Question at the day’s end- “Is police department in Bangladesh a substitute for the court of law?”

Question at the day’s end- “Is police department in Bangladesh a substitute for the court of law?”

Since last week, at least 3 people, 2 belonging to BNP and 1 to Jamaat-e-Islami, with names Motiur Rahman, Nurujjaman Jony and Imrul Kayes, have been shot dead in so-called police-y gunfights. It is ‘so-called’ because only one party, the cops, were armed and the victims were unarmed in all these happenings. Even so, they are termed as ‘gunfights’ or ‘shoot-outs’!! How hilarious!!!

The night before yesterday, policemen arrested 5 more students in lungis (a traditional night-dress for the lower part of the body for males) when they were asleep at their houses in the wee hours but the day following that night has elapsed without the arrestees being placed before the court. By now, the valid 24 hours of police custody has also expired. The arrestees are namely- Mostafijur Rahman, Jaynal Abedin, Arifur Rahman Arif, Khalid Saifullah and Atiar Rahman. Prior to this, a dozen Shibir men were victim of ‘enforced disappearance’ allegedly by law enforcers in white. Some of them were subsequently found dead and many thereof are still missing. As per the law for the time being in force with supreme effect [The Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh- Article 33(2)], law enforcers are duty-bound to take the detainees to the nearest magistrate’s court within 24 hours of the arrest. Now let me mention one thing what the cops did hold a press conference to tell the nation. Do you know what that very important thing is? That is a piece of information that the detainees belong to Islami Chhatrashibir, a prominent and glorious Islamist student outfit. No, no men;Shibir is nothing illegal, nor is it banned by the Bangladesh government under any law. Hence it can be said that it is a 100% ‘Halal’ student organization of the country!!

During this ongoing Awami League regime, we saw policemen oftentimes not to abide by the legal mandate obliging them to take the detainees to the court within the time specified. Today once again it happened. Importantly, this is not any ordinary mandate; rather a ‘Constitutional Guarantee’ for the nailed person and a constitutional obligation for the detainers. Cops do hurry to arrest in a manner pre-designed but delay to produce the detainees before the court? But why? Is it fishy! It’s really really a damn serious question!!

Given the fact above, it seems that the policemen must have any other extra-judicial intention as they often don’t walk the way judicially. This is why extra-judicial killings and political shoot-outs are being committed by the policemen. We don’t know whether there is another political felony in minds of the cops in the name of “crossfire” tonight as one day has passed without the detainees being produced before the court and another new day (today) has dawned.

This is also why we are asking some real pivotal questions- Is Police department a ‘valid’ and ‘authorized’ substitute (!) for the courts of law??? If not, then why is the Judiciary silent on such repeated police-y defaults??? Why is the civil society silent on this??? Is it because of the fact that the detainees belong to Chhatrashibir??!! Why is the media silent on this??? Is it because the media is polarized??!! Aren’t Jamaat-Shibir men citizens of this country??? Are they second class citizens??? Is Islami Chhatrashibir a banned organization in Bangladesh??? Is doing politics and joining Shibir illegal under any law of the land??? How longer?? How longer will you people keep mum??? Is human life a plaything for you?? Is it a plaything for the cops or is it a toy of amusement for the Awami League government??? Where are the so-called civil society and the NHRC?? Where are Dr. Mizan and Mrs. Sultana Kamal, the so-called advocates of human rights??? Are you people one-eyed??? Don’t you see any violation of human rights when that violation occurs to Jamaat-Shibir??? Is it the beauty of your human rights activism??? Fie on you men and women!!!

The ‘Disappeared (forcibly)-and/or-murdered’ games gained momentum in 2012 and 2013 when dozens of the Opposition men in Bangladesh were victimized by ‘enforced disappearances’ mostly followed by extra-judicial murders. Those games together with renewed licenses resumed of late since the Opposition alliance went hard-line with its indefinite nationwide blockade. This concurrence proves that the government, at present the Awami League-led coalition, is significantly behind all these nasty happenings. It is as simple an equation as 1+1=2. To add more, the joint forces have recently ravaged hundreds of houses at Shibgonj, chapainawabganj in Rajshahi and, following the mischief, many locals were seen to leave their own villages by tricycle vans for unknown destinations.

The Awami League-led grand alliance government had pledged, through its previous electoral manifesto, ‘zero tolerance’ against human rights abuses but, very pathetically, it took its disciplinary forces (mainly the Police and RAB) as a tool to achieve “Party Interest” to perpetuate its ‘power’ by suppressing the political opponents by ways of issuing threats, causing physical attacks, depriving of human rights, ignoring constitutional mandates, increasing unlawful detention and torture in the name of remand and coercing them to disappear. It further curtailed the freedom of media and let the media men (journos) sustain harassment, assault and battery. Islamic TV, Diganta TVand the Daily Amardesh newspaper were previously shutdown. Most recently, Viber, Tango and WhatsApp etc have been blocked by the government in Bangladesh. This is why Bangladesh is satirically termed as a ‘Police State’ by more than the absolute majority.

Many of the constitution-mandated rights have not been upheld and ensured in the country and most of the fundamental rights so mandated like ‘safeguards as to arrest and detention’ embodied in Article 33, ‘protection in respect of trial and punishment’ in Articles 35(4) and 35(5), ‘freedom of movement and assembly’ in Articles 36 and 37 and ‘protection of home and correspondence’ in Article 43(a) are being repeatedly violated with complete impunity. The ill-practices as to violation of fundamental rights are not being credibly investigated by the concerned authorities as well. The law enforcing agencies, especially the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) thought to be active ‘part’ in many disappearance incidents and extra-judicial killings, still continue to enjoy full impunity while acting. Are these then ‘state sponsored’ crimes? The question is raised by many.

To strike the note, Bangladesh acceded to the major international covenants and conventions including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), International Covenant on Social and Economic Rights (ICSER), Convention Against Torture (CAT) and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) all of which oblige it to protect the rights of the people from all sorts of violations and injustices. With the spate of extra-judicial killings by state’s registered law enforcing agency personnel, the law and order situation started to deteriorate. The government must move immediately to halt the rising phenomena of enforced disappearances, unauthorized arrests and ‘extra-judicial’ killings.

Injustice is injustice even if it happens to my enemy and justice is justice even if it is served against my friend. This is the high ideal of humanity and probably a remarkable difference between humans and brutes. But who heeds??

For now, it is admittedly clear that Bangladesh is hungering for justice and surrounded by sheer injustices the world has never seen before. If such recurrence of injustice, illegal arrest, unjustified detention and human rights violation goes on, the country is sure enough to walk the way to grave unrest and putrid consequence. Can the government escape, in such situation, the onus when the broader allegation is against the ‘state-fed agencies’? Surely the answer is ‘NOPE’.

Source: CNN iReport