In another incident of police brutality, a sub-inspector (SI) along with his subordinates yesterday beat up a staff of Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) in the capital's Jatrabari area.
SI Arshadul Islam Akash of Jatrabari Police Station and his men "pounced" on DSCC Conservancy Officer Bikash Chandra Das "without any reason" when the latter was going to work around 4:15am, the victim's family alleged.
The incident happened less than a week after a Bangladesh Bank official was tortured and threatened with life by some cops led by another SI in the city's Mohammadpur area.
Bikash's wife Saraswati Das told The Daily Star that her husband left their Doyaganj residence around 4:00am on a motorcycle to supervise the road cleaning work.
"When he reached Mirhazirbagh, some plainclothes policemen signaled him to pull over. My husband stopped a little bit ahead."
"Sub-Inspector Akash then went to him and hit him on the back of his head without saying anything," Saraswati said, quoting some DSCC cleaners who were working at the scene and witnessed the incident. Once Bikash fell off the motorcycle, Akash and the other policemen with him started kicking and hitting the DSCC officer with their rifles, she said.
"At one stage, Akash hit Bikash on the nose with the butt of his gun. My husband started bleeding from the nose," Saraswati added.
A female cleaner, who witnessed the incident, said: "The SI at one stage strangled Bikash Sir and said, 'Machher raja Ilish r desher raja police [Hilsa is the king of all fishes and police is the king of the whole country]. Who would dare do anything against us?'"
The officer also threatened to shoot Bikash, said another DSCC staff.
One of the cleaners then informed Bikash's family about the incident over the phone.
When Saraswati and other family members reached the spot around 5:00am, they found Bikash lying on a rickshaw-van "like a dead man".
"Even though my husband was bleeding profusely, the policemen did not send him to a hospital. Rather, they were trying to hide the truth," Saraswati alleged.
The family then took Bikash "in an almost unconscious state" to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
Police officer Akash could not be reached on his phone.
His boss Abani Shankar Kar, officer-in-charge of Jatrabari Police Station, however claimed that the incident was a "case of misunderstanding".
"As it is a mugging-prone area, three police teams including a plainclothes one led by Akash were on patrol," he told The Daily Star.
"When Akash's team signaled him, the victim could have mistaken them for muggers and tried to speed away. The policemen also suspected him to be a criminal and hit him once from the back to capture him."
However, those responsible for the incident would be punished, the OC said.
Saraswati, quoting witnesses, contradicted the OC's version of the incident, and said there could be no scope for misunderstanding as Bikash's motorcycle had DSCC stickers both in the front and the rear end of it.
"The Policemen did not stop beating him even after seeing his professional identity card and knowing about him from the city corporation cleaners working at the scene," she added.
Later in the evening, Bikash was shifted to the intensive care unit of Labaid Hospital in Dhanmondi.
Meanwhile, a two-member committee, led by Additional Deputy Commissioner (Crimes and Ops) Mainul Hoque, has been formed to investigate the incident, said Syed Nurul Islam, deputy commissioner (Wari Division) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police.
The committee has been asked to submit a report within three working days and actions would be taken on the basis of the report, the DMP official added.