Cops and Institutional Reform

Bangladesh on 11 June 2013
Location : Bangladesh | Source : Syed Mehdi Momin, The Independent. Image: Policemen from Dhaka. Source: Flickr User Ashiful Haque

An honest cop is an oxymoron. This is the prevailing belief among the general populace. Of course there are some honest cops but the bad apples far outnumber the good ones and in the institution rot has set in well and truly. 

The reputation of the force has been quite low but the recent shenanigans of some cops have really dealt a savage blow to whatever little respect the force is left with. Shamim Sarker was a real estate businessman in Savar. The local police arrested him and another businessman in connection with a case. After arresting, the police contacted the families and demanded money and threatened them with dire consequences if the money was not forthcoming. 

They asked for taka 200,000 from Shamim’s brother who was not in a position to pay the amount. So the third degree (perhaps even the fifth if such a thing exists) was applied and the unfortunate young man was beaten to death. This is hardly the first time such a horrific incident has taken place. In fact rogue cops have bumped off detainees even after getting money.  In most cases the police personnel have literally gotten away with murder.  In this particular case though a few of the culprits have been arrested and put on remand. 

Whether they will be given exemplary punishment or not will be revealed in the future. However if the past is anything to go by we should not really get our hopes up. The culture of impunity that prevails bodes ill for the common citizens. 

The civil society must come forward and protest against the dangerous levels of corruption in the police force. The line between them and thugs is getting blurrier. And they let themselves be used as political goons and some show much greater enthusiasm to carry out the masters’ bidding than any activist.  (Click below to read more)

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