12:01 AM, May 25, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, March 08, 2015

Claims vs reality

Claims vs reality

Inam Ahmed and Shakhawat Liton

We are facing a strange phenomenon of late.
In case of almost every gruesome murder, the government, and in some instances the head of the government, says something which later turns out to be different.
The trend now is to hold the BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami responsible for the crimes. However, it later turns out that AL men were involved in the misdeeds.
Let's take some big events in the last few years and begin with the latest, the murder of Ekramul Haque, chairman of Fulgazi upazila in Feni.
Hours after the murder of Ekram on May 20, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in a statement said the evil forces against the spirit of independence and Liberation War, which wanted to weaken the Awami League organisationally through killing and terrorism, might have killed him.  
Soon after the murder, a case was filed accusing a local BNP leader.
Based on witnesses' statements, media reports now suggest that the killers were from the ruling party. Probable involvement of local AL lawmaker Nizam Hazari is getting clearer. The role of his cousin and the son of a local AL woman leader is      being talked about. Not only witnesses are talking about it but also pictures of the murder captured by witnesses show the presence of ruling party  men.
Quoting several arrestees, Rab yesterday said Jihad Chowdhury, joint general secretary of Fulgazi upazila unit of AL, had masterminded the murder of Ekram.
In the sensational seven murders in which a city corporation councillor was abducted and killed in late April in Narayanganj, a similar thing happened.
The prime minister on May 1 blamed the BNP for all the abductions and disappearances.
But now it is clear that it was carried out by AL men with the help of others. The alleged involvement of the influential Osman family is also surfacing. The latest telephone conversation of Shamim Osman, the most influential AL leader in Narayanganj, leaked to the press has also generated a lot of questions. Shamim has allegedly helped the prime accused Nur Hossain, a local AL leader, leave the country.
It now seems the knee-jerk predictions of the prime minister were wrong.
In case of the sensational killing of Biswajit, a tailor in old Dhaka, on December 8, 2012, the Prime Minister's Office played the most shocking role.
At a press conference on December 13, 2012, the PMO claimed the murderers were               former members of Jamaat's student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir, and       that no Chhatra League men were involved.
The rest is history. The media flashed the details of the murder and showed how they are involved with the AL's student wing. The court sentenced eight Chhatra League men to death. Earlier, the PMO tried to link three of the murderers to either Jamaat or Shibir.
So what does all this mean?
It shows the prime minister and her office were making too many comments too early about the incidents, and their initial statements were wrong.
Or can one be wrong to say that this was done to hide the fact that ruling party men were involved in the crimes? If this was the motive then this also served the government to kill two birds with one stone -- while the ruling party men were saved, the opposition was put under fresh pressure.
But the greatest danger is when the government makes such statements, the process of justice suffers. Think about the investigating officer; how can one expect him to launch a fair investigation and unearth involvement of ruling party men when the prime minister had claimed otherwise?
This is leading to a dangerous situation. The criminals, if they belong to the ruling party, have reasons to feel protected. And justice suffers.


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