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Sagar-Runi murder: lofty talks but little progress

THE failure of the government to even unravel the mystery behind the murder of the journalist couple Sagar and Runi, let alone have the killers prosecuted and punished, two years after the gruesome killing is unfortunate. What is worse, as New Age reported on Tuesday, the investigation into the murder remained stalled for more than a year as the investigators tied to Rapid Action Battalion had to wait for DNA reports on a number of suspects from a private laboratory in the United States. The battalion, which was entrusted with the task by the High Court in April 2012 after the Detective Branch admitted to its failure in this regard, earlier received some DNA test results from the same company but failed to make any breakthrough. Pertinently, the battalion has already spent more than Tk 81,00,000 only on DNA tests that, as a national DNA lab official based in Dhaka pointed out, could have been done at home at a cheaper rate, that too, in a couple of days.
One can recall here that just a few hours after the couple had been killed in their West Razabazar flat on February 11, 2012, the then home minister, Sahara Khatun, gave the law enforcers 48 hours to nab the perpetrators. Moreover, just as the ultimatum neared end, the inspector general of police claimed ‘substantial progress’ in the investigation. Not only that, he assured the media of giving them a positive news about the matter anytime soon, while the Dhaka Metropolitan Police spokesperson declared on February 16 that some suspects had already been under ‘close watch’.
After all this had proved to be mere rhetoric and in the face of continued protests by the victims’ colleagues in particular, the man, who replaced Sahara as home minister, claimed to have identified seven suspects through DNA tests which also proved false. Additionally, he also announced then a bounty of Tk 10 lakh on one Enamul Haque, then absconding, indicating that his arrest would help unearth the clues to the murder. Although Enamul was arrested on February 9, 2013, the investigators are yet to unearth the motive for the murder.
In fact, the failure in question is not isolated from that of the law enforcers to maintain law and order as a whole during the previous tenure of the Awami League-led government. The tendency of key government functionaries, particularly the home minister, to deny the reality on the ground did not help either. In view of the fact that what it has done so far in the name of investigation is pathetic, to say the least, the government needs to redouble its efforts to crack the case and put the perpetrators in the dock.

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