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HC: Some OCs, DCs consider themselves zamindars

  • Published at 09:30 pm July 9th, 2019
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File photo of Bangladesh Supreme Court Dhaka Tribune

The court made the remarks during a bail petition by suspended OC Moazzem Hossain

Some officers-in-charge (OCs) of police stations and deputy commissioners (DCs) consider themselves as "landlords", the High Court has said. 

"They think they are all-in-all," the bench of Justices Md Moinul Islam Chowdhury and Khizir Hayat said during a bail petition by suspended OC of Sonagazi police station, Moazzem Hossain, on Tuesday.

Moazzem has been sued under the Digital Security Act, filed over spreading Sonagazi madrasa student Nusrat Jahan Rafi's video on social media, right after she came to police seeking help on a sexual harassment case filed against her madrasa principal Md Sirajaddaula.

Nusrat was later set on fire on April 6 by Sirajaddaula's supporters, for refusing to withdraw the charges. She died of her wounds four days later.

During Tuesday's bail petition, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam represented the state and Md Ahsan Ullah and Salma Sultana moved for Moazzem Hossain.

The court rejected Moazzem's bail petition.

The defence argued that the video had spread after a journalist found it in Moazzem's phone.

Countering their argument, the court said: “If the video had reached the journalist earlier, she [Nusrat] would not have had to die."

But the defence said: "The journalist himself admitted to spreading the video. The punishment for Moazzem, in the act he has been sued under, is not very strict and bail-able. 

"We are petitioning for his bail because he is ill," the defence counsel further said. "Besides, he is a government officer. He has pension to look after. He is not going to abscond if he gets bailed."

The court shot down their argument saying that the charges brought against him were very grave.

The attorney general, who represented the state, said: “Despite being a public servant, Moazzem recorded the video, and later it went viral. If he gets bail, what message would it send?"

The attorney general added that if indeed the defendant were ill, the jail authority would ensure his treatment at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Medical University (BSMMU).

The state’s top legal officer rebuked Moazzem's actions harshly, saying: “I have never seen such irresponsibility on a police officer’s part. The questions he asked were obscene!”

The court then said, “Some officers consider themselves zamindars. Not all, but some. There are similar cases everywhere in the world but it seems to be more in our country.”

The court said the questions Nusrat faced were unnecessary and completely out of context, and if she had been provided safety, then things would not have ended the way they did.