October 26, 2004


In Bangladesh the death under police custody has been risen tremendously, which is dubbed by police as killed in "cross fire". This has been occurring ever since the government has established the RAB (RAT), the 'Cobra' and the 'Cheetah' etc. Earlier when the Army carried out the "operation clean heart" in 2002, there were more than 50 custodial deaths (heart attacks as they dubbed) of so called criminals (pending trial). One journalist writes that after one such custodial death, he went to the police station to learn what has happened. The police gave him photograph of an bandaged policeman saying that associates of the criminal shot him and he was killed in crossfire. Later on that night he was surprised to see the policeman working in that same police station without any wound. We will do injustice just to blame these forces only, because they cannot act freely; as it is said that there are always instructions for them from the higher level of the government about whom to arrest and whom to leave alone and whom to kill in "crossfire" so that they do not expose the godfathers behind them. The forces were undoubtedly created by the politicians to serve their narrow selfish interests, forgetting totally the overall interest of the country as a whole and there is even talk of giving them immunity from their actions.

Now the point is why these forces are required and for whom? It all started when Awami League some quarters of Awami League convinced Sheikh Mujib of the need for an auxiliary armed force "Rakkhibahini" to curb criminal activities, which brought the widespread dissent against his government and eventually his assassination. Because these forces are used for all sorts of personal abuses by some Awami league leaders. President Ziaur Rahman also continued the legacy to some extent.
It is widely believed that due to sheer dissent only and after the abortive coup in which Lt.Col (retd) Taher and Haider were killed, the late President permanently removed more than 3000 soldiers and other ranks from this world who were identified merely as Taher’s followers. Then came Ershad, the autocrat, whose police force baton charged the opposition activists. Then came the two tenures of BNP and Awami League in the nineties, where oppressions were at personal level by the ruling party mastans aided by silence of police. But during BNP's current tenure law and order situation have touched a all-time low level. The deeds of these elite police forces are really aggravating the situation.

The home minister told that these killings are ok and wondered, when the people are happy seeing the criminals dead, why some people are raising fingers? Really what a great remark from a lawmaker. Who needs written law, when we can produce people eyewash of giving them security by killing the criminals?

The finance minister is outraged at the press freedom, which everyday is showing a rather gloomy picture to the people. Really the people do not have the right to know other than what the ruling government wants us to know.

But one thing these politicians forget is that history repeats itself. And the oppressed will raise someday to retaliate. Peace and stability is really a far cry.


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