Sonagazi police station officer-in-charge Moazzem Hossain has a share in the blame for the murder of madrasa student Nusrat Jahan Rafi. She had approached him for help. If he had taken her allegation into consideration, this brutal killing would not have occurred. Instead, the OC acted in favour of the killers. His role has tainted the image of the entire police department.
This police officer was spared although the ruling party leaders were caught. Feni Awami League unit chief was immediately arrested as he had a half-minute conversation with one of the members of the killers. The police did not hesitate to arrest him as a suspect although his name was not mentioned in the case statement. Given that OC Moazzem remains free, the message to the nation is that it is easy to arrest a leader, not an OC.
Under the Digital Security Act, a case has been filed against OC Moazzem Hossain on charges of harassing Nusrat during interrogation by asking her objectionable questions and then posting this on social media. He has gone into hiding after the cyber tribunal issued an arrest warrant against him. The question is, how could he flee?
The Nusrat killing stirred the entire nation. After the heinous killing, the prime minister stood by her family and police pressed charges against 16 people. But the attitude of police department towards OC Moazzem is disappointing. The people noticed how the police department nakedly prevaricated over the arrest of OC Moazzem. It was possible to take him under police custody before the cyber tribunal issued the arrest warrant. But that was not done. He was not even suspended.
Surprisingly, he was simply shifted from his post at Sonagazi and attached to the Rangpur Range. Following the arrest warrant by the cyber tribunal, he was allowed to go to Dhaka purportedly for his deposition. Interviews of the superintendent of police of Feni and Rangpur DIG published in Prothom Alo online during Eid holidays prove how the police department is more concerned about protecting OC Moazzem. Protecting him means to save an accessory of the murder. It is a big question how an OC with an arrest warrant gets permission to give deposition in another case.
It Must be explained how OC Moazzem was assisted to flee and enjoy his Eid holidays. In this digital age, the delays over his arrest and the farce over whether he received the warrant or not, is unacceptable.
It is a shame that the police department showed such negligence in bringing the OC to book in the sensational murder. We agree with the recommendation of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) that a judicial inquiry is required into the role of police in connection with the incident.
Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan said Moazzem will be brought to trial although it will take time. The people may be reassured by the home minister’s statement, but the question remains whether it is the power of an individual OC or of an institution that decides the fate of this OC.