Thursday, June 13, 2024

HC orders probe

Arrest, Torture of DU Student Quader
HC orders probe
IGP asked to suspend 3 cops; govt told to arrange his treatment
The High Court yesterday ordered the inspector general of police to suspend immediately three officers of Khilgaon Police Station including its officer-in-charge for torturing a Dhaka University student in their custody.
The court took up the issue to unearth the facts after media reports brought to light the incident a couple of days ago. The reports said police claimed the student, Abdul Quader, is a robber while his teachers and fellow students said he is a decent person.
In a suo moto rule in the morning the HC summoned the policemen concerned and also brought the victim, the National Human Rights Commission chief, and a Dhaka University teacher for hearing the rule in the evening.
After the hearing, the court asked the government to provide proper treatment to the victim at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) hospital at its own cost, and to allow his parents to visit him anytime at the hospital.
An HC bench directed the government to give all legal assistance to Quader so that he can move petitions at the lower court concerned for bail in connection with the cases filed against him by police.
The bench of Justice AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik and Justice Gobinda Chandra Tagore ordered the law secretary to form a committee headed by an officer of the ministry with the rank of at least joint secretary to investigate the incident of detention and torture of Quader.
The judges ordered the IGP to set up another parallel committee headed by an officer of the police department to investigate the matter.
The committees are to submit their investigation reports to the HC within eight weeks.
A biochemistry and molecular biology student Quader and his family and friends alleged that Khilgaon police beat and picked up Quader from Segunbagicha area in the capital around 1:30am on July 16 on suspicion of a robbery, although Quader explained to them that he was returning to his dormitory on Dhaka University Campus from one of his relative’s apartment in Holy Family Hospital doctors’ quarters.
Police allegedly beat Quader severely in custody as well, and Officer-in-charge Helal Uddin chopped the calf muscle of one of his legs with a cleaver. He has been languishing in jail for the past 11 days, and police so far filed three cases against him.
The HC bench yesterday morning ordered the heads of Mohammadpur and Khilgaon police stations to appear before it along with Qauder at 3:30pm to explain their acts — just hours after a report headlined “Police out to ‘frame’ youth” was published in The Daily Star.
The court in the morning also directed the Dhaka Metropolitan Police commissioner to ensure production of Qauder before it and requested Chairman of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department of Dhaka University Prof Mamun Rashid Chowdhury, and National Human Rights Commission Chairman Mizanur Rahman to be present before it for placing their statements.
Citing the news which detailed the agony of the amiable young man, the HC bench expressed concern over the way he has been treated so far, and also issued a rule upon the respondents to explain within two weeks why the detention and torture of Quader should not be declared illegal.
In a very rare move, the court waited more than half an hour after its normal working hours to start the hearing, because police were delaying to produce Quader from Dhaka Central Jail.
Police produced Quader in a wheelchair before the HC bench around 5:00pm.
The court announced the directives in a jam-packed courtroom around 6:45pm.
The three police officers, who have been ordered to be suspended, are officer-in-charge of Khilgaon Police Station Helal Uddin, Sub-Inspector Alam Badsha, and Assistant SI Shahidur Rahman.
The three will have to be suspended so that they cannot influence investigation, the court said. Their suspension will remain in force until further order of the HC.
The HC bench requested National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to hold a separate investigation of the incident.
It passed the directives after hearing statements from victim Abdul Quader, Prof Mizanur Rahman, Prof Mamun Rashid Chowdhury, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam, Additional Attorney General MK Rahman, Advocate Abdul Matin Khasru, and OC of Khilgaon Police Station Helal Uddin.
During the hearing, Quader told the court that plainclothes police detained him from Segunbagicha area around 1:30am on July 16 while he was returning to his dormitory, Fazlul Haq Muslim Hall from his cousin’s house at Holy Family Hospital doctors’ quarters.
The police beat him mercilessly and took him to Khilgaon Police Station by a police van, although he said that he is a student of Dhaka University and not involved in any criminal activity.
Quader said police did not produce him before any magistrate although he requested them to do so.
OC Helal Uddin slashed the calf muscle of one of his legs with a cleaver around 10:00am on July 16 in the cell of Khilgaon Police Station, he added.
Other persons who gave depositions said they do not believe that Quader was involved in any crime, and they condemned the way he was tortured and detained by police.
Quader’s mother Monwara Begum, 55, and sister Zannatul Mawa, a Chittagong University student, were present during the hearing. Quader’s father Abdur Rouf is the acting upazila education officer at Devidwar, Comilla. They hail from Anandapur village of Burichong upazila of Comilla.
After the hearing, the court ordered police to take Quader directly to the hospital.

-With The Daily Star input

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