Police brutality must stop
A young man, Atiqur Rahman Bhuiyan, languishes on the floor of the burn unit at Dhaka Medical College Hospital. He had been picked by the police on charges of stealing an auto-rickshaw and is now in hospital, under the watch of two police guards. He has bullet injuries in his right leg and his body has five per cent burn injuries.
What had happened to Atiqur? Why is he in the burn unit after arrest rather than in police lockup or the jail? The answer to that is disturbing. According to Atiqur’s father Abdul Hannan Bhuiyan, at 3:30 pm on 11 November, four plainclothes policemen led by the sub inspector of Shibpur police station came to their village Lalpur by a CNG-run auto-rickshaw, picked up Atiqur and took him to the police station, accusing him of stealing an auto-rickshaw.
Atiqur’s father went to the police station in the evening and paid the police 1000 taka so that they wouldn’t torture him. The next morning he visited the police station again and saw his son’s body scalded with hot water. Atiqur told his father than the police had tortured him to forcefully elicit a confession.
The torture didn’t end there. He was kept for two nights in lockup at the police station in this condition. On 14 November he was blindfolded, taken to an unknown place and shot in the leg. On 15 November morning Atiqur’s father received a phone call from the Shibpur police station. He was told that his son had hurt his leg and had been admitted to the Narsingdi district hospital. He was shifted on 16 November from there to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
The police brutality against Atiqur is shocking. Whether Atiqur had actually committed any crime or not, is a different matter. The fact remains that the law enforcement cannot behave in such a manner with any citizen.
The officer-in-charge of Shibpur police station denied the accusations made by Atiqur’s father saying that Atiqur had been wounded in an exchange of gunfire when he was being arrested. When the OC was asked how a person could prepare for a robbery when he was so badly burnt, he simply brushed away the question, saying ‘he is a robber.’
Before being shot, Atiqur had been in Shibpur police station where the Baghabo union parishad chairman Tarun Mridha saw him in a scalded state.
The allegations against the police by Atiqur’s family are very important. It questions the country’s entire system of law enforcement. It is important that such allegations are taken into cognizance, duly investigated and that steps are taken accordingly.