Deaths in shootouts
REPORTS of persons suspected or accused of serious crimes dying in gunfights with law-enforcement agencies are again in the news.
Take, for example, the death of Shah Alam alias Kailla Babu at Moghbazar in the city on Monday. Police say, during an arms recovery operation he was killed in an exchange of fire with the law-enforcers. But some locals who reside near the scene of the said gunfight gave quite a different version of the incident to reporters.
Last Sunday, in another shootout during another arms recovery drive, a young man of Mugda Thana of the city was killed. While the police said the victim was the member of a gun-running gang, his father differed with it. The victim had no previous police record of having committed any crime. Strangely, the police's version about the circumstances of the gunfights falls into too familiar a pattern of past encounters.
There is reason to be concerned once again about such deaths of 'criminals' in gunfights with the police. The police are supposed to be upholders of the rule of law, and if deaths occur in custody, it reflects adversely on their reputation.
We, like every peace-loving citizen, want that the government to control crime with an iron fist. But that does not mean that suspected criminals should not be allowed to go through the due process of law before they are punished. That this amounts to violation of human rights cannot be in question nor can it be condoned.