Attack on the human right defenders

Advocate Rabindra Ghosh

I along with my video camera man – Mohammad Nadim of Global Human Rights Defense and Bangladesh Minority Watch have again been harassed and verbally assaulted by Police officers of Chapai Nowabganj district of Bangladesh on 15th January, 2009 while we were investigating a case of assault on landless victims and land grabbing. Md.Hasan Ali Bakul (Cell No. 01716302906) along with one hundred landless cultivators of Shibganj Upazila of Chapai Nowabganj district of Bangladesh submitted an appeal requesting GHRD to help investigating continuous atrocities and discrimination of police personnel against them. On the basis of their appeal I repeatedly contacted with local police administration in past but no remedial measures were meted out to sufferers.

On 14th January 2009 I along with Mohammad Nadim proceeded from Dhaka to the spot informing the local administration requesting them to help investigating intermittent crime and human rights violations against the victims. We reached at the spot on 15th January, 09 at about 10-30 and found that the local police with the collusion of perpetrators forcefully occupied some portion of land belonging to Md.Hasan Ali Bakul and police did not take any case of the victims rather police initiated false cases from the perpetrators resulting serious breach of peace in the locality.

On 15th January 09 at 3 p.m I along with my video camera man Md.Nadim reached at local Shibganj police station, politely enquired about the cause of repeated violation of law and human rights to Abul Kalam Azad Khan – Officer-in-Charge of Shibganj police station against the victims. Mr.Abul Kalam Azad, O.C. on spur of the moment got angry with me and snatched away the video camera from Mohammad Nadim and rebuked me with filthy languages and uttered ” You bustard – don’t take any picture and if you take any picture I will be compelled to arrest you” Then I requested the O.C. to hand over the camera with my cassette, but be continued to rebuke and intimidate me and Mohammad Nadim and put our camera in a table with indecorous manner. In this connection I also came to investigate similar atrocities against other victims at Shibganj police station on 24th October,2008 and Abul Kalam Azad at that time also rebuked us and harassed us.

I called Superintendent of Police (SP) Chapai Nowabganj district over his telephone No.01713373813 and requested him to help investigating our normal duties at Shibganj police station. After a while one Additional Superintendent of Police, and Assistant Superintendent of Police (Circle) appeared at the Shibganj Police station at about 4 p.m. and Mr. Md. Mahatab – Assistant Superintendent of police (Circle) started rebuking my video camera man and me uttering, ” You are a broker, you have come to our police station taking side of so-called victims. Why you are not going to protect the victims Gaza ? I know you since long you are creating trouble for our county and you will be put in jail for years together” Then he again jumped over Mohammad Nadim and again snatched away video camera and stolen our one cassette containing some important documents and returned the camera without cassette.

Then I also informed this unfortunate incident to Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Rajshahi Range, Rajshahi through his mobile telephone No.01713373788, but he did not take any action against those police officers responsible for such behaviors.

The following witnesses present at Shibganj police station will prove the arrogance attitude of police officers:
Md. Hasan Ali Bakul 2. Sakhil, 3. Ismail, 4. Rupchand, 5) Md. Dibu Sheikh 6) Md.Ruhul Amin 7) Md. Abu Taleb, 6) Md. Naser, 7) Md. Alam, 8) Md. Rashid, 9) Md. Dipu, 10) Kunal Mukherjee, 11) Md. Iskander Chairman and others.

It has become a great concern for Human rights defenders to perform humanitarian job in such a hostile atmosphere. Repeated threat and intimidation by police is common phenomenon in this county. I also informed many times in past to take urgent action against those responsible for criminal intimidation and threat/harassment but it is unfortunate that the police administration and the government neglected to comply the international protocols. The important cassette stolen by Md. Mahatab – Assistant Police (circle) should be recovered immediately. The Human rights defenders should be protected.

Separate allegations against police personnel by Mohammad Nadim and victims of crime will be produced soon.

The writer is the observer of Global Human Rights Defense and Founder President of Bangladesh Minority Watch (BDMW) Telephone: 0088-01711172468

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