The ill-fate Limon, and our RAB, police

Our Correspondent, Barisal

Limon Hossain, a Jhalakathi college student maimed by Rab last year, and his mother have rejected the final report in the attempt-to-murder case filed against the elite force members.

They have also demanded a judicial probe.

লিমন কি বিচার পাবে না?

Limon’s mother Henoara Begum, complainant of the case, yesterday said police were yet to inform her about the final report, which was submitted on Tuesday, the last working day before Eid.

She has decided to file a no-confidence (naraji) petition against the report.

“Such an act by the police just before the Eid festival has dashed all our hopes of a free and fair investigation and justice. It shows how the law enforcement agencies operate with impunity,” she said.

Limon said, “Police submitted charge sheets in two false cases Rab filed against me. On the other hand, in the case filed by my mother, police submitted a false investigation report by concealing the truth to prove Rab innocent.”

He demanded judicial probe in the case to ensure justice.

“My normal life has been completely ruined by the Rab. My hope for a free and fair investigation to bring the liable to book also ends now,” said a disappointed Limon.

Henoara lodged the case with Rajapur Police Station on April 10 last year against six Rab personnel for attempted murder of her son.

In the case statement, Henoara said the accused, without caring to verify Limon’s identity, shot him in the leg on March 23 last year while he was bringing cattle back home in Chhaturia village under Rajapur upazila of Jhalakathi.

The Rab team later arrested him.

Limon, who used to work at a brick kiln to pay for his education, had to have his leg amputated from the thigh on March 27.

He secured a six-month bail from the High Court on May 5.

Though the attempted-murder case against the Rab men is having difficulties making any headway, the two cases filed against Limon by the elite force are progressing faster in comparison, say rights bodies.

It proves the bias of the law enforcers to save themselves from the hand of the law, they observe.

The rights groups Ain o Salish Kendra and Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust have demanded a judicial probe, and said they would continue their legal battle until the truth was uncovered.

Influenced by Rab, police had submitted a false investigation report to the court, they added.

Abdul Halim Talukder, sub-inspector of Rajapur Police Station and investigation officer of the case, claimed that the allegations brought against the Rab had not been proved in the investigation as “the complainant failed to provide enough information, witnesses and evidence to substantiate the allegations made in the case”.

He said the victim’s father and uncle were made witnesses in the case. But Limon’s father was then in Dhaka, uncle in another area and the complainant was at their home during the incident of the shooting.

Limon’s mother in the case claimed the Rab personnel intentionally took her son to a place near their home and shot him in the leg, the SI added.

“But the two charge sheets [pressed by the police in the two cases lodged by Rab] and the two other investigation reports [submitted by the police and the administration] mentioned that Limon was injured in a gunfight during an anti-crime operation of Rab,” he said.

Lawyers, rights bodies question probe report

Legal and governance experts have expressed doubts over the credibility of the final report on Limon’s case which police submitted quietly to a Jhalakathi court on Tuesday.

“Submission of the final report on the last working day before the Eid vacation is motivated … so that people forget it and do not raise questions,” said Dr Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), yesterday.

Henoara Begum, mother of Limon Hossain, a college student maimed by Rab personnel, filed the attempt-to-murder case against six Rab men with Rajapur Police Station in Jhalakathi on April 10 last year.

Police in the report said they had found no evidence and witnesses in favour of the case.

In the case statement, Henoara said the accused shot Limon in the leg on March 23 while he was bringing cattle back home at Chhaturia village. Limon had to have his leg amputated from the thigh on March 27.

Police at first refused to record the case. But they eventually registered it following court orders on April 26 that year.

Iftekharuzzaman told The Daily Star the police were basically a party in the case, and that it was difficult for them to be neutral.

“Therefore, we earlier demanded a judicial probe, but that went unheard. We can assume that the intention of the authorities was to protect those who had taken the law in their own hands,” he said.

Such abuse by the police force will further lead to a loss of public trust in the institution, he mentioned.

Supreme Court lawyer Shahdeen Malik says that in all civilised countries, there have been separate and independent bodies to investigate allegations against the law enforcing agencies.

“In the absence of such a body, it is not at all surprising that police did not find any evidence or wrongdoing by their own men and Rab,” the jurist told The Daily Star yesterday.

The international community also perceives Bangladesh as an increasingly lawless society, he observed.

Besides, Malik said, Rab had long enjoyed impunity and immunity, and was virtually operating outside the purview of the law. “Therefore, they are not being made accountable and we are at the mercy of the force.”

Former inspector general of police ASM Shahjahan observed that the authorities should have gone for a higher level of inquiry as Limon’s case was very “sensitive”.

“The DB or the CID [intelligence agencies] could have investigated the case,” he told The Daily Star yesterday.

However, as police had stated that they did not find evidence in favour of the case, there could be further investigation into the allegations, he said. “Limon’s mother can demand further investigation.”

“More transparency should be maintained in such cases. The complainant should have been informed of the issues,” said Shahjahan, also a former adviser to a caretaker government.

Meanwhile, Gonotantrik Bam Morcha, an alliance of the left parties, in a statement yesterday demanded a judicial probe into the incident.

It said the police report had proved that the government was not capable of protecting minimum human rights. The police, through this act, had lost its acceptability, and also proved that it was not possible for it to conduct any “objective investigation”.

“Limon’s getting injured in shooting by Rab is a fact. But the report has been submitted in such a manner that its target was to ensure relief for the Rab members from the case,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, Ain o Salish Kendra Director Noor Khan Liton told BBC Bangla there were three cases over the incident — two filed by Rab, and the other by Limon’s mother.

As the police had earlier accepted Rab’s cases and had submitted charge sheets in those cases, there was apprehension that the police probe would not be transparent, and it would be one-sided. “That apprehension has come true now,” he said.