A saviour for justice seekers | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 08, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:48 AM, March 08, 2017

A saviour for justice seekers

Chandpur SP Shamsunnahar set up Help Cell to settle family discords on January 1 last year and peacefully resolved 700 such cases so far

Crises are common in life but most of them can be resolved if rightly addressed on time. Shamsunnahar, superintendent of police (SP) of Chandpur, has set a living example of it, settling around 700 incidents of family discords through counselling at the Help Cell that started functioning at her office on January 1 last year.

Initially meant for children and women, the Cell now serves people irrespective of age and gender.

Let's consider the case of a housewife of Razpur in the district's Shahrasti upazila. She became pregnant but her husband brought allegations of illicit relation against her and moved to divorce.

As the helpless woman approached SP Shamsunahar, the latter called both the husband and wife to her office, discussed and chucked out the misunderstandings and suspicion from their mind, helping the couple to reunite.

“I'm grateful to the SP madam. If she didn't intervene, I would've to bear the scandal throughout my life,” said the housewife, requesting not to disclose her identity.

One of a few female SPs in the country, Shamsunnahar has not confined herself to just formal official works.

Out of her busy schedule, she makes time to give patient hearing and resolve problems of people coming from different areas of the district at the Help Cell.

Every day, around 50 people, mostly female, get help from the Cell, office sources said.

So far, around 700 family problems like that of the housewife were settled by the SP, relieving them from going through pains or long legal procedure to settle them.

Nurjahan Begum Beauty, another housewife of Shahrasti upazila, filed a case against her husband with the court last year as she had been tortured by him for dowry.

Failing to bear the expenses of the case, she tried to settle the matter outside the court with the help of lawyers of both the parties and local union parishad chairman several times but no solution could be reached.

Finally, they went to the Help Cell that provided them counselling.

SP Shamsunnahar suggested the couple to live together once again for three months as a way to reach an understanding.

For over a month now, the couple are staying at their house without any discord. The issue of dowry did not come up either.

Azmeri Begum, a sub-inspector assigned at the Help Cell, said about 1000 allegations were filed last year of which 700 were settled by the SP.

Of the rest 300, investigations of 180 allegations are going on while 120 others were filed as regular case, she added.

Due to the initiative, the number of cases filed has drastically reduced.

"Earlier 70 to 100 cases were filed with different police stations of the district every day. Now, the number has come down to 20-25,” said Mohammad Ashrafuzzaman, additional SP of Chandpur.

In a few cases, the SP also engaged officers in charge of police stations, circle officers, crime team and detective police to reach solution to problems.

Shamsunnahar said, “Since my joining here in the middle of 2015, I've seen people being harassed while seeking help regarding the incidents of women and children repression. There are many problems like extramarital relationships and marital crisis which people do not want to share because of shyness."

"Besides, justice seekers have to wait for long during the trial procedures at the court. It is expensive too. That is why I've opened the Cell to help people, with the approval from my superior.

“When I hear statements of all the parties concerned, the situation becomes clear and it is for me to give solution. For some incidents, I suggest filing cases,” she said.

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