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Country’s two police associations protest Japanese envoy’s comments

Country’s two police associations protest Japanese envoy’s comments

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Two associations of police officials on Thursday protested Japanese Ambassador Ito Naoki’s comments on the role of the country’s main law enforcement agency during the last 2018 elections, saying his remarks “embarrassed and hurt” them severely.

“His (envoy’s) comments severely embarrassed and hurt every member of the Bangladesh Police,” said a statement of Bangladesh Police Service Association (BPSA) that comprises the senior officers of the service belonging to the BSC (police) cadre.

In a near identical statement Bangladesh Police Association (BPA), a grouping of officers of police inspector level and below, said they too were “embarrassed and hurt” and called the envoy’s comments “unsupported, baseless and unexpected”.

The police reactions came three days after the Japanese Ambassador referred to alleged nighttime ballot stuffing by police officials during the last general elections as he joined a discussion staged by non-government research organizations, Centre for Governance Studies (CGS) and Friedrich Abert-Stiftung (FES).

“I heard, (in the last election) police officials filled the ballot boxes a night before (the election). I have not heard such instances in any other country,” the ambassador said responding to a question at the discussion.

BPSA president and police’s additional inspector general Md Monirul Islam, who now heads the Special Branch (SB), and general secretary Md Asaduzzaman, currently serving as Dhaka district police signed the statement saying his comments shocked the countrymen alongside the police.

“Bangladesh Police Service Association is strongly protesting his comments,” read the BPSA statement adding the “honourable ambassador’s comments were “unexpected and unanticipated” as the allegations were made without verification.

It said all mainstream media, social media, local and foreign election observers described the last 11th National elections as a free, fair and impartial one.

The BPSA said that such a comment by a responsible person like the ambassador shocked Bangladesh Police along with the countrymen.

It said the police during elections maintain law and order and secure poll centres in line with Election Commission directives.

The BPA supplemented the BPSA statement saying the policemen do not have any role in interfering with the choice of voters or influencing them inside poll centres.

“In all elections Bangladesh Police provide assistance to the Election Commission a very professional manner,” read the BPA statement issued by its president BM Farman Ali, the officer in charge of Gulshan police station and general secretary Mazharul Islam, the officer in charge of Jatrabari police station.