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Police must save themselves to be people`s police

By Editorial Desk
23rd-Nov-2016       
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The High Court on Monday issued a rule on concerned government authorities to explain in two weeks why they should not be directed to take necessary steps to prevent police from abusing Section 160 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

Acting on a petition filed by one Ashish Kumar Sharma, owner of a garment factory in Gazipur on November 17 challenging the legality of a notice sent to him by a Sub-inspector (SI) of Detective Police of Gazipur, the court issued the order.

In the letter the SI asked him to appear before him at his office to answer over a written complaint against him by another garment factory owners that Ashish is not paying back Tk 31.90 lakhs he owed to him.

The matter that has been challenged in the writ is that the SI has abused power given to police under the CrPC Section by summoning him although no case or general diary (GD) had been filed to open the case. Moreover he was asked to appear before him as a witness not as an accused misleading the complaints and that there was also no permission of a magistrate to open investigation or interrogation into the matter under the relevant CrPC code. The policeman has acted on ill- motive.  

The court comprising of Justice Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and Justice Mohammad Ullah has wanted to know why the steps taken by SI should not be declared illegal. The Home Secretary, Inspector General of Police, Superintendent of Police of Gazipur, officer-in-charge of the Detective Branch of Police in Gazipur and the concerned SI has been made respondents. The SI also has been asked to explain his action on December 4 appearing before the court.

The writ came before the court at a time when the Supreme Court has just issued detailed guidelines barring abuse of power by police under section 54 of CrPC and such other clauses of the Criminal Act. The court has rightly said in the recent judgment that establishing the rule of law will be difficult if police don't rightly apply the law and respect people's right.

The Supreme Court also advises some changes in the laws to make justice fair and visible. Their Lordships also expressed their minds about delay in prosecuting while one is procrastinating in jail. The court will release them if delay is made. There are hopeful signs for the victims of abuse of police power.  

Meanwhile as per media report senior police authorities have sounded skepticism over the Supreme Court judgment in the Cabinet Committee meeting to make the point that it may adversely affect maintenance of law and order.

We must not forget to emphasise that we are witnessing the excessive power of police but the law and order situation cannot be improved by arbitrary use of police power. The police is only taking the blame and they have put themselves more under political pressure. The high officials will recognise that unless ones guilt is proved they cannot be sure if the accused has been arrested leaving safe the dangerous criminals. 

The Gazipur SI's action shows how unlawful police action can victimize people at their will. Such abuse of power that needs to be strictly prohibited is however endangering people's life and property on daily basis all over the country. News report early this week said a policeman was arrested while snatching Tk 44,000/- from an egg-trader of city's Karwan Bazaar area while another escape from the scene.

The arrestee is a traffic police who blocked the egg-trader's rickshaw van as he was returning to his business after delivering supply to local shops. The most agonizing fact is that snatching cash of egg-delivery vans is almost regularly taking place and policemen involvement is terribly upsetting.

A Kushtia Court last week issued arrest warrants against three policemen, including an officer-in-charge, for allegedly killing a farmer in 2007. He was picked from his village home in Sadar Upazila to local police station and asked the family to pay Tk 3 lakhs for freedom. But the family refused because they have not so much money only to see he was killed in police 'cross-fire' dubbing his as a criminal. His bullet-hit body was found on Kushtia-Jhenaidah highway.

After long hearing, senior Judicial Magistrate issued the arrest warrants against the three stirring unhappy reaction from police quarters. In another case a Dhaka Court recently framed charges against five persons including three former policemen of Pallabi Police Station in connection with death of a youth in police custody in February 2014.

A Sub-Inspector of Pallabi police station picked five family friends from a weeding celebration and the young man died in the custody in police torture. In another case in recent past a tea shop vendor was killed by a cop at Shah Ali police station in the capital's Mirpur area as he failed to pay bribes for running the shop on roadside. Such incidents are almost a routine matter all over the country. 

We know how important police are for our safety and security. We want it most sincerely that police will be people's police under strict police discipline. It is known to all how dangerous police will be if discipline is not strictly imposed. We have very smart and responsible police officials but they make us feel more disappointed.  

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