During a hearing on the local Superintendent of Police's (SP) misbehaviour with a senior judicial magistrate who was in charge of the municipality election at Kushtia's Bheramara, the High Court (HC) directed SP SM Tanvir Arafat to perform his duties responsibly so that people do not assume Bangladesh is a police state.
The court also said that if the news stories about the current situation in Kushtia are true, it is alarming indeed. The primary responsibility of the police is to protect the citizens, regardless of who they are.
Addressing the SP, the court further said, "The police have to be good in deeds, not in words alone. They must befriend the people they are entrusted to protect. Which ideology or which party someone belongs to is not the concern of the police. Society must be at peace. The rule of law and the judiciary cannot function in silo. All the organs of the state have to work together."
After the hearing, the HC directed the SP of Kushtia to provide security to Shahjahan Ali, the presiding officer of the municipal election and the local upazila youth development officer who witnessed the SP's abuse, as well as to local journalists and their families.
The court directed the SP to appear before the HC in person on Monday morning to provide an explanation, which was heard by an HC bench comprising Justices Mamnoon Rahman and Khizir Hayat.
SP SM Tanvir Arafat arrived at the HC premises around 9:30 am on Monday, and the hearing started at 10:50 am. Senior lawyer Munsurul Haque Chowdhury virtually attended the proceedings on behalf of SP Tanvir.
After hearing the SP's submission of an unconditional apology, the court set 17 February for the order.
The HC had summoned SP Tanvir for "misbehaving" with the judicial magistrate. The court also issued a rule asking why no punitive action should be taken against him for contempt of court.
On 20 January, an HC bench comprising Justices Mamnoon Rahman and Khizir Hayat summoned the SP.
SP SM Tanvir Arafat submitted an unconditional apology on 24 January, regretting the abuse allegation.