Awareness programme against mass beating from Thursday: IGP

Dhaka, July 24 – Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammad Javed Patwary Wednesday said that a week-long public awareness programme will run across the country from today against recent incidents of mass beating based on a rumour of child lifters.He said, the awareness campaign will be organised at every villages and imams of mosques will be asked to engage will their communities about the issue.
The Police boss came up with the remarks while briefing to the journalist at Police head quarters.
The IGP warned that those who are involved in mob lynching and spreading rumors about child lifter will not be exempted.
Earlier the day, Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader warned against spreading rumours, saying the government is investigating whether the recent incidents are part of an attempt to destabilize the country.
“Our party’s taking initiatives to prevent recurrence of lynching as a result of rumours … Action will be taken against anyone spreading them,” he told reporters at the Secretariat.
“We’re investigating if any quarter is trying to destabilise the country by spreading rumours or whether attempts are being made to put the government in a tight spot,” said Quader.
Meanwhile, Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud yesterday also suspected the recent phenomenon of child lifting rumours leading to lynching of several innocent people were spread to obstruct construction of the Padma Bridge and other development projects.
The IGP said, “If anyone can see or know such incident (child lifter), if anyone has any doubt to anyone – call the 999 without taking it into his own hands.” Within a short time, our force will arrive at the scene”.
Responding to a query, he said that a total of 103 persons have been arrested in 31 cases filed under rumors and mob lynching so far. Sixty Face book accounts, 25 YouTube channels and 20 online portals have been closed for spreading rumours in this regard.
“These links were used in a pre-planned manner to spread the rumours,” he added
Javed Patwary said, “Confused by rumors, you are taking the law into your own hands but you are also being accused of murder. The perpetrators of the murder are the highest offenders. Wherever you are, we will find you and hand you the law for severe punishment”.
The IGP also said all officer-in-charge of police stations across Bangladesh have been directed to raise awareness against these rumours.
The IGP said that The Police headquarters have already directed to the concerned official in every districts to increase patrolling and surveillance, raising awareness among teachers, school staff, guardians and students, and installing closed-circuit cameras covering all areas of the educational institutes.
“We have also asked to the respective officials to raise public awareness in their respective areas about not paying heed to rumors of child abduction, if any situation happens then contact with Police.
“We have also said that to build awareness among people, the Imam of every local mosque should take initiatives.
Earlier the day, talking to newsmen at a media briefing at his office, the information Minister called the incidents of lynching simply as “murders” and said the law enforcement agencies by now arrested 44 of the culprits involved in the lynching or mass- beatings.
“The government is taking tougher legal actions against the culprits involved in spreading the rumours (as well) while none could prove a single incident of child abduction,” he said.
Hasan said police was also scrutinizing the political identities of the rumour mongers.
“(But) I urge you all, please don’t pay heed to the rumours,” he said.
Hasan said as part of the government campaign against child lifting rumours, his ministry took various awareness programmes across the country and urged all to work together to resist the culprits.
Replying a question, Hasan said the government as well as the ruling Awami League was distributing relief among the flood affected people and urged BNP and Ganaforum to do their best for the deluge victims as well.
He, however, visibly expressed his fears about the opposition capacity to do anything visible as the “activities of BNP and Ganaforum are limited in city’s Press Club and Naya Paltan areas alone”.
However, in recent time eight people were killed in mass beatings suspecting them to be child-lifters following rumors spread by a vested group that people’s heads are necessary as sacrifice for the construction of the Padma Bridge.
The mob beatings took place in 16 districts, leaving 44 others injured. Analyzing the incidents, it can be seen that most of the victims were either physically or intellectually challenged. Some were beggars.
People who were killed and injured in recent mob beating incidents, are innocent, the IGP said adding that police found link of anti government political parties in spreading rumors surrounding the Padma bridge.
He said a vested quarter is engaged in spreading rumor systematically to make the country’s law and order situation instable. The first social media post that was posted regarding this was from Dubai.
“We found that this person had links with an anti-government political party,” he added.
“Among those who have been arrested, “We have found anti government political connection to some of the people that we have arrested so far. We are preparing their profiles.”
He said a certain quarter has resorted to this way of spreading rumor after they failed to launch any successful political movement. They even try to spread rumor from the outside of the country.
Mentioning the incident of Netrokona the IGP said that the man who was killed into the incident was a drug addict person. He had been admitted into rehabilitation centre for two times.
“As he was an addict, he tried to slaughter his own wife earlier, so the incident of Netrokona is not linked with the case of child lifter. He raped the child and killed him,” he said, adding that, “We have analyzed the other incident which was occurred in Badda, Jatrabari, Keraniganj, Savar, Narayanganj. We did not get any link of child lifter issues from these incidents”.
The victim of Badda incident was also innocent. She was there for her child admission and also the incidents of Jatrabari and Keraniganj were not linked with child lifter case.
The IGP said that they cannot control the internet or any social media. But the police noticed that the incidents earlier were happened by using rumors and tried to make the country unstable.
“If any post of social media is negative then it circulated very fast and people like and share it more than any other post. Police Headquarters took all necessary legal steps against all these,” he said.
However, according to data of human rights organization Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) shows a total of 797 people were killed in mob beating across the country since 2011 to last June of 2019.
Of them, 134 people were killed in 2011, 126 in 2012, 128 in 2013, 127 in 2014, 135 in 2015, 51 in 2016, 50 in 2017, 39 in 2018.
Although the number of mob killings was lower in 2016, 2017 and 2018 such brutal incidents are on the rise again in 2019; in just half of the year 39 were killed by mob beating. – Staff Reporter