Sunday, June 24, 2018 | ePaper
Drive against drugs on
9 more killed in districts
The members of law enforcement agencies have reportedly taken the policy of so-called 'shootouts' to check drug during the ongoing anti-drug crackdown across the country since May 4, alleged victims' relatives and activists of rights bodies.
They raised their voice against law enforces' almost extra-judicial killing mission after the death of 27 drug traders and a few members of accused in different cases in last week.
The victims' relatives also claimed that the law enforcers are continuing the killing in 'shootouts' as per the Home Ministry's secret list.
In the latest, nine suspected drug traders were killed in separate incidents of 'shootout' with police in Jashore, Chuadanga, Rajshahi, Narsingdi, Jhenidah, Tangail and Gazipur districts early hours of Monday.
A number of participants, who are engaged with the anti-drug drive, tactfully confessed the media that the shootout is now key policy to eradicate drug from the country.
The Police Headquarters (PHQ) have instructed all police units across the country to conduct a special 10-day countrywide anti-narcotics drive from the first day of Ramadan. It also prepared a list of 26,299 drug dealers and patrons and has been conducting raids to catch them, an official said wishing anonymity.
According to Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK), 18 people were killed in 'gunfights' since Sunday and nine yesterday.
In Jashore, police recovered three bullet-hit bodies of suspected drug traders from Kholadanga and Taraf Noapara areas around 2:00am. Police also recovered arms, Phensidyl and Yaba from the spots, said AKM Azmal Huda, Officer-in-Charge of Kotwali Police Station.
In Chuadanga, Jonab Ali, 32, son of Jamat Ali, a resident of Uthali village in Jibannagar upazila, was killed in a gunfight with police around 12:45am.
In Rahshahi, a listed drug trader Liakat Ali Mandal, 40, accused in seven drug cases, hailing from Namajgram village in Puthia upazila, was killed in a reported gunfight with members of Rapid Action Battalion in Khurdo Jamira area under Belpukur thana of the city around 12:30am, said Major Asraful Islam, Deputy Commanding officer of RAB-5.
The elite force recovered 823 pieces of Yaba tablets, a foreign pistol with two round bullets and a motorcycle, he said.
In Narsingdi, a listed drug trader, Iman Ali, a resident of Kauria para of the district town, was killed in a reported gunfight with members of Rapid Action Battalion in Ghorashal toll plaza area of Palash upazila around 4:00am, said Company Commander Jasim Uddin.
In Jhenaidah, a suspected drug trader Mohammad Sabdul Islam, 45, son of late Mohammad Ali, was killed in a reported gunfight with RAB around 1:30am. They also recovered one pistol, two bullets, one magzine, 100 bottles of Phensidyl and cash Tk 1100.
In Tangail, a suspected drug trader, Abul Kalam Azad Khan, 42, son of late Abdur Rahman Khan, a resident of Purbo Pakutia of Ghatail upazila, and also accused in five cases, was killed in a so-called gunfight with members of Rapid Action battalion in a brick field area of Deula Bari around 12:00am.
The elite force recovered a foreign pistol, three bullets, one magazine, 100 bottles of Phensidyl and 1500 pieces of Yaba tablets from the spot, said Rabiul Alam, commander of CPC-3 of RAB-12.
In Gazipur, a suspected drug trader was killed in a shootout with police in Tongi early Monday.
The dead has been identified as Rezaul Islam alias Besti Rony, 27, son of Hafizul Islam, a resident in Ershadnagar area of Tongi. Rony was an accused in 14/15 cases, said Tongi Model Police OC Kamal Hossain.
Meanwhile, amid the killings of drug dealers in growing 'gunfights', Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Monday said the crackdown on the drug dealers will continue.
"No drug peddlers will be spared, no matter how powerful they are socially or politically. Law enforcement agencies will continue the drive against them to bring them to justice," he said while talking to the media at the Secretariat.
The Home Minister said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has instructed his ministry to take a 'zero-tolerance' policy against the drug trade and stop it at any cost.
As per the directives, an anti-narcotic drive has been launched making a division-wise list of drug dealers based on intelligence information, he said.
Asked how many are there on the list, Asaduzzaman said the exact number is not known, but it is substantial.
He refuted the claim of 'extra-judicial killings' or 'crossfire' in the name of anti-narcotics drive, saying the drug dealers have firearms. "Whenever law enforcers go to arrest them, they often open fire on them forcing them to retaliate in self-defence which resulted in one or two incidents of killings."
The home minister claimed that gunfights take place in all the countries dealing with drugs. "We don't think it won't happen in Bangladesh. We witness drug dealers open fire first. So, it's normal that police will fire back," he said, describing it as an act of self-defence, rather than 'gunfight' or 'crossfire'.
Asked only small fish are getting killed in 'gunfights', the minister said the law enforcement agencies are conducting the anti-narcotics drive following the list. "Every drug peddler will be punished."
In response to another query about human rights violation during drives, Asaduzzaman said they never apply any "shoot-at-sight" policy, but only fire in self-defence. "We aren't arresting drug dealers to shoot them. It's our highest priority to bring them to justice."
"Extra-judicial killings are continuing unabated in the country. This is a matter of grave concern," said Sultana Kamal, human rights activist and trustee of Transparency International, Bangladesh (TIB).
She said to kill criminals, including drug dealers, in the name of crossfire is a violation of human rights: "The offenders should be brought to justice, but this is not happening here."
Sultana said it is illegal to use the firearms, purchased with taxpayers' money, in the extra-judicial killings.