INVESTIGATORS have not made any headway in solving the murders of journalist couple Sagar Sarwar and Meherun Runi in seven years. The couple were found dead in their rented flat in the morning of February 11, 2012 at Pashchim Rajabazar in the capital. Despite promises from the government, the murder has so far remained unresolved, with the deadline for the submission of the investigation report being extended 63 times. In 2015, a DNA sampling in the United States reportedly have confirmed the presence of two men at the scene of crime, but the revelation hardly became meaningful as the investigating agencies in Bangladesh could not make any progress in identifying them. The investigation changed hands twice since the murders — the Detective Branch stepped in after the police had worked for a couple of days and then the Rapid Action Battalion took over after the detective police in April 2012 in court admitted to having failed. The Rapid Action Battalion has not made any tangible progress in the investigation. Although they are expected to submit the report on February 17, when contacted about the progress, they could not make any conclusive comment. Therefore, it is not surprising that the family members and colleagues of the slain journalists are increasingly becoming concerned about their chance at getting justice.
Immediately after the incident, the then home minister Sahara Khatun assured that killers would be brought to justice in 48 hours. Later, in February 2018, home minister Asaduzzaman Khan while denying failure on part of the law enforcing agencies assured again that the perpetrators will face trial. The victims’ families however are no longer hopeful, they also alleged that the law enforcement agencies investigating into the case has ‘stopped contacting them.’ Meanwhile, investigation officers’ response to media query remained generic and vague that included ‘making significant progress’ to ‘case is under investigation’ creating room for public disappointment and speculation. There are speculations whether the unexplained and unjustifiable delay in submitting the probe report is only the consequence of procedural weakness of the law enforcement agencies or it is intentional to protect the interest of the vested quarter involved in the heinous murder that shocked the nation. This delay has also become reasons for worries for all, the families of the couple and the suspects who are behind bars without any charges, all waiting for justice.
The government must, therefore, wake up to people’s expectations and their right to justice, shaking off its apparent slumber. The law enforcement agencies, in the interest of preventing further public disappointment and speculation that they may be delaying, as alleged by many, to protect the interest of certain vested quarter involved in the murder, must submit the probe report and clear all cloud. In a larger context, the reputation of the law enforcement agencies is also at stake here because when a case with such national and international attention is stalled in this manner, it says lot about their efficiency and the integrity.
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