Don't Maim Our Trust in You
Mohammad Ali Sattar
One-legged Limon is now a national debate. A victim of circumstances. He was shot at by members of Rab during an operation on March 23 to nab a criminal of the area. Under what circumstances did he actually receive bullet wounds no one knows for sure except those who had shot him. There has been huge uproar centering the incident. All conscious citizens have protested and condemned the Rab action and government inaction to look into the matter with impartiality. Tragedy befell the young lad even before he could sail off to life's journey. He could not take his HSC exams which were knocking on the door.
The first reaction of the family and near ones was that of shock. Rab claimed Limon had a tie with a criminal gang. And that he was hit in action. There was no single evidence against Limon that could substantiate the Rab claim.
Maimed Limon received medical attention under cop protection. Since then many a story, claims and counter claims has been making the rounds. Immediately after the shooting incidence the Rab chief told the press that there was no evidence of criminal links found against Limon. He informed that investigation was underway. The National Human Rights Commission head visited Limon in the hospital and was in tears when Limon narrated the circumstances of the incidence.
From there on, the battle really started. NHRC chairman condemned the shooting and vouched for lawful action against the perpetrators. The Home Ministry took a firm stand to defend Rab action. Since then we have been treated with conflicting statements from the government and the Rab. There was an element of abruptness in defending the Rab action and tag Limon with ineffaceable mark of criminality. In the midst of the tug of war Limon was released from jail after much ado.
Limon, lying in bed at Nitor in Dhaka, still does not know why he was shot and is now subjected to further maltreatment by law enforcing agencies. Photo: star file
Rab found itself cornered. But things turned around for them when Prime Ministers defense adviser had words of defence for the Rab action. This was tacitly endorsed by the home minister. And now he is facing other charges - all linking him and his family to criminality.
Referring to the investigation committee reports Rab now strongly declares that it has all the evidence regarding the involvement of Limon's family with a criminal gang and will fight this case in the court of justice. Whether Limon was innocent and deliberately shot or he belonged to the Morshed bahini and deserved the bullet - only time will tell. And we shall wait for the verdict of the court.
We are still caught in the maze of events and statements. If Rab was initially convinced that Limon was innocent and wrongly shot, it should have had the courage to stand up and say sorry. Matters would have died there and then. A compensation package might have been decided by the government. Limon and his family may have been spared the trauma that they have been subjected to.
Along with Limon and his family, time and again, we all are subjected to unfair situations. Despite the fact that things could have settled amicably why take this confrontational stand? We are saddened by the event and shocked by the way things have been handled.
Rab is a government organisation. It was born to defend the people from criminals of all sorts. It was a noble idea to have a special force to bust criminals and crime. A huge chunk of money has been poured for its formation and sustenance. Apart from the modern weaponry it now has, more are in the pipeline. Two choppers will be added to its strength. Other facilities are being designed.
Ever since its inception Rab has been doing a tremendous job. Busting the criminal dens, invading the crime zones and toppling the underworld dons have been successfully carried out by the elite force all over the country. In no time the black-cats earned fame and fear. They don't escape our sights either on the motor bikes or in pick-ups roaming the city.
With time, they have also raised questions in our minds by their controversial acts. Their status has definitely received a dent. Many now look upon them with mistrust.
It is comprehensible that in the criminal cleansing process a few sacrifices ought to be made. But when a scenario is something like Limon's situation it demands more translucent explanation.
By now the Rab authorities must have thought out a plan to streamline its function and make the field operation more transparent based on near-perfect information.
The Rab officials should bear in mind that one right move destroys the criminal hubs and paralyses the whole network and it does a world of good to the people and the society.
But one wrong move destroys not only one individual, it destroys the whole family. In extension, it brings untold misery to the affected kin, it destroys the good souls, it gives birth to newer crimes, and it exudes the odour of destruction and decay. It spoils the whole environ of peace and security.
We know that the nature and character of Rab cannot be changed overnight, as told by our foreign minister; however it can be done gradually. We don't want our trust in Rab maimed.