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05th-Mar-2014

Respect for life makes us human

By MAINUL HOSEIN

We do not want it to be said by others Bangladesh is not only failing to make democracy work, its law enforcers are losing respect for life. Because respect for life that makes us human.
It is admitted by the geopolitical strategists that peace and stability in Bangladesh cannot be isolated from the peace and stability of this region.
Yet, the unstable situation in Bangladesh draws little urgent attention from our own intelligentsia and the international community.
But our own police and RAB should understand that by killing people extra-judicially, they, as law enforcers are not only damaging their own professional dignity but also undermining our justice system itself in the eye of the world. The country does not belong to the political leaders alone. It is our country and we must together make it great. 
Every law enforcer knows that even a dangerous criminal has the constitutional protection of law and the due process of law. Most importantly, depriving life save in accordance with law is a violation of one's fundamental right guaranteed under the Constitution.
The killings in police shootouts have become almost an every day matter. It is an unnerving experience to hear the heart breaking tales of brutal killings. Some allegations suggest that persons are threatened with crossfire for their inability to meet their financial or other demands.
Besides, when law enforcing agencies become dangerous and corrupt there is bound to be lawlessness everywhere and  an end of the rule of law. But the government appears undisturbed and telling us that everything is normal and people have no fear. They even seek justification for killings blaming terrorism of the political opponents. The government assures its determination to fight terrorism. But the question is who the government punishes for alleged terrorism of whom? The world does not accept Bangladesh as a terrorist country. So do not try hard to make it one.
There is also the story that others who also use police or RAB uniforms are committing dangerous crimes. Both are instances of failure of the government to prevent violation of human rights.
Extra-judicial killings are grossly violative of human rights and punishable as an international crime. The government or the world outside cannot remain indifferent to the daily killing spree going on in Bangladesh.
Where the government is failing to stop extra-judicial killing the international community must not fail our people. The international community can impose cost on the government.
How far such extra-judicial killings are political and how far criminal is also an important question seeking an answer. There are many observers who see a link between extra-judicial killings and the crisis of democracy the nation is going through most uneasily.
No government in its senses can ignore the anger and frustration such arbitrary killings are impacting on public mind. Extra-judicial killings are seen as government sponsored terrorism resorted to for fearing the government. We can only ask not to make this peace loving country dangerously unlivable.
The obligation of Human Rights Commission does not end in condemning human rights violations, it must enquire into the matter and urge the authorities to stop this unconstitutional practice. Other human rights bodies surely can be more vocal. Where life is unsafe nothing is safe, nobody is safe.
Bangladesh needs strong  commitment of other democracies for restoring democratic order  as against anti-people  and anti-Bangladesh forces are anxious to destabilize  Bangladesh falsely blaming the non existent religious extremists.
As Bangladeshis we must make democracy and rule of law to triumph despite our political story of being failed leadership and weak patriotism.
It must be established that the lives of ordinary people are not cheap  in Bangladesh and we do not exist to ignore every wrong and  hope to live safely as the privileged ones.
The people's police cannot be seen to be acting as judges and executioners instead of law enforcers. When they indulge in shootout killings, they make themselves prosecutors, judges as well as executioners. In short they cease to be police.