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Thursday, January 21, 2016, Magh 8, 1422 BS, Rabius Sani 9, 1437 Hijri

The police department needs attitudinal reforms
Published :Thursday, 21 January, 2016,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 30

The inspector general of police has informed citizens that Golam Rabbi, the Bangladesh Bank official recently subjected to brutal treatment by a police sub-inspector and his colleagues, committed a criminal offence by refusing to be frisked. The IGP has not explained under what law a detained citizen can be held prisoner for hours in a van, abused in indecent manner and threatened with a false case unless he financially gratifies the policemen who hold him captive. Nowhere in the constitution of the republic is there a provision for police to detain citizens at random and beat them up and humiliate them in any way.
And yet the IGP feels Rabbi committed a criminal offence by refusing to be searched. He is dismissive of the fact that Rabbi showed his ID to the police. IDs are apparently pointless and therefore can be disregarded by the police. Hence Rabbi was not doing the right thing by showing those policemen his ID card. In other words, the ID card of a government, semi-government or non-government organization holds little value for our policemen. The IGP's statement calls for a strong response. The fact that the Governor of Bangladesh Bank has already protested the ill-treatment meted out to Rabbi must not be dismissed lightly. In recent days, an inspector of Dhaka South City Corporation was subjected to the kind of degrading treatment that was handed down to Rabbi and to so many others over a long period of time. The inspector was beaten up, ruthlessly. Are we now to suppose that the beating fell within the purview of the law, that it was the inspector who committed a criminal offence?
In any case involving the action of an individual or individuals, it becomes the responsibility of the department concerned to inquire into the complaints relating to such action. The IGP, while commenting on the issue involving the police treatment of Golam Rabbi, ought to have reassured people that the transgressions of his policemen would be purposefully dealt with. Unfortunately, he has not done that. He has explained away frisking as a normal act under the law, which is fine. But what he has not explained is the charge of extortion leveled at the sub-inspector. Why must it be that the police department will take its own personnel at their word and think nothing of the protestations of people who are put into trouble by some policemen? Of course one agrees with the IGP that the entire police force cannot be blamed for the misbehavior of a few policemen. But there is also the truth that unless such bad policemen giving the force a bad name are swiftly and harshly dealt with, citizens will develop the notion that the police are a law unto themselves and before them no rules matter. That would be unfortunate.
The point today is obvious. Our police force is in need of attitudinal reforms. For far too long policemen have demonstrated outrageous behavior in dealing with citizens and have generally got away with it. That must not be allowed to happen any more. A wholesale examination of the problem is necessary. We certainly do not wish to see any more citizens subjected to a loss of dignity by the police in our villages, towns and cities.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
Published by the Editor on behalf of the Observer Ltd. from Globe Printers, 24/A, New Eskaton Road, Ramna, Dhaka. Editorial, News and Commercial Offices : Aziz Bhaban (2nd floor), 93, Motijheel C/A, Dhaka-1000. Phone :9586651-58. Fax: 9586659-60, Advertisemnet: 9513663, E-mail: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected].