No extra-judicial killings during govt's tenure
Home Minister Sahara Khatun yesterday reiterated that no extra-judicial killing has taken place during the tenure of the present government.
However, reports by rights organisations contradict the claim she made while talking to journalists after a cabinet meeting on law and order at the home ministry.
Sahara at the same time created confusion saying that measures are being taken against such incidents.
Odhikar, a Dhaka-based human rights watchdog, in its annual report said 127 people fell victim to extra-judicial killings in 2010.
State Minister for Home Shamsul Hoque Tuku said many police and Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) members were suspended for violation of law while on duty.
He also said the present government does not support extra-judicial killing.
Both Sahara and Tuku defended the law enforcement agencies from accusation of extra-judicial killings or killings in crossfire against them.
Sahara said, “The duty of law-enforcers is to arrest criminals. But what will they do if criminals fire on them?”
At times they [law enforcers] have to counter-attack to protect themselves from being shot and killed, she added.
Regarding a report of Human Rights Watch (HRW), which condemned the continuing extra-judicial killing and human rights abuses in Bangladesh, the home minister said, “Many people are talking and will be talking about this.”
It is the law-enforcers' task to bring criminals to book but why the rights organisations remain in silence when law-enforcers are shot dead by criminals, she asked.
HRW, a New York-based human rights watchdog, in a report on Tuesday said the Bangladesh government has not yet stopped extra-judicial killings.
The report says Rab frequently carries out extra-judicial killings defining those as “crossfire,” and the government also justifies the killings.
Yesterday's meeting also discussed the on-going situation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) and emphasised the need for proper implementation of the CHT peace treaty to maintain stability in the region.
About deployment of army men in by-elections, Sahara said the Election Commission is independent and it will make decision in this regard.