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02nd-Sep-2014

Claiming justice is no help for safety, govt must be held responsible

By Editorial Desk

According to the rights body Ain o Salish Kendra, as many as 229 people allegedly fell victim to forced disappearances from 2010 to 2013. And between January and June this year, 74 people were picked up, 16 of them traced and 23 bodies found. The fate of the rest is unknown.
While the fate of 229 people among a hundred and sixty million plus may be insignificant it is our viewpoint that no human life should be taken away arbitrarily. Bangladesh should not be known to the world as a place where murders and abductions have become a cottage industry. It does not matter whether the perpetrators are rogue elements of the security forces who don't care about tarnishing the image of the force to which they belong to for economic or other justification or simple criminals who are hired by the powerful to wreak havoc on the lives of the insignificant. A murder is a murder, whether it is through a forced disappearance or through crossfire or shootouts.
There is no doubt in our minds that politics of violence and political revenge for murder is contributing to committing such extreme crimes like murder and disappearance. In countries where democracy is absent murders and forced disappearances are resorted to mainly for political intimidation or elimination of the opposition. Many of our people are apprehensive of these crimes becoming part of political struggle for power and the general public suffer from insecurity of life.
Demanding trial and justice for such crimes is futile because justice system has also been turned into an extortion business. This is a dark reality, frightening for the general public.
In any state where a modicum of civilization exists, no single individual, whether a member of the security forces or any other branch of the government has the right to take the life of a citizen without due process of law. The situation here is such only when an eminent political leader is killed then it becomes worrying. Not only that criminals must be stopped from feeling free to take other people's lives.
Demanding justice after each incident of murder or forced disappearance is not working to restraining those who are killed or made to disappear. Murder and other extreme crimes are committed everyday with a kind of impunity not tolerated in any civilised country. The justice system has become also politicised making it difficult to function impartially. For the sake of honesty and upholding the cause of justice it has to be said that seeking justice is no remedy. The justice system including the police administration has become a system of extortion. More murders and more forced disappearance cases are good for extortionists involved in the system.
So after each murder or disappearance the government must be held responsible for failure to stop murder and forced disappearance. Failure of the government is to be seen as failure of the government.