Where many cases take decades to be settled, the verdict in the murder case of Faisal Arefin Dipan, the proprietor of Jagriti Prakashan, within five years will be considered a positive example. Last Wednesday, the judge of the special anti-terrorism tribunal, Mojibur Rahman announced the verdict. All the eight accused were sentenced to death. Six of them are in jail and two others, including Syed Ziaul Haque, the mastermind of the incident and a former army officer, are at large.
The chargesheet and the details of the murder obtained from the court hearing are extremely brutal. The accused are members of the banned militant group Ansarullah Bangla Team or ABT. Later the name of this organisation was Ansar Al Islam. Many people, including Dipan, were killed on the orders of former army officer Ziaul Haque. Several of the accused in the case have stated in their confessional statements where they were planning the murder, who carried out the murder and how.
According to the confessions of the accused, Abhijit Roy, the author of the book ‘Bishwaser Virus’ was hacked to death in the Dhaka University area on 26 February 2015 while leaving the Ekushey Book Fair. The attackers also seriously injured his wife. Publisher Dipan was later killed for publishing Abhijit Roy's book. This is the first time a publisher has been killed in Bangladesh for publishing a book. According to the judge's observation, the killers who can kill a person for publication of the book are the enemies of the state and society.
In the early stages of the rise of militancy in Bangladesh, it was thought that the disadvantaged and poorly educated youth of the society were getting misguided and immersed in militancy. But in case of Dipan murder, a teacher at a private university and a computer science student at a reputed university were found to be directly involved in the murder. Most of the youths involved in the Holey Artisan killings were also well educated.
The government's zero tolerance against militancy and continued militant operations have greatly reduced militant activity. There is no chance for complacency. Although many people have been killed by militants, very few have been brought to justice. Many murders have never been prosecuted due to delays in investigations. In many cases, the verdict is given, but the appeal is still pending. As a result, these cases did not end. Until a case is finally settled, it cannot be said that a trial has taken place or that the accused have been punished. We expect that the speedy disposal of appeals will ensure that the perpetrators are punished as soon as possible.
Dipan's father Professor Abul Kashem Fazlul Haque has called for enlightened thinking to be spread and for persons to be motivated away from militant mindsets. No religion allows people to kill and spread violence because of dissent. In addition to bringing the militants back to a healthy and normal life, everyone should be vigilant so that no one is misled in the future. Militancy cannot be eradicated by law enforcement operations alone. The depravity and politics that lead people to militancy must be stopped from spreading in the society.