Nasiruddin Fakir, father of the 'drowned' boy Jihad was not harassed by police during his shocking captivity at Shajahanpur police station, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Hasan Mahmud Khandaker said Sunday.
"Rather he was picked up by lawmen for interrogation in a friendly and amicable manner over the disappearance of his son," he told reporters emerging from a meeting with State Minister for Home Affair Asdaduzzaman Khan Kamal.
Four-year-old Jihad fell into several hundred feet deep abandoned WASA water pipe in Shajahanpur Railway Colony on Friday afternoon.
Efforts started almost immediately by Fire Service men to rescue the boy but meanwhile police picked up Nasiruddin and allegedly tortured or threatened him to know if he had whisked his son away elsewhere.
"No atrocity took place ?as human being, none can do so at that moment," said the IGP, adding that they would look into the matter to find out if any such incident (of torture) had happened.
He made the comment coming out of a meeting of National Committee on Militancy Resistance and Prevention at the home ministry in the capital, which Minister Kamal chaired in his office.
The minister told reporters that he monitored the rescue operation staying at the spot almost the whole night. "As rescuers informed me that there was no trace of human being inside the pipe, I conveyed this to the reporters," said Khan.
Fire Service officials failed to find the boy using a camera nearly 12 hours after the incident. So the State Minister for Home Affairs Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal doubted whether the boy indeed fell into the pit. Jihad's father, along with two witnesses, was taken into police custody around 3am on Saturday for "friendly" interrogation and was released after his son's body was pulled out of the hole later in the day by a group of volunteers.
The volunteers also offered to try find and rescue Jihad the previous night but were not allowed to take on the mission that, many said, would undermine the Fire Service's reputation as prime disaster handler in the country.
Minister Khan claimed police suspected Nasir had hidden his son and wanted to know the 'truth'. They threatened Nasir saying he would be handed over to RAB if he did not speak out. IGP Khandker said, "He wasn't tortured, rather he was amicably questioned."
The IGP was with State Minister Kamal after a law and order meeting and took questions from reporters that were directed at Kamal. "Nasir was taken into custody with the honest intention to unravel the mystery."
"Anyone with the smallest bit of humanity could not have hurt him (Jihad's father) in such a situation," the IGP said.
But he added that they would look into allegations of torture. State Minister Kamal quickly added, "He was not arrested with ill intentions. It is regrettable if there was any incident of torture. "
They detained him for 12 agonising hours at Shajahanpur Police Station. They allegedly threatened the worried and sick father with dire consequences and asked questions like where he had tucked away his son.
Nasir told reporters that policemen approached him when he was assisting rescuers at Shajahanpur Railway Colony and sought 15 minutes of his time. During his detention, he could know nothing about what was going on at the well or what was being done to rescue his little boy trapped at the bottom of a several hundred feet deep well.
Jihad died of drowning, revealed Professor Dr Habibuzzaman Chowdhury, head of Dhaka Medical College Hospital's forensic department, on Sunday morning after performing autopsy on the four-year-old boy.
"The death is due to drowning. We performed tests and ascertained that Jihad had all symptoms of drowning" he told reporters at a press conference on the hospital premises. "Jihad had (injury) marks on his head. But he drowned before the head injury could prove fatal."
According to the doctor, the boy survived in the depth of the well, more than 250 feet, for about an hour after he fell down the well around 4:00pm on Friday. "Jihad died around 5:00pm-5:30pm on Friday," Prof Habibuzzaman said in reply to a question and added that the child suffered suffocation before he was provided with oxygen.
The body of Jihad has been handed over to the relatives, said the victim's uncle Monju. Jihad was buried in his ancestral home in Shariatpur, he said.
The victim's father filed a case with Shajahanpur Police Station.