Thursday, December 17, 2009


Bangladesh– a nation in terror
Law and order deteriorating in Bangladesh
By Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
On December 15, 2009 at 2:30 am, several armed robbers intruded into my house compound and at gunpoint, demanded the key to the entrance gates to my apartment from the housekeeper. When the courageous housekeeper refused to handover the key, they assaulted him severely with a sharp knife. My entire family was completely terrified. We informed the Uttara Police Station and after almost 45 long minutes, police arrived on the scene. During the long wait, at the hue and cries of my family members, people in the neighborhood started coming in front of my house and because of this, the intruders cut and run.
After police arrived, they inspected the entire place of this attempted home invasion and assured us of an investigation. They also suggested for us to possible to lodge a formal complaint in the day time. Accordingly, my younger brother and executive editor of Weekly Blitz, Sohail Choudhury went to the Uttara Police Station with a complaint detailing the entire incident. But, police at this stage refused to register the complaint. They suggested Sohail Choudhury to write that three thieves entered the house and even did not let him mention about the assault on the housekeeper. When Sohail Choudhury wrote it as per their suggestion, police refused to officially receive this complaint. It may be mentioned here that, Uttara area is a part of the electoral constituency of the Bangladeshi Home Minister Advocate Sahara Khatun. This is an example of the worrisome state of lawlessness and inefficiency of the police in her own area. In this case, police in reality are actively trying to protect the culprits.
To understand the degree of complete lawlessness in the country, which ultimately turns Bangladesh into a nation in terror, we have to see several recent incidents below, where police officers were actually caught during robbery as well few cases of minority persecution, where police were giving shelter to the criminals, instead of according protection to the members of Bangladeshi Hindus.
On December 15, 2009, in the afternoon Assistant Sub the Inspector of Bangladesh Police, Mainul Huq [who was on duty at the Adabor police station in Dhaka] was nabbed by locals while he stopped two businessmen after they withdrew TK. 1.7 million [US$ 22,000] and snatched the entire amount from them. Other policemen involved in the crime managed to flee the scene. They were the sub-inspector of Kotwali police station Rowshan and a constable with the Dhaka Detective Branch named Saju.
When the culprit policeman was caught with the snatched amount, police from Paltan police station arrived on the scene and tried to rescue their colleague, refusing and to arrest him for the crime. Local people violently reacted at such an extremely illegal attitude of their police and continued to protest until senior officials from the department came onto the scene to arrest assistant sub inspector Mainul Huq for the crime. When Mainul Huq was being taken away in the police van, he was smiling and shouting at the businessman reminding them of the dire consequence they would face. The smiling face of this of this policeman appeared in a picture on Dhaka’s leading vernacular daily Manabzamin on December 16, 2009 on the back page. It is well understood by most that the Paltan police station will make all out efforts to save this culprit along with his thug members.
It may be mentioned here that, on February 22, 2009, armed men stormed into the office of Weekly Blitz, looted valuables and assaulted its members in the full presence of the police from Paltan police station. Most of the police stations in Bangladesh, during the present government, have turned into the safe haven of the criminals and members of Bangladeshi law enforcement agencies are continuing to do everything to save the criminals instead of taking legal actions against them. This has spiralled into the severe deterioration of law and order in the country. Even the Home Minister confessed on several occasions that the law and order situation was deteriorating in Bangladesh.
At Naranyanganj district [which is just 20 kilometers from the capital city], a minor Hindu girl named Swarna Biswas was abducted by groups of Muslims for forceful conversion recently. Family members of the victim went to Bandar police station and lodged a formal complaint. But police displayed total reluctance in taking any action against the perpetrators. They even are not taking any initiatives in rescuing the abducted girl. When contacted, many of the senior officials of Bangladesh police tried to term this notorious incident as a ‘mere romantic affair’. Even the officer-in-charge of Bandar police station told local human rights activist Advocate Robindra Ghosh that the case was not abduction but a ‘love affair’. Possibly Swarna Biswas will never be rescued and her abductors will be able to manufacture some marriage document, though she still is minor in age and according to Bangladeshi law, marrying a minor is a serious offense.
In fact, Bangladeshi law and law enforcement agencies are completely reluctant in according proper assistance to the members of religious minorities in all such cases of abduction and forceful conversion. When Awami League government came in power in January 2010, particularly the members of religious minority groups were happy as the party officially claims to be following secularist ideology and always were claiming to be the champion defenders of rights of religious minorities. But, the track record of past several months is extremely worrisome and it clearly leaves an alarming signal to the Bangladeshi Hindus as well as other members of the religious minorities that they are not safe in Muslim dominated Bangladesh and they may not even expect justice in the case of such abduction of any of the members of their families.
Swarna Biswas is just one case and surely there are hundreds which even fail to draw the media’s attention. Advocate Robindra Ghosh has already brought a few cases of abduction and forceful conversion of Hindus to the attention of the local and international media. But, in all cases, the ultimate result was tragic as none of the abducted members as returned to their families—not one!
The Fine Art of Policing in Bangladesh
Posted by Sortilegus at 2:31 PM
Friday, September 14, 2007
Policing in Bangladesh is never going to be easy. There is chaos, confusion, corruption and a cacaphny of diverse people yelling instructions and supplications to the police every minute of the day.
Police are woefully underpaid. A new recruit earns approximately USD 50 per month and senior officials only several hundred USD per month.
One could wonder, what kind of person would want to be a policeman in Bangladesh? Aside from poor salaries, their conditions are deplorable. But there are some fringe benefits. Baksheesh. The word baksheesh has its origin in Persia and it which means "gift". When the Moguls moved eastward, they brought their words and customs to the Indian subcontinent and the concept of baksheesh took root like a giant redwood tree.
It is rumoured that police applicants pay up to USD 2,000 to 3,000 to secure a position on the force. Since the average Bangladeshi's annual income is less than 1/5 that amount, an aspiring police officer must often collect gifts or loans from family members.
Once on the police force, the police officers must quickly go about recouping his investment. There are family members to be repaid and, besides, who can live on USD 50 per month?
All Bangladeshis, most especially the poor and powerless, are subject to the whims of the policeman. Rickshaw pullers know that when the policeman's hand comes out, failure to give over a few taka will result in a sharp whack from the policeman's baton or bamboo stick. Sometimes the rickshaw pullers suffer the beating in order to spend that measily few taka for a cup of tea or a biscuit.
It is an uneasy relationship between the public and the police.
The UN and some foreign governments are trying to teach the police to be more professional and to engage in "community policing". But we are a long way from that.
Below is an article in today's newspaper "The New Nation" that highlights the state of police/community relations:
"An angry mob beat up two members of the elite Rapid Action Batalion (RAB) for torturing a garments businessman at the city's Mirpur under Kafrul thana yesterday morning.All the RAB members and the businessman were admited to the Casualty Unit of the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH). DMCH sources said the condition of businessman Ali Huq, who is an ex-footballer and the owner of garments factory Royal Bangla Design Ltd, was stated to be critical as his left hand was broken due to the RAB torture and eight stitches were given him at his backside and head.The injured RAB members were identified as ASI Kamran, 30, and Deputy Assistant Director (DAD) Safayet Hossain, 30, of RAB-4. Witnesses said that as the motorbikes of RAB members' and Ali Huq collided, near the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) office at about 11 am, Ali Haq locked in an altercation with the RAB members over the incident At one stage, the RAB members beat up Ali Haq, who was going to shopping along with his 4-year-old son Shahed, by iron rods. Witnessing the incident, the local people got infuriated and beat up the plain clothes RAB members Kamran and Safayet, witnesses said. Meanwhile, other RAB members also rushed to the spot and joined their colleagues. Sub-Inspector Faruq Hossain of Kafrul thana admited the incident and said, "We heard the incident but none come to file any case."