The recent discovery of the body of 45-year-old trader Hasan Ali by Gaibandha police, found hanging in a toilet of ruling party leader Masud Rana's home in Gaibandha town—as well as the allegation from his family that the police looked the other way and allowed Rana to torture and eventually kill Hasan—must be investigated urgently and impartially. According to Hasan's family, he was abducted by Rana, who is deputy office secretary of Gaibandha Awami League, on March 5, and kept confined to the house and tortured because he owed Rana money and was unable to pay.
What is truly sinister is their allegation that not only did the Gaibandha police fail to take them seriously after his family filed a complaint on March 6, but that they acted as Rana's agents and asked them to pay Tk 2 lakh to Rana in order to guarantee Hasan's safety. And because they failed to produce the money, Hasan's family allege that, after primarily rescuing Hasan from Rana's home and keeping him in police custody on March 12, they promptly handed him back to Rana the next day.
So far, the police have denied these allegations, saying that they tried to broker a settlement at the police station between Hasan and Rana and did not know what happened after. This statement in no way explains why the police failed to pursue any actions against Rana for what was clearly an initial case of abduction on March 5. It also does not explain why the police failed to follow up and give Hasan any protections, only to finally recover his dead body from Rana's house on April 9. This casual attitude of the police was translated into their treatment of Rana after the discovery of the body—in fact, it was only after locals protested and blocked the policemen that they decided to handcuff Rana and treat him as a murder suspect and not a ruling party leader.
We ask the authorities to urgently conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into these allegations. It is a matter of great concern if the police, who are in charge of upholding law and order, allow influential people to take the law into their own hands and become complicit in the injustices they perpetrate. A lack of trust in the police will inevitably translate into a lack of trust in the government and its ability to govern and have wider repercussions in our society. We hope the government will treat this case with the utmost seriousness and ensure that Hasan's family is given justice and the perpetrators are held to account.