The same old story has been told again following the killing of former army major Sinha Mohammad Rashed Khan, allegedly by some policemen in Teknaf of Cox's Bazar on July 31.
The story goes on. Patrolling police stopped his vehicle at a check post on the night of July 31. While they were searching the car, Major Sinha obstructed them and was about to open fire on policemen, which lead the cops to open fire in "self-defence", resulting in the former army officer's death.
But the story does not end here. Police claimed to recover 50 yaba pills, marijuana and two bottles of alcohol from Sinha's possession.
Such stories have been told on numerous occasions. Over the years, after every extra-judicial killing, members of the law enforcement agencies' who were engaged with the unlawful acts, have come up with such a story.
In the eyes of the Teknaf police, Sinha was a "miscreant" and "bad-tempered" man as he attempted to open fire on police. He was also a "bad person" since the police "succeeded in recovering" some yaba pills and marijuana from his possession.
Police efforts to tarnish the image of Major Sinha has been a futile exercise. On social media platforms, he is being described as a brilliant, professional and an honest officer. His professional integrity helped him become a member of the Special Security Force, a squad that ensures the security of the prime minister of Bangladesh.
It matters very little to the law enforcement agencies whether people believe their concocted story or reject it as fictitious. They care little about the public outcry.
There is a strong reason behind the indifferent attitude. More than 4,000 people have become victims of extrajudicial killings since 2001. Abuse of power, corruption, bribery, among other reasons were reported by media as the reasons for these killings.
But actions were taken only in a handful of cases. So, members of the law enforcement agencies engaged in such unlawful acts are well aware of the ground reality that they will not be held accountable for such actions. Rather, they enjoy impunity to a large extent. Perhaps for this, their sense of rationality has become numbed too.
Every incident of extrajudicial killing causes an irreparable loss to each of the victim's family.
The loss the state suffers is also enormous. Every incident of extrajudicial killing undermines the country's constitution, rule of law and judiciary as well.
Being the supreme law of the land, the constitution does not allow any extrajudicial killing.
The constitution guarantees every citizen the fundamental rights to life and protection of the law. It unequivocally says that nobody will be deprived of the right to life or personal liberty under the law.
It also clearly states that the Republic shall be a democracy in which fundamental human rights and freedoms and respect for the dignity and worth of the human persons shall be guaranteed.
If anybody's fundamental rights such as the right to life, protection of the law, or equality before the law are violated s/he can move to the Supreme Court seeking enforcement of the rights. The constitution empowers the judiciary with the powers to settle disputes and try offenders.
Major Sinha has been deprived of all the rights he was guaranteed by the constitution. A group of policemen of Teknaf police station has been accused of depriving him right to life and all other fundamental rights. He is now among the thousands of victims of extrajudicial killings that took place in Bangladesh over the years.
When an extrajudicial killing takes place, the constitution becomes a mere book, losing its supremacy. The judiciary that exercises the country's judicial powers becomes redundant.
The supremacy of the parliament as a law-making body is also undermined. As an institution, law enforcement agencies lose credibility and people's trust.
In a word, every incident of extrajudicial killing is an assault on the pillars of the state as the state constitutes of the parliament, the government and statutory public authorities.
Take an analogy. Consider the state as a human body. If different organs and parts of the body gets hurt and weakened and no remedial measures are taken to cure the damage, the body suddenly becomes dysfunctional.
Something similar may happen in the case of the state. If its pillars get hurt and damaged one after another, and no measure is taken to cure the damage, it will not function properly.
So, the culture of extrajudicial killings is undoubtedly an enemy of the state. This culture can bring no good result for people and the state.
Take the war on drugs as an example. More than 400 drug peddlers have been killed in countrywide crackdowns by the law enforcement agencies since April 2018.
But, the crazy pill Yaba remains unstoppable. This testifies to the fact that killing is not a solution to any law and order problem. The solution lies in the proper enforcement of laws.
Human rights activists at home and abroad have long been demanding that the government investigate every incident of extrajudicial killing and bring the perpetrators to book.
Their demand is justified as they think that the wound caused by extrajudicial killings on the pillars of the state can only be cured if perpetrators can be brought to book and if the culture of impunity for extrajudicial killings comes to an end.