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     Volume 8 Issue 72 | June 5, 2009 |

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Stab for a Stab!


The cry against extra-judicial killing and killing in custody, nationally and internationally, is getting ever so loud, particularly after the Mahajote was elected to the government.

Death in crossfire, encounter, and shootout have for obvious reasons picked up the headlines for the wrong reasons, including in some instances public sympathy for the victims, although their criminal record was as well known as the back of one's palm. Do you really know the back of your palm that well? Check it out.

As far back as 2005 former Chief Adviser Justice Muhammad Habibur Rahman speaking as Chief Guest at the three-day seminar on 'Human Rights and Governance' organised by Manusher Jonno said a report on every death in 'crossfire' has been sought, though belated, and early probe in 'crossfire' would have made law enforcers cautious. (DS 19 January 2005)

One famous recommendation of that seminar, and one that summarises the thinking of the learned citizenry, is that there should be no extra-judicial killing without trial, since freedom of judiciary and the government's willingness are enough to curb crime.

The present government has not been far behind in pronouncing inter alia enquiry into deaths, be it of known criminals, if they were caused forcefully by the forces. That has not stopped the violation of human rights, although there is a silent support among the victims of the crossfire victims, who have felt relief and even rejoiced after those who robbed their sleep went to sleep forever.

More recently, Amnesty International's natural viewpoint has also become more visible, perhaps because it feels that the present environment is right to mark their protest.

The incumbent home minister, her deputy, and the foreign minister have largely echoed the 2001 home state minister's trajectory which was launched with the roar that such killings shall not be tolerated, only to subside with the statement that killing in self-defence were legally permitted, and that all deaths shall be inquired into as per law.

Ministers in office assured somewhat the nation by stating a 'zero tolerance' policy of the government with reference to extra-judicial killing, but quickly switched to the 'necessary in self-protection' alibi. The foreign minister has spoken of a culture of many years that shall need more time to expire.

Law Commission Member Justice Naim Uddin had earlier said in January 2005 at a Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services (BLAST) advocacy meeting that one wrong cannot be resisted with another wrong, and that 'crossfire' was a complete violation of human and basic rights.

Prior to that noted politician and former minister Barrister Dr. Kamal Hossain said each death in 'crossfire' was a violation of our constitution.

On the other hand over the years there have been several letters to the Editor expressing appreciation and gratefulness for the efficiency of the law enforcers, and how their unusual handling of criminals has curbed (?) crime. There have been many others who have raised the question of civil rights.

Overall though, despite the wiping out of many known criminals crime in the country has not seen as much a downward trend as one would expect following such harsh and final measures.

So, here goes:
Armed with gift of the gab
And Ayub Bachchu's headscarf as tab
Criminals and lesser they grab
Rab-a-dab-dab, rab-a-dab-dab
Being hostage for long, to cadre and their saab
People often make merry when goons are picked up
But that's no license for a stab for a stab
Rab-a-dab-dab, rab-a-dab-dab
It matters not even a dab
Picked from home, office or house of kabab
'Cause it is death they almost always must have
Rab-a-dab-dab, rab-a-dab-dab
Unfolds then an uponyash from Arab
Consistency in the tale has no jawab
The ethical hope all this were only a bad khowab
Rab-a-dab-dab, rab-a-dab-dab
The held was asked to show the hideout map
But the innocent-till-proven-guilty led them into a trap
Run, run, they had said to him with hardly a jab
Rab-a-dab-dab, rab-a-dab-dab
Trembling, stuttering probably they pleaded, 'Forgive me, Janab'
Attired in ominous black the sentence was to stop a talk so drab
The night's silence was shattered by a thunderclap
Rab-a-dab-dab, rab-a-dab-dab
Only the detained fell facedown like a slab
They said he was a victim of his own men's rap
Newspaper headlines reflected the bloody red daub
Rab-a-dab-dab, rab-a-dab-dab
Perhaps one day there shall be a lot to swab
Them buried, cremated or specimen in a dissection lab
Innocent or guilty, the dead tell no blab
Rab-a-dab-dab, rab-a-dab-dab
Even though the killed was no god-baap
Some say the eradicators were doing a job oh-so-fab
Others say they were no better than reviled crab
Rab-a-dab-dab, rab-a-dab-dab
Other groups have embraced too the policy of kill after nab
Or before, if the target was running away in a cab
Their script doctor has a job in hand to explain shab after shab
Shab-a-shab-shab, shab-a-shab-shab

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