TIB demands judicial probe into 'shootouts'
Transparency International Bangladesh has expressed deep concern over the killing of more than 100 people in “gunfights” during the ongoing nationwide anti-narcotics drive.
Questioning the authenticity of the law enforcers' explanation on the “shootouts”, TIB in a statement yesterday demanded the government conduct a judicial probe into the incidents.
The graft watchdog expressed worry about the “government's patronage” of the use of excessive force by law enforcers. It feared this would deprive the civilians of their constitutional rights to security and also increase the risk of institutionalising the culture of flouting laws.
“The constitution has given every citizen the right to get justice. Question remains about the legality of the way the anti-narcotics drive is being carried out across the country based on a list prepared with the help of so called intelligence information,” TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman said in the statement.
“Also, the way listed criminals are being killed in gunfights before being convicted through proper trials is completely unconstitutional,” he said.
Referring to the law enforcers' claim that the “gunfights” occurred as they retaliated after coming under attack from criminals, the TIB executive director said no legal procedure was known to have been followed to determine the authenticity of such a claim.
“It seems that mostly low-profile field-level drug peddlers and druggies are becoming victims of gunfights. Many of those could have been valuable informants to address the drug menace,” said Iftekharuzzaman.
The TIB said nowhere in the world “gunfights” ever played an effective role in controlling drugs trade or any other criminal activity.
COPS, AL LEADERS INVOLVED
The home ministry has found 16 police officials and seven leaders of ruling Awami League and its associate bodies either involved in drug smuggling or patronisation of drug smugglers in Brahmanbaria.
Among the police officials are five OCs of different police stations, reports our Brahmanbaria correspondent.
This newspaper has obtained a copy of the list of the police officials and political leaders. Brahmanbaria police has already submitted a report to the ministry on the cops concerned.
Iqbal Hossain, additional police superintendent of Brahmanbaria, said, “We have requested the higher authorities to take action against those found involved in drug smuggling or patronisation of drug smugglers.”
FOUR KILLED IN 'GUNFIGHTS'
Four more alleged drug dealers were killed in “gunfights” in Madaripur, Jessore and Rajshahi yesterday, taking the tally of those killed in such incidents to 126 in the last 17 days during the anti-narcotics drive.
A man was killed in a “tripartite gun battle” between police and two groups of drug traders in Sumvok area of Madaripur's Shibchar upazila around 3:00am, reports our Faridpur correspondent.
The dead, Bachchu Khalifa, was from Khalifa Potti in Shibchar town.
Mohammad Sorwar Hossan, superintendent of police in Madaripur, said the “gunfight” broke out when a police team rushed to Sumvok hearing gun shots.
Sensing the presence of police, drug dealers opened fire on law enforcers. Police returned shots, leaving Bachchu, aged about 45, injured.
He was taken to Madaripur General Hospital where doctors declared him dead around 4:00am.
Police claimed to have recovered a firearm from the spot. Bachchu was accused in 14 cases.
Shakil Khan, a councillor of Shibchar Municipality, said Bachchu was a drug trader.
In Jessore, alleged drug trader Rajon Ahmed, 32, was killed in a “gun battle” between two groups of drug peddlers in Bhatar Amtola area of Bagherpara upazila, police said.
In Rajshahi, two suspected drug peddlers were killed in a “gunfight” with Rab in Koromja area under Kornohar Police Station in the city last night.
The identities of the two could not be confirmed till early today.
Maj Ashraful Islam, company commander of Rab-5, said the “gun battle” ensued around 11:15pm when a Rab team went to a mango orchard acting on a tip-off that some drug peddlers assembled there.
As the peddlers fled the area after shooting at law enforcers, the Rab team found the two men lying there bullet-hit.
The two were taken to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital where doctors declared them dead.
Meanwhile, two alleged drug dealers listed by the home ministry were injured in a “gunfight” with Rab in Teknaf of Cox's Bazar.
The two are Nurul Amin Fahim, 27, of Paschim Leda village in Teknaf and his associate Mostofa, 30, of Ali Khali village in the same upazila, reports our Cox's Bazar correspondent quoting Rab.
The Rab-7 in the district said the “gunfight” broke out in Domdomia area of the upazila in the evening when they reached there to conduct a drive against yaba smugglers.
According to locals, Fahim is the general secretary of Chhatra League in his union. His father, an alleged drug dealer, was killed in a “gunfight” with Rab in 2014.
The Dhaka Metropolitan Police yesterday arrested 28 suspected drug traders and druggies during an anti-narcotics drive at Namapara slum in the city's Gendaria area.
Some 500 policemen along with dog squads launched the drive around 11:00am which lasted for two hours.
However, police could not find Rahima, 47, known as “drug queen”, and her husband Hazrat Ali. The two are top drug dealers in the area, according to a list prepared by DMP last year.
Police recovered 300 yaba pills, 700 puria heroin, three kgs of cannabis and 225 ampoules of pethidine injection from the slum.
Namapara slum is located in an intersection which falls under the areas of Gendaria, Shyampur and Jatrabari police stations, said Farid Uddin, deputy commissioner (Wari Division) of DMP.
Rahima met Hazrat in 2000. Since then, they have been jointly running their drug trade. The woman was accused in at least 14 cases, including one for murder, said police.
According to narcotics control department officials, Rahima now owns at least 10 buildings in the capital. She also has luxury cars and maintains hefty bank accounts. She earned a fortune by expanding her drug trade over the years.
DB OFFICIAL SUSPENDED
Gazipur DB Sub-Inspector Achintya Kumar has been suspended over allegedly taking bribes from the family of a man who was later killed in a “shootout” in the district on May 21, reports our correspondent.
He allegedly took money for releasing alleged drug dealer Rezaul Islam alias Beshti Rony.
Amir Hossain, officer-in-charge of Gazipur DB police, yesterday said Achintya was suspended on May 22 so that he couldn't interfere in the probe over the incident.
Police on May 22 formed a three-member investigation committee, headed by Additional Deputy Inspector General of Police (Dhaka Range) Anwar Hossain, after the bribery allegation came to light.
Rezaul's family members alleged that Achintya took Tk 3.5 lakh from them in three installments.