Accused as an afterthought?

Youth shot by police says he was framed in assault case; cops deny allegation
Twenty-year-old Shahadat Hossain Shyamol sits on the floor on the space between the elevators and stairs of the fourth floor of Dhaka Medical College Hospital’s burn unit, a gunshot-wound in his foot and police cuffs on his hand, and two police personnel keeping watch.

“People pass by all day, and often give oblique looks; maybe they think I’m some kind of criminal,” says an embarrassed Shahadat, who claims he received the injury near Munshiganj while crossing a police check-post on the night of March 14.

Police shot him apparently by mistake, Shahadat says, then apologised to him, admitted him to the hospital and even spent Tk 7,000 for his treatment, only to put him in cuffs three days later and accusing him in a case for preventing police from discharging duty.

Shahadat, an AC mechanic of Ghatarchar in Keraniganj, was going to Sirajdikhan to see off one of his friend’s relatives along with three other friends in three motorcycles. The bikes were stopped by police at a check-post at Shekanagar. “Though I stopped my bike, police fired on my right foot immediately without asking anything,” said Shahadat.

“When I asked them what my fault was, they asked me to go to the hospital immediately,” he said in a choked voice. Policemen brought him to DMCH and admitted him there, and also provided around Tk 7,000 as initial treatment cost. They apologised to him at the hospital and promised to bear his treatment cost, Shahadat told this newspaper recently.

But just after three days, police put him in handcuffs, and told him a police assault case was filed against him, said Shahadat.

Shahadat’s father Ohab Ali said police initially promised to provide necessary treatment cost, and asked them not to make any trouble in exchange.

“But when I went to the [Sirajdikhan] police station around two weeks later, a police official denied it, and informed me that they filed a case against him and five others as they assaulted police during duty,” he said.

Four others, who were arrested by police after the incident, are now on bail in the case. Another accused in the case is absconding.

Jinnatun Nesa, mother of Shahadat, said his son’s life was ruined by the incident.

They did not file any case against police as they were assured of continuing his treatment, she said, adding, “But after a few days, we heard that police filed a case against him; it is a false case. He [Shahadat] has no criminal record, and has a reputation of being a decent man among his neighbours,” she said.

Partha Sankar Paul, resident surgeon of DMCH burn unit, said they are continuing his treatment, but did not make any comment on whether he will be able to walk again.

Officer-in-Charge of Sirajdikhan Police Station Farid Uddin said they filed a police assault case accusing six, including Shahadat.

He said police did not shoot him intentionally; rather it might have happened while a scuffle was going on between a police constable and Shahadat.

He also denied apologising to the youth, or promising to pay for his treatment.

“When he is in a condition to be produced before court, we will produce him. He will likely get bail in the case,” the OC said.

“Why would I engage in physical altercation with police? I am not a criminal. I did not have any weapons,” Shahadat told The Daily Star. “If I had assaulted police, why did they put me in handcuffs three days later?”

Shaheen Mollah

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