Lawyers In Dhaka

Topic: “Police is the main terrorist in Bangladesh, they harass general people in many ways to get some bribe and sometimes want to protect corrupt people because they give heavy amount of money such as Mairjuana sellers, Phensedyl sellers.” Discuss.

1.0 Introduction:

This research paper is an attempt to examine the current actions of the police force in Bangladesh and to show that they are the main terrorists in Bangladesh. The police force in Bangladesh have been infamous for many different actions throughout the history of Bangladesh. Some of the most common allegations against the police are that they take bribe and protect the rich people because they serve their interests. These actions, along with hundreds of other illegal activities the Bangladeshi police are involved in, make them a greater terrorist force than any other in the country.

It appears for presenting this argument that the definition of the term “Terrorist” needs to be addressed. The different incidents of police force being involved in taking bribes or protecting rich people and also committing crime themselves need to be discussed. Then through the checking of whether it matches the criteria for making the police force in Bangladesh the main terrorist group in the country.

2.1 Definition of Terrorism

Terrorism is a common word in today’s world. Since the attack on the World Trade Center Towers, many other similar violent acts have been carried out; and most of these acts have been done by extremist religious groups. Thus one may think of the word “Terrorism” to have something to do with religious groups or bomb detonations. But the concept of terrorism is more than that. According to Bruce Hoffman, the Director of the Center for Peace and Security Studies at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service: “Various legal systems and government agencies use different definitions of “terrorism”. Moreover, the International community has been slow to formulate a universally agreed, legally binding definition of this crime. These difficulties arise from the fact that the term “terrorism” is politically and emotionally charged.”[1]

Hoffman has also stated: “Terrorism is a pejorative term. It is a word with intrinsically negative connotations that is generally applied to one’s enemies and opponents, or to those with whom one disagrees and would otherwise prefer to ignore. (…) Hence the decision to call someone or label some organization ‘terrorist’ becomes almost unavoidably subjective, depending largely on whether one sympathizes with or opposes the person/group/cause concerned. If one identifies with the victim of the violence, for example, then the act is terrorism. If, however, one identifies with the perpetrator, the violent act is regarded in a more sympathetic, if not positive (or, at the worst, an ambivalent) light; and it is not terrorism.”[2] For this and for political reasons, many news sources (such as Reuters) avoid using this term, opting instead for less accusatory words like “bombers”, “militants”, etc.[3] [4]

Therefore, during the 1970s and 1980s, the United Nations attempts to define the term foundered as there were differences of opinion between various members about the use of violence in the context of conflicts over national liberation and self-determination. But since 1994, the United Nations General Assembly has condemned terrorist acts using the following political description of terrorism: “Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them.[5] [6]

2.2 Bangladesh Police Force: A Short Introduction

Along with India and Pakistan, Bangladesh was a part of British India and thus was (and continues to be) governed by the Police Act of 1861. From Partition in 1947 to the Liberation War of 1971, Bangladesh was known as East Pakistan and therefore shares a common history with Pakistan on the issue of police reform until 27 March 1971. After achieving independence, Bangladesh continued to struggle with an unprofessional and deeply dysfunctional police force. Bangladesh suffered from an incredibly politicized and unaccountable police cadre. Many committees and commissions have been formed since 1971 to diagnose the problems with the police and formulate specific recommendations. “These initiatives have been fruitful to the extent that the reports were compiled, but unfortunately the recommendations they carried have not been implemented. Scarce resources, mixed incentives and vested interests prevented the reform agenda from being implemented.”[7] Bangladesh today has developed a reputation as one of the most corrupt and politicised countries in the world.[8] There has been a politicization of Bangladeshi society at all levels since 1991, including the civil service, the police and the judiciary. In particular, the police in Bangladesh have become an extracting agency, rather than anything resembling a service.[9]

2.3 Bangladesh Police Force and Bribe

The words Bribe and Police have become two related words in the minds of the Bangladeshi people. It is commonly assumed that whenever one has to encounter the police, by paying a bribe they can get out of the trouble. The Transparency International’s report of 2005 shows the following data regarding Bangladeshi Police and bribe:[10]

Bribe for Making General Diary Entries
Area % of Persons Paying Bribe for Making GD Entries Average Bribe Paid for Making GD Entries (Tk)
Rural 94.0 1121
Urban 88.0 778
Total 91.0 939
Bribe for Making First Information Reports
Area % of Persons Paying Bribe for Making Fir Average Bribe Paid for Making FIR (Tk)
Rural 93.0 2521
Urban 91.0 2222
Total 92.0 2430
Bribe for taking Clearance Certificate from Police
Area % of Persons Paying Bribe for taking Clearance Certificate from Police Average Bribe Paid for taking Clearance Certificate from Police
Rural 78.0 1288
Urban 82.5 550
Total 80.0 881
Bribe from Accused in Police Cases
Area % of Accused Paying Bribe in Police Cases Average Bribe Paid by Accused in Police Cases
Rural 68.0 6415
Urban 76.0 4565
Total 71.0 5718

A diagnostic study on police stations shows[11] that 91% of those who came to the metropolitan thana to lodge complaints could not do so without paying money, while 3.3% had to seek political assistance. Only 2.1% could lodge their complaints without money or any mediator. At the zilla level thana, 85.7% of the complainants had to lodge their complaints in exchange for money. At the upazilla level thana, this number was 81.6%. The number of persons who had to enlist the help of political leaders for lodging complaints is higher in the zilla sadar thana than in the metropolitan thana, but the number is even higher in the upazilla level thana. Substantial amounts of money are earned from cases, forming 24.5% of the metropolitan thana’s illegal income, 25.6% of the zilla sadar’s, and 33% of the  pazilla level thana’s. The police collect this amount from plaintiffs, accused, and other interested persons. Among the pretexts for the money demanded are filing fees and litigation costs. In some cases, the police collect amounts for instituting false cases. Even visiting detainees has become a source of corruption. In the thana, 97% of the civilians had to pay money to see the detainees; in the zilla sadar, 96.1%; and the upazilla level thanas, 94.3%.

According to the paper presented in 2006 by Mr. Iftekhar Zaman, the Executive Director of Transparency International Bangladesh, the Household Income lost to bribery:[12]

Therefore, it is evident how the police is greatly involved in taking bribes. From the presented statistics it can also be said that almost every Bangladeshi person has paid bribes to the police. Another thing is that by taking bribe during entering a GD or filing an FIR, the police is actually disturbing the trial system and thus disrupting the equilibrium there. By releasing accused persons after taking bribes from them, the police is striking an ultimate blow to the process of bringing justice to innocent people.

2.4 Lack of Cooperation:

In any civilized society the two most important factors which would be the indicators of the quality of life are firstly, the protection of life and property and, secondly the dispensation of justice. In Bangladesh, as the survey results revealed, both these factors are largely absent. Police The most startling findings of the baseline survey revealed that about one-half of the complainants (49.5%) made prior arrangement with the police for disposal of their cases; a majority (55%) of the prior arrangements was not to send the disputes to the court, while nearly two-fifths (38%) of the arrangements was to send the complaints to the court for disposal. About 71% of the respondents reported that police deliberately delayed sending the cases to the court. More than two-thirds (68.1%) of the complainants reported to have payments to the police for filing complaints as First Information Report (FIR). Payment to the police was made directly by the complainants (40%), followed by payments through office employees (34%) and through local dalal (26%). It is, therefore, not surprising that the public opinion of the police is very low. The survey revealed that 96.3% of the total households expressed the view by way of their completed agreement or general agreement with the assertion that it was almost impossible to get help from the police without money or influence.[13]

2.5 Extrajudicial Killings

On several occasions during 2009 the government promised that it would end the grave problem of extrajudicial executions by members of the security forces. Yet the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB)—an elite paramilitary law enforcement agency—and the police continued to kill people in what the authorities refer to as “crossfire” killings, “encounters,” and “shootouts” but in fact constitute thinly disguised extrajudicial executions. According to the human rights group Odhikar, 109 such killings were reported in the press between January 1 and October 31, 2009. The killings increased significantly during the second half of the year, suggesting a lack of commitment to confront the security forces once the government settled into office. Alleged members of outlawed left-wing political parties are particularly targeted. In echoes of previous governments’ statements that had been heavily criticized by the Awami League while in opposition, the government claimed that law enforcement agencies were only exercising their right to self defense. On May 27, RAB killed two Dhaka polytechnic students, Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Mohsin Sheikh, in what RAB referred to as a “shootout.” However, witnesses stated that the two men were arrested at night at their campus. Jinnah’s family has filed a murder case against 10 RAB officers questioning how the victims, while allegedly running to escape, were shot in the chest, abdomen, and throat.[14]

2.6 Torture

Once a person is under custody, the police have a range of alternative ways to proceed. If the detainee can be accused of a serious offence like murder or storing illegal weapons then the investigating officer will already be calculating how much money can be made and from whom it can be collected. On one side, he will be taking money from the complainant (such as on the pretext of needing to purchase fuel for the police vehicle). On the other, he will be bargaining with the accused about how much it will cost to escape from the charges, or at least from the Third Degree Method, or death by “crossfire”.[15]

The Third Degree Method is an all-round winner for police who use it. It brings in money and helps curry favour with senior officers, members of parliament and other important people. The relatives of persons under the Third Degree can be seen rushing in and out of police remand cells and other places of detention, doing their bit for one of the most corrupt economies in the world: making mobile phone calls, negotiating with middlemen, seeking help from political leaders or high-ranking civil or police officials, and spending huge amounts which they are forced to borrow from rich persons, money lenders or micro-credit groups, or by selling valuables like gold and land on the cheap.[16]

2.7 Arrests made:

Laws in Bangladesh make it easy for a police officer to arrest someone on a suspicion and try to pry some information out of them, with which to conjure up a better excuse to hold the person in custody. Section 54 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898, which permits arrest on “a reasonable suspicion” of a crime, is perhaps the most commonly used provision. For police in Dhaka, section 86 of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police Ordinance is frequently used to make arrests without valid reason after dark wherever someone is found “without any satisfactory explanation”. The section carries a summary one year penalty, fine or both. A person can also be held in detention through provisions such as the Special Power Act 1974, through which the police can propose to the district commissioner (executive officer) who is also the district magistrate (judicial officer), that any person shall be detained for a certain period of time.

Under these laws a hapless ordinary pedestrian may end up in jail for months simply for crossing the road at the wrong time and in the wrong place: namely, where police are present. Many others are targetted arrestees, having been identified as political opponents of a local official, or the government as a whole. Ironically, laws that have been ostensibly intended to protect human rights have also been used instead to arrest innocent persons. For instance, as it is easy to secure a temporary detention order under the Women and Children Repression Prevention (Special Provision) (Amended) Act 2003, the law is used by political, personal or business rivals to harass one another. This is one of the reasons that the overwhelming number of cases brought to courts under that law are reported to fail.

2.8 Several Criminal Incidents in Recent Times by the Police:

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has learned that a team from the Rapid Action Battalion-10, a paramilitary force involved in maintaining law and order in Bangladesh, tortured a journalist at his house while in their custody, and detained him for more than ten hours.[17] The soldiers made a fabricated video at his house and in their office involving drugs, in an attempt to discredit him. The police would not allow him to register a torture complaint against his perpetrators and the authorities have not yet taken any lawful action into this matter.[18]

Police in Bangladesh using bamboo staves, teargas and water cannon fought with textile workers demanding back pay and an immediate rise in monthly wages on the streets of Dhaka on Wednesday, June 29[19]. Witnesses said at least 30 people, mainly workers producing garments for global brands, were injured. Pictures showed children apparently being beaten. Ten policemen were also hurt.[20]

According to Transparency International, 71% of the accused paid bribes to the police at an average rate of 5,718 Bangladesh taka (84 USD).[21] Bangladeshi police arrest people without warrants and then use torture to extract bribes from the victims [30,40]. The police offer to drop the charges in exchange for a bribe. If the negotiations do not yield anything lucrative, they torture the detainee. Richer families are more likely to arrange bribes to save victims from detention, and this could explain why the risk of being tortured or executed is lower for victims that come from the richest families.[22][23]

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has learned that corrupt officers in the Paikgachha police have allowed a twelve-year-old girl to be kidnapped four times.[24] The girl is from the Hindu minority. Each time the police have either refused to help the mother, or have accepted bribes from the perpetrators to waive a criminal charge. When the girl was abducted on the last occasion, the Sub Inspector in charge kicked the mother and refused her request for help and was later seen helping the kidnappers remove the girl from the area. She remains missing. Though some progress has been made through legal channels, little practical action has been taken either against or by the police, and the girl’s widowed mother has received death threats from police officers and other influential people in the area.[25]

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has released a disturbing account in its monitoring of abuses by police in that country. The AHRC alleges that Babul Kazi, a mechanic, was tortured to death after he was unable to pay bribes to the police. Babul was arrested with the two men who worked for him in his auto-ricksaw. Kazi was later brought to the hospital dead and showing signs of torture.[26]

Parul Akter, a 30-year-old pregnant woman living in poverty, was killed by her husband and others in last month. The relatives of the victims had hardly reached the local police. The petitioner of the case Faruk hossian alleged that the police officials forced them to bribe to search for the accused. On the other side the greedy older brother of parul Rob Mia seems to be attached with the local police officials and mislead the case into different dimension. Our investigative had traced a telephone conversion, where the greedy man is bargaining for a huge amount to lead the case into wrong way.[27]

3.0 Conclusion:

After providing the statistical data, related news articles and the logic behind the actions of the police force, it can be seen why Bangladesh Police Force is acting this way. They are a group that was initially created for maintaining peace and justice in the country, but over the time it has become nothing more than a political tool to oppress the poor and underprivileged people that the rich and powerful men are using. The motive of this group has become to create a state of certain anarchy, fear and panic in the minds of the general people so that they do not ever expect help from this institution and rather think of them as evil and sadistic group. What this ultimately creates is a suppressed and silent population who are too afraid to question the government or the corporate group’s action, thus allowing the rich and powerful people to do whatever they want to. Now regarding the definition of terrorism, it completely fits for the Police force of Bangladesh, since they are a group of people creating a state of terror in the country in various ways for the political reason of keeping the population under oppression and to suppress them so that they do not retaliate. So the Police is the main terrorist in Bangladesh.

Biblioraphy

1.      Hoffman (1998), Inside Terrorism

2.      Staff, City Diary: Reuters sticks to the facts, City Diary, The Daily Telegraph, 28 September 2001

3.      United Nations Declaration on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism annex to UN General Assembly resolution 49/60 ,”Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism”, of December 9, 1994, UN Doc. A/Res/60/49

4.      Shahjahan, A.S.M. (2006), “Police Reform: A Bangladesh Concept”, Report from the ADB Symposium on Challenges in Implementing Access to Justice Reforms

5.      Bangladesh ranked as the most corrupt country in the world in 2005 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4353334.stm)

6.      Bangladesh often finishes in the top ten (http://www.ti-bangladesh.org/index.php?page_id=216)

7.      Sanjay Patil(2008),CSRI:2008 Feudal Forces: Reform Delayed

8.      See Dr. Muhammad Suddle, Mr. Abu Syed Shahjahan (2006), Strengthening the Criminal Justice System.

9.      The Aid Agenda: Corruption, Governance & Aid Effectiveness – Communicating the Big Issues”. Canberra, 17-19 May 2006.

10.  Nick Cheesman, “Fighting lawlessness with lawlessness [or] the rise & rise of the Rapid Action Battalion”, article 2, vol. 5, no. 4, August 2006

11.  Jason Burke , Children beaten by Bangladeshi police as they join garment workers’ strikes, guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 30 June 2010. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/30/bangladesh-strikes-children-beaten-police

12.  ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME,

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-146-2009.  www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2009/3303

13.  Transparency International Bangladesh,  http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-698X/9/29#B41

14.  Chowdhury AH: Prisons centers of Bangladesh: an overview. Dhaka; 2007

15.  See ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-119-2009, http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2009/3259

16.  Bangladesh Police Accused of Murder of Man Who Could Not Pay Bribe

17.  Published July 12, 2010 See http://jonathanturley.org/2010/07/12/bangladesh-police-accused-of-murder-of-man-who-could-not-pay-bribe/

18.  Police officials force pregnant woman to pay bribe Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.

19.  Police officials force pregnant woman to pay bribe  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlIqIdzQuAw

style=”text-align: justify;” size=”1″ />

[1] See Hoffman (1998), Inside Terrorism p. 32

[2] See Hoffman (1998), Inside Terrorism p. 32

[3] Staff, City Diary: Reuters sticks to the facts, City Diary, The Daily Telegraph, 28 September 2001

[4] Therefore, it can be argued that the concept of terrorism is not exact and vague. It is often measured on a subjective basis, further definitions will help us understand how it is defined.

[5] See United Nations Declaration on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism annex to UN General Assembly resolution 49/60 ,”Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism”, of December 9, 1994, UN Doc. A/Res/60/49

[6] Therefore, for a criminal act to be counted as terrorism, the crime has to be committed to create a state of terror in the public for any political purpose. The purpose may be of any kind and the number of people involved may vary, but as long as the crime has been committed for a particular set of political purposes to create a state of terror in the general public, it shall be counted as terrorism.

[7] See Shahjahan, A.S.M. (2006), “Police Reform: A Bangladesh Concept”, Report from the ADB Symposium on Challenges in Implementing Access to Justice Reforms, p.40.

[8] Bangladesh ranked as the most corrupt country in the world in 2005 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/

4353334.stm) and often finishes in the top ten (http://www.ti-bangladesh.org/index.php?page_id=216)

[9] See Sanjay Patil(2008),CSRI:2008 Feudal Forces: Reform Delayed, p.18

[10] See Dr. Muhammad Suddle, Mr. Abu Syed Shahjahan (2006), Strengthening the Criminal Justice System, p.43

[11] See Dr. Muhammad Suddle, Mr. Abu Syed Shahjahan (2006), Strengthening the Criminal Justice System, p.43

[12] Presented at the DAC Heads of Information Conference 2006 on “The Aid Agenda: Corruption, Governance & Aid Effectiveness – Communicating the Big Issues”. Canberra, 17-19 May 2006.

[13] What this finding implies is how the police is serving the political interest of maintaining a chaotic and dysfunctional justice system in order to serve the needs of the corrupt rich men. By not complying according to code of conduct and making it a norm to pay bribe and creating a negative image in the mind of the general population, the police is acting as an agent to maintain a disruptive society in Bangladesh.

[14] These extrajudicial killings are completely illegal in nature and often they are carried out to actually prevent the criminals from naming their godfathers or even partners in crime working in the police force itself. Many deep and heavy truth that would have resolved a lot of the questions regarding the law enforcement system get buried along with the dead bodies of these dead criminals.

[15] See Nick Cheesman, “Fighting lawlessness with lawlessness [or] the rise & rise of the Rapid Action Battalion”, article 2, vol. 5, no. 4, August 2006

[16] This is just another step in the vicious cycle that has been going on in the law enforcement sector of Bangladesh. Many people suffer heavily from such behavior from police. This creates a very negative image of police in the mind of the general people.

[17] ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME,

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-146-2009. See www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2009/3303

[18] This is a clear use of the muscle power of police that often occurs in Bangladesh. By unlawfully not only assaulting the man, police even denied to register the complaint. These kind of incidents create helplessness in the minds of the citizens and thus fear is installed into others’ minds who are observing it.

[19] See Jason Burke , Children beaten by Bangladeshi police as they join garment workers’ strikes, guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 30 June 2010. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/30/bangladesh-strikes-children-beaten-police

[20] By beating these children, police are preparing them to have an anarchist attitude even from childhood. This is a very crude example, and many of these children will grow up to be terrorists themselves just to fight with the police and the rules because of the hatred that are generated in their young minds by such actions. And these beatings are not occasional, often the police does such things. It can’t be purely unintentional.

[21] See TIB,  http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-698X/9/29#B41

[22] See Chowdhury AH: Prisons centers of Bangladesh: an overview. Dhaka; 2007 , p.9.

[23] This shows how police tries to maintain the system so that everyone pays the bribe.

[24] See ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-119-2009, http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2009/3259

[25] This incident shows how police are willingly not serving the general people and how their attitudes towards service has worsened.

[26] Bangladesh Police Accused of Murder of Man Who Could Not Pay Bribe

Published July 12, 2010 See http://jonathanturley.org/2010/07/12/bangladesh-police-accused-of-murder-of-man-who-could-not-pay-bribe/

[27] See www.upiasia.com%2FBlogosphere%2Fwilliamgomes%2F20090707%2Fbangladeshi_pregnant_woman_killed_by_husband%2F&session_token=gAHRWx27FWFMyX5Ns30i7tNUoe58MTI4OTAzNTgyMQ%3D%3D, audio clip:

Correspondence

For: The Lawyers & Jurists

M.L.Hotel Tower Ltd,208,Shahid Syed Nazrul Islam Sarani,

Bijoy Nagar, Dhaka-1000.

Email-admin@lawyersnjurists.com/nomaer@hotmail.com

www.lawyersnjurists.com

Country code+ Ph No.

Ph:0088-02-9571389; 0088-02-9513408,

0088-02-9564329, 0088-02-9564398

Direct cell with country code:

Local Code :

a)0088-01733689444

b)0088-01674647033

C)0088-01552632768