Probe Fatwa incidents | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, August 25, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, August 25, 2009

Probe Fatwa incidents

HC asks authorities

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The High Court (HC) yesterday directed the authorities concerned to investigate into the incidents of extra-judicial punishments by beating and lashing people in the name of arbitration or conciliation, and to take action against those responsible.
The extra-judicial penalties are often executed at village arbitrations (Salish) in presence of or with the active participation of members or chairmen of union parishads applying 'Fatwa' concept, a lawyer said.
The HC asked the authorities to provide security and protection to the victims of the extra judicial penalties.
The court also issued a rule upon the government and inspector general of police to explain why their failure in preventing the imposition and execution of extra judicial penalties should not be declared illegal and why they should not be directed to frame and adopt appropriate guidelines, directions or orders to prevent such punishments.
The HC bench of Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain and Justice Quamrul Islam Siddiqui came up with orders upon a writ petition, jointly filed by five organisations--Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust, Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, Ain O Salish Kendra, BRAC and Nijera Kori.
It also directed the local government ministry to inform the order to all union parishads and paurasavas of the country.
The petition was filed in the context of a series of reports on extra-judicial punishments, including whipping and caning, at village arbitrations.
The petition points out some recent incidents of extra judicial punishments. It says a woman and a man were lashed 101 times following orders given by village elders in Nobiganj of Habiganj district at a village arbitration in presence of a chairman.
The petition also points out that a woman in Srimongal was lashed 101 times for speaking to a man from different community while a woman in Sirajganj was caned 100 times with fines for daring to file a complaint of rape with the court and another woman of the same district was whipped in public after refusing a relative's sexual advances.
Barrister Sara Hossain and barrister Rabia Bhuiyan appeared for the petitioners, while Deputy Attorney General Razik Al Jalil stood for the government.

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