South Asians for Human Rights

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A police probe body blamed the then superintendent of police of Cox’s Bazar and officer-in-charge of Ramu Police Station for failure to take appropriate measures and contain the situation during the mayhem on September 29.

The committee, however, recommended action against OC AK Nazibul Islam and did not suggest any action against SP Selim Md Jahangir.

It did not mention anything about the failure of intelligence agencies in providing police authorities with information.

It mentioned that the then deputy commissioner of the district was having his farewell party at the Circuit House that night where senior government officials of the district were present.

The probe report said the deputy commissioner failed to judge the gravity of the situation and the civil servant neither went to the spot nor ordered someone to go there. The probe body did not speak to those government officials of Cox’s Bazar at the party.

The police headquarters, which formed the three-member committee led by Md Nawsher Ali, deputy inspector general of police, Chittagong Range, submitted the three-page probe report to the High Court Tuesday through the attorney general’s office as per its earlier order.

A mob destroyed 12 pagodas and more than 50 houses in Ramu on the night of September 29. The violence was apparently triggered by the image of a Buddhist’s Facebook page that had been photo-shopped, revealed The Daily Star investigation. The page had an image derogatory to Islam pasted on it.

The committee had finalised the report on October 18.

The probe body said OC Nazibul had failed to forestall the violence and was negligent in discharging official duties.

It said he did not provide higher authorities with information about the incident and punitive action could be taken against him.

The probe committee also said Nazibul did not know about the incident early enough even through the incident happened at populous Ramu Bazar in Ramu.

Nazibul did not realise the severity and consequence of the incident, as the people, who led the processions, were known to him, the committee said, adding that the OC failed to show his acumen in taking primary steps.

The OC fully failed to prevent the outbreak and he did not inform the SP of Cox’s Bazar about the incident in time and could not take necessary instructions and guidelines from the SP in this regard, the report read.

It said SP Selim Md Jahangir was in confusion and did not realise the consequence an image derogatory to the holy Quran could have as he was not in touch with the local sentiment as one would hope.

Therefore, the SP did not deploy additional police force and did not rush there on time, the committee said.

The government recently closed SP Selim and attached him to the police headquarters and closed the OC Nazibul and attached him to the office of deputy inspector general of police of Chittagong Range.

According to the report, being informed about the incident, SP Selim sent a 10-member force to assist the police of Ramu Police Station at 10:00pm and later sent 30 more policemen in two phases.

The police force could not control the situation, the report said.

Supreme Court lawyer Eunus Ali Akond on October 3 filed a writ petition saying that local law enforcers failed to take appropriate measures to protect the temples, monasteries and houses of the minority communities in Ramu.

On October 15, a High Court bench of Justice Naima Haider and Justice Muhammad Khurshid Alam Sarkar directed the government to submit a report to it by Tuesday on the security measures it had taken before and after the attack on the Buddhist community in Ramu.

On Tuesday, after receiving the report, the bench fixed November 20 for passing an order on this issue.

On the same day, the Ministry of Home Affairs submitted another probe report to the High Court, saying that the mayhem in Ramu was a well-planned attack designed at least 10 days ahead in four phases.

The probe report gave a detailed description of the incident and mentioned that 205 people were involved.

Source: The Daily Star – 08/11/2012 (