AL MP’s warning of ‘crossfire’ creates panic

Staff Correspondent | Update:

EnamurEnamur Rahman, a ruling Bangladesh Awami League member of parliament (MP) from Dhaka’s outskirts of Savar, has bragged that he ordered killing of five ‘terrorists’ in ‘crossfire’ and made a list of another 14 for such extra-judicial killing.

The statement the MP made in an interview with a Bangla newspaper has mainly panicked the activists of opposition parties and some reportedly left the locality in fear.

Following hue and cry over such bragging in public, MP Enamur Rahman on Friday withdrew his statement but did not deny the contents.

“There were many cadres [indicating terrorists] in Savar. All have been silent now. I have sent five to crossfire [killing in shootout with law enforcers]. And I have prepared a list of 14 others. A few of them begged my pardon and promised they will never commit misdeeds,” the ruling party MP said in an interview with daily Manabzamin newspaper on Tuesday.

When asked, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) director commander Mufti Mahmud Khan said the MP has to answer about such claims, had he made so. “RAB has no comment on this,” he added.

A leader of opposition BNP-backed Jatiyatabadi Juba Dal, seeking anonymity, told Protthom Alo that he had been panicked by this statement and left Savar immediately. “He might use law enforcers to kill his political opponents in the name of crossfire,” he voiced his fear.

On Thursday, Nargis Akter – the wife of Juba Dal leader and former councillor of Savar municipality Minhaj Uddin Mollah – asked this correspondent if her husband was in the Enamur’s list of ‘crossfire’.

She claimed that her husband was implicated in the murder case but he was in India at that point in time.

There are allegations of extrajudicial killings against the country’s law enforcement agencies in the name of ‘crossfire’, ‘encounter’ or ‘gunfight’ but such statement by a ruling party MP created further controversies about the issue.

Human right activist Md. Noor Khan said when many people are scared of extrajudicial killing and the arrogant statement by a ruling party lawmaker made the situation further complicated. “His statement is contradictory to the fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution. The speaker should take immediate step against the MP,” he insisted.

Many leaders and workers of the BNP and its alliance partner Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami were implicated in various cases in the aftermath of the 2014 one-sided elections and many of them were staying outside Savar. More are now panicked, said local leaders.

In October last year, Savar Juba Dal general secretary Shah Alam aka Nayan was killed in the so-called gunfight with the police after he had been detained from his Mohammadpur residence.

When contacted about the MP’s statement, Shah Alam’s brother Masud Alam said the MP has rightly reflected on what the people believed. “Whoever is powerful has the authority to killing someone in crossfire. What can the commoners do at this stage?”

On 26 May, Moktar Hossain of a local village was killed in another ‘gunfight’ but his mother Sakhina Begum said her son was detained by the law enforcers. “We just got the body... We don’t know who killed him,” she said.

The superintendent of Dhaka district police, Shah Mizan Shafiur Rahman denied any correlation between the MP’s statement and the police action. “The policemen never deliberately fire on anyone. However, it is hard to say when someone is trapped during certain drive,” he said and further claimed that the police as force are not used for political purposes.

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