Bangladesh: Awami League workers and police personnel attack human rights lawyer

Dhaka, February 1, 2016: Rising extremism is threatening minorities in Bangladesh and even the law enforcement agencies have been infiltrated by such elements in the South Asian nation.

Advocate Rabindra Ghosh of Bangladesh Minority watch in a Facebook post has revealed that Md. Moshiudowla Reza, Assistant Superintendent of Police(Hathazari Circle) Chittagong, physically assaulted him and other members of his human rights team in his office at Hathazari on Friday 29th January at about 2.13 p.m.

The post further says that the incident was premeditated and was shaped up with the help of perpetrators belonging mostly to the Awami League. The names of the perpetrators are Kazi Mohammad Salauddin, Md. Hasan, Md. Lokman, Md. Abu Taher, Md. Shafi Alam, Md. Shafi Alam, Md. Mozammel Sujan, Abu Ahmed, Helal, and Md. Ali Chowdhury.

The Bangladesh Minority Watch team had intimated date and time of visit to the office of A.S.P. Hathazari circle before the departure from Dhaka for a fact-finding investigation on the allegation of police torture and extortion of money from minority victim Sumon Kumar Dey.

Sumon had sought BDMW’s legal assistance for the recovery of the extorted money from police and wanted to complain about the ill-treatment by police and Upazila Nirbahi Officer for wrongful confinement and misuse of powers by putting four Hindu businessmen in jail on 14.09.2015.

The advocate in his Facebook post  further narrated that this attack was carried out with the direct connivance of police officer Reza and that the human rights team was left traumatized after the scuffling with police constables who used force against the unarmed advocates.

One of the human rights activists, Titu Shil, was also detained by police and his mobile camera was snatched away by hooligans in the presence of A.S.P. Circle. The video and the photo evidence taken during the scuffling were deleted later to suppress the incident.

Advocate Rabindra Ghosh communicated with the highest ranked police officers S.P. DIG of Police, and Deputy Commissioner of Chittagong Division, and also with the Home Minister of Bangladesh over phone and narrated the violent attack on the team by police officers and constables, but the administration took no action against the perpetrators and the police officers till the writing of the report.

This is the third physical attack on Advocate Rabindra Ghosh and his team during his fact-finding within 15 days in Bangladesh. Previously too, Ghosh was physically attacked by policemen, lawyers, and perpetrators in different parts of Bangladesh.

Advocate Rabindra Ghosh also shared a previous Email he had written to authorities over a threat that was issued by police officer Reza. It read:

“Md. Moshiudowla Reza -Assistant Superintendent of Police,(Hathazari Circle) Chittagong (Mobile Number :01713373634 is threatening Advocate Rabindra Ghosh of Bangladesh Minority Watch over his cell number (and is asking) not to investigate the incident of torture and extortion of money upon Hindu businessman – Sumon Kumar Dey -Managing Director of Super Stone Manufacturing Co. Ltd. tonight at about 11.45 p.m.

Bangladesh Minority Watch received an appeal from Minority Hindu businessman (Sumon Kumar Dey) for taking necessary steps against police and Upazila Nirbahi Officer -Hathazari Upazila of Chittagong District for alleged torture and extortion of money by police officers on 14.09.15.

Sumon Kumar Dey filed a writ petition No.13194 of 2015 before the High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh for enforcement of fundamental rights under Article 27, 31, 40 and 42 of Constitution of Bangladesh. The Hon’ble High Court Division by their order dated 14.12.15 issued rule upon the Government and other respondents including S.P., D.C. ASP and O.C. Chittagong and directed them not to disturb the petitioner Sumon Kumar Dey to run his business. But the respondents (ASP) became annoyed with Sumon Kumar Dey and started rebuking (in) filthy languages.

On hearing our (BDMW) visit to Hathazari for fact-finding on Friday next, Md.Moshiudowla Reza called me over (the) phone and started to rebuke saying “Don’t visit Hathazari for fact-finding and you will be harassed” and he disconnected his mobile line. I also tried to contact with the Home Minister of Bangladesh over his cell number but the Private Secretary of Home Minister said that ” The Minister is busy,” I also contacted with D.I.G. of Police over his cell number for alleged misbehavior shown by A.S.P. Circle but the D.I.G. did not respond (on) his mobile phone.

Some of the police officers are always showing their arrogance and trying to disobey the order of the superior courts also. In this situation, it has become difficult on the part of HR activists to give legal assistance to minority people of Bangladesh. Urgent Action needed.”