Custodial Death: Cops cannot avoid their responsibility | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 21, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:46 AM, January 21, 2020

Custodial Death: Cops cannot avoid their responsibility

Says DMP boss; injury marks found in BFDC staffer’s body

There are injury marks on the head, neck, and legs of the film development corporation employee who died in police custody Sunday night.

Abu Bakar Siddique Babu, 45, was arrested around 8:00pm on Saturday by Tejgaon Industrial Police. Police said they found him hanging from the iron bars of a lockup room around 3:00am on Sunday. He was pronounced dead at Dhaka Medical College Hospital about an hour later.

Tejgaon police claims that the floor-in-charge of Bangladesh Film Development Corporation (BFDC) died by suicide.

After an autopsy yesterday afternoon, Sohel Mahmud, head of forensic medicine at the Dhaka Medical College, said the specific cause of his death would be known later.

Meanwhile, Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner Shafiqul Islam yesterday said police could not avoid taking responsibility if an accused died by suicide in custody.

Siddique was arrested in a case filed under the Digital Security Act on charges of harassing a woman.

His wife Aleya Ferdousi told reporters that he was tortured and killed at the police station.

The BFDC employees demonstrated and kept the Panthapath-Tejgaon Link Road blocked for two hours yesterday morning, demanding a fair probe and punishment of policemen responsible for his death.

The blockade caused long tailbacks in the area.

Siddique’s colleague GM Saeed said, “How could he die by suicide at a police station? This is not believable. Police are responsible for his death. We want justice,” he     said.

According to rights body Ain o Salish Kendra, at least 14 people died in custody last year. Of them, six died after torture. In 2018, at least 20 people died in custody while the figure was 16 in 2017.

A three-member committee has been formed to investigate the incident, the DMP chief told reporters in the capital’s Dhanmondi.

Action awaits anyone who is found guilty, he said.

Ali Hossain Khan, officer-in-charge of Tejgaon Industrial Police Station, said on Sunday that a woman filed a case accusing Siddique of threatening to publish her private photos online. 

“After arresting him on Saturday evening, we kept him in the lockup,” the OC said, adding that they have CCTV footage of the lockup room.

THE AUTOPSY

After an autopsy around 4:45pm yesterday, Sohel Mahmud told reporters that they found injury marks on  Siddique’s head, legs and a dark mark over his neck.

However, the marks were not serious enough to suggest that he died from those injuries, he said, adding that the tissues and viscera will be collected from the body for further investigation.

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