2 YEARS OF HEFAZAT VIOLENCE: Investigations in limbo

Staff Correspondent

Neither any significant progress was made in the investigations into the violence during clashes between Hefazat-e-Islam men and law enforcers on May 5, 2013 nor was the death toll from the incidents established inside two years of the incidents.
Rights activists attributed the delay in investigations to political influence saying that the government wanted to benefit from the cases politically.
Activists of the Islamist outfit locked in daylong series of clashes with law enforcement agencies and ruling Awami League activists when they suddenly poured into Dhaka announcing a rally in Shapla square at Motijheel after their scheduled Dhaka siege programme on May 5, 2013.
The activists went into berserk at places including Motijheel, Baitul Mukarram, Paltan and Dainik Bangla crossing causing huge losses to business establishments and of public property.
Joint force of the police, Rapid Action Battalion and Border Guard Bangladesh flushed the Hefazat men out from Shapla square on early May 6, 2013.
According to Dhaka Metropolitan Police, 42 cases were filed Hefazat men on different charges including murder, arson, illegal assembly, attacks on government officials and conspiracy to commit crimes.
Of the cases, 33 were filed with Paltan police station, six with Motijheel police station and three with Raman police station by police, Islamic Foundation, House Building Finance Corporation, National Sports Council, Janata Bank, the Communist Party of Bangladesh and Dhaka City Corporation.
The police said that that they had arrested 78 people in this connection and many of them were now on bail.
Metropolitan police joint commissioner Monirul Islam said, ‘We are well informed about the planners, instigators and financers. Since a good number of activists came from outside on that they, it is difficult to identify the perpetrators who ran mayhem.’
Motijheel division additional deputy commissioner Farid Uddin said that investigation into none of the cases completed.
About 30,000 people were accused and 200 Hefazat men were named in the 33 cases filed with Paltan police station.
Paltan police station inspector (investigation) Tofayel Ahmed said that they were yet to make any significant progress in the investigations as police were facing difficulties to verify the identities and addresses of the huge number of accused.
Rights organisations, media and Hefazat claimed that many people were killed both in clashes on May 5 and in flushing out on early May 6, 2013.
The police, however, claimed that no lethal weapons were used in the joint forces’ drive and 11 people, including a police officer, were killed in the incidents in May 5-6.
Rights organisation Odhikar in a report claimed that 61 people were killed during in the incidents the clashes and in the joint forces’ operation, while the authority prosecuted the rights watchdog secretary and director for publishing the report with ‘false information and doctored photos.’
Ain o Salish Kendra director investigation Nur Khan said that the government was not willing to carry out the investigation as they wanted to benefit from the cases.

Source: New Age