Monday, May 21, 2007

DS Editorial: Death in Rab operation; Such incident must never happen again


Death in Rab operation
Such incident must never happen again

The most recent incident of a young man in Rajshahi allegedly done to death by plain clothes Rab personnel who had gone to rescue a kidnapped person in the middle of the night has been very disquieting news. The official explanation of the incident given out by Rab raises more questions than it answers, even more so when reportedly the body had severe torture marks all over, which contradicts police remarks in the inquest report. And when the local police commissioner says that the incident was inhumane it must have been really so.

We would like to think that it was with good intentions that the elite force was set up. It was primarily to go after the hardened criminals and habitual offenders who had money, might and, sometimes political link, to avoid the course of justice. It was these people that the public wanted to see brought to book and incarcerated. And to start with Rab was seen to be doing very well and gained a degree of popular acceptance because of this. Indeed its potential for curbing crime has never been in question. But a number of 'crossfire' killings put a stain on them.

There are reasons to think that there have been transgressions on the part of the elite force, in this case in particular. We are certain that Rab operates under set rules of behaviour where the degree of force employed is proportionate to the resistance encountered. We are inclined to believe that transgressions are due to lack of proper command and oversight of the operations at the lower level of the organisation. And the higher echelons of the force command must address the issue without delay.

Extra judicial killings have no place in our society, and no matter what the gravity of guilt of the alleged offender that the Rab is after, his death in 'crossfire' does very little for the cause of justice and the judicial system that a civilised society should be proud of, not to speak of the loss of credibility of the government. Transgressions of the law by whatever agency of the state must come under the legal purview of the land.

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