Police yesterday urged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to take measures for amending the Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention) Act so that accused policemen can get bail.
They also want inclusion of a provision in the law for taking action against anyone who files false cases or gives false deposition against law enforcers over any custodial torture and death.
A police official raised the issue at the Police Welfare Parade during the Police Week-2018 in the capital’s Rajarbagh Police Lines.
In response, Hasina assured police of “looking into” the matter through further discussions with the ministries concerned, said a number of officials, who participated in the parade.
At the parade, BM Farman Ali, officer-in-charge of Banani Police Station, said the amendment would alleviate sufferings of the victims.
Last year, police sought the prime minister’s intervention in repealing the law.
The previous year, the force, however had sent a proposal to the home ministry for bringing major changes to the law.
In the proposal, police said they wanted that the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab), Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Special Branch (SB) and Detective Branch (DB) of police be excluded from the purview of the law.
The Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention) Act, which the Jatiya Sangsad passed in 2013, stated that torture in custody by law enforcers or government officials is a punishable criminal offence. Awami League lawmaker Saber Hossain Chowdhury, who himself was a victim of torture in custody during the BNP rule, placed the Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention) Bill in 2009 in line with Article 35(5) of the constitution which also prohibits torture.
“No person shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment or treatment,” reads the article. Offences of torture under this law are cognisable, non-compoundable and non-bailable.
Yesterday was the second time when the prime minister attended the Police Welfare Parade on the occasion of the Police Week and listened to policemen — from constable to additional SP level officials.
At the welfare parade, Nadia Farjana, assistant superintend of DMP, raised the issue of crisis of physician in the force and demanded that the government resolves the problem through appointment of doctors directly to the police hospitals.
In response, Hasina suggested police to think about forming a medical core like those in other forces, which would improve the medical services and help solve the crisis of doctors, said sources at the parade, which was off limit to the media.
Constable Nasrin Afroz demanded ration facilities for the families of those police personnel who die while in service.
A police sergeant from Sherpur demanded motorbikes for assistant sub-inspectors, sub-inspectors and sergeants on installments and the fuel and maintenance charge from the government.
The prime minister said she could not say right now about the fuel and maintenance charges but she would discuss with the authorities concerned the issues of buying motorbikes on installments and the ration facility.
Addressing the welcome speech, Inspector General of Police AKM Shahidul Hoque said that the overall capacity of police has increased, thanks to steps taken by the government. Police performance, especially in combating militancy, has been praised by different countries, he said.
In her statement, the prime minister said police needed to love the country, its people and be more active to gain the people’s confidence.