Begum Khaleda Zia, former prime minister of Bangladesh and chairperson of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), was threatened to kill by a ruling party armed-cadre showing a pistol at hand in broad daylight in front of the law enforcers on February 3, 2015.
That guy came in front of the office of three times former prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia, also the wife of former president and army chief Ziaur Rahman, and shouted with the words, “Where is Khaleda? Where is Khaleda? Come out. I will kill you and the like”.
At that time there were a good number of journalists. The person was framed in the cameras of the journalists. Some local people also saw the scenario. The young man chanted loudly with the announcement to kill Khaleda Zia unless the hartal and blockade were withdrawn.
The young man identified himself as Mufidul Islam, an activist of Muktijoddha Projonma League, a political wing of the ruling Awami League, that organized a sit-in program against blockade and hartal at Gulsan-2 in the capital city Dhaka near the political office of Khaleda Zia on the same day.
The Financial Express, prestigious and reputed English daily of Bangladesh, with the headline ‘Armed man threatens to kill Khaleda outside Gulsan office’, reported quoting witnesses as saying, “Mufidul drew a pistol from his waist and started to shout at the top of his voice. Mufidul barked, “Where is Khaleda Zia? Why hasn’t she withdrawn hartal and blockade? I will shoot her.”
The newspaper also reported, “It panicked the media people present there. Then the members of the Detective Branch (DB) of police, who were also present there, whisked him away.”
Ironically, such role of police was historically generous and excessively polite as if such cool and gentle police could not be found throughout the whole world. They confronted the person and let him leave the place without any query except checking of the pistol whether it has license or not.
Later, the journalists asked police to know the reason why the armed man was not arrested after such a crime committed in the brought daylight. In reply to the queries of journalists police said, “The pistol has license”. It seems that anyone having legal weapon has the right to threaten anyone to kill as it is more acceptable while three times prime minister was threatened to kill in front of law enforcers.
The only acceptable answer of such incredible but really happened incident may be the police of Bangladesh are so polite and forgiving to the citizens of the country that they hardly become hard to them. Is it true? What do we see in other cases?
In other cases we see that extra judicial killing by the police has become a normal phenomenon in the recent times. According to the report of Ain o Salish Kendra (Law and Mediation Centre), reputed and famous human rights organization of Bangladesh, during the first nine months of 2014 a total of 119 people were victims of extra-judicial killing at the hand of law enforcers in Bangladesh and most of them were killed either by police or the rapid action battalion (RAB) in the guise of cross fire.
According to a report published in the daily Nayadiganta, one of the leading Bengali National daily newspapers of Bangladesh, dated February 8, 2015, a total of 23 people were killed by law enforcers in the name of so-called crossfire during previous month, gun-battle or shootout.
A statement published by the Human Rights Watch, a New York based human rights organization, on February 7, 2015, says: “An estimated 17 other people have died at the hands of security forces, with the majority belonging to the BNP and the Jamaat-e-Islaami parties or their student wings. As is often the case, some of these deaths are described by police as occurring during crossfire or shootouts. In other cases, police simply report finding a dead body with gunshot wounds but family members report that the victim had last been taken into custody by security forces. The government has taken no action to reign in the excessive use of force, nor to investigate and prosecute those responsible”.
Now a days it is also a common scenario that police of Bangladesh open fire randomly targeting the processions of opposition activists violating the existing rules which allow police fire only in case of life threats with the permission of Magistrates. But we are frequently watching in Bangladesh firing shoots by police at the peaceful rallies of opposition leaving a good number of innocent people fatally killed.
On the other hand, we see that a good number of persons were punished several times just for commenting against the running prime minister Sheikh Hasina.
For an example, the Bangladeshi High Court ordered in 2012 against a Bangladesh PhD student at Perth’s Curtin University to be charged with sedition for posting a message on Facebook deemed insulting to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The student, Muhammad Ruhul Khandaker, 29, even was charged in absentia later with contempt of court in the capital Dhaka and sentenced to six months in jail for failing to appear before the High Court to explain why he should not face trial for posting a derogatory comment about Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on his private Facebook wall.
Besides, we have also seen several times law enforcers have arrest many youths over the allegation of criticizing Shiekh Hasina on their personal Facebook walls.
But it is a matter of million dollar question that the same law enforcers whisked an armed person who openly threatened to kill former prime minister and legalized the act of crime just saying as the pistol has license. How funny!
It may be argued that in case of police of most of the countries they are a little partial to the government. But that partiality has a limit or crossing line.
On the other hand, the role of police of Bangladesh is now in the nudist level in partiality just to merely serve the government or the ruling party.
Such a role by the law enforcers of a country will never produce any good result. The ultimate consequence of its will be devastating and so this practice should be stopped immediately.
So the strong recommendation of the conscious citizens of this country is to immediately nab the armed cadre Mufidul Islam and bring him to the door of justice. Otherwise, no one can give an assurance that it will not be repeated in future. If it is, the total law enforcing force will go to the deep of ditch and no important persons except those in power will remain in safe side.
The author, Md. Kamruzzaman, is career Journalist, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org