We are shocked and appalled that the police opened fire at protesters in Kalihati upazila of Tangail on Friday, killing at least three locals as a clash ensued between the demonstrators and law enforcers. Another 32, 29 of whom were protesters, were injured during the skirmish; two locals wounded by gunshots are currently fighting for their lives.
The incident occurred when hundreds of people from several villages were marching towards Kalihati police station to demand justice for the brutal torture of a woman and her son by a local man.
Rather than assure the protesters that the abhorrent incident would be investigated and justice served, why did the police charge upon them, first with batons and teargas shells, and then, as demonstrators turned rowdy, fire 60-65 rounds? Even if we are to assume that the protesters were acting in an aggressive manner, such excessive use of force and violence against ordinary citizens cannot, in any way, be justified in a democratic state. Are we to believe there were no other means of crowd control? Human lives cannot be so disposable to those entrusted with the duty to protect us.
The police have denied responsibility for the deaths, claiming that the victims died when the protesters clashed with each other. We demand that a fair and independent investigation be carried out, and exemplary action taken against those found guilty for killing civilians who were exercising their constitutional right to assemble.
Source: The Daily Star