Real culprits stay safe
Intermediate first year student Rajib (not his real name) was walking down an almost empty city street on his way home from a coaching centre on a hartal day three weeks ago. Suddenly, he saw a miscreant exploding a crude bomb only a few yards away. Instead of panicking, his teen-age curiosity made him take his camera phone out and take a snap of the blast.
However, little could he guess that his innocent curiosity would soon prove detrimental to him.
Within minutes, a policevan arrived at the spot, apprehended him without paying heed to what his explanations, accused him in a case filed for the explosion and placed him before a Dhaka court the next day with a remand prayer.
The visibly shaken family of the teenager had to pay Tk 50,000 as bribe to the investigation officer of the case to save Rajib from tortures during his two-day remand.
Now out on bail, a clearly depressed Rajib spends his days in solitary confinement in his house and cannot return to his normal life.
“He is so scared that he has stopped attending his college and coaching centre. He does not even go out to play with his friends. He keeps his cell phone switched off and has confined himself to his house,” said a cousin of Rajib.
Fearing further trouble, his family members asked these correspondents not to expose their identity and other details.
Hundreds of crude and petrol bombs were blasted and many vehicles torched and vandalised in the capital and elsewhere in the country during the recent spells of hartals and blockades, but hardly could the law enforcers arrest the real culprits.
To save their face, the law enforcers in most cases arrested people on suspicion and filed cases against top and local leaders of opposition alliance.
“We could hardly catch anyone red-handed while exploding bombs as they chose places with no law enforcers around,” said an officer-in-charge of a police station of the capital.
Wishing anonymity, he also said such attackers usually do not move in groups making it almost impossible for the police to detect them from the crowds, an observation echoed by a number of other field-level police officials.
Inspector General of Police Hassan Mahmood Khandker, however, has claimed that only the genuine culprits are being arrested.
When asked about the arrests of innocent people on suspicion, the IGP said, “There is no scope for the law enforcers to do anything irresponsible as such.”
An activist of Jubo Dal, the youth front of the main opposition BNP, told these correspondents how they manage to escape arrests after exploding bombs.
“Before carrying out any attack, we deploy our activists posing as innocent bystanders at strategic points to get advance information about the movements of police,” he said wishing anonymity.
“Our activists used to explode bombs on the road stretching from Kamalapur Railway Station to Peer Jangi Mazar during hartals or blockades, but police could never arrest any of them as they already knew where the law enforcers were,” he added.
Deputy Commissioner (Media) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Masudur Rahman said since October 25 till December 5, police arrested around 400 people in the capital and about 50 of them were arrested for either exploding or possessing bombs.