October 04, 2005


The Bangladesh police & their elite force RAB have shown great performance in arresting over 500 suspects of the August 17 bombings. Their latest cap includes arresting Mufti Hannan, trained and fought for the Taliban in Afghanistan and a kingpin of the Islamic militants in Bangladesh. Hannan was the prime suspect of the assassination attempt of Sheikh Hasina in July 2000. It took 5 years to track him down. The question is why? Is the police force incompetent or corrupt? Not always. They are just helpless and being manipulated like the common people. They can't act on their own and sadly remain confined to the official orders. Who controls them? Naturally the lawmakers and the administration.

After Hannan's arrest a controversy arouse as he claimed that the then home minister Altaf Hossain Choudhury, now commerce minister, assured him of 'no fear' to live in the country when he was approached for mercy via Moulana Muhiuddin Khan, senior vice-chairman of Amini faction of Islami Oikya Jote (IOJ) and editor of Madina, an Islamic monthly magazine. "The minister advised me to submit a mercy petition and asked me not to move openly until situation normalises," Hannan said.

The accused predictably denied the allegations but we can conclude that these kinds of lobbying exist. Lately there was a controversy regarding conferring president's mercy to a Bangladeshi expat (ruling party activist) from death penalty and his alleged meeting with the law Minister prior to that. The JMB leader Bangla Bhai is at large because of protection of some lawmakers. What the police can do? They cannot disobey their superiors' orders. Those who disobeys or acts in the course of law gets reprimanded or transferred.

Recently I have read a hilarious conspiracy theory. The transportation minister while replying to the reporters about the cause of traffic jam despite of all new automated signaling system accused the traffic constables of incompetence. He commented that some of the constables intentionally (?) create jam so that the government's image get tarnished to benefit certain quarters. Surely he found a way to accuse the opposition at these low paid constables' expense. Can't he realize that he had in a way put the blame on the home ministry? What the home minister has to say about this? Probably he is just as helpless as the others. He has to maintain a department keeping every quarter happy. Yes, that's what the lawmakers have devised as the police department's role in Bangladesh.

If the police are allowed to do their job independently, they can change the situation and they have proven that. The nation needs them to put their acts together without influence from other quarters against the evil. Then only I hope we will be able to see the end of them.


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