Molestation at Police Club
HC asks eight policemen to appear
The High Court on Wednesday issued a rule on its own asking the government and the police to explain in two weeks why the authorities should not be ordered to prosecute the five police officers for their alleged involvement in the molestation of a teenaged girl at the Police Club on Dhaka court premises on Tuesday.
The bench of Justice AHM Shamuddin Chowdhury and Justice Jahangir Hossain also directed the authorities to explain why they should not be ordered to prosecute the five policemen on charge of assaulting journalists when they were covering the incident.
Some policemen on Tuesday molested a teenaged girl in the Police Club after she had come out of the court premises. She along with her parents went to the chief metropolitan magistrate’s court to seek justice.
A few hours after the incident, the policemen led by senior assistant commissioner (Kotwali) Rajib Al Masud and the Kotwali police officer-in-charge, Salauddin Khan, attacked journalists
and lawyers when they tried to stop the police picking up the girl and her mother from the court premises. At least 10 were injured in the incident.
In its order, the court said that the policemen had committed offences under Section 9(4)(b) and 10 of the Repression on Women and Children (Prevention) Act 2000 and under Section 325, 326, 354, 147, 379, 390 and 392 of the Penal Code.
The five policemen are Kotwali area assistant commissioner Rajib-Al-Masud, Kotwali police station officer-in-charge Salahuddin, subinspectors Jahangir and Zaman and the Police Club president.
The court also directed the Kotwali circle deputy commissioner and the five policemen to appear in court on June 6 to explain in person why the authorities should not be directed to prosecute them under the offices described above.
The home secretary, the inspector general of police and the Dhaka Metropolitan police commissioner were also asked to explain why departmental proceedings should not be simultaneously initiated against the five policemen and why action should not be taken against them under the relevant provisions in the Code of the Criminal Procedure and the Public Servants Disciplines and Appeal Rules 1985.
‘The inspector general of police must inform us within 48 hours as to whether any departmental proceedings and any criminal prosecution have been initiated against the people named above and as to whether any action has been taken in accordance with the provisions contained in the Public Servants Disciplines and Appeal Rules 1985,’ the court said in its order.
The inspector general of police has also been directed to file a dossier to the court explaining the entire episode and also explaining what has happened with certain members of the police force. The inspector general also will need to provide the antecedents and the past history of the police officers who have allegedly involved in the incident.
‘The inspector general of police shall submit his dossier within 48 hours from now,’ the court said.
It said, ‘The dossier shall contain short biographies, including the antecedents during their student life, of all the officers concerned.’
The court also directed the victim to appear before it on June 6 along with her parents.
It also asked three journalists Prashanta Karmakar, Tuhin Halder and Abdul Jalil, and two lawyers Shakhawat Hossain and Rashedul who were reportedly assaulted by the police during the incident, to provide necessary information.
The court also requested Ain o Salish Kendra’s Sultana Kamal, who visited the spot to assess the situation, to be present in court to assist in the matter during the next hearing on June 6.
In its order, the court observed that a serious and very disturbing news item was published in almost national daily newspapers on Wednesday describing the attempted rape by some policemen.
The court also observed that the news had questioned the credibility of some members of the police force and ‘whether those police officers who have any hidden agenda as in the past couple of weeks similar incidents have place.’
During the hearing, the court observed that such incidents increased as the national elections are approaching.
Before passing the order, the court also heard some lawyers, including the Supreme Court Bar Association’s vice-president KM Saifuddin Ahmed, Moniruzzaman Asad and deputy attorney general ABM Altaf Hossain.
-With New Age input