The High Court (HC) has directed that departmental action be taken against three police officers, including then Begumganj thana officer-in-charge (OC), Md Kamruzzaman Sikder, temporarily suspending them for negligence of duty in not addressing and taking cognizance of a woman being stripped naked and tortured.
The home secretary has been asked to implement the order.
The HC also ordered the authorities concerned to suspend union parishad member Moazzem Hossain Sohag and Chowkidar Ali Asgar and to take legal action against them.
The HC bench comprised of Justice Md Mojibur Rahman Mia and Justice Md Kamrul Hossain Mollah, issued the order on Thursday following the final hearing on the court's suo motu rule.
On 2 September, 2020, members of one so called Delwar Bahini from Eklashpur of Begumganj upazila, stripped a 37-year-old woman and tried to rape her, tying her husband up. They recorded the brutal torture and later uploaded it on social media on 4 October. The incident created a sensation when the video went viral, triggering widespread protests across the country, and a case was filed the same day on 4 October.
On 5 October, the HC ordered removal of the footage after the incident was brought to the notice of the court by several lawyers, including Advocate ZI Khan Panna. The BTRC chairman was instructed to remove the video footage, but keeping a copy on a CD or pen drive.
The Noakhali Superintendent of Police was also directed to provide full security to the woman's family and the court set up a committee to look into whether the police were negligent in taking the victim's statement about the incident.
The head of the committee was Prof Md Abul Bashar, principal of Chaumuhani Government SA College, while Noakhali Additional Deputy Commissioner Israt Sadmin and District Social Service Officer Saiful Islam Chowdhury were members.
The committee submitted its report to the court, recommending proper and commensurate action against the people's representatives, police officers, and local watchmen for negligence of duty.
After hearing the report, the HC gave its verdict on Thursday.
The Noakhali Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal-1 sentenced Delwar Hossain and his accomplice Abul Kalam to life in prison for the case filed on 4 October.