Laudable and much hoped-for, the judgment on the spine-tingling macabre case of sensational seven murders at Narayanganj has given some relief to the bereaved near and dear ones of the murdered people. The court has convicted 19 former Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) members and others in the sensational murder case.
On January 15, District and Sessions Judge Syed Enayet Hossain sentenced to death 19 RAB personnel and 7 others for abduction and murder of seven people including an ex-city councillor in N’ganj. Lt Col (retd) Tareq Sayeed, the son-in-law of Disaster Management Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, and two other RAB 11 officers – Maj Arif Hossain and Lt Commander Masud Rana—- were given the maximum penalty.
Even in the worst-case scenario it was inconceivable and beyond belief that the elite force Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) officers having served for a considerable time in the Bangladesh Army, which has a covetable glorious legacy of fighting and winning the Liberation War, could be involved in the basest skullduggery of contract killing of 7 innocent persons plus 4 others at Narayanganj, 24 km off Dhaka city.
Much to the chagrin of the crime-busting law enforcement agency RAB, the abhorrent criminalised officers and their rank and file have brought extreme ignominy and disgrace for the force.
Convict Noor Hossain, the main accused, was brought into Awami League politics by Shamim Osman, whose perceived complicity in criminality has been extensively reported in the media. When the 1/11 Caretaker Government took over, Shamim Osman ran away, the Weekly Probe reported. Till 2008, Shamim’s photo was hung as a most wanted criminal in the Narayanganj RAB office. It is a matter of concern for the locality people—-on 19 January it was reported in the media that that accomplices of Noor Hossain are in perfect order in the latter’s empire—-and some of them have even been elected in the recent NCC polls.
Seven people, including former city councillor Nazrul Islam and lawyer Chandan Kumar Sarkar, were abducted on April 27, 2014. Their decomposed bodies were found floating in the river several days later. Nazrul’s family said former Awami League leader Nur Hossain had bribed RAB officers Tk6 crore for perpetrating the crimes.
No less than a dozen allegations of abduction, enforced disappearance and murder are there against the former RAB-11 commander Tarek Sayeed, who has been sentenced to death in this case. Allegations have it that members of RAB-11 have been involved in countless illegal acts in Narayanganj, Comilla, Munshiganj, Chandpur, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Narsingdi and Nababganj and Dohar areas of Dhaka district. What is shocking is on many occasions, no cases were filed—-and even if cases were filed, police investigators said no proof of their involvement was found. Families of the victims of other incidents of atrocities now expect some other mysteries will be unravelled and justice delivered. [Vide Allegations of abduction against Tarek Sayeed galore dated Jan 19, 2017, en.prothom-alo. com/bangladesh/news/ 136373]
Pointing to the terrible state of the rule of law and law enforcement agencies, a different incident resembles the horrific crimes of Mafia organised syndicate gangs and villains in crime thrillers. Saiful Islam Hiru, a former Member of Parliament and president of upazila BNP, and Humayun Kabir Parvez, president of town BNP, were abducted on their way to Comilla from Laksam in an ambulance. Their relatives filed a case afterwards, mentioning Tarek Sayeed as the number one accused. Badiul Alam, lawyer of the complainant, said a team of RAB-11 intercepted the ambulance that night and picked them up.. The Laksam police denied taking an abduction case. Afterwards, they filed a case with a Comilla court, which asked the police to investigate the incident. [Ibid]
When the police said they did not find any involvement of the RAB members, then the court asked the CID to investigate the case—-but after long 18 months the CID has not reported any findings. The court acted again, seeking an explanation, to which the CID said they were yet to get a permission to speak to the accused. Furthermore, they did not get documents regarding the previous investigation officers’ interrogation of the witnesses. The police did not submit a copy of the general diary the family had filed either. [Ibid]
Besides, five years ago former RAB-7 commanding officer Lt Col Zulfiqar Ali Majumdar, later sacked, was arrested after some plainclothes members of RAB-7 on Nov 4, 2011 year had entered the Talsara Darbar Sharif in Anwara Upazila and allegedly looted money. Four months later, the driver of the shrine Idris Ali on Mar 13 filed a robbery case with Anwara Police Station accusing Zulfiqar, several of his subordinates and three of their informers for committing the robbery. The RAB authorities sent its accused personnel back to their parent forces after a departmental investigation found them guilty of robbery.
When all is said and done, for the sake of espousing and upholding the concept of the Rule of Law, the RAB, police and all other law enforcement agencies have to be made accountable for which stringent discipline is a must in RAB, police and other agencies. With this end in view the Government may constitute a commission for drastically overhauling the agencies so that elements with the slightest propensity to criminality shall be identified and brought to justice.
Deplorable errors in textbooks
Appalling errors in primary-level textbooks for primary school children have become a matter of serious concern, but the authorities do not feel much urgency, it seems. But Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid told the media, “Give no importance to textbook mistakes,” adding that the people involved in the mistakes in government textbooks would be punished.
Thanks to the Education Minister, the past six years have seen a deluge of GPA-5 scorers in SSC and HSC levels, but, pitiably, they could not prove their worth in the varsity admission tests. What is more, hundreds of aspirants sat for test exam for150 seats in English department of Dhaka University, and only 2 candidates qualified! Around 92 per cent of sixth graders don’t have the required competence in English, and 89 per cent of them lack proficiency in Bangla, according to a government survey.