The biggest ever shake-up in history comes two months into the killing of a retired army officer in police firing
In a major shake-up, Bangladesh Police has removed over 1,300 law enforcers out of some 1,500 posted in the southeastern district of Cox’s Bazar. The reshuffle in police, the biggest in the country’s history, comes nearly two months after the killing of retired major Sinha Md Rashed Khan in a police firing.
As many 1,351 police personnel, including the superintendent of police, have been transferred out of the district until Friday.
A total of 37 inspectors, including officers-in-charge of eight police stations, 85 sub-inspectors and assistant sub-inspectors, and 734 constables have been attached to the office of the deputy inspector general of the police’s Chittagong range.
It comes after Monday's transfer of seven other top law enforcers in the district, including additional superintendents and assistant superintendents.
A total of 1,500 police personnel were stationed in the police stations, investigation centres and outposts in the district, Additional SP Md Iqbal Hossain, who was also transferred, told Dhaka Tribune.
However, the official website of Cox’s Bazar police says a total of 1,240 personnel were stationed there until September 15.
On September 16, Cox’s Bazar SP Md Hasanuzzaman, who was posted in the southwestern district of Jhenaidah, replaced ABM Masud following a firestorm over the killing of Sinha on the night of July 31.
After the killing, 11 members of the local police, including the then Teknaf police OC Pradeep Kumar Das, have been arrested and are now being investigated by the Rapid Action Battalion.
Thirty-six-year-old Sinha, who had served with the Special Security Force tasked with protecting VVIPs, had gone into early retirement to pursue his interests.
His death in police firing raised eyebrows, which prompted the army chief and police chief to visit Cox’s Bazar before addressing a joint press conference.
Following actions against the suspected police officers, several victims of police brutality and harassment, have started to surface and speak up.
According to rights bodies, extrajudicial killings in Cox’s Bazar spiked sharply after May 2018 when the government announced a “war on drugs.”
Between 2018 and August 25 of this year, as many as 287 deaths in so-called gunfights were reported in Cox’s Bazar, says Human Rights Forum Bangladesh (HRFB), a coalition of 20 human rights and development organizations.
Citing media reports, it states that 161 among the 287 victims were killed by Teknaf police alone. Ever since Pradeep took the helm of Teknaf police station, 110 people were subjected to such extrajudicial killings, the coalition finds.