Based on this, police started drives to arrest the accused and three of the accused were killed during these drives. What the additional police super of Cumilla said after that is reminiscent of the statements from the law enforcement agencies after previous gunfights.

He said based on a tip off police came to know that the accused in the councillor murder case were staying in Sangraish and Nabagram area in the city. On 28 November, a number of teams of the detective branch of Cumilla police and Kotwali Model police station launched the drives.

As soon as the members of police reached the embankment of Gumti river around 12.45pm, the accused opened fire at police. The members of police also started firing in reply. Accused Sabbir and Sajon were killed in the gunfight. Shah Alam, another accused in the case, was killed during another police raid 48 hours later.

The government claims that the law enforcement agencies are much more efficient than before. They have enough manpower and modern weapons to carry out raids. Then why can incidents like gunfights not be stopped even after that? Why can the law enforcement agencies not arrest the accused alive? There is no answer to that. It does not seem to be in their consideration that this calls into question the efficiency of the law enforcement agencies.

Councillor Sohel was a follower of one of the four factions of Awami League. Some three Awami League leaders have been killed in the last two years. If the accused were arrested, it would become clear who was behind this killing and what is the cause of this dispute.

Whatever the interpretation of gunfight by law enforcement agencies’ is, it is nothing more than extrajudicial killing. This is not only obstructing the people from getting justice, but also showing distrust in the law and judiciary of the country.

A number of people were extrajudicially killed in the name of ‘Operation Clean Heart’. At the time, the Awami League along with others strongly condemned it. They also declared to stop extrajudicial killing in their election manifesto in 2008. However, the party in power for more than 13 years is following the opposite path.

Last Sunday, two sea robbers were killed in a gunfight in Charfasson of Bhola. Before that, a number of people were killed in so-called gunfights in Cox’s Bazar, Moulvibazar and Chattogram. Some 188 were killed in gunfights in 2020 alone according to the records of Ain o Salish Kendra.

We urge the government to stop extrajudicial killing and keep the promise they made in their election manifesto in 2008. We want to remind the government that crime cannot be quelled in this way in any country. It is not possible in Bangladesh either.