By Talukder Shaheb
So what is a good way of transforming a healthy lively meritorious student leader into a cripple in the minimum time possible through inhuman torture? The OC of Kotwali Police station at Sylhet, Ataur Rahman Babul, apparently is an expert in doing so and has proved that by a recent example, resulting in a nationwide furor.
Last Saturday afternoon (December 21st), police arrested Sohel Ahmed, Sylhet City Publicity Secretary of Bangladesh Islami Chatro Shibir from Bondorbazar area of the city. At the scene of the arrest itself, police severely beat Sohel in front of thousands of people at Bondorbazar using their rifle butts, rendering him severely injured and barely conscious. His fault was not tender or land grabbing, nor was it robbing or mugging or even attacking the police. His fault was that he was holding up high the banner of Bangladesh Islami Chatra Shibir. After dragging the unconscious Sohel to the police vehicle, the police started repeatedly torturing and beating him again.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, an official at the Kotwali Police station stated that over excited police officers used their boots to break Sohel’s leg bones upon the order of OC Ataur Rahman Babul himself. They started torturing him again after taking him to the Kotwali police station premises. The intensity of the torture was such that it could not be believed unless seen, stated the anonymous official. But the OC was not satisfied even after all this torture. Sohel was interrogated with his eyes blindfolded. When the interrogation yielded no information of interest, the police bound him and removed the nails of his feet, a torture method resulting in excruciating pain. He was then shown pictures of different incidents and told to confess both the involvement of Shibir and his involvement in them. On refusing to do so, he was again severely tortured. After several bouts of torture, Sohel is now unable to speak. In light of the torture and absence of medical attention, he may lose his leg. Despite appeals to the police to give him access to medical care and have his leg x-rayed, they haven’t allowed him so. On Sunday, after a terrible ordeal of severe torture at the police station, Sohel was brought up to court which sent him to Dhaka Central Jail, ignoring any pleas for granting him access to medical care.
It is imperative that we ask what Sohel did to deserve to victimised in such a manner. This is because the same police that tortured Sohel remain bystanders in the face of true crime. The same police are silent on the recurrent acts of dacoity that happen in broad daylight at the heart of the city. The same police go about with their lips tight shut as ruling party affiliated perpetrators of the MC college hostel fire roam around openly in their presence. Moreover, we notice with alarm the leniency of the Kotwali station police regarding the rapists, thugs, muggers and other offenders running about freely in the city. Such selective and unwarranted incidents of torture outside the jurisdiction of any court or junctures of law have become a feature of the police during this period of political turmoil. We demand justice be served in the case of the police officials behind this shameful and despicable incident, especially the OC behind it, Ataur Rahman Babul. We also demand that Sohel be freed immediately.
News link: Daily Sangram