Political violence: 72 killed in 13 months

Dead bodiesProthom Alo illustration

As many as 72 people have been killed and 7,124 injured in 499 incidents of political violence in the last 13 months.

This information came up in a report presented by the Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) during a dialogue.

The rights organisatoin ASK organised the dialogue with the National Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh online on Wednesday.

It prepared a report on the humanitarian situation in the country between January 2022 and January 2023.

The organisation has used information from nine newspapers, several online news portals and the database of the ASK.

At the dialogue, ASK executive director Nur Khan said the ruling party activists and members of police carried out attacks in political programmes organised by the opposition parties.

He also said there were also efforts so that the opposition parties cannot organise rallies.

It is unfortunate and violation of human rights to oppress the oppositions and suppress the dissents ahead of the national election, Nur Khan observed.

The rights activist believes the opportunity of a participatory and impartial election will be lost if this trend continues.

ASK senior coordinator Abu Ahmed Faijul Kabir presented the report.

ASK director Nina Goswami conducted the dialogue. She requested National Human Rights Commission chairman Kamal Uddin Ahmed to discuss the subject of the report they presented.

Kamal Uddin Ahmed said, “We also prepare reports on this issue. Anybody can lodge complaints to us. We are aware of these complaints and working on this.”

However, he didn’t say anything regarding the violation of the rights of the people to hold peaceful political rallies.

The report also states some 20 were killed in police custody or in ‘gunfights’. Five were victims of enforced disappearances and four of them were shown arrested later and one has returned.

Some 80 people died in prisons. Of them, 34 were convicted and 46 were general prisoners. The highest 16 prisoners died in the Kashimpur Central Jail in Gajipur.

Besides, some 14 died in Dhaka Central jail and 12 in the Chattogram Central Jail.

The report also states that some 234 newspersons have been harassed within that period.

Rights activists said although the right to hold peaceful rallies is guaranteed in the constitution of the country, the ruling party is not giving the oppositions that chance.

In this situation, political programmes spark disputes between the ruling and opposition parties, the activists said.

Border killings on the rise

According to the report of the ASK, the deaths of people on the India-Bangladesh border are not decreasing. Some 18 Bangladeshis have been killed in the last 13 months alone. Besides, four died due to torture. Apart from that, some 19 were injured.

There were also some 13 incidents of violence against religious minorities. Some six houses were vandalised in these incidents. There were 11 reports of vandalising the religious idols and some four reports of vandalising temples.

Besides, three temples were set on fire by the miscreants in these 13 months. Some five were injured in these incidents.