Editorial

Crossfire and the Savar MP

Update:

Ruling party member of parliament Enamur Rahman made certain comments about crossfire on Tuesday in the daily Manabjamin. He later withdrew the comments, but his words have given food for thought.

What did he say in Manabjamin? He said that there had been many hoodlums and armed goons in Savar, but they were all quiet now. No one dared to make the slightest noise. He boasted, “I sent five to crossfire and have another 14 on my list. They are all silent now.”

The local leaders and activists of opposition BNP were naturally perturbed by his statement. A man called up Prothom Alo in alarm, saying that he had gone into hiding out of fear. A woman also called, asking about Enamur’s crossfire list and whether her husband’s name was on it. The elder brother of a Savar Jubo Dal leader who was killed in so-called crossfire last October, told Prothom Alo, “The statement made by the MP in the newspaper indicates that what people have been saying is true. They have the power and they are sending people into crossfire.”

Enamur’s statement reflects the general feeling that people have about extrajudicial killings by the law enforcement agencies, whether this is true or not. There have long been allegations of crossfire, gunfights, encounters and other such extrajudicial killings. The law enforcement denies such allegations but the people believe that extrajudicial killings are taking place in this manner.

Enamur Rahman MP a day later withdrew his comments, saying these had been inconsiderate words. But he did not deny the truth in his words. The question is, have his ‘inconsiderate’ words revealed a terrible truth that has long been covered up and denied? Does such truth prevail, unknown to us, in other places of the country too?

The withdrawal of the statement doesn’t prove that it was untrue. There should be a neutral inquiry into the matter. There is need for an independent judicial inquiry into all the extrajudicial killings and disappearances all over the country. Such an inquiry is imperative to ensure that there is no illegal unholy alliance between the law enforcement and the politicians of the ruling party.

Crossfire must come to a halt. RAB and the police, that is, the law enforcement agencies, must do away with all extrajudicial methods and return to proper legal means.

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