Bangladeshi newspapers had a busy run in the first half of 2019 covering the incidents of escalating crimes and extrajudicial executions.
According to the recent data published by various rights groups in Dhaka, the crimes and extrajudicial killings have soared abreast in Bangladesh. People’s cry for justice in the face of escalating crimes, however, cannot be served through extrajudicial executions.
The recent data published by Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) found 43 counts of rape of children in the first half of the year totaling 258 counts of rape of children, a figure almost doubled than last year’s first half. Along with persistent incidents of rapes, murders, domestic violence, violence against women and others, according to the ASK, there have been 204 counts of extrajudicial executions in Bangladesh in the same period.
The timeline of extrajudicial executions dates back deep in the past in Bangladesh’s history. According to Odhikar, a Bangladesh-based human rights organization, in between 2001 to 2018- 3,452 people had been killed in extrajudicial executions. The Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) reported a record 466 counts of extrajudicial executions in Bangladesh just in 2018. The extrajudicial killings, throughout its history in Bangladesh, have persistently continued to rise.
The crimes soaring in Bangladesh is deplorable and must be stopped. The law enforcement agencies are out there to prevent the crimes and arrest the criminals. We have a judiciary to try the perpetrators and deliver justice. But issuing the security apparatus license to kill instead of delivering justice doesn’t help to improve laws and orders in any way.
Delaying or failing to deliver justice encourages crimes. And Bangladesh has abundance of instances of delaying or failing to deliver justice. For an instance, we couldn’t deliver justice for Sohagi Jahan Tonu, who was raped and murdered on 20 March 2016. Tonu’s case is apparently going Nobody Killed Jessica’s way.
We have failed to deliver justice for the murdered journalist couple Sagar Sarowar and Meherun Runi and the stories like these are abundant in this country. The instances of influential criminals getting bailed and innocent people trapped in jail for years occur every now and then here- don’t forget the Jahalam’s case.
Earlier this month, when Noyon Bond- most wanted criminal in Rifat murder case in Barguna, was killed in crossfire, people were seen to distribute sweets celebrating an extrajudicial execution. This public celebration, however, indicates people’s legit apprehension that justice may not be served.
No matter how dangerous the criminal is, justice must be ensured. An elated people after an extrajudicial execution may sound like justifying the security forces’ actions for now. But the Frankenstein of extrajudicial killings all the recent governments in Bangladesh unleashed in its security forces over the years may end up hurting its sole architect if not subdued on time.
License to extrajudicial executions never helped the governments around the world to prevent the evil. This intimidating license rather breeds an indomitable force of evil that cannot be controlled. Don’t forget Filipino President Duterte’s “war on drugs”.
Since Duterte took the office in Philippines, in between July 1, 2016 to September 30, 2018, 4,948 so called “drug users and dealers” were killed in extrajudicial executions. Kian delos Santos, a 17-year-old student, was among those who were killed in Duterte’s “War on Drug” mission. He was later proven innocent of any crime and the three police officers who shot him dead were found guilty. Santos was not the first innocent guy to lose life in Duterte’s mission and he was not the last.
If the figure of deaths mentioned above fails to ring the bell for you, read this Human Right Watch report: “But this does not include the thousands of others killed by unidentified gunmen. According to the Philippine National Police (PNP), 22,983 such deaths since the “war on drugs” began are classified as “homicides under investigation.”
On the same note, things happening in Bangladesh- don’t forget Narayanganj’s 7-murder case or Councilor Akram’s death in Cox’s Bazar as per the newspaper reports and human rights groups’ published data, ring the bell of a looming anarchy if not that we are already at the very edge of it.
The escalating crimes, delay or failure to deliver justice in a pact with soaring extrajudicial executions are taking the people in ‘shut mouth shut eye’ mood- which is of course a state of fear. For a prudent government, it is wise to remember that under the uncomforting silence of the common folks, this eerie period can lead them to an end that serves nobody’s interest.