Time to call RAB to account
THE government of the Awami League continues to preside over extrajudicial murders of crime suspects by law enforcement agencies, particularly the Rapid Action Battalion, although the party promised that it would stop the RAB violence initiated under the rule of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party in 2004. In the past few days, as many as six people have been killed by the battalion in so-called ‘crossfire’, the most sensational of them being the murder of two prime suspects of the murder of a Juba League leader on Wednesday evening.
While the murder of the Juba League leader panicked the Dhaka city dwellers Tuesday, the arrest of the murder suspects assured many of quick legal actions, although it was clear to almost everyone that the quick action was prompted by the victim’s political identity. But the killing of the murder suspects in RAB crossfire, a story that none in the country and beyond has any reason to find credible, has once again reminded all concerned that the ruling quarters’ claim of establishing ‘the rule of law’ is nothing but a political rhetoric. The rule of law, after all, does not allow even a hardened criminal to be murdered without the legal sanction of a competent court of law, coming after the entire legal process is exhausted in a transparent manner. The extra-judicial murders of crime suspects by law enforcement agencies with impunity not only stand in the way of exercising the rule of law and dispensation of justice, they also help bigger criminals to hide behind such murders.
In the case of the murder of the Juba League leader, allegedly by some long-time party colleagues, media organisations have reported that they developed enmity over the issues like extortions and illegally grabbing of businesses. In all likelihood, both the groups had their own political patrons in the party high-up, who had been benefited of such illegal financial exercises. Had the alleged murders been taken to the court of law for trial, the identities of those political patrons would have been revealed in the trial process. The battalion’s extrajudicial murder of the murder suspects in question would now keep those political patrons of the Juba League leaders, if there was any, in the dark forever. This is indeed a serious disservice to the country. Such public disservice by the law enforcement agencies must stop.
The battalion, and the political authorities supervising them, always want the public to believe that the stories of crossfire deaths are genuine. If so, the government, any government for that matter, has an additional reason to punish the RAB officials on the ground of repeatedly failing to protect the arrested crime suspects in their custody. This is, after all, a responsibility of the law enforcement agencies to ensure security of the alleged criminals in their custody, and help the judiciary to try them properly. When more than a thousand people get killed in RAB crossfire in less than a decade, the political authorities must punish the top officials of the battalion for their failure to ensure safety and security to the crime suspects in custody. When a government does not do so, it becomes party to the extrajudicial murders, which calls for democratic resistance by the people committed to the rule of law.
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