THE narrative that the law enforcement agencies have started giving regarding their operations against ‘religious extremists’ has uncomfortably started sounding similar in almost all the cases. This very much resembles the way the law enforcement agencies have so far given, and are still giving, their narrative regarding the death of crime suspects in ‘gunfight’, ‘crossfire’ and ‘encounter.’ As for operations against religious extremism after the attack on Holey Artisan Bakery at Gulshan in Dhaka, by gunmen reported to have been members of the Islamic State, left 28 people dead in all in July 1–2, 2016, at least 80 suspected extremists either died in such law enforcement operations or ‘committed suicide’. In the latest such operation, codenamed Operation Eagle Hunt, the law enforcers found four people dead in a house at Shibganj in Chapaiwanabganj, on Thursday, the second day of the operation against religious extremism in the place. The four suspected extremists, the police said as they wound up the operation which began on Wednesday, committed suicide to avoid arrest. What the law enforcement agencies say regarding their raid on the ‘hideouts’ and operation against religious extremism could very well be true, but what glaringly lacks here is transparency.
In all the operations that the law enforcement agencies have carried out after the Holey Artisan Bakery attack, the law enforcers could hardly capture the suspected extremists alive so as to bring them to justice by way of the due, transparent process of law and get to know the internal workings of the religious extremism outfits so as to have some insight for better planning the course of action regarding the rise and spread of religious extremism. What actually happened, or happens, in such operations are still for people to know clearly. The law enforcers dish out information, which could be true, and people come to buy into them. And such absence of transparency tends to give birth to speculations, which are neither good for the law enforcement agencies nor for the rule of law and justice dispensation. Justice is trampled in such happenings, which are not beneficial for society and the state either. People have the right to know what actually happened in all such cases. They will have the right to know of the happening if any such incident takes place in future. Whatever happens in such incidents warrant transparency by way of arrest, proper incrimination, well-substantiated investigation by competent prosecution and trial in the best interest of proper justice dispensation.
The law enforcement agencies, or the government for that matter, must strongly do what they need to fight religious extremism to ensure security of people and society. The government must also step up its efforts on other fronts such as legal, political, cultural and social to combat religious extremism. But what the law enforcement agencies must do is to ensure full transparency so that no speculations and rumours, which could be baneful, could get into the air and the rule of law is not trampled.
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