It was a murder | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 11, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:44 AM, November 11, 2020

It was a murder

CCTV footage shows mental hospital staff beating ASP dead soon after admission; 15 sued; 10 held

A day after Senior Assistant Superintendent of Police Anisul Karim was allegedly assaulted to death by its staff, the Mind Aid Psychiatry and De-Addiction Hospital in the capital's Adabor was all but deserted yesterday.

From the outside, the three-storey building -- recently renovated and fitted with modern amenities -- looked serene, but from what the remaining kitchen staffers told this correspondent, there was turmoil within. 

Inside, there are around 15 rooms. Two of those, situated at the corner, are soundproof rooms where "angry patients" were taken so that their "fury could be neutralised".

Some staffers at the hospital said the rooms were akin to "soundproof torture cells".

"All the patients who come here don't behave the same way. Some behave violently, and are taken into those [soundproof] rooms…" said a member of the hospital's kitchen staff, wishing not to be named.

The soundproof rooms are located on the ground floor and first floor of the hospital. Anisul was taken to the room on the first floor. The small air-conditioned room, with foam attached to the interior walls, is fitted with a closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera.

Monday's incident, during which Anisul was wrestled to the floor and his hands were tied by hospital staffers, was captured on the CCTV camera.

Visiting the hospital around 1:00pm yesterday, this correspondent found no management personnel or staffers -- all the rooms were empty.

Situated on Road 2 at Baitul Aman Housing Society, 17 patients were admitted at the hospital till Monday. But all had left by yesterday.

Anisul's father Faijuddin Ahmed has filed a murder case with Adabor Police Station, accusing 15 people, including five management personnel, of killing his son.

Police yesterday arrested 10 employees of the hospital involved in the incident, terming it an "obvious murder".

The arrestees are: the hospital's Marketing Manager Arif Mahmud Joy, Coordinator Redwan Sabbir, Kitchen staffer Masud, ward boys Jobayer Hossain, Tanif Mollah, Sajeeb Chowdhury, Asim Chandra Pal, Liton Ahmed, Saiful Islam Palash and pharmacist Tanvir Hasan.

A Dhaka court yesterday placed the 10 accused on seven days' remand each.

"After analysing the CCTV footage, we think it's an obvious murder. Eight to nine people were beating the police officer. There was not a doctor among those handling the patient," Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Tejgaon Division Deputy Commissioner (DC) Harun-Ur-Rashid told a press conference at his office around noon yesterday.

He said the hospital authorities could not show any legal documents and licence required to run a mental hospital.

"It will be sealed off," he added.

Police will also investigate why and how ASP Anisul was transferred to the hospital from the National Institute of Mental Health and Hospital. "We will investigate whether there was involvement of any middle man in it," he said.

A family member of the deceased police official said they shifted the patient because they thought the environment of the government hospital was not suitable.

"We wanted a comfortable room with an AC. We were informed that we would get 24/7 doctor's service along with the consultation of a psychiatrist.

"But we are shocked to see their patient management service... Anisul was not violent at all at that moment," a family member said.

This correspondent found several business cards of psychiatrists of National Institute of Mental Health, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, Holy Family Red Crescent Medical College, Central Drug Addiction Treatment Centre, Enam Medical College and Hospital, at the Mind Aid Psychiatry and De-Addiction Hospital.

According to the case document, the hospital was run by five people in the management -- Dr Muhammad Niaz Morshed, Abdullah Al Mamun, Sakhawat Hossain, Sazzad Amin and Fatema Khatun Moyna.

The Daily Star made several phone calls to Dr Niaz, but he did not answer.

The Tejgaon DC said action would be taken against all those involved in the incident, including the hospital management.

Inspector Faruk Mollah, investigation officer of the case, told The Daily Star last night that Dr Niaz Morshed is under their surveillance.

"He is not physically stable. He can't move from his waist to toe. We will inform the court in this regard," the IO said.

Family members of the victim said he had been suffering from mental health complications and was "quiet" for three to four days.

Describing the incident, DC Harun-ur-Rashif said Anisul went to the Mind Aid Hospital around 11:35am. Ten minutes after the patient had breakfast, hospital staffer Arif told Anisul's family members that they would take Anisul to washroom. When his sister Umme Salma wanted to go with them, they barred her.

Around 12:00pm, Arif called Umme Salma when she found her brother lying numb on the floor, the DC said, adding that he was declared dead at the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) at 12:58pm.

Analysing the CCTV footage, it was seen that Anisul was dragged into a soundproof room by several hospital staffers and thrown to the ground by six employees of the hospital. Two more employees dressed in blue grabbed his leg and two others hit him with their elbows. Hospital staffer Arif was present all the while. Anisul's hands were tied behind his back with a piece of blue cloth.

There were no doctors, but all were hospital staffers, ward boys and cleaners, the police official said.

Preferring to remain unnamed, a batchmate of the deceased police official said Anisul became angry when he was being taken to the soundproof room. He then hit a staffer, at which point several staffers dragged him into the soundproof room.

Expressing grave concern over the death of the Senior ASP, rights body Ain o Salish Kendra yesterday demanded that the authorities bring all mental health hospitals and service providers under regular monitoring and ensure they are accountable for their activities.

ASK demanded a fair probe into the allegations, proper legal action against the responsible persons and hospital authorities in this regard.

Meanwhile, senior ASP Anisul was buried at Gazipur City Central Graveyard around 9:30am yesterday. His namaj-e-janaza was held ta Bhawal Rajbari ground.

Anisul Karim, appointed as a police officer in the 31st BCS, was working in Barishal Metropolitan Police (Traffic). He secured first position in his batch. Earlier he served Dhaka Metropolitan Police, Rapid Action Battalion, and Police Headquarters.

Hailing from Kapasia, Gazipur, he has one child. Anisul was a 33rd-batch student of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Jahangirnagar University.

Around 2:30pm yesterday, his friends, seniors and juniors at Jahangirnagar University, formed a human chain in front of the private hospital and demanded exemplary punishment of those involved in the murder.

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