Sabbir Ahmad alias Nayan Bond, who hacked Rifat Sharif to death in broad daylight in Barguna, can no longer be tried and punished for the murder.
He was killed in a ‘gunfight’ with the police and can no longer reveal who was actually behind the killing and who used his criminal gang for the purpose.
Nayan Bond’s killing has stirred up controversy and debate.
During a hearing on Thursday regarding progress made so far on the Rifat Sharif killing case, the High Court said that Nayan Bonds are not created overnight and do not emerge on their own accord.
They are backed by others. Warning the law enforcement agencies against extrajudicial killings, the court said, “We do not like extrajudicial killings. This can give a wrong message to the public.”
At the hearing regarding the Rifat Sharif murder held yesterday at the bench of justice FRM Najmul Ahsan and justice KM Kamrul Kader, the state prosecutor informed the court about the killing of Sabbir Ahmad alias Nayan Bond in a ‘gunfight’ with the police.
At one point of the hearing, the court stated, “We (the judiciary) do not want to interfere in the duties of the executive. This is their responsibility, their routine work. Only if there is any exception, will the judiciary issue directives or intervene. But we do not like extrajudicial killings. Maybe the law enforcement at times has no alternative but to carry this out in order to save themselves. But the law enforcement including the police must be more careful in this regard. The rights given by the law must be ensured.”
Rifat Sharif was killed on 26 June in broad daylight in the College Road area of Barguna town.
After the news appeared in the media the next day, Supreme Court lawyer Ruhul Kuddus brought this to the attention of the Supreme Court. The court issued an order the same day to ensure that the accused in this case cannot flee the country.
The state prosecution was asked to inform the court of the progress made on the case on 4 July. Yesterday, accordingly, the state prosecution updated the court on the case.
Deputy attorney general ABM Abdullah Al Mahmud Bashar produced the report sent in by the Barguna district police super and deputy commissioner.
He said that nine persons in the case had been arrested so far, including five of the accused and four other suspects. The case was being given highest priority.
Abdullah Al Mahmud Bashar informed the court that Nayan Bond had been killed in a ‘gunfight’ with the police. The court asked how he had been killed.
The deputy attorney general said, the police had received information about the secret whereabouts of the accused and went to the spot. But the moment the police reached there, they faced a volley of gunshots. The police opened counter fire in self defence. The local people rushed to the spot upon hearing the gunfire. The suspects tried to retreat and one of them was killed on the spot. The local people identified him as Nayan Bond.
The court observed, “These Nayan Bonds are not created overnight. They do not emerge on their own accord. They are backed by someone or the other and made into criminals. What about those who have created Nayan Bond?”
Abdullah Al Mahmud Bashar later told Prothom Alo, the court is satisfied with the progress made so far on the case. The court will observe the case and will ask for updates when necessary. The results of the investigation will be presented before the court.
A video of Rifat being hacked to death went viral on the social media on 26 June, creating a wave of protest all over the country. Four days later when Nayan Bond was killed, some were relieved while others were concerned. Many are concerned about the long-term impact of the propensity to bypass the rule of law and resort to extrajudicial killings.
Speaking to Prothom Alo yesterday, home minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said, the law enforcement does not get involved in any form of extrajudicial killing. They are sometimes obliged to open fire in self defence.
In the meantime, the Human Rights Forum of Bangladesh (HRFB), comprising 20 human rights and citizens’ rights organisations, has expressed deep concern over the failure of the law enforcement agencies to produce Nayan Bond before the court. They called for a halt to such extrajudicial killings.
In a press release issued yesterday, Thursday, by the convenor of HRFB and executive director of Ain O Salish Kendra, Shipa Hafiza, it was said that the forum was concerned as to whether inefficiency and abuse of power by the law enforcement was responsible for the killing of the main accused or whether it was a strategy to protect quarters involved in the crime.
No change over the last decade
Allegations of crossfire are nothing new. Awami League, before coming to power in 2009, had committed in its election manifesto to bring a halt to extrajudicial killings.
But things have not changed over the past decade. On the contrary, this has increased in the name of crossfire, gunfights, encounters, etc. It is said that similar strategies were used in May last year during the anti-drug drive.
Ain O Salish Kendra’s annual report states that from May 2018 till December that year, 292 persons were killed in the anti-drug drive.
According to Ain O Salish Kendra, during the first six months of this year 204 persons were killed in so-called gunfights.
Supreme Court lawyer Shahdeen Malik, speaking to Prothom Alo, said, “The observation made by the High Court yesterday reflects our long-standing views. No country had been able to control crime through extrajudicial killing. On the contrary, it decreases people’s confidence and respect for law and justice. In the long run, as a result, violence and brutality simply increases.”