Sunday, February 5, 2012

5 killed: Police excesses galore

During the past three-year rule of the Awami League (AL) regime the number of the people killed — because they were supporters of the main opposition BNP or its political partners — is mind-boggling; and the figure of those arrested as well as were sued by police has possibly exceeded twenty thousand, many among whom were bystanders or simply pedestrians. In this period the police have shot dead a shocking number of completely unarmed people who joined the public meetings or rallies of the main opposition.  After all such killings of citizens without arms by police the incumbent AL Government in general and its home ministry in particular blatantly palm off as ‘justifiable’, ignoring the fact that unarmed men cannot be so serious a threat that police personnel would have to resort to shoot in ‘self-defence’.

Four BNP men were killed in Luxmipur and Chandpur towns and one Jamaat activist in Rajshahi when police fired on demonstrating BNP activists and supporters on January 29 and 30. More than 450 people were injured when the policemen attempted to foil prescheduled marches of opposition activists in different districts.

Condemning the police atrocities, BNP held the government responsible for the killings.

In this country trampling young men under police boots in Dhaka a la grotesque incidents under the fascist jackboot often traumatise people. Similar scenes of brutality were familiar in Saigon or Hanoi during the Vietnam War 38 years ago. The maltreated Yusuf Ali, hailing from Nilphamari, belongs to a family of have-nots with his father earning Taka 600 per month and his elder brother working as a street hawker. They family supports Jamaat. They live in a thatched hut. Ali has a menial job at a hospital. Policemen who tortured him were not punished, but the victim was — a sad litany of another brazen violation of human rights.

A parliamentary standing committee member said the panel sought the police chief’s explanation on such ‘unrestrained behaviour’ of lawmen during the hartal, but Awami League leader Hanif said “opposition might have influenced such behaviour of police”. A startling revelation indeed! The ruling Awami League government constituted a court in 2009 on the model of a Martial Law court. Ali was prosecuted in that court which is worse than a Kangaroo court. The victim has been sentenced to one year’s rigorous imprisonment.

Exactly on the Bangladesh model, in Pakistan a similar court was formed by Asif Ali Zardari to harass and repress the opposition parties. However, good sense prevailed upon Zardari; and in the face of criticism he repealed it —- but Bangladesh has not.

Having seen the grossly erroneous attitude of the incumbents and crass performance of the ministry of home headed by Shahara Khatun, it is now obvious that the ruling AL Government’s policymakers are miles away from the time honoured dictum of pro bono publico; in every sphere and sector of governance from bashing the opposition to law and order to economic management they have made it evident that public good is not their goal whatsoever.

It is axiomatic that the parliamentary opposition in a Westminster form of government must function as per the Constitution.

The framers of our Constitution made it sure to outline the fundamental rights of citizens even before describing the government’s structure. Consistent with the section on fundamental rights, the Constitution guarantees the right to assemble, hold public meetings, and form unions. Freedom of speech and the press are ensured. Persons who have been arrested must be informed of the charges made against them, and they must be brought before a magistrate within twenty-four hours. These words under the incumbents sound hollow.

Deplorably enough, the incumbents are not only denying the main opposition BNP and its political partners to agitate and assemble; they are also allowing the police to open fire at opposition rallies and processions.

Presumably the first most brutal case in this country was that of teenager Limon in which the adolescent blameless college student sustained gun shot injury caused by RAB.  The country is devoid of the rule of law, so said the NHRC chief on August 12, 2010. So what can the people, who do not support the AL, expect from the AL Government? We do not have any answer.
Collected :