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It is almost like two siblings having minor problems

Police and Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) may have a difference of opinion, but they are not different from each other, Inspector General of Police AKM Shahidul Hoque said yesterday.

Speaking to reporters in Barisal, the police chief said there was no conflict between police and RAB as they were part of the same law enforcement agency.

“Police and RAB are members of the same family. They are like two brothers, so there may be some tension between the two, but it is nothing that cannot be sorted out,” he said in response to questions about the alleged rivalry between the two forces.

The IGP was in Barisal to inaugurate the newly constructed six-storey barrack of Range Reserve Force at Barisal Police Lines.

After the inauguration, reporters inquired about the recent memo asking police to cooperate with RAB.

The IGP said: “RAB is an elite force which is a part of the police. We work as a part of the same family and we have the same goal.

“We have been working to eliminate crime and terrorism. Our methods may vary, but our goals remain the same.”

However, the rift between police and RAB seems more serious than mere tension between siblings, as the Police Headquarters sent out a memo to all its unit chiefs, instructing them to work with RAB as colleagues, rather than treat them as rivals.

Issued on Monday, the memo, which outlined 10 points of instruction to be followed by all police members, instructs field-level police officials to work on the basis of “brotherhood” with RAB and warns that any unprofessional attitude will be met with stern action.

It also urges police to hold meetings with RAB officials to “settle all confusion.”

Chiefs of several police units confirmed to the Dhaka Tribune that they had received the memo.

The instructions came in the wake of a letter sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs in September by RAB Director General Benazir Ahmed, in which he alleged that police officials mistreated RAB officials and hindered them from performing their duties in the field.

The RAB chief also warned that if immediate action was not taken in this regard, the conflict might lead to untoward incidents which could be embarrassing for police as well as the government.

Soon after the letter was sent, the IGP said the allegations made by the RAB chief were being investigated.

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters at an event in the capital two weeks ago, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal also called RAB and police “siblings.”

“RAB is a part of the police department. They may not agree on one or two issues but that is nothing to be publicised … there is no misunderstanding between the two forces. It is almost like two siblings having minor problems. We are not worried about it,” the minister said when asked about the letter.