Around 1,949 members of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) have so far been punished on different charges since its inception in 2004, Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu claimed today.
Inu, also the president of the ruling Awami League's ally Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD), unveiled the figure while addressing a press conference at his secretariat office today, reports Bangla daily Prothom Alo.
He came up with the statistics when different quarters including BNP had been pressing the government to disband Rab, alleging that the elite force members were involved with murders, abductions and forced disappearance in the country.
The demand has been raised after fingers were pointed at Rab men for their involvement in seven-murder in Narayanganj.
“Rab is not above the law. The officers of the elite forces will be brought to book for punishment if they commit crimes,” he warned.
Terming BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia’s demand for disbanding the Rab as provocative, Inu asked Khaleda to put forward other suggestions ‘if there were any’.
He said Rab started its journey in 2004 when BNP was in power. At least 373 people were killed in hands of the elite force during its first three year tenure, he claimed.
On the other hand, Rab men allegedly killed 278 people during the previous five-year regime of the Awami League-led government, Inu added.
Responding to a query, he said the three Rab officials, who were forced to retirement over the allegation of their involvement with the murder of seven people in Narayanganj, have already been sent into retirement.
Measures are being taken in light of the High Court directives to ensure immediate arrest of the mastermind of seven murders, he added.