Cross-report on crossfire

“Death is the final wake-up call” ~ Douglas Horton

Little Iqbal saw the torture on his father. Image: Prothom Alo

Iqbal is a very young boy, 7 years old maybe. Probably a World Cup craze- he has been nagging his father for a football lately. So his father, Majibar, takes him to the market to buy him a football. Suddenly four policemen arrives at the market. They captures the little boy’s father-Majibar. Everything happens in front of Iqbal. As he describes– the policemen handcuffed his father, tied his throat with a rope and beat him mercilessly with the rifle butts, drowned him in the water. All along, they were demanding money from Majibar. Then the policemen takes Majibar on a boat. Little Iqbal sees everything. He then runs for help, to call his grandfather.

The next morning, on 2 July 2010, Iqbal and his family finds Majibar’s dead body floating in the river.

One police officer said, “Majibar was killed by his rivals over an earlier feud.” Another police officer said, “There is no reason to believe what the child says- whether he is 5 year-old or 7 year-old. They grow up around crime and become like that”.

In other news about whom to trust, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) reports that law enforcement agencies including the joint forces, police and Rab were found to be the most corrupt in terms of magnitude.

***

Flashback December 2004. The then opposition party AL’s Joint Secretary Obaidul Kader accuses the BNP-Jamaat coalition for resorting to crossfire of Rab as a tool to resist the opposition movement.

Flash-forward October 2009. AL’s Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan says that “the death of criminals in ‘shootout‘ with law enforcers does not amount to violation of human rights.”

November 2009. Home Minister Sahara Khatun claims that no incident of ‘crossfire’ took place in the country since AL-led government took over. She adds, “we are not carrying out any crossfire right now.”

March 2010. Home Minister Sahara Khatun informs the parliament that 111 ‘criminals’ were killed in encounters or gunfights with law enforcers last year. No source could however confirm if she avoided the word “crossfire” in  the report to remain truthful to her November 2009 comment.

***

Flashback BNP’s last regime. The government introduces forces of Rab, Rat, Cheetah and Cobra alongside police. As of July 2005, extra-judicial executions stands at 378 in 13 months and 13 days. It was reported that 245 people died in police actions, 116 by Rab, 12 by Cobra and Cheetah and five by joint forces.

The then Law Minister Moudud Ahmed denies the allegation of human rights violation by Rab. He argues, these elite forces have ‘right to defence’ when under attack and their actions have nothing to do with the human rights issue.

Flash forward October 2009. BNP leader and former state minister Iqbal Hasan Mahmud at the BBC Dialogue says “It is now clear that crossfire introduced during our government has ultimately failed to improve the law and order situation in the country”. No source could however confirm if the hit song “amar ghum vangay gelore, morar kokilewas being played at the BBC Dialogue at that time. AL’s Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan at least didn’t hear such thing.

***

In other news, Rab discovers 12 pounds of Cobra snake poison. On the other hand, agri-experts claimed that Rat destroy huge amount of foodgrains in the country every year and they should be somehow controlled to save the country. Meanwhile, breeding of Cheetah gets halted in Dhaka Zoo. Officials report that fertile males and females of Cheetah were kept in separate cages as a birth control measure. What more Bangladesh could do to control them?

***

Disclaimer: This article innocently puts together some reports side by side to make a cross-report. However, it has nothing to do with the “innocent” ways of putting people side by side to make a crossfire.

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