Police break the law, all in the name of international cricket!

Subscribe to ShahidulNews


By Rahnuma Ahmed

When southern countries host international events, it has become de rigeur to punish poor people and beggars.
The Delhi government cleared the capital of beggars, particularly areas tourists were likely to visit during the Commonwealth Games (September 2010). The South African government displaced its poor black residents living near stadiums to shanty towns, `tin-can towns’ during the FIFA World Cup Finals (June 2010).

Shirin Ara a beggar in the streets of Dhaka being taken away in handcuffs, as part of a clean up drive prior to the international cricket tournament. Photo Taslima Akhter

The Bangladesh government too, in preparation for the ICC Cricket World Cup (February 2011), has decided to clear beggars and hawkers from major streets of Dhaka city. Banishing beggars is obviously easier than taking policy measures which will tackle the problems of poverty and immiseration. But, as the investigative journalism by Taslima Akhter reveals, what is happening in reality belies what the home minister Shara Khatun had told the press, ?We may take the street beggars to the social welfare ministry?s shelters for the time being.?
Women are are being arrested for begging. Shirin Ara, who was arrested from Mohammadpur, eked out a meagre living from alms-seeking. She was arrested by thana police on February 11, 2011 and produced in CMM court the next day. Shirin said she did not know why she had been arrested, nor had she been informed by the police about her alleged offence.
According to Section 81, begging is an offence, but Shirin was brought to court and taken away later, while in handcuffs, which is a violation of Police Regulations of Bengal 1943. According to Regulation 330 (a): “In no case, shall women be handcuffed nor shall restrain be used to those who either by age or by infirmity are easily and securely kept in custody.”

Author: Shahidul Alam

Time Magazine Person of the Year 2018. A photographer, writer, curator and activist, Shahidul Alam obtained a PhD in chemistry before switching to photography. His seminal work “The Struggle for Democracy” contributed to the removal of General Ershad. Former president of the Bangladesh Photographic Society, Alam set up the Drik agency, Chobi Mela festival and Pathshala, South Asian Media Institute, considered one of the finest schools of photography in the world. Shown in MOMA New York, Centre Georges Pompidou, Royal Albert Hall and Tate Modern, Alam has been guest curator of Whitechapel Gallery, Winterthur Gallery and Musee de Quai Branly. His awards include Mother Jones, Shilpakala Award and Lifetime Achievement Award at the Dali International Festival of Photography. Speaker at Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, Oxford and Cambridge universities, TEDx, POPTech and National Geographic, Alam chaired the international jury of the prestigious World Press Photo contest. Honorary Fellow of Royal Photographic Society, Alam is visiting professor of Sunderland University in UK and advisory board member of National Geographic Society. John Morris, the former picture editor of Life Magazine describes his book “My journey as a witness”, (listed in “Best Photo Books of 2011” by American Photo), as “The most important book ever written by a photographer.”

2 thoughts on “Police break the law, all in the name of international cricket!”

Leave a Reply