Human Rights activist
The noted human rights activist said the law enforcement agencies' actions would not provide a sustainable solution against illegal drugs.
“They [law enforcement agencies] have started killing drug peddlers and drug users. If they think that they will resolve the problems in that way then they will have to kill millions of people who use drugs.”
She also said people could clearly see that law enforcement agencies were not taking any actions against those who were godfathers and patrons of drug peddlers.
“Besides, we see absence of transparency in the anti-narcotics drive.”
About the “killings in crossfire”, she said people would not buy the same old story.
“We can never support killing of people in the name of drive against drugs as it is against the law and the constitution,” she said.
“We will have to eliminate drugs from the society upholding the existing laws of the country.”
KAZI REAZUL HOQUE
“We strongly condemned and protest the killing of people in the name of crossfire,” said Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Kazi Reazul Hoque.
“We want to say unequivocally that the criminals, whoever she or he is, must face actions through due legal procedure.”
The NHRC boss also said they would formally write to the government expressing their grave concerns over the ongoing extra-judicial killings in the anti-narcotics drive.
“We, as well as the whole nation, support the drive against illegal drugs, but not at the cost of any lives.”
Reazul said the law enforcement agencies should primarily ensure illegal drugs do not enter Bangladesh from neighbouring countries.
“The illegal drug problems will not be resolved through killing people. The government will have to take a holistic approach and comprehensive actions to fight illegal drugs.”
About the killing of “drug peddlers” in the name of crossfire, he said the responsible members of law enforcement agencies must be brought to book for killing anyone, whether that person was involved in drug dealing or not.
He said that the continuation of such killings could create a dreadful situation in society, adding that law enforcement agencies must ensure accountability and transparency in their ongoing drive, so that no one gets punishment without trial.
“Killing people in the name of fight against drugs cannot be acceptable in anyway. We strongly protest against this.”
The law enforcement agencies would have to stop illegal drugs without violating laws and human rights.
Former Inspector General of Police
The ongoing drive against illegal drugs would create fear among the drug peddlers. That's why movement of drugs would decrease in different parts of the country. In this context, it could be said that the ongoing anti-narcotics drive may bring partial success to the fight against illegal drugs.
“But in a bid to gain success in the long term, the law enforcement agencies should take decisive actions to combat illegal drugs,” added the former IGP.
For instance, Nurul Huda said they should prepare a more authentic list of drug peddlers, their patrons and financers and bring them to book.
He also stressed the need for cutting the flow of illegal drugs at the source.
For example, he said, yaba pills generally come from Myanmar through Cox's Bazar; steps should be taken to ensure that yaba did not enter the country from the source point.
He also said law enforcement agencies would have to file cases against the kingpins involved in the drug business and send them behind bars.
“If necessary, drug lords or patrons of drug peddlers will have to be kept behind bars under the preventive detention law.”
About the controversial killings of alleged drug peddlers, the former police boss said it was only acceptable if a gunfight ensued between cops and a criminal gang and someone was killed as a consequence of that.
“The law enforcement agencies should investigate on a case by case basis [and find] whether any police or Rab members have violated laws during the drive,” he added.
Supreme Court lawyer
Jyotirmoy Barua, a Supreme Court lawyer, said the government and the law enforcement agencies' idea to eliminate drugs through killing some drug peddlers was “certainly an unrealistic fantasy”.
“I think members of the law enforcement agencies who believe in eliminating drugs through killing drug peddlers are mentally ill,” he said.
The illegal drug business didn't develop in a day or two. It flourished with the patronisation of a section of law enforcement agencies and politicians. The size of the economy of illegal drugs was high. Therefore, killing of some drug peddlers wouldn't bring an end to the menace.
Drug lords had developed a system in which new people would replace those killed.
“Fight against narcotics in any country, including the USA, Canada, and the Philippines, weren't successful through killing drug peddlers or through enacting laws. The ongoing drive against drugs also won't be successful in Bangladesh if the government does not address the root cause of the problem.”
He also raised questions regarding whether the government had any policy on how to save the country's youth from this menace.
“We have failed to set any hope before the youth. They are not interested in politics due to its confrontational nature. There are many youths in the country without jobs. That's why they are lured towards drugs. With so much going on to remove drugs from the country, does the government have any real policy on how to save the youth from drug abuse?” he asked.