At a time when police are under the scanner for killing a retired army officer, a police action on a peaceful demonstration demanding the release of Shaedul Islam Sifat is uncalled for at this sensitive time.
At least 10 people were injured reportedly when police baton-charged the small group of demonstrators who had not resorted to any violence. It is part of basic rights of Bangladeshis to air discontent and even more when it is peaceful.
Sifat was arrested soon after retired major Sinha Mohammad Rashed Khan was shot dead by police in Cox’s Bazar on 31 July and his classmates in his hometown of Bamna Upazila of Barguna district joined others from the Stanford University in Dhaka in spirit for his freedom.
Besides, Sifat two others students of the university’s Film and Media Studies department were also with Sinha and one of them was freed soon after.
What is even more outrageous is what Bamna OC Elias Hossain told a local daily. He said a group of “miscreants” were demonstrating without permission indicating apparently his pre-conceived hate for them as they were the friends of the slain army officer. If this is true, then police headquarters must issue an alert against such actions by its men.
We hope policemen will refrain from such actions in the future and uphold the rights of the people as well as protect them as per their committed duty.
For the students it is not wrong to demonstrate, but they must respect the laws of the land. It must be cleared that the two were major witnesses in the killing of the retired major and let the elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) force do their probe carefully.
We trust the probe and the trial will be transparent, and peace will always prevail in the country.