Unprecedented shake-up in Cox’s Bazar police
Analysts say to what extent the move will be effective depends on how much the policemen will remain cautious in future about the consequences of extra-judicial killings
This has been a never-seen-before move to revamp the police department of a district in Bangladesh.
Within a short period of a week, 1,487 policemen, ranking from the superintendent to the constable, have been transferred from Cox's Bazar as a new batch of 1,507 policemen are going to join the district.
This large-scale reshuffle came following the murder of Army Major (retd) Sinha Md Rashed Khan in police custody on Cox's Bazar marine drive around two months ago.
Analysts said to what extent the move will be effective depends on how much the policemen will remain cautious in future about the consequences of such extrajudicial killings, like the case for Sinha.
Nurul Huda, former inspector general of police, expressed his awe at such a big redistribution in the force.
"Restructuring is normal in police but such a large-scale one is quite unusual and unprecedented. Even, I did not see any kind of reshuffle in my tenure. But the police administration might have felt it necessary for Cox's Bazar," he said.
He expressed hope that the new team would serve the people's rights.
Zia Rahman, a criminologist and professor of criminology at the Dhaka University, said the newly appointed personnel can work with new enthusiasm.
"After the Sinha killing, Cox's Bazar police faced a huge blow, and the reshuffle was unavoidable. As the policemen had been reportedly performing duties for a long time there, the transfers will help the new workflow," he added.
The professor, however, warned that the major reshuffle would not help unless the police get their root level revamped entirely to the cause of the people's service.
"The police administration should focus on professionalism instead of regular transfers or reshuffles after any suspicious incident where police are blamed," he opined.
Masudur Rahman, assistant inspector general (administration) at the Police Headquarters, said all the police members in Cox's Bazar were under the process of replacement with officials and rankers from across the country.
As part of the authorities' move to reshuffle the Cox's Bazar police, 37 inspectors (unarmed), 10 traffic inspectors, 6 inspectors (armed), 170 sub-inspectors (unarmed), 23 sub-inspectors (armed), 8 sergeants, 5 town sub-inspectors, 163 assistant sub-inspectors (unarmed), 20 assistant sub-inspectors (armed), 19 assistant town sub-inspectors, 46 nayeks and 1,000 constables are going to join the new setup, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Chattogram range Md Anwar Hossain said Friday.
Meanwhile, 34 inspectors (unarmed), 10 traffic inspectors, 6 inspectors (armed), 154 sub-inspectors (unarmed), 25 sub-inspectors (armed), 8 sergeants, 5 town sub-inspectors, 148 assistant sub-inspectors (unarmed), 21 assistant sub-inspectors (armed), 19 assistant town sub-inspectors, 50 nayeks and 1,007 constables have been transferred from the district.
Monday, the home ministry also transferred 10 officials ranking additional police superintendent and assistant police superintendent from Cox's Bazar and some other officials from several police stations.
Earlier, the superintendent of Cox's Bazar police, Masud Hossain, was transferred to Rajshahi, a week after a court had rejected a plea to include him as a suspect in the Sinha killing case.
On September 10, Cox's Bazar Senior Judicial Magistrate Tamanna Farah rejected an application filed by Sinha's sister Sharmin Sharia Ferdous, seeking Masud's inclusion in the case.
Following Sinha's killing, Cox's Bazar police were reportedly in an embarrassed situation so much so that they could not even carry out their normal duties. The Teknaf Police Station's main gate was even locked for a few days.
Apart from that, there was no significant police drive against contraband yaba tablets in Teknaf although the area is known as the entry point of the illegal drug. However, the Border Guard Bangladesh, the Coast Guard and the Rapid Action Battalion continued operations and seized large consignments of yaba.
The Sinha murder brought Cox's Bazar police into spotlight with allegations surfacing that its police officers had been reappointed in the same station year after year.
"There is an allegation that officers had been reappointed in the same area again and again for a long time. So, we are bringing in a digital 'man management system'," said Md Anwar Hossain, deputy inspector general of police of Chattogram range.
Once the digitalisation is complete, there will be a record of times and places of an officer's appointment. In the Chattogram range, there are 23,000 members but the offices are still keeping their records manually even in this modern world, he added.
He further said police are working sincerely to improve their quality of services. As part of it, the Chattogram range police have been restructured.
"The main job of police is to maintain law and order. We will work with the highest level of patience, tolerance.
"We attach the highest importance to professionalism during dealing with people. We will emphasise professionalism in every sphere of life," Anwar Hossain added.