March 16, 2010

Cross Fire

Cross Fire or encounter killing is a well known term in the Indian subcontinent. Its the killing of people under custody of police/RAB and making a story like they wanted to escape and was shot in the back while fleeing. However its ironic that no member of police/RAB was killed in the cross fire.

Sultana Razia, a researcher with Odhikar sheds a light on the history of encounter killing in Bangladesh:

In 1972, the paramilitary group Jatiya Rakkhi Bahini came into force and had become infamous for its extrajudicial executions until it was absorbed into the army in 1975. Now, since the formation of the elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in March 2004, such killings are again on the rise and are being categorised under a new vocabulary of "crossfire," "extrajudicial killings," "encounters," etc.

"Crossfire" is an extrajudicial execution that is in flagrant violation of Bangladesh's constitution and the international human rights conventions of which the country is a party.

Although some people believe that extrajudicial killing of hardened criminals helps ease the problem of "terrorism," in reality, it encourages lawlessness and aggravates "state terrorism." In different countries across the world, people in power have created an impression that killing "terrorists" without bringing them to justice can help curb "terrorism," but such extrajudicial killings, in fact, can neither bring peace nor eradicate "terrorism."

Since the formation of the RAB, there has been a rising trend of "deaths in crossfire." The number of deaths in RAB custody is also alarming.

Renowned photo journalist and blogger Shahidul Alam of Drik is organizing a photo exhibition on Cross Fire which will take place from 22-31 March in Drik Gallery, Dhaka. In an article in Mr. Alam accuses the BNP law minister Moudud Ahmed of defending extra judicial killing:
রেবের উদ্যোক্তা মওদুদ আহমদকে অস্ট্রেলীয় সাংবাদিক জন পিলজার ‘ভদ্র ও সাহসী’ মানুষ বলছিলেন বলে আমি খুব বিরক্ত হয়েছিলাম।

মওদুদের কথার পরতে পরতে ছিলো ন্যায় বিচার অগ্রাহ্য করার সুর।

“যদিও আপনারা টেকনিক্যালি একে বিচারবহির্ভূত বলতে পারেন। আমি কিন্তু বলবো না হত্যাকাণ্ড, বলবো বিচারবহির্ভূত মৃত্যু। মৃত্যু আর হত্যা কিন্তু এক জিনিস নয়… যাই -ই বলুন মানুষ কিন্তু খুশি।”

দুর্নীতিগ্রস্ত একটি পুলিশবাহিনী ও দুর্বল বিচার ব্যবস্থার অজুহাত দেখিয়ে আইনমন্ত্রী এরকম একটি বাহিনীকে ন্যায্যতা দেওয়ার চেষ্টা করেছেন।

He criticizes the current government of ignoring their electoral pledge that they will stop the cross fire. Howver the current home minister has denied that such cross fire exists in Bangladesh. Perhaps she needs to look at these incidents mapped in Google map.


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