No let-up in extrajudicial killing
THE manner in which some plainclothes policemen killed a young apparel worker at Pallabi in the capital Dhaka Monday night and later sought to get themselves absolved of the crime by repeating the same old ‘crossfire’ story is appalling. As New Age reported on Wednesday, about five policemen caught Shah Alam, ‘tortured him, shot him in the leg and took him into a police pickup’ in front of an apparel factory in the area at about 8:25pm. The next day, the family came to know of his death and found his body in the Dhaka Medical College Hospital morgue. Not surprisingly, the policemen in question alleged that the victim, a slum-dweller, along with his cohorts, was ‘planning to commit robbery... on thirty-first night’, although Alam apparently had no previous criminal records. Even if what their claim is true, it does not certainly give them the right to torture and kill him.
The ruling Awami League, while in opposition during previous regimes, was highly critical of extrajudicial killings, particularly at the hand of law enforcers, terming them not only unconstitutional but also a serious violation of human rights. Besides, it pledged in its election manifesto to stop all sort of extrajudicial killing. Most importantly, soon after it had taken office in 2009, the key functionaries of the government, including the prime minister, especially in different national and international forums, pledged on more occasions than one to show zero-tolerance towards such killings. Regrettably, however, those words are yet to be translated into reality. Worse even, the ministers, including the one in charge of home affairs, have on several occasions tried to justify the extrajudicial killings perpetrated by law enforcers so far on the ground of the latter’s right to self-defence. All this, perhaps, has encouraged the marauding forces to continue their misdeeds.
The government needs to realise that the impunity the police and other crime busting units have apparently enjoyed for long may have contributed a lot to lynching that has undergone an alarming rise in recent times which may end up plunging society into lawlessness altogether. It immediately needs to end its indifference to extrajudicial killings.
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