Dec 30

Top police terror OC Salahuddin strikes again; curbing media freedom

Top police terror OC Salahuddin, as evidenced by recent actions, made the headlines again. This comes after a short hiatus in the wake of the public outcry regarding the involvement of the senior police official in the Sujon murder. And apparently nothing had happened to him despite the recent fiasco he had been associated with, including serious allegations such as multiple instances of torture in custody and even murder! A view of allegations of a sinister chequered past; that of a thug in uniform, can be found here.

The latest tryst of Salahuddin Ahmed was related to storming the offices of a reputed newspaper media outlet, the New Age, and threatening its staff with action later on.

Salahuddin lead police to storm offices of New Age:
A group of police led by Tejgaon industrial police station officer-in-charge Salahuddin on Sunday evening stormed New Age premises without giving any reason at about 8:20pm. The incident was also reported by various dailies such as Daily Star, Ittefaq, UNB, among others.  Salahuddin said that he had ‘serious information’ about something for which they needed to search the newspaper office. He, however, refused to say anything about the ‘serious information.’
Before storming into the premises, the team of 15 to 20 policemen walked around the newspaper premises for around 30 minutes, said local people. They said that the policemen asked them whether New Age office was there. When the police led by Salahuddin ran into the premises, New Age security officials asked them about their purpose. New Age journalists also went out and asked the police team about the reason of their storming into the newspaper office premises during peak hours. New Age journalists also told the police team that they were ready cooperate with the police if necessary, but Salahuddin was so aggressive that did not care to listen.
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The journalists then asked the policemen to show search warrant if any.
The policemen, two in plainclothes, including Salahuddin, however, did not disclose the reasons and asked the policemen to search the newspaper office.
‘Search the each corner of the office,’ Salahuddin asked his team.
When asked, why they were not showing any official order, Salahuddin said, ‘Have you bought the country? Are you out of law? Are you teaching me law?’
He continued to shout.
He also threatened the newsmen saying that they would ‘see New Age employees later on.’
Senior journalists of New Age approached there, but the policemen issued the same threat to them. Before leaving the spot, the police team captured video clips of New Age staff and journalists. When approached, Dhaka Metropolitan Police deputy commissioner (Tejgaon division) Biplob Kumar Sarker told New Age that police had information that some miscreants might create anarchy besides New Age. Based on that information, the police team went there, he said.
‘There was nothing for the police to do inside New Age office,’ said Biplob.
‘After getting information about the incident, I talked to my additional deputy commissioners over phone and asked them to withdraw the team from there,’ Biplob added.
Following seniors’ instruction, the police team left the spot at about 8:40pm.
When contacted over phone, Salahuddin told New Age that they had information that some Jamaat-e-Islami and Shibir men gathered near New Age office to create violence.
Reaction by New Age editor Nurul Kabir:
In a post on his facebook page, New age editor Nurul Kabir protested the incident, “Police attempt to forcibly enter into New Age’s newsroom in the busy evening to conduct a ‘search for suspects’, without a search warrant and without explaining ‘nature of the suspects’, is nothing but a government intimidation of objective journalism committed to the democratic transformation of the society and the state. I protest, vigorously .”
So will thugs in uniform such as OC Salahuddin continue to roam free? Its never too late to ask. Multitudes of OC Salahuddins, their supporters and godfathers within the administration and the political spectrum continue to thrive, and thrive well off in the contemporary climate. The longer they thrive, the more the fate of justice in this country for the victims stands doomed.