Law enforcers continue to break laws
The Rapid Action Battalion is again at it. It had arrested an innocent apparel worker, took the boy to one of its innumerable torture chambers, illegally detained him for two days, brutally tortured him while he was in custody, and then handed him over to the Detective Branch and it was subsequently discovered that the boy was mistaken for a suspect in the murder case of physician Narayan Chandra Dutta. Suspect or no suspect, the laws of the land and international human rights instruments that Bangladesh is party to do not permit any law enforcement agency to torture anybody in government custody. But the law enforcers, the police and RAB in particular, appear to have been least bothered about the laws and rules in question while successive governments, which have been politically presiding over the state-sponsored human rights violations for years now, seem absolutely indifferent towards their constitutional obligations.
In the present case, RAB picked up the innocent Kamal Hossain in the middle of the night on August 25 when he was asleep in his rented house in the city. RAB then took him ‘blindfolded’ to ‘an unknown place and tortured him for two days and finally the police, to whom RAB handed over the boy, produced him in court on August 27. In the process, RAB not only violated the law by inflicting torture, such as clubbing the boy and subjecting him to electric shock to force out a ‘confession’ of being a party to the murder in question, but also violated Article 33 (2) of the constitution that obligates the law enforcers to produce anyone ‘arrested and detained in custody’ ‘before the nearest magistrate within a period of twenty-four hours of such arrest’. After all these, a RAB official has reportedly confessed that the boy had been picked up by mistake. Humiliated, tortured and traumatised, the boy is now struggling hard to recover from the physical pains and psychological agonies inflicted on him by RAB’s atrocious ‘mistake.’ Leading rights activist have demanded that RAB should pay compensation to its victims. While we support the demand, we urge rights activists not to forget that RAB had once admitted that they shot Limon Hossain in the leg by mistake but it is still out to harass Limon in all possible ways.
However, the most important issue to be discussed on this occasion is how long the politically conscious section of society, who claim to be committed to democracy and rule of law, would continue to endure atrocities of the law enforcement agencies, particularly RAB and the police. In other words, how long would it take to begin a perversive social movement against the unlawful activities of the law enforcing agencies?
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