The way cases and arbitrary arrests in connection with some violent and some non-existent incidents across the country have increased right before the 12th national parliament election, there’s no reason to not be worried anymore.
We have seen it even before; prior to and after the 11th national parliament election there were incidents of such cases and arrests centering BNP’s political programmes at different times.
Despite there being factual and credible accusations on the issue that these cases, better known as ‘fictitious cases’, are used with the aim to subdue political opponents, not seeing any action to stop that is utterly frustrating.
It certainly is a political misuse of the criminal justice system. And not just the political activists, common people are also falling victim to this.
Prothom Alo carried two reports on Thursday, based on the current situation in Gazipur, Magura and Jashore districts.
Evidently, cases and arrests made under special powers act increased in October, shows an analysis. No matter where the case is filed, the language of the case statement is almost identical.
Field visits revealed that many of the incidents were just baseless. In majority of the cases, those who have been named as witnesses don’t know anything about the incidents.
Cases have been filed naming a few and many unknown people. In fact, people already inside the jail or living abroad have also been named as accused in the cases.
Police’s narrative on this issue is that those people have been accused based on information given by people arrested from the spot. Their names would be dropped from the list of accused if no involvement is found in the investigation
Twelve cases were filed in Jashore within the first 13 days of October on charges of trying to topple the government and vandalism. Counting both named and unnamed ones, the number of accused in the cases stands at 950. Of them, 105 have been arrested while many have secured bail from the High Court.
Police on 2 November filed a case with Mohammadpur police station in Magura on charges of vandalism and cocktail explosion. A migrant living in Bahrain has been made accused in the case.
Meanwhile, the instance in Gazipur shows that the two men, who have been accused in a vandalism case filed with Tongi police station on 31 October, were already in jail from earlier.
Police’s narrative on this issue is that those people have been accused based on information given by people arrested from the spot. Their names would be dropped from the list of accused if no involvement is found in the investigation.
This narrative of the police makes it clear that they implicated them without any investigation, just based on their whims. The picture is almost the same across the whole country including Dhaka.
According to the information given by DMP and court sources as well as Prothom Alo correspondents, following the violence centering BNP’s rally in Naya Paltan in Dhaka on 28 October, a total of 8,133 members of the party had been arrested across the country till 6 November.
A total of 102 cases were filed in Dhaka within these nine days while some 1,554 people were arrested. Number of fictitious cases have been rising since October and November last year.
A report on fictitious cases being filed before the election even this time published in Prothom Alo on 22 July stated that 50 such cases have been filed in Dhaka city alone between last November and May.
Prothom Alo investigated 17 such cases. It was found in 15 of them that the local people have denied seeing or hearing of any incident of police or Awami League leaders being attacked or cocktails being exploded. Yet, alongside BNP leaders and activists, an unknown number of people has been accused in these cases.
Though the cases are fictitious, the victims are reality. Filing cases and making arrests in connection with the non-existent incidents are a distinct example of human rights violation.
This is also a violation of the basic rights the constitution provides to the citizens of the country. Such political exploitation of the criminal justice system must be stopped.