DCs seek more power to try offenders
Deputy commissioners demanded more power to punish offenders and authority to swear affidavits like judicial magistrates at the inaugural meeting with the prime minister of the four-day conference beginning yesterday.
However, the issue of militancy dominated the meeting, which surfaced following the terror attacks at a Gulshan café and at Sholakia in Kishoreganj this month.
Against the backdrop of fear for further attacks, PM Sheikh Hasina asked the executive magistrates to apply their highest strength, talents and skills to tackle terrorism.
The DCs insisted on amending the Mobile Court Act 2009 to empower them to punish an alleged wrongdoer even if he doesn't confess to the offence he has committed. In this regard, photographs and audio-video clips should be allowed as pieces of evidence, they said.
According to the existing provision of the 2009 act, the executive magistrates can punish an offender only after he admits his misdeed. The DCs also demanded that the maximum punishment of an offender be increased by two years to four years' imprisonment.
Sources at the meeting said the DCs also wanted power to swear affidavits, which judicial magistrates are empowered to do now.
Hasina asked the DCs to play their due role in forming anti-terrorism and anti-militancy committees at ward, union, upazila and district levels and to build resistance to militancy and terrorism by uniting people's representatives, civil society members and common people.
During a meeting with Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal at the secretariat, the minister asked the civil bureaucrats to cooperate with law enforcers to combat militancy and terrorism.
Asaduzzaman also asked them to monitor the activities of anti-militancy committees in districts, thanas and unions, and to include common people in anti-militancy drives.
Emerging from the meeting, the minister told reporters that the DCs were given directives to root out militancy from the country.
At the inaugural ceremony, the PM placed a 19-point directive to tackle terrorism and militancy.
She at the same time asked the executive magistrates to be cautious while discharging their duties.
The bureaucrats have to maintain peace, order and stability and strictly ensure that innocent people don't fall victim to harassment when they receive government services, Hasina said.
The PM also asked the DCs to work against woman and child repression and trafficking, misuse of drugs, dowry, eve-teasing and early marriage.
They were also asked to be more attentive to alleviate poverty, to raise awareness about protecting environment, to make effective village courts to provide justice to common people and to ensure education, sports, entertainment and creative cultural activities of children.