The Dhaka Metropolitan Police yesterday announced that it had been collecting “identification information” on landlords and tenants since November last year and asked all to provide the information by March 15.
It is part of an effort to create a central database of city dwellers and their service staff and the move is intended to curb crime and create a “sustainable security measure”, said Commissioner Asaduzzaman Miah at a press briefing held at the DMP Media Centre.
He asked the city dwellers to fill in certain forms and submit them to their local police station.
Asked why the delay in making the announcement, a police official said they were busy with other programmes and events and that they could not manage the time to hold a press briefing for this earlier.
Referring to recent raids at different city parts, the DMP boss claimed that militant suspects took cover in the city in disguise of tenants and attempted to commit subversive activities.
There were instances in which suspects moved out of their homes safely after committing a crime and moved into a new one.
He said the collection of data for the database was being co-ordinated by beat police and as many as 287 groups of policemen of 49 police stations were collecting the information.
According to the commissioner, the initiative was taken as per section-42 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, that allows cops to ask people's assistance in maintaining law and order while people, as per the section, are bound to assist police.
However, several city dwellers said they were unsure whether their personal information would remain safe in police hands.
They viewed that the police move was unnecessary and time-consuming as basic information of people were already in the national identity (NID) card database.
“The initiative seems to be time-wasting,” said Abu Bakar Siddique, a private service holder in Mirpur.
He said the type of information police asked was already in his NID. Moreover, police are spending money and wasting time on something that is already done and is unnecessary.
Rahimul Islam, who lives in Mirpur-12, said he was unaware of the initiative and that he heard it for the first time from this correspondent.
“It is preferable, for me, to provide only NID number instead of giving a bunch of information to police,” he said.
Banker Mahfuzur Rahman, a tenant in Khilkhet, said his landlord already collected his basic information when he rented the flat.
Police should collect information of tenants from landlords, he said.
DMP Commissioner Asaduzzaman admitted that people do not have complete trust in the police and that they might be worried about giving information and being harassed.
He claimed that the information collected from individuals would be safe.
This paper published a report in December last year regarding the DMP move and several city dwellers had then expressed their concerns.
The police had then said they sought information in three types of forms -- for house and flat owners, tenants, and mess owners and their tenants.
The form for house and flat owners asks for 17 types of information with photographs.
These are the individual's name, father's name, date of birth, marital status, the type of the house, present and permanent addresses, religion, occupation, work address, educational qualification, mobile phone number, email ID, national ID number, passport number, contact person, and names and details of house helps, drivers, and security guards with their photos.
The tenant's form asks for 15 types of information and photographs and the one for mess owners and their tenants, 13 types of information and photographs are sought.