shyamnagar OC Habil Hossain said: "A case was filed regarding this incident, against 15 people, on April 2. Yusuf, Ayub Hossain, Shamsher, Rezaul, Nadir Sardar, Rafi are among the 15 suspects; and two of them are  Fazlul's family members."

When asked about why a case was not filed upon Fazlul's complaint, the OC said:  "There was a dispute between Fazlul Karim's father, Abul Kashem Sardar, and his brothers regarding the property. 

"On February 15 Fazlul tried to file a robbery case but Fazlul's family members argued and became engaged in a fight over a property dispute. Fazlul was asked to file the case mentioning what really happened that day but he refused to do so. We wanted file the case upon further investigation. They wanted to file a false robbery case. Therefore, they were initially asked to sit with the chairman to settle the family dispute."

"I had immediately sent Sub-Inspector Moniruzzaman to the spot in response to Fazlul's phone call. The next day, police went to his house to investigate. As the victims claims of robbery were false, we did not want to take the case. The allegations made against me are not true. However, a robbery case has been filed. We are investigating and the people responsible for this will not be spared."

On February 26, the SP directed OC Habil to file a case over the incident, but not only did he not register a case, he told Fazlul to complain to court since Falzur had approached a higher authority.

On March 3, Fazlul Rahman submitted the writ petition to the High Court challenging legality of OC Habil’s refusal to record the case.

Additional reporting by our Satkhira corespondent, Asaduzzaman