Five officers at the Jashore Juvenile Correction Centre, with the help of seven juveniles who are loyal to them, led the demonic torture on juvenile prisoners. The decision of torturing was taken after a meeting following a dispute over haircuts.
Jashore superintendent of police Mohammad Ashraf Hossain provided this information at a press briefing on Saturday afternoon based on the initial investigation of the police in the incident of casualties at Jashore Juvenile Correction Centre on August 13.
Three teenagers were killed and 15 others were injured in the torture. The police have so far detained the five officers.
The detainees are Abdullah Al Masud, superintendent and assistant director of Jashore Juvenile Correction Centre, Masum Billah, assistant supervising probation officer, Omar Farooq, technical instructor, AKM Shahanur Alam, physical instructor and Mushfiqur Rahman, psychosocial counsellor.
On August 3, Nur Islam, the head of security of the centre, asked the teenage prisoner Hridoy – who is an expert barber – to cut his hair. Hridoy refused to do so as his hands were aching because he had cut the hair of two hundred prisoners before Eid.
Angered by this, Nur Islam complained to Abdullah Al Masood, the caretaker of the centre, and Masum Billah, the assistant caretaker, that the youths were intoxicated after having drugs. He also hinted at an immoral relationship between Hridoy and his friend Pavel.
Nahid, a teenager who was present there, heard the allegations and informed Pavel about the matter.
Enraged, Pavel and some of his followers beat up Nur Islam and broke his arm.
The tragic incident of August 13 originated from this incident.
A meeting was held on August 13 at the centre on the occasion of National Mourning Day where 19 officers and employees were present. The meeting decided to "punish those who attacked Nur Islam".
As per the decision of the meeting, 13 identified attackers and a few others were brought out. Under the leadership of those five officers, a few employees and seven-eight juvenile prisoners started beating-up the "accused".
A towel was inserted in their mouth and their hands were pulled out through the window and they were beaten on the back. Reckless beatings were carried out with iron rods, cricket stumps, etc. When they became unconscious, the beating stopped but when they regained consciousness, they were beaten again.
They were left in a room with serious injuries after being beating several times. Although they were given a little treatmeent by a compounder, they were left there for about six hours without being sent to a hospital. The condition of one of them was critical and he was rushed to the hospital at around 6.30 pm.
After receiving the news from the hospital, the deputy commissioner, superintendent of police, civil surgeon and other officials went there and saw an indescribable environment.
The victims of torture were left in a hot congested place without food or medical treatment. Meanwhile, two more were sent to the hospital where they died. Later, 14 people were sent to the hospital by ambulance and police pickup. Another was admitted to the hospital the next day.
The deceased were identified as Naeem Hossain, 17, son of Nannu Parmanik of Talibpur Purbapara in Shibganj, Russell alias Sujan, 18, son of Alhaj Nurul Islam of Mahipur village in the same district and Parvez Hasan Rab, son of Roka Miah of Maheshwarpasha West Senpara in Daulatpur.
Naeem Hossain was accused of rape and murder.
After the incident, the officials of the Juvenile Correction Centre said there were casualties in the clashes between the two sides, but later the actual incidents started to come out in the light of the statements of the injured juvenile detainees. Police took 10 officers and employees of the centre into custody for questioning.
Roka Mia of Maheshwarpasha West Senpara in Daulatpur, Khulna, filed a case at Jashore Kotwali Police Station on the evening of August 14 over the murder. The correction centre authorities were made the defendants in the case. Police arrested five of the 10 officers and employees.
Meanwhile, the centre's caretaker Abdullah al-Masud was suspended on Friday and two committees of inquiry were formed. The secretary of the social welfare ministry formed the three-member committee on Friday afternoon, Jashore deputy commissioner Tamizul Islam Khan confirmed the matter.
Jashore additional district magistrate Muhammad Abul Laich has been made the head of the three-member committee. Besides, member secretary Asit Kumar Saha, deputy director, Department of Social Services, Jashore and a representative of the district superintendent of police, have been made members. The committee has been asked to submit an investigation report within the next five working days.
Earlier, the Department of Social Services formed a two-member inquiry committee and issued a notification. The committee was headed by Syed Mohammad Nurul Basir, director (institution) of the social services department. Deputy Director (Institution-II) SM Mahmudullah will assist him in the investigation. The committee was directed to submit an investigation report to the director general within the next three working days.
Superintendent of Police Mohammad Ashraf Hossain further said that besides the investigation committee, the police are also investigating the case. Interrogating 19 people at the meeting, analysing the data and initially identifying them as being involved, five officers have been arrested. They will be handed over to the court and a remand application will be made.
Besides, an application will be made to the court to bring 7/8 juvenile prisoners involved in this case under the law.
The police superintendent mentioned they are conducting a thorough investigation of the case after thoroughly analysing the incident so that one can get the real picture and identify the real culprits and present them at court.