Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina briefs the media on her recent Japan visit at her official residence Gono Bhaban in the capital on Saturday. Photo: BSS
Responding to the demand of disbanding Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) following some of its members' involvement in criminal activities, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said it is not possible to do so once that the elite force "has been made into an institution" over the years.
Agreeing that some Rab men are being investigated following some allegations, Hasina said: "It's not true that Rab hasn't done any good thing."
"Rab is a reality now," the premier said when a reporter referred to the demand of disbanding Rab, which came from international rights groups including Human Rights Watch and opposition leader Khaleda Zia.
Addressing the media at Gono Bhaban this afternoon, the premier also talked critically about a High Court order for arrest of three Rab officials in connection with the gruesome abduction and murder of seven persons including Narayanganj panel mayor Nazrul Islam.
When referred to her party's complaints against Rab while Awami League was in opposition, Hasina said the complaints were valid.
BNP government launched Rab in 2004 after getting 150 killed in Operation Clean Heart, she alleged, adding: "Those who talked a lot against Rokkhi Bahini formed Rab."
"Take one year from the five years from 2004. Didn't they kill over 1,000 people?"
She cited from a report on October 14, 2004 where Khaleda Zia praised Rab and police for law and order situation.
Hasina however added quickly that Rab had done some good jobs, like recovering Tk 16 crore.
Referring to the arrest of three Rab officers in connection with the Narayanganj seven-murder, the PM said they were arrested because a HC bench had ordered their arrest.
"You tell me how can a High Court bench suddenly orders arrest of those three?" she said advising people looking for evidence to "ask the judges of the bench".
She said the probe will be expedited if the two judges of the bench that issued the arrest order give information.
"They (judges) suddenly ordered arrest of them. Why? Because, they were fired (from their job). Yes, they were fired and there would be probe into their roles. But before that, the arrest order came. So, the judges of the bench will probe, provide information and do everything. So, what has the government here to do?"
CREST GOLD SCAM
She questioned the motive behind the outcry about the making and purchasing of sub-par shields awarded to foreign friends and organisations for their outstanding contributions to the country's Liberation War.
Replying to a question, the premier said, “I think, it (outcry) has been done to make the issues of liberation war and honouring (foreign friends) questionable.”
As Jamaat-e-Islami does not support the independence of the country, “This is something similar.”
The premier said they will take steps against anyone involved with it.
“Our main objective was honouring the friends. It is not important how much the price of the gold is. We have honoured our foreign friends who helped us during our Liberation War. This is the most important thing. So, we look at it in this way.”
Addressing journalists, she said you will damage your own image by making much hue and cry on the issue. “You will get established yourselves as thieves. It will earn no honour for the country. ”
About mid-term election, the prime minister said she has no problem to give a snap election if people want.
“If you want arson and killing again in the country,” she posed a question, reminding journalists about the months of violence before the January 5 election.
“So, I can give snap polls. I have no problem,” the premier said while replying to a question if she has any plan on holding mid-term election as she had said before the election.
“No-one will work with sincerity like me,” Hasina said expressing her commitment to go on with different development works.
Replying to a question about different pending issues including Land Boundary Agreement and Teesta water-sharing deals with India, she said her government was the first to take initiative to resolve the issues.
“We have worked with five governments of India. We have worked with them maintaining good relations,” she said.
“We have started the work from 1996, and now we have reached a level,” she said posing a question why BNP did not raise the issue of Land Boundary Agreement while in power.
She said the outgoing Congress government of India took initiative but could not complete the process. They have taken the issue to parliament. “We hope we will be able to resolve the issue.”
“This is nothing to enjoy. It is a huge responsibility,” said in reply to a question on how much she is enjoying her current term as prime minister in compare to her two previous terms.