Cops must be more careful
Law enforcers must be more careful so that extrajudicial killings do not take place, the High Court warned yesterday.
“Everyone must be given the legal protection provided by the law,” it said.
“If law enforcers come under attacks during a raid and if they fire in self-defence, there may be some incidents. But we don’t like extrajudicial murders,” the court said.
The HC made the observation after Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Abdullah-Al-Mahmud Bashar placed two reports on the police and district administration’s action after the brutal murder of Rifat Sharif in Barguna.
Prime accused Sabbir Rahman Nayan, locally known as Nayan Bond, was killed in a so-called gunfight with police on Tuesday.
“Nayan Bonds can’t be created overnight. Someone must have patronised them, sheltered them. They [people like Nayan] were turned into criminals,” the court observed.
The judiciary does not interfere in the routine work of the executive. The judiciary passes orders only when there are deviations by the executive branch, said the HC bench of Justice FRM Nazmul Ahasan and Justice KM Kamrul Kader.
Along with other human rights violations, extrajudicial killings have been a major concern in the country over the last 10 years. Rights organisations in and outside the country have long been calling on the government to stop this. They say such killings severely hamper the rule of law and the course of justice.
Since January, at least 204 people have fallen victim to such killings – that’s more than one death every day, according to Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK).
Of them, 193 were killed in so-called shootouts, mostly involving police and Rab, ASK said in its half-yearly report.
Only last month, the UK voiced concerns over the increasing allegations of extrajudicial killings in Bangladesh.
The number of reports of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances during the “war on drugs” from May to July last year supported allegations that the security forces continue to be able to act with impunity, said the report by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
In June last year, the Human Rights Watch urged the government to order an independent investigation into the allegations of extrajudicial killings during its “war on drugs”.
During yesterday’s court proceedings, the DAG placed two reports from the superintendent of police (SP) and the deputy commissioner (DC) of Barguna before the HC bench.
Citing the SP’s report, the DAG told the HC that law enforcers already arrested five accused and four suspects in connection with Rifat murder. Prime accused Nayan has been killed in a gunfight with the law enforcers.
He said police went to arrest Nayan on a tip-off, but the accused and his accomplices started firing indiscriminately at the law enforcers. The law enforcers fired back in self-defence.
Nayan was killed at one stage, he said, adding that some law enforcers were injured in the incident.
Two accused have given confessional statements before the magistrate while red alert has been issued at land, air and sea ports and bordering areas so the other suspects cannot flee the country, he said.
Citing the DC’s report, Bashar said the administration ensured security to Rifat’s family, including his widow.
After hearing the reports, the HC gave a warning about extrajudicial killings and said it would pass an order on the issue later, if necessary.
In a suo moto order on June 27, the court asked the SP and the DC to furnish reports on their actions following Rifat’s killing.
Rifat, an internet service provider, was attacked by Nayan and Rifat Farazi and several others with machetes in front of his wife Ayesha Siddika Minni on June 26. She desperately tried to save her husband, but she was overpowered by the attackers. Rifat later died in a hospital.
A video clip of the attack went viral on social media and triggered public outrage, with many condemning the bystanders for not coming forward to save Rifat.