THE death of a former army major, reported to be shooting at night for a travel show, in police firing at a check-point at Shamlapur on the Cox’s Bazar-Teknaf Marine Drive on July 31 is shocking. A complaint has been filed with a judicial magistrates court against nine police personnel — the officer-in-charge of the Teknaf police, an inspector, two subinspectors, an assistant subinspector and four constables. Sixteen others, including the Baharchara investigation centre in-charge, have been attached to the police lines. Two of the former army major’s helping hands, who include a girl, were sent to jail in a drug substance case and the other was handed over to his parents. A high-powered four-member committee, set up to investigate the police firing that led to the death, is reported to have started work. The chief of army staff and the inspector general of police visited Cox’s Bazar and they said that no institution is to blame for the incident and the law would run its own course in this respect. So far, so good. But the incident at hand that led to the death of the former army major and spawned off protests should not have happened in the first place.
And no such incidents that caused the death of people without any judicial sanction in the past should have happened either. While there have always been protests against such incidents all along, the silver lining in the cloud in the event at hand is that it has sparked off wider protests. A greater number of people raising their voice against the happening this time, therefore, deserve thanks. The chief of army staff, after a meeting with both army and police officials in Cox’s Bazar, however, said that it was ‘an isolated incident.’ But it hardly appears to be ‘an isolated incident’ as what has happened in this case underlies what happened in almost all such incidents of extrajudicial killing, often sugar-coated as ‘gunfight’, ‘crossfire’, ‘encounter’ or ‘gangland infighting’, at the hands of all law enforcement and security agencies having taken place for years. The authorities concerned in all such happenings have either tried to make a case for such incidents, which have trampled the rule of law, run affront to justice dispensation and weakened the justice delivery process, or to go tough on the critics of such unlawful approach of state actors in keeping law and order. The authorities in the case in question have, however, said that agencies are trying to find a solution to end such incidents and have discussed how it is important to avoid any repeat of such incidents.
The need for a discussion on how to end such incidents and how it is important to avoid any repeat of such incidents, as the authorities are reported to have thought, comes as an assuring indication in all this. The authorities are well expected that they would lift a finger high enough this time to stop any murder without judicial sanctions, a task that having happened earlier could have stopped the train of such incidents by now.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Editorial