Framed Bangladesh Bank official recalls 'cop brutality'
What does a commoner do when a policeman, who is oath-bound to provide security to people, points his gun at him to squeeze money out of his pocket?
Have nothing to do other than feeling utterly helpless. Golam Rabby, an assistant director of Bangladesh Bank, learnt it the hard way.
Saturday night he was returning home from one of his relatives’ house in Mohammadpur.
It was then that Sub-inspector Masud Shikder’s “hungry eyes” fell upon him when he was walking on Tajmahal Road after withdrawing money from an ATM booth.
SI Masud, who was posted at Mohammadpur Police Station, and some of his associates forcibly picked up Rabby on a police van and demanded Tk 5 lakh as bribe for his release, the victim claimed.
The SI and some constables intercepted the BB official while he was returning home around 11:00pm, Rabbi, also a former news anchor at a private television channel, claimed.
They also allegedly threatened to implicate him in narcotic and arms cases. They even threatened to shoot him to force him to pay the money.
“They tortured me inhumanely for five long hours. They continuously slapped me and kicked me,” Rabby described to The Daily Star.
The policemen did not give him any chance to talk. “They hit me so hard that it hurts to open my mouth now.
“At one point, they threatened to implicate me in possessing of yaba pills and firearms. They even threatened to shoot me if I speak.”
In a tear-choked voice, Rabby said, “I never smoked a single cigarette in my life and they were trying to implicate me in narcotics case!”
When Rabby told them that he is an employee of Bangladesh Bank and a former student of Dhaka University, the SI hurled abusive words about the governor of the central bank and DU vice-chancellor, he said.
“We will see who now comes to save you,” Rabby quoted the SI as saying.
What an irony for the citizens of the country who pay for the law enforcers, Rabby thought.
At one stage, the policemen asked Rabby to call one of his female relatives to come to Asad Gate area for his release.
They were even checking Rabby’s contact list on his mobile phone.
“I usually save people’s phone numbers by their designations or institutions they work in. When they asked me to call someone who is not a Bangladesh Bank official, not a Dhaka University student, not a media person and not much educated, I had difficulty finding someone who would not raise suspicion in their minds. Luckily, I found a journalist’s number whose institution was not saved in the contact list.”
Getting a “call for help” in the wee hours, the journalist, a student of Dhaka University called some other students to accompany to save Rabby.
The policemen were constantly giving wrong addresses to the man who was coming for Rabby’s release.
The “hide and seek” game ended at Asad Gate signal, when the group of DU students accidentally saw Rabby in the police van.
Later, they took Rabby to his residence.
When Rabby went to Mohammadpur Police Station the next day with the newsmen to file a written complaint against SI Masud, the accused police official denied all the allegations.
The officer-in-charge of the station was speaking in favour of SI Masud, Rabby said, and added: “When I went to the assistant commissioner’s office, the OC however changed his stance.”
Talking to The Daily Star, Rabby said, “When the incident was happening that night, I was thinking about the Limon incident. I was just praying for my life.”
Limon was shot in the leg in 2011. He was then implicated in an arms case.
“When I was a news anchor, I came across many stories like this, but never believed those,” Rabby said.
“Now, I feel lucky that I’m alive,” Rabby told The Daily Star.
The incident of Rabby has gone viral on the social media with everyone seeking an end to power abuse by police.
Many mentioned that Rabby managed to come back because he was an official of the central bank and added that any ordinary person in his place might not have been so lucky.