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Young ones had right to protest extra-judicial killings: RAB must not replace police

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09th-Jun-2018       
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Editorial Desk :
Day before yesterday, RAB had arrested the Gonojagoron Mancha spokesperson Imran H Sarker and then detained him for about seven hours before releasing him. He was arrested from a rally reportedly organised to stage protests against the ongoing extra-judicial killings. The cause they raise is very humane and under the banner of anti-narcotics drive. First of all, we see no objection behind organising the rally, and second we also don't understand why was it deemed necessary for RAB to suddenly intervene and arrest him for interrogation.
The point, however, Rapid Action Battalion or RAB for that matter was not created to tackle normal law and order situations. Neither was it established for disrupting and stopping rallies and processions. As mentioned in its charter, it was established

with the sole purpose for combating crime and terrorism as an elite auxiliary force and as a separate unit of the Bangladesh Police. So the government's rampant involving of RAB on all matters, including conducting anti-drug drive or arresting human rights activists, naturally merits the question whether the elite force is knowingly abusing its powers. Anti-drug campaign needs patience and to be dealt with expertise. Because killing godfathers alone will solve the problem.
The government must realise that RAB is not a political tool for serving government's political interests, and neither is it's killing machine.
RAB has to be used to deal with dangerous crimes and their role must be kept intact.
In 2017, a reporter from the Swedish Radio recorded a high-ranking RAB officer explaining how RAB selects people to kill, and how it kills people. They kill people who they suspect of serious crimes, but consider too difficult to convict in a trial or impossible to rehabilitate. The officer further added, "If you find the target - shoot and kill him, wherever he is. And then plant a weapon beside him." This cannot be the role of RAB towards even dangerous criminals. If they are killed that is for the reason it could not be avoided because these criminals are armed and dangerous.
We are sorry and sad to say in general its image has been hugely tarnished, both at home and abroad. Illegal deployment of RAB and its abuse of authority must stop. We want the elite force to serve its main purposes - combat crime and terrorism.
We do not find it advisable to replace the police with RAB and make police ineffective. To disperse unarmed procession use of RAB was wrong. We want high officials of RAB must know best what is their role and where they can be most effective. The protest against extra-judicial killings is against the decision of the government. It is also for RAB high officials to take the responsibility for the force's goodwill and trust.

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