Hasina unleashes state-terror

Dhaka: In Bangladesh, opposition 20-party alliance’s non-stop transport blockade, fuelled by numerous grievances of the long suffering public all over the country, has morphed the protest movement into an avalanche of unceasing unrest. In response, the widely unpopular government of Sheikh Hasina has unleashed a state terror, in which police and other forces are actively involved in random arrests, gunpoint extortions, and killing or maiming at will on any pretext, while falsely laying the blame on the   opposition. Trigger-happy and ransom-seeking ruling party thugs, openly aided by the police and other security forces personnel, are not only taking things in their own hands but also openly boasting and threatening violence. Government leaders at the very top granted security forces licence to kill.

Addressing an evaluation meeting with senior officials of the Bangladesh Police, the Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, ordered the police to take whatever steps necessary to stop the on-going blockade by opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Jamaat-e-Islami across the country,   ‘I will take the responsibility for whatever happens (as a result of such action)’ she said.

The meeting was held on 28th January at the prime minister’s office marking the Police Week 2015. A number of Bangladeshi newspapers including Naya Diganta, New Age reported about the meeting on 29th January 2015.

Empowered by such licence, instead of preventing street violence, top officials of the various of security services branches are issuing further orders to their forces authorising indiscriminate violence.

For example, almost on the que, on 7th February, Director General of Police A. K. M. Shahidul Hoque announced in Chittagong Dampara Police Line that, ‘government will never accept defeat, and the police will support this government with the last drop of their blood. We are exercising a policy of zero tolerance’.

Questioned by the journalists about extra-judicial killing by the security forces, the Director General of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), Banazir Ahmed told on 25th January: ‘There is nothing called extra-juditial killing’. He further added, ‘were we given arms to play ‘Ha-Do-Do’ (a Bangladeshi popular game)’?’. It as widely reported in Dhaka press.

On 15th February, the Director General of Border Guard Battalion (BGB), Major General Aziz Ahmed said in Dhaka Medical College Hospital, ‘if necessary BGB will not hesitate to use fire arms. If I come across any miscreant I will not just chase them with a baton’.

Deputy Inspector General of Police, Dhaka Range, S. M. Mahfuzul Hoque Nuruzzaman, while addressing a meeting in Gazipur Police Line on  7th February openly ordered his forces to go further: ‘not just shoot them dead, but destroy their entire family as well; if you manage to capture them, do whatever you want – responsibility is mine’.

At a reception to acknowledge his contribution to the Police Force, and attended by a large number of ruling Awami League members, the notorious Superintendent of Ghazipur Police, Mohammad Harunur Rashid, ordered his officers to ‘beat protesters to death’. His unique contribution to police force which earned him notoriority was when he had severely beaten up opposition BNP Chief Whip, Joynal Abedin Farooq, while he was in a demonstration of the parliamentarians on 6th July 2011.

There are highly credible reports that senior security officials are colluding with ruling party thugs:  they are meeting in secret at various locations, and planning and executing fire bomb attacks on public transports burning unsuspecting innocent people to death while calculatedly laying blame on protesting opposition supporters for such act of violence.

Cold-blooded murder not ‘Gunfights’

Killing in ‘gunfights’ is now a regular phenomenon, and police statement is widely seen as a cover up of their willful killing. A news report published in a national daily on 17th February stated that nine out of fifteen victims of police shootouts over the past 26 days were innocent people who were linked to any political party. Yet they were arrested by law enforcers and fired upon mainly above knees in cold blood.

The report identified one of the victims as a day labourer, another a shopkeeper and yet another a mobile toy vendor. Victims also included an expatriate and a university student, among others. Another report on the same day said: 19 persons were killed in so-called gunfights during the same period and the law enforcers justified the killing terming the victims as terrorists.

Four people were killed in so-called gunfights on the day these reports were published i.e. Tuesday the 17th February: two at Chapaibobabgonj and two at Jessore.

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