THE police once again showed their high-handedness on Saturday when they attacked a human chain that old friends of a Stamford University student, who was arrested after the death of a former army major in police firing on July 31 at Shamlapur on the Cox’s Bazar–Teknaf Marine Drive, organised at Bamna in Barguna demanding the release of the university student. Students of colleges, mostly old classmates of the Stamford University student, of Barguna, where he spent his early years, organised the human chain on the Bamna College Road demanding his release. Of the three helping hands of the deceased former major, who is reported to have shot a film for a travel show, one, the student in question, was arrested in two cases that the police filed in connection with possessing drug substances and obstructing the police, and another, a girl, in the drug substance case and they both, students of Stamford University, were sent to jail while the third one was handed over to his parents. As the human chain began, the police snatched away the banner and posters and soon after, they charged at the students, reported to have been holding the protests in a peaceful manner, with truncheons, leaving five of them wounded.
The police officer-in-charge at hand seeks to say that there might have been ‘ill motive’ for the protests and that the student’s grandfather, who is a Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader, and his cousin, a leader of the BNP’s student wing Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, had ordered the protests. But the BNP leader, who is general secretary of the party’s Bamna unit, says that they have not planned any protests and they would rather move the High Court for the student’s release as a Cox’s Bazar court did not allow their appeal. He says that it was the student’s friends and old classmates who held the protests on their own. A group of students of Stamford University, banded together as film and media studies department and Stamford Film Student Cine Forum, meanwhile, organised a human chain in front of the university in Dhaka on Saturday morning, demanding that both the students should be released and they should be relieved of the charges, which many think may not be grounded in view of the turn of events of the happening, brought against them. Holding protests is no crime and this is more so when the protests are peaceful. Friends and fellows could hold peaceful protests for the release of both the students. But the police coming down heavily on the students is only reflective of the high-handedness that the police have showed on many occasions in the past, from the centre to the periphery.
The police must, therefore, realise that such high-handedness only tarnishes their image and helps to spawn off speculations that are not only harmful for themselves but also for the government. And the government must, in such a situation, make the police behave so that the police, who are to deter crimes, do not border on committing crimes through their high-handedness.
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