Vol. 5 Num 295 Sat. March 26, 2005  
Front Page

Rab completes one year of operation

The Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) today celebrates one year of its inception.

The government claims law and order has improved a lot in the one year of Rab operation. But different rights watchdogs, opposition political parties and people continue blasting the elite force for extra-judicial killings of people in 'crossfire' or in its custody.

The anti-crime force came into being on March 26 last year but formally started functioning on April 14.

The force came to limelight on June 26 when Pichchi Hannan, one of the country's top 23 listed criminals, was killed in 'crossfire' under its custody.

Besides, Rab members' involvement in robbery, extortion and bribery also drew flak from the public.

Punitive actions have so far been taken against 109 Rab members for criminal and anti-disciplinary activities.

Four members of Rab-4 along with two informants on Wednesday looted Tk 7.8 lakh from a cattle trader from his Gabtoli house in Mirpur in the city.

Sultana Kamal of Ain o Salish Kendro told the BBC Bangla Service, "Which of the crimes will we accept when one is curbed by another?"

As many as 150 people have so far been killed in Rab 'crossfire', she said.

State Minister for Home Lutfozzaman Babar yesterday told the BBC that the question of human rights does not come up when a criminal kills eight to 10 people on an average.

Even the question of human rights does not arise when 30 to 35 policemen are being killed on an average in the hands of criminals every year, he added.

"But questions of human rights come up when those criminals are being killed in encounters with the Rab," Babar said.

However, Abdul Jalil, general secretary of the main opposition Awami League, alleged the force is being used for political purpose, mentioning the death of a witness to AL lawmaker Ahsanullah Master killing in Rab custody.

He alleged the Rab kills criminals in the name of crossfire within 24 hours of their arrests. "Crossfire takes place when both sides trade fire, but this crossfire is one sided," the BBC quoted Jalil as saying.