Civil society members, human rights activists and senior officials of Bangladesh Police expressed concern over the recent incidents of coarse and unprofessional behavior by policemen.
Two members of Dhaka Metropolitan Police's (DMP) Gulshan division have been suspended for allegedly harassing and physically assaulting a social media influencer and her husband in the capital's Banani area on Tuesday (19 April) night.
Earlier this month, another police constable was suspended for hurling abusive comments at Tejgaon College teacher Lata Samaddar on a Dhaka street for wearing a teep.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner Md Shafiqul Islam said Constable Nazmul Tareq, who has been working at the DMP's protection division, was closed and attached to police line after he had confessed to the allegations brought against him by the victim. A two-member probe body also found him guilty during the probe.
According to activists, these are not some isolated incidents. The field level policemen across the country are often being blamed for unprofessional attitude and inhumane activities.
Even at a police program recently, Bangladesh Police's Additional Inspector General Md Moinur Rahman Chowdhury urged the policemen to improve their behavior with the countrymen.
"Bribery and corruption are not the core problem of police, but the behavior is. If we talk professionally and politely with the people then there would be no allegations against policemen," the second boss of Bangladesh police told the fellow officials.
Piling on the additional IGP's remarks, human rights activist and former secretary general of Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) Nur Khan Liton said policemen in most cases show utmost unprofessionalism over behavior.
"Rowdy behaviour of police personnel is nothing new in the country, and the top brass should look into the matter. Bangladesh Police should do a comprehensive research on it. Based on the findings, they could arrange workshops on how to treat commoners and extend respect to the victims regardless of their gender," he said.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police (Gulshan division) Deputy Commissioner Md Asaduzzaman told The Business Standard, "In the Banani incident on Tuesday night, both the accused cops were serving as constables in the DMP, and had been assigned as the driver and bodyguard of an additional deputy commissioner of the Gulshan division."
Going live on Facebook from Dhaka's Banani area on Tuesday evening, the female victim Sadiya A Suchita said she noticed two policemen were stalking her as she was crossing the road in front of Sheraton Hotel in Banani after Iftar. Sensing the matter, her husband Sazzad Bin Azad confronted them and requested them not to follow them.
At one point during the confrontation, the two policemen started assaulting her husband and tied his hands," she claimed on Facebook live.
Amid the scuffle, the policemen also pulled her scarf, Sadiya claimed.
"I was trying to save my husband from the attacker when one of them shoved me and I was hit by a vehicle," she continued.
"Bystanders were just watching it from a distance and no one came to our rescue," she said.
"They not only assaulted us, but paid the eyewitnesses to give statements against us. Later, we decided to go on a Facebook live and share the horrific experience of my life, she said, adding that Gulshan division deputy commissioner and Banani police station officer-in-charge later rushed to the spot and took the couple to police station.
"We lodged a complaint with the Banani police station and immediately two constables from Gulshan Division have been suspended from their duty," Sadiya said.
"We seek punishment for the attackers. We rely on the police for security but cannot expect this kind of behavior from policemen. We also want assurance that our normal life wouldn't be hampered," she added.
While talking to the media, Deputy Commissioner of Gulshan division Md Asaduzzaman said the two accused policemen have been suspended based on the allegations brought against them in the Facebook live video.
A committee has also been formed to investigate the matter, he added.