The way our citizens are being killed under
police custody, it is at best ominous of what is ahead.
Take a look at the papers.
The death of just-married Amar Das, a suspect
in the abduction case of Jamaluddin Ahmed Chowdhury of Chittagong,
(newspapers 12 December 2003) was always questionable and then
news of his body bearing 'marks of torture' (DS 13 December
2003) has again put us on the docks of conscience.
This appalling incident was followed by the
death of 18-year old Mahbubul Alam Rony in Dhaka allegedly from
'police torture'. (DS 13 December 2003)
news make the front page for obvious reasons. But what if there
are 19 similar cases in the past eleven months? A newspaper
can ill afford more than the national page. In Khulna division
alone, that is say one-fifth or one-sixth of Bangladesh, according
to the Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights, based on ten leading
national dailies, between January-November 2003, 19 persons
died because of torture by police and other law-enforcing agencies;
the injured number 153. (Prothom Alo 13 December 2003). They
are all Bangladeshis. Some of them may have even paid tax from
which the police and other bahinis are paid.
Once a year, when criticising international
bodies of bias we seem to forget that they take notes of gruesome
incidents like these in reaching a verdict of Bangladesh being
most corrupt, having bad governance, and so forth.
Most deaths in police custody occur, it is assumed,
because of their need to get a confession from the remanded
or held person. The tactics used by the force is a reincarnation
of man's barbaric past at a time when we hypocrites advocate
that a person is innocent unless proven guilty.
Often, members of the force are over-enthusiastic,
and therefore cruel, only to please some superior officer or
politician or government officer and must get a confession at
any cost. Our police have perhaps seldom demonstrated that it
is possible to be efficient without being violent. Even if they
know they have caught the guilty person red-handed, they push
for the much-prized confession.
One story goes like this: Three police squads,
The Scotland Yard, The NY Police and the Bangladeshi Police
were contesting for the best police force award. The judges
lead them to the Sundarbans and assign them the mission. Whoever
can capture an adult tiger and bring it back alive in the fastest
time will be adjudged the best.
First, Scotland Yard goes into the forest and
comes back in half an hour with a tiger all tied up.
Then the NY police go in and come back in 15
minutes with a tied-up tiger.
the Bangladeshi Police goes in, 15 minutes, half an hour, one
hour and no sign of our friends. The judges give up, get worried
and decide to search for them. They go into the forest. After
some searching, they find the Bangladeshi police bahini
personnel excitedly yelling near a tree. The Bangladeshis have
tied up a big bhalluk to a tree and one of them is shouting,
"Bawl tui Baagh! Bawl Shaala, tor...! tui Baagh!! (Admit
that you are a tiger!) One of them even had a kettle of hot
water in his hand.
It is not the only time that our police are
barking up the wrong tree.
Listen to this one: A lady driving a car was
stopped by two policemen on a busy road. Apprehensive, the lady
stopped. The policemen came to her and greeted her in gawdo-gawdo
style and said, "Congratulations, Apa. We have been watching
you for the last few days and have found that you are the safest
driver in the capital. So, the Chief of Police sends you his
compliments", and they handed her a flower. The lady accepted
the flower and thanked the policemen, who greeted her again
and left. After their departure, the lady took a deep sigh of
relief. She did not have a driving license.
The deft methods in which they have been taking
the law and life of suspects into their own hands, and defending
their deeds, it is reasonable to assume that they are very smart
people. But what about their subordinate staff?
Time for another story: A DIG and a commandant
of the armed police were relaxing on the lounge; having a meeting
according to the PS. The conversation turned towards their very
obedient orderlies. Each one claimed that his orderly was a
fool. The two decided to compare. The commandant called for
his orderly and said, "Chand Miah, here is a ten taka note.
Go and purchase a Toyota car from the market right now and bring
"Right Sir", said the orderly. He
took the note from the officer, saluted and went back.
Then the DIG called his orderly and told him,
"Baset Miah, go to my office and see whether I'm sitting
there or not".
"Right Sir", the orderly said, gave
a long salaam and went back.
The two officers had a hearty laugh, not realising
that the orderlies were talking outside. Chand Miah was saying,
"Basettah, look at my stupid boss. He doesn't even know
that the market is closed today and the car cannot be bought".
"And look at my boss Chand Miah, he wants
me to go and see whether he is in his office or not. Why can't
he ring up and find out? I've never seen such a lazy officer
in my life".
STOP PRESS. The police sent out the picture
of an escaped convict in six different poses. A constable sent
the following wireless message: "Have captured five of
them and on trail of the sixth."
(With a little help from internet joke sites)