The Bangladesh Police Service Association, or BPSA, has protested Japanese Ambassador Ito Naoki’s remarks casting aspersions on the integrity of the law enforcement agency during the 2018 general election.
In a statement on Thursday, BPSA said the allegations that Naoki made against the police were “baseless and undesirable” and the members of the force were “extremely embarrassed and hurt” by his words.
During a recent event in Dhaka, Naoki had reportedly said he had heard claims that “police officials were stuffing ballot boxes on the eve of election day” and that he had never heard of anything similar in another country.
The BPSA statement mentioned that the 11th parliamentary election was held “properly and neutrally everywhere” as reflected by the mainstream media and social media as well as by domestic and international analysts.
Therefore, such remarks against the role of police without any verification from a “respectable person such as the Japanese envoy came as a shock” to the people of the country, according to the association.
The job of the police is to uphold the law and ensure security during polls. They have nothing to do with the casting of ballots inside voting booths or the electoral process as a whole, it added.
The BPSA went on to highlight the police’s role and sacrifices during the 1971 Liberation War, while shedding light on their efforts at weeding out terrorism and militancy. The group also brought up the police force’s 'exemplary' contributions to tackling the coronavirus pandemic.
Highlighting the historical ties between Bangladesh and Japan, which remains a key development partner, the association called on Naoki to retract his comments and address such issues more responsibly in the future.
Additional Inspector General of Police Md Monirul Islam, chief of the Special Branch of police, is the president of BPSA, while Md Asaduzzaman, superintendent of police in Dhaka, is its general secretary.