Secret killings and forced disappearances were far too many that they call for an impartial probe under UN24 September 2022
Editorial Desk :
People's trust deficit on the present government and the state institutions is so deep that any inquiry initiated by the Awami League government into alleged extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances will not be acceptable as believable. It is shameful for us to admit that secret killings, disappearances and denying the people their fundamental rights were covered by lies and even by closing the revolution, only to stay in power following the birth of Bangladesh with the help of India. Our long and hard sacrifices in blood and tears for democracy became futile and people felt unsafe to utter truth immediately after Bangladesh came into being. State terrorism made politics a matter of fear and disappearances became a normal affair. Elections became a government business of stealing votes, using corruption to buy public servants and terrorising the people. Parties were made corrupt to make sure that it was unsafe to challenge the government. The intention was made clear when BAKSAL, one party communist-kind of rule, was established that ended tragically however.
That is why we welcome the sincerity of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances when it Tuesday urged the Bangladesh government to respond to a general allegations conveyed last year of secret killing and of forced disappearances that took place at the hands state institutions. But we equally believe and advocate that such an investigation must be conducted under the UN's active supervision.
Extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in Bangladesh is not new. It has a long history. Soon after the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971, this primitive and barbarous acts of state were introduced to suppress the opposition and the
people in general to create panic among them. People disappeared allegedly by the Jatiya Rakkhi Bahini, a para-military force formed in 1972 by the then government. Thereafter a fearsome Rapid Action Battalion was formed with limitless power to kill people in cross-fire under the garb of fighting terrorists when there was no terrorism in our country in Pakistan days. General view is that hundreds of people were killed freely to our astonishment to make Bangladesh a communist type of country.
It is important for the world to know the extent of barbarism committed by whom and under whose blueprint because leftist politics of state brutalities had no place among our people. Our liberation with India's help destroyed our whole struggle for democracy. Our political fight was against West Pakistan's military rule and economic exploitation. Our struggle was not against Pakistan, the people's mandate was for autonomy.
However, since Michelle Bachelet's visit, there have been attempts from the government to paint a favourable picture on the allegation of secret killings and enforced disappearances as some ministers lied that the former UN Commissioner of Human Rights was satisfied about the human rights situation. The UN had to publicly say that what the Bangladesh government was saying about Bachelet's reaction was not true.
Our people are fed up with lies from the government. The government is afraid of facing a free election. Robbery of votes is now a state affair. The government is taking full advantage of greedy officials including police to deny the people a government of their own.
What brutalities Pakistan army of those days did to us in the last nine months will never be forgotten. But we did not want Bangladesh that would not be democratic with the rule of law. Where the judiciary would not be independent, and judges of lower judiciary would have to obtain clearance from the law ministry about what to do if the accused is known to be anti-government. In a non-serious defamation case, the judge will not dismiss that although the complainant shows no interest in pursuing the case filed under pressure of the government. This is just one silly example.
We totally agree on the point that as the biggest contributor of uniformed personnel to the UN peacekeeping mission, Bangladesh needs to come clean on the allegation of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.