80 victims of extrajudicial killings in 2021: ASK
Published : Friday, 31 December, 2021 at 7:52 PM Count : 1837
At least 80 persons became the victims of extrajudicial killings in different incidents including 'gunfights' this year, said Ain-o-Salish Kendra (ASK), a local human rights organisation, on Friday.
Of the 80 victims, as many as 51 were killed in "gunfights" or "crossfires" with law enforcing agencies, while eight died under the custody of law enforcers.
Apart from these killings, ASK also said different incidents like political violence, repression, attacks of minorities, murders and rapes took place in the outgoing year.
"Taking into these killings into consideration, we think that the current year was the 'worst year of human rights violations'," said Md Noor Khan, secretary general of the ASK, while addressing a press conference at the Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) in the capital on Friday.
Terming the extrajudicial killings as "cold-blooded murders," he proposed to set up an independent commission to probe extrajudicial killings happened in Bangladesh in the last 10 to 12 years.
The ASK secretary general said, "Making a comparison between the last several years' and the current year's human rights situation, we find that people have crossed their tolerable limit. In view of it, we can say that it was the worst human rights violation year."
He said, "We often see that when the extrajudicial killings rise, the incidents of forced disappearance fall. When the forced disappearances rise, the extrajudicial killings go down."
"In fact, it indicates that such unfortunate incidents don't decline. Rather, there is a relation between one and the other. It seems that such someone from somewhere else controls these incidents," he said.
Noor Khan said, "[We saw that] in commissioner Ekram killing, his mobile phone was on. His daughter asked him why he was crying. Then two shots were fired. The most unfortunate thing is that police have not accepted any case in Ekram murder so far."
"I talked to Ekram's family on Thursday. They have become very panic-stricken. They have remained in hiding for a long time. Ekram's family doesn't have the ability to go to court. If we analyse all the incidents, we find that those extrajudicial killings were nothing but cold-blooded killings," he said.
The ASK secretary general also said 81 more died due to various reasons including sickness in jails. Of them, one Milon Bikash Tripura died in Khagrachhari District Jail on May 28 last. There was a 'gamcha' found around his neck and also injuries in head.
'Year of suppression of differences of opinion'
Referring to people's fundamental rights to express opinion, he said various cases for harassment were filed in the current year. Besides, incidents of arrest and torture took place in 2021.
A substantial number of cases filed under the Digital Security Act and arrests were made under those cases in 2021, he said. "At least, 1,134 cases were filed under the Digital Security Act in 2021. Of those, 883 cases were filed at different police stations, while 251 filed at the courts directly."
After remaining in Kashimpur High Security Prison for about one year under a DSA case, writer Mushtaque Ahmed died on February 25 last.
In the same case, acrtoonist Ahmed Kishore was released on bail on March 4 this year. After the release, cartoonist Kishore narrated to journalists how he was subjected to inhuman torture in custody.
He also said the law enforcers also inflicted inhuman torture on writer Mushtaque Ahmed.
Journalists and mass media workers worst victims of torture
Regarding the torture on mass media workers, the ASK said during the corona pandemic and post-corona pandemic, mass media workers became the victims of repression in various ways.
This year, a total of 210 journalists became the victims of repression including physical torture, attacks, cases, threats and harassment of law enforcers, government officials, influential people, public representatives, terrorists, and leaders and workers of ruling party.
Among them, Borhan Uddin Mozakkir died being shot during the clashes between two rival groups of Awami League at Companyganj in Noakhali district on February 20 last when he was on his professional duty.
Besides, Prothom Alo's senior reporter Rozina Islam was physically abused and mentally tortured by the officials and employees of different levels of the Ministry of Health on May 17 last due to her reports on the government's role to deal with Covid-19, and irregularities and corruption in the health sector. Later, a case was filed under the Official Secrecy Act against Rozina Islam.
ASK also said a total of 1,321 women became the victims of rape and gang rape across the country in 2021. The number was 1,627 a year ago.
According to the ASK report, 113 people died in 627 incidents centering the polls while over 7,000 people were injured.
Thirteen people have been killed in 83 incidents of violence in municipal and city corporation elections while a total of 158 people died throughout 2021 in political conflicts across the country.
ASK Senior Coordinator Abu Ahmed Faizul Kabir said 48 women were killed after rape and nine women committed suicide after being raped in 2021.
Also present at the press conference were ASK Executive Director Golam Monwar Kamal and Director Nina Goswami.