Don’t establish police state: Bangladesh HC

Kushtia SP apologises

M Moneruzzaman | Published: 13:35, Jan 25,2021 | Updated: 00:01, Jan 26,2021

 
 

The High Court on Monday asked the police not to establish a police state as Kushtia superintendent of police SM Tanvir Arafat confessed to contempt of the court by misbehaving with senior judicial magistrate Mohsin Hasan during Bheramara municipal election on January 16.

Tanvir apologised to the court regretting his action and assured the court that he would uphold the dignity of the judiciary and the judicial officers in future.

The court rebuked Tanvir when he tried to explain his misbehaviour with magistrate Mohsin, saying that he thought that he was a ‘stranger’.

The bench of Justice Mamnoon Rahman and Justice Khizir Hayat set February 17 for the announcement of the court’s decision whether Tanvir would be exonerated from the charge of contempt.

During the hearing, the court told Tanvir that it would consider his prayer seeking exoneration but asked him to prove that none was being harassed by police within his jurisdiction.

The court asked Tanvir to be a friend of the citizens.

Expressing concerns over the police action across the country, the court asked the police not to establish a police state.

The court also said that it was time to restore the image of the police.

‘We are frightened to see the action of the police in Jashore,’ the court said, adding, ‘It is the duty of the police to remove such fears.’

Various Newspapers reported that on the night of January 11, Jashore police mercilessly beaten up some leaders and activities of the ruling Awami League and its associates Juba League and Chhatra League and vandalised their homes as some Chhatra League leaders allegedly beaten a constable for sitting with a woman in the district’s Shahid Minar earlier in the day.

Daily Prothom Alo, quoting an intelligent report submitted by the Kushtia police to the Police Headquarters, published a report on Monday stating that Tanvir referred to the judicial magistrate Mohsin Hasan as a BNP man.

The court asked the police to ensure peaceful co-existence of all citizens in the society. It is the duty of the police to ensure security of all citizens irrespective of their political ideology, identity or beliefs, the court said.

‘You have to work in coordination with other organs of the state,’ the court said, adding that the rule of law cannot be established without the aid of the executive branch of the state.

The court asked SP Tanvir to put a stop to his ‘tall tale’. 

The court also asked Tanvir and other police officers of Kusthia to ensure that Md Shahjahan Ali, who was the witness of the incident, and his family members are not harassed in any manner.

The court on January 20 summoned Tanvir in a suo motu after taking cognisance of a report published in Dainik Amader Shomoy on Wednesday under the headline ‘Judge files a complaint against SP for misbehaving’.

Quoting the complaint, the report said that Tanvir misbehaved with Mohsin while he was on his election duties on January 16.

Mohsin entered the polling centre at Bheramara Pilot Model High School upon receiving allegations of irregularities from a voter.

Shahjahan, a youth development officer of the district, was posted as the presiding officer at the Bheramara Pilot High School during the Bheramara municipality election.

He was asked to visit Daulatpur police station on January 20 where he was made to spend one and a half hours.

On January 21, he sought protection from the court during an online court hearing.

During the poll, Shahjahan saw some people along with polling agents gathered at the centre, according to the complaint.

While the judicial magistrate was asking the presiding officer of the polling centre about the crowd, SP Tanvir along with assistant SP Mostafizur Rahman and their forces appeared there and called the presiding officer.

Even though the judicial magistrate introduced himself, Tanvir asked, ‘Who are you? What are you doing here?’

Tanvir also allegedly called Mohsin as ‘foul’ and asked him to get out of the centre.

The SP also questioned the deputation of the judicial magistrate to the election duty by saying, ‘Who sent you here?’

The court first issued a suo motu ruling on Tanvir asking him to explain in three days why a contempt proceeding would not be drawn against him and why he would not be punished for the contempt of court.

The court in the order said that the behaviour and attitude as well as the utterance of Tanvir amount to ‘serious contempt of court’.

The court said that ‘he not only committed serious contempt of the court but also tarnished the image of the judiciary as a whole with his contemptuous remarks, behaviour and attitude.’

Mohsin recently submitted an application to the Supreme Court, Election Commission, home ministry and the inspector general of police to take necessary steps against Tanvir, saying that the SP had misbehaved with him in violation of the Local Government Election Rules, 2010.

Appearing for magistrate Mohsin and pressing officer Shahjahan, lawyer Aneek R Haque, pleaded that there were many instances where the Supreme Court punished contemnors, even though they apologised seeking relief from the contempt.

CCTV footage showed that SP Tanvir was misbehaving and pushing the magistrate and the presiding officer out of the polling centre while holding them by the neck.

SP’s lawyer Munsurul Hoque Chouwdhury prayed for the exoneration of his client as he tendered an unqualified apology without contesting the contempt rule.

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