Police working more prudently
The home minister claimed in parliament yesterday that the police force was working "more efficiently and prudently" than ever before and that her ministry had been working for the last three years to make the force a "friend of the people".
“Police members are being trained at home and abroad so that they can serve people more efficiently,” Shahara Khatun told the House while replying to lawmakers' queries.
On Wednesday, Shahara claimed the police were now “far better” than at any other time in the past. A day earlier, her deputy Shamsul Haque Tuku advised journalists to keep a “safe distance" from police while collecting news.
Leaders of the Awami League-led 14-party alliance, however, disagreed with Shahara's view of the police and said the intolerant attitude demonstrated by the law enforcers had indeed worsened in the last few years.
Talking to The Daily Star, alliance leaders also criticised Shahara, saying her taking sides with the police would encourage the force in continuing such behaviour.
“We don't have any word to criticise the minister [Shahara] for her comments in recent times and also earlier on the police and law and order,” said a cabinet colleague, requesting anonymity.
An AL leader preferring not to be named said the situation would not improve as long as Shahara remained at the helm of the home ministry.
“The police have been behaving in a most undemocratic way compared with the recent past,” said Workers' Party leader Bimal Biswas.
According to him, the recent police action is responsible for widening the gap between the government and the people.
The policy of the government, the home minister and the state minister are to blame for the “undemocratic” attitude of the police, he added.
Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal General Secretary Sharif Nurul Ambia said, “I don't think the home minister's comment on the police is right."
He also urged the government to take stern action against the police personnel responsible for misconduct.
On May 26, police personnel assaulted three on-duty photojournalists of the Prothom Alo, hurled expletives at them and took away their cameras in the capital's Sher-e-Bangla Nagar.
In another incident, two sub-inspectors of police assaulted and harassed a teenage girl and her parents within the premises of a court in Dhaka on Tuesday.
Replying to another query, the home minister told parliament that 633 abduction cases were filed in the last one year and the law enforcers had rescued 496 persons.
She, however, did not say anything about the fate of the remaining 137 persons.