US ambassador in Dhaka Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat on Wednesday expressed concern over the killing of suspects in drug dealing during the ongoing operation across the country against the menace.
During a meeting with home affairs minister Asaduzzaman Khan at Bangladesh
Secretariat, she called on the government for bringing the kingpins behind drug peddling to justice without killing them and for taking measures to contain the source of drug.
‘In a democracy, everyone has the right to due process of law,’ Bernicat told reporters after the meeting.
Asaduzzaman said the US diplomat expressed her concern over deaths of suspects in ‘crossfire’ with the law enforcement agencies.
The US was also worried about possibility of human trafficking as thousands of Rohingyas fleeing violence in their homeland Myanmar had taken shelter at Cox’s Bazar camps, he said.
‘We have assured them that none was killed in crossfire…Members of law enforcement agencies opened fire to encounter the suspected drug peddlers,’ he told reporters.
The home minister said the anti-drug drive was not aimed at killing people. ‘The drives are operated on specific information following lists prepared by at least five agencies,’ the home minister said.
About the allegations that many of those found dead were picked up by plainclothes earlier, Asaduzzaman said, each of the cases would be investigated by executive magistrates. Anyone found guilty would be brought to book, he warned.
Among others, Rapid Action Battalion director general Benazir Ahmed and inspector general of police Mohammad Javed Patwary attended the meeting.
At least 125 suspected drug peddlers had been killed in reported gunfights with lawmen across the country in the last 16 days. Over 13,000 suspects were arrested during time.
The US ambassador said she did not know any country on earth, which was not fighting against illegal drugs that, she mentioned, kills people, destroys families and cripples economy of a country.
She underlined the need for educating people as one of the ways to fight the menace.
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