Deaths in ‘gunfight’, custodial deaths increase in April: MSF

GunfightProthom Alo illustration

The number of casualties due to gunfights has increased in April this year. In the same period, custodial deaths, torture and harassment also have increased significantly, finds a report of a rights organisation.

Besides, incidents of picking up in the name of law enforcement agencies and the number of deaths in jail custody have also risen, which is extremely concerning. Incidents of mob beating have also increased.

Those were revealed by Manabadhikar Shongskriti Foundation (MSF) in its April Human Rights Situation Monitoring Report on Saturday.

The MSF prepared the report on the basis of the reports published in various national dailies. Moreover, in almost every case, it has been verified by the local human rights activists.

The report has been prepared on the basis of the events that took place from 1 to 30 April this year.

A comparative analysis of the organisation’s data showed that the incidence of violence against women and children, including rape, has increased. Incidents like casualties at the border have not stopped. Besides, the incidents of torture of minorities on various pretexts have been going on.

The MSF is deeply concerned about the growing number of human rights violations.

According to the MSF report, there were seven incidents of alleged gunfights in April. Although no casualties were reported in two incidents, one person was killed in an alleged gunfight with river police, while two others were killed in such encounter with Rapid Action Battalions (RAB). Six people, including RAB member, were shot and sustained injuries, while 13 others were detained in the other incidents.

Besides, three people died in the custody of the law enforcement agencies. One person jumped into the river and died during a police chase. There are also allegations that some members of the police were involved in misconduct, torture and looting, vandalism and a number of other crimes which are undesirable and unacceptable, the report said.

The MSF considers the issue of deaths in police custody as unexpected, on the other hand the allegations against the police are unexpected and in no way acceptable. It is the legal responsibility of the police to ensure the safety of any person. The MSF urged the police to take legal action against those involved by ensuring an impartial and fair investigation.

Five people, including a woman, died in jail custody in April, which is less compared to previous month. Ten prisoners died in custody in March. Prisoners are being deprived of proper treatment due to inadequacy in prisons. When a prisoner fell ill, he or she is taken to the Medical College Hospital outside the jail. The MSF believes that in addition to improving the medical system inside prisons, it is urgent to properly investigate deaths in custody.

One incident of border killing took place in the time of preparing the report while three Bangladeshis were picked up by India’s BSF (Border Security Force) and as always incidents of detainment during illegal entry happened in frontier in April.

Violence against women and children, including rape, murder, and domestic violence continue unabated in April like previous months, which are alarming.

According to the data collected by the MSF, there have been 367 incidents of violence against women and children this month, of which 71 were rapes, 14 were gang-rapes and two were killed after rape. Among them, nine disabled children and adolescents have been raped.

One on duty journalist was shot dead by miscreants while 12 journalists were interrupted during their duties, two journalists received death threats, six journalists were harassed, one journalist was attacked when he was in professional duties.

Miscreants threatened to kill the journalist and vandalised the house of a journalist in Sitakunda and abused family members.