Two more suspected drug peddlers were killed in reported gunfight in Comilla and Cox’s Bazar early Saturday taking to 132 the number of people killed in the ongoing anti-drug drive across the country since May 15.
Besides, nearly 16,000 suspected ‘drug peddlers’ and ‘abusers’ were arrested by police and Rapid Action Battalion during the law-enforcers’ drives.
Assistant inspector general (media) of the police headquarters Soheli Ferdous said that police had arrested 12,306 people for their suspected involvement in peddling or abusing drugs since May 18, the day police began the crackdown.
Rapid Action Battalion’s legal and media wing officials said that they had arrested 51 people on Saturday taking to 3,670 the number of arrests since May 4, the day the battalion began the anti-drug drive.
The family members of Saturday’s Comilla victim alleged that the victim was picked up from near his residence Friday evening and he was killed later.
Ganajagaran Mancha, the youth-led platform campaigning for capital punishment for all war criminals, in a press release on Saturday termed the killings in ‘gunfight’ as ‘killing people indiscriminately’.
‘The planned killing of unarmed people by government agencies in the name of “crossfire” or “gunfights” is setting examples of denying judiciary by the administration and it is against the state’s peace and discipline, security and justice…… Instead of strengthening judiciary, uniformed killers are being made, killings are being legalised,’ the statement said.
The Mancha spokesperson, Imran H Sarkar, said that they would organise a rally and bring out a procession at Shahbagh protesting such extrajudicial killings.
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime spokesperson, in a statement uploaded on its official website in response to media and civil society enquiries regarding reports on Bangladesh’s anti-drug operations that allegedly resulted in dozens of deaths, said UNODC was closely following developments in the situation.
Meanwhile, home minister Asaduzzaman Khan said the family of Akramul, victim of reported gunfight, had neither lodged any compliant nor submitted the reported audio-clip to any of law enforcement agencies.
Talking to reporters at his Dhanmondi home in the capital, the home minister said, ‘a magistrate will investigate the killing and actions would be taken against people responsible based on the magistrate’s report.’
New Age Correspondent in Comilla, quoting Chaudgram Police Station officer-in-charge Abu Faisal, reported that suspected drug peddler Saddam Hossain, of village Batbari under Chuddagram in the district, also named in a dozen of cases, was killed in ‘gunfight’ with police on Kuruvin Road under Chouddagram on Saturday 3:30am.
Saddam’s brother-in-law Saiful Islam claimed that the victim was picked up by people identifying themselves as police from in front of their residence sometimes after 8:00pm.
He claimed that Saddam was a drug-addict but was not a peddler.
Comilla Kotwali Police Station officer-in-charge Abu Salam Mia, on the other hand, said they arrested bullet-hit drug peddler Shohag alias Karfu Sohag of Comilla city’s Dakhkhin Chartha after a gunfight at Meller Khil under Sadar upazila in the district.
United News of Bangladesh, quoting Chakaria police station officer-in-charge Md Bakhtiar Uddin Chowdhury, reported that suspected Yaba trader Shahjahan, also named in 12 cases, was killed in a reported gunfight between two groups of Yaba traders around 4:30am.
The police officer said that they recovered 400 Yaba tablets, one light gun and two bullets from the spot.
In the capital, Dhaka Metropolitan Police arrested 27 suspected drug peddlers and addicts during a raid at Kalshi and Bihari Colony area in Mirpur and seized 2150 Yaba tablets, 674 grams of heroin, six kilograms of hemp and 60 litres of local liquor.
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