Law enforcers continue to engage in crimes, corruptions and human rights abuses worrying many police policymakers.
Police policymakers have formally termed the involvement of cops in crime and corruption ‘stray incidents’ in the force with more than two lakh members but they are worried as more than one-third of the cops have been punished in the past five years, a number of policymakers said.
They said that the situation was so worst that the police headquarters on Monday decided to keep open the IGP Complain Cell round-the-clock to facilitate the lodging of complaints against law enforcers.
People can lodge complaints with the cell against any unprofessional and unethical acts by the police personnel by making calls to mobile numbers and sending emails to the cell.
The cell, operated under the supervision of an additional deputy inspector general, recorded 56 complaints against law enforcers in 24 hours until 9:00am on Wednesday.
Police Internal Oversight unit has been working for long to identify the criminals inside the force and sharing intelligence to the police chief to keep discipline while the discipline and professional standard unit in the headquarters is also prosecuting, investigating and conducting intelligence works, senior police officials said.
They said that a number of initiatives, including dis playing oath of the police in front of the police establishments, were taken in recent months to remind cops of their duties.
The police headquarters in a letter on January 31 instructed all of its units to spot corruption in recruitment and posting of cops considering those as the main reasons of cops’ involvement in crimes and corruptions.
The letter also asked cops to conduct a countrywide anti-drug operation with prosecuting cops for taking ‘illegal benefits’ from the drug dealers.
It also asked police units to identify the drugs abusers in the forces, conduct dope tests and prosecute the perpetrators.
Inspector general of police AKM Shahidul Hoque said in late October, ‘When our members commit crime, we don’t own them … basically it’s a disease.’
A deputy inspector general and two additional deputy inspectors general, however, said that stopping corruption and crimes inside the force was impossible without political commitment.
According to the police headquarters reports, 542 cops, including 15 officers, were dismissed between January 2012 and
September 2017 while 3,987 others were given ‘hard’ punishment and 73, 324 others were given ‘soft’ punishment in the past five years.
The hard punishment refers to demotion, stoppage of increment and ‘black-point’ on the service book while soft punishment refers mostly to warning.
The police headquarters, however, have no available data on the categories of crimes the punished cops have committed or for which crimes they have been punished.
The media, however, often report the involvement of cops in crimes and corruptions while issue of rights abuse by the law enforcement agencies is most talked about.
The National Human Rights Commission sent a letter to the home ministry on February 26, 2017 along with a list of 156 complaints against cops remained pending for long.
‘We are not getting expected response from the authorities,’ said the commission chairman Kazi Reazul Hoque.
According to the list, 4 cases have been remained pending since 2012, 10 since 2013, 53 since 2014, 73 since 2015 and 16 since 2016.
Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan said
that he would look into the matter.
The Anti Corruption Commission in its annual report 2016 said that major problems with the police included absence of timeframe for investigations.
Rights defender Nur Khan Liton alleged that the law enforcing agencies delayed reply to any particular case when they found that they did not do it ‘properly’ or ‘professionally’.
Of the 156 cases, 27 were related to enforced disappearances and 24 were related to torture, 20 were related to police harassment, 12 were connected to extrajudicial
killings or crossfire, 4 were related to negligence in investigations, 4 were related to land grabbing, 4 were related to extortions while the rests were related to bribery and other unlawful activities.
One of the complaints stated that people in plainclothes identifying themselves as police picked up Jafar Iqbal, 23, from his house at Uttar Kaya of Kumarkhali in Kushtia on October 11, 2015.
The family alleged that they were asked to visit the police station when the cops were taking Jafar from their house. But, the police later denied that they brought anyone.
The police did not receive their complaint but launched an investigation following a court
order. In the report the investigators claimed that they could not identify the abductors.
The Police Bureau of Investigation is currently investigating the case. The victim’s father Shamsuddin Sheikh alleged that local drugs dealers used the cops for the enforced disappearance of Jafar.
A number of the allegations were against other police units including Rapid Action Battalion.
The battalion allegedly picked up Fakhrul Islam from Pintu’s Garage at Segunbagicha and killed him in 2013.
The complaints named 37 officials ranking from assistant sub-inspector to assistant police superintendent.
Police headquarters assistant inspector general (media) Soheli Ferdaus said that the police
were sincere to uphold human rights and there were no intentional delay in responding to the commission.
‘But,’ she said, ‘we have to remain busy in other sensitive issues like investigating murder or serious crimes than any allegation of rights violation.’
On Tuesday, a woman filed a case with a magistrate court in Jessore accusing 16 cops, including seven officials, of being involved in enforced disappearance of her only son in early April from Jessore district town.
Hira Khatun, of Shankarpur in Jessore town, stated that getting a phone call she went to Jessore
Paura Park at about noon on April 5, 2017 and witnessed that her son Md Syeed along with his friend Shaon were being picked up by some cops on a police van.
In the complaint, the plaintiff stated that Syeed disappeared after the cops picked up him and she suspected that he had been killed by the cops as she did not pay Tk 2 lakh demanded by the cops.
Hira, however, withdrew the complaint on Wednesday.
A senior official at Police Bureau of Investigation told New Age on Wednesday that they were investigating 10 complaints against members of law enforcement agencies.
According to rights organisation Odhikar, 402 people disappeared between January 2009 and October 2017 and at least 52 of them were found dead, 198 returned alive or were shown arrested while the whereabouts of the 152 were never known.
According to the rights organisation, 80 per cent of the 402 victims were picked up by the Rapid Action Battalion and the police and the rest by ‘law enforcement agencies’ and ‘people from the government’, among others.
On October 25, army personnel detained seven Detective Branch police members in Cox’s Bazar with Tk 17 lakh, allegedly realised as ransom from the family of Abdul Gafur, 28, a blanket trader as claimed by his family.
On September 7, 11 police and Ansar members, including the officer-in-charge of Khulna’s Khalishpur police station, were sued on the charge of damaging both eyes of a man while torturing him in custody.
Renu Begum, the wife of the victim Shahjalal, filed the complaint with the court of the chief metropolitan magistrate, accusing nine cops, two Ansar members and two residents of Khulna city.
Both of the cases were under investigation by the PBI.
On October 17, the police reported that assistant sub-inspector of police Jasim Uddin, 30,
of Khulna Reserve Force and his accomplice Mithu, 35, were caught red-handed while trying to rob a trader in Dhaka’s Khamarbari area.
One of the victims, Himel Khan, a trader, filed a case with Sher-e-Bangla Nagar police station against the two cops, said officer-in-charge of the police station GG Biswash.
On October 24, Anti-Corruption Commission filed a case against Faridpur superintendent of police Subhas Chandra Saha and his wife Reena Chowdhury on charge of amassing Tk 8.36 crore through alleged corruption.
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