Police torture victims of robbery
After they were robbed, they went to the police and lodged a complaint. But the law enforcers, instead of giving them the support they sought, brutally tortured them.
The allegations were made by the family of Godadhar Malo, a 68-year-old farmer of Majhipara area of Dhaka's Dhamrai upazila.
He filed a case with Dhamrai Police Station on June 18, accusing five to six unnamed individuals of entering his house and taking away cash, gold jewellery, and other valuables.
About a month later, the Detective Branch of police got the charge to investigate the case, and on September 6, the officers asked Godadhar's daughter-in-law Shyamoli Haldar Rupa and her 14-year-old son Diganta Halder to go to the office of Dhaka District (north) DB in Savar.
Rupa, 35, alleged that when she and her eighth grader son went there, the officers tortured her for three days in custody and her son for one day.
"The DB officers beat me mercilessly and forced me to say I was involved in the robbery," the mother of two told The Daily Star on September 14 when she was still being treated at Manikganj Sadar Hospital for what she said were the injuries she received in the DB office.
"An officer with a long beard and a female officer hit me more times than anyone else did. They strung my son by his hands from the ceiling and beat him in front of me. So I said whatever they wanted me to say," she told this correspondent.
She was later able to identify the bearded officer as Inspector Yasin Munshi.
She added that her family members had to give the DB officers Tk 1.50 lakh in bribes for her release on September 9.
Godadhar, who filed the robbery case, yesterday said, "My daughter-in-law and grandson were detained and brutally tortured at the DB office for no reason. I want justice for this."
Contacted, Dhaka district (north) DB Sub-Inspector Sheikh Farid, who is investigating the robbery case, and Inspector Yasin Munshi refuted all the allegations.
"Rupa is staging a drama. She coordinated the robbery due to a family feud," Farid said.
After the robbery case was filed on June 18, Arafat Uddin, sub-inspector of Dhamrai Police Station, was assigned to investigate the case.
Police then detained a local man as a possible suspect and released him two days later, said Arafat, who was transferred to Dhaka's Keraniganj Model Police Station recently.
Godadhar's younger son Shyamol Halder said he, Rupa, Diganta and a relative named Kirton Halder, went to the DB office on September 6.
Sub-Inspector Farid, Inspector Kamal Hossain, a woman officer, and another cop then started interrogating Rupa. "They physically and mentally tortured Rupa Boudi [sister-in-law] for almost 12 hours straight.
"We were sitting right outside the room. We heard the DB officers continuously hurling abuse at her. They threatened to beat Diganta if she did not say that she was involved in the robbery. Boudi was screaming loudly."
Around midnight, the DB officers put Rupa and Diganta on a white microbus and left the premises.
"Boudi could not even walk to the vehicle without help because of the severe torture," said Shyamol.
A few hours later, the microbus returned with them, along with two schoolboys from Dhamrai's Boronalai village, he said.
"Then, the DB officers took Boudi and Diganta to the interrogation room again and tortured them."
He added that the DB released Diganta and the two boys in the afternoon on September 7 and kept Rupa and Kirton in detention.
"We could not get them released despite repeated attempts throughout the night of September 7," said Shyamol.
On September 8, Shyamol and several other family members met Md Asaduzzaman, the superintendent of Dhaka district police, and told him what was happening, he said.
Advised by Asaduzzaman, the family then met Mobashera Habib Khan, additional SP (DB) of Dhaka district.
"Mobashera asked the DB officers to appear at her office with Rupa. When they did, Mobashera scolded the DB officers for torturing Boudi."
But Mobashera later asked Rupa not to withdraw her confessional statement, saying that she could only be released if she did so, Shyamol said.
Later that night, DB officers raided Rupa's in-law's home in Dhamrai and her father's home in Manikganj's Singair in the name of recovering the valuables the robbers took away.
"But they found nothing," said Shyamol, adding that the DB team arrested Rupa's relative Jibon during the raid.
On September 9, Shyamol along with his father Godadhar and Rupa's husband Kamol Halder went to Savar DB office. The DB officers took signatures from all of them on blank papers, he alleged.
Then, the DB officers forced all of them to say that Rupa was not tortured in custody and filmed their statements, alleged Shyamol.
Around midday, Rupa was released from the DB office. The family had to take her to the Manikganj Sadar Hospital for treatment, he said.
But Kirton and Jibon were sent to jail on September 10, said Shyamol. "Kirton was also tortured in custody," he said, adding that Kirton was released on bail on October 4.
DB Inspector Kamal Hossain said Kirton and Jibon confessed to a court that Rupa masterminded the robbery.
"Rupa and her son were just interrogated. No one tortured them," he claimed.
Dhaka district SP Md Asaduzzaman also refuted the allegations of torture.
Police interrogated Rupa after two accused in their confessions mentioned that she was involved in the robbery, he said.
"There is no question of torturing her. I do not know why she is making the allegations of torture so late," he said.
"She could have come to me. If her allegations were true, I would have taken necessary actions," Asaduzzaman said.
Additional SP Mobashera Habib Khan did not respond to calls and messages.