Deaths in Police Custody: A transparent policy is needed

The death of the accused in the custody of law and order forces has not stopped. Recently, a young man named Suman Sheikh died while in the custody of Hatirjheel police station in the capital. Police claim, he committed suicide. But the family says he was beaten to death. Such incidents are tragic and painful. Such incidents have always questioned the well-earned reputation of law enforcement agencies. Although the entire force is not involved in these heinous incidents, the image is being tarnished by some dishonest members. Even though laws have been enacted to prevent deaths in the custody of law and order forces, such incidents have not stopped in Bangladesh. But that law has become largely inactive. Suman’s wife Jannat Ara says Suman used to work in an organization next to Rampura TV Center. There he was beaten up on charges of theft. Later the police was informed. At night the police beat him while bringing him to the police station. After that, Suman died during torture at the police station. His home is Dakshinkandi of Nawabganj police station. Jannat said, ‘They are killing my husband inside the police station. He is beating her in the office. At night, the police are coming. The police are also beating. At night, I was visiting the police station, I was thrown out by verbally abusing me.’ Two police officers of that police station have been dismissed in connection with Suman Sheikh’s death. A three-member committee has been formed to investigate the incident. We do not know whether this committee’s investigation will see the light of day. The Torture and Death in Custody (Prevention) Act was enacted in 2013 to prevent torture and death in custody. This law provides for trial if someone is tortured while in custody and custody or if he dies due to torture. If the allegation of torture is proved in the trial, the accused will be punished with rigorous imprisonment for five years and if death due to torture is proved, the accused will be punished with imprisonment for life. Extrajudicial killings are universally condemned. No one has the right to arbitrarily kill a criminal, no matter how young or old. It is not desirable that police shelters should be unsafe for anyone. That is why no member or officer of the police should be intolerant. It is not appropriate to act inhumanely while being agitated and angry. Intolerant behavior by law enforcement agencies is not desirable under any circumstances. If Suman is guilty, he will be tried. There are courts of law. But to torture and kill like this is inhumane. Police cannot avoid responsibility for custodial deaths. We demand a fair investigation into the death of Suman Sheikh, action must be taken against the culprits. The government should formulate a transparent policy on deaths in police custody so that innocent people do not die in custody.

Source: Bhorer Kagoj by

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