According to the Oxford dictionary a crossfire is ‘when weapons are being fired from different directions, crossing the same general area. Getting caught in crossfire during a shootout can be deadly. Crossfire is a situation that comes up when gangsters and police officers are shooting at each other, or in a war during a battle between enemies’.
But our definition of so called ‘crossfire’ has a different meanings, in the terms of a Bangladeshi way it gives totally a different picture .
The arrival of a Methamphetamine drug called Yaba and its consequences forced the law enforcing agencies to declare war on drugs .
To curb this crime and to bring an end to this drug and its dealers , the Police, BGB and RAB, DB took a destructive measure to kill the dealers, traders in the name of so called ‘crossfire’ .
This extra judicial killings brought the universal condemnation by the human rights organization , civil societies and amnesty international .
The Daily Star quotes , According to rights body Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), at least 196 people became victims of extrajudicial killings and custodial deaths between January and July 28 this year.
Rab was involved in 57 of the incidents, while police in 96, Rab and police in one, Detective Branch (DB) of police in 14 and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) in 28 incidents.
At least 388 people became victims of extrajudicial killings and custodial deaths last year. Of them, 356 people were killed in so-called shootouts during the anti-narcotics drive, and 14 others died in custody.
The number of killings in so-called shootouts and deaths in custody was a record 466 in 2018, while the figure was 162 in 2017, according to ASK.
Interestingly , if the causalities and the number of the Yaba seizing vary but the plot remains same in most of the killings .
The common made up story is ‘ upon his ( accused) confession, a team of elite force reached on a particular spot to retrieve the arms and Yaba, there, his well prepared accomplices shoot to the forces , to retaliate or to cover from them, they ( law and order enforcers) had shoot them back, as a result , the accused is killed, illegal weapons and a good number of Yaba recovered , a few cases have been filed in this regard’.
The victims family doesn’t only lose their dear and near ones , following his ( criminal ) death , the family members are on the run to avoid further arrest in the case filed against them, who have been accused in that incidents .
Teknaf, the bordering town of Bangladesh, is believed to be the den of Yaba and its dealers are the worst victims of the so called shootout .
The matter get worse, when innocent people are caught and asked for ransom to keep them safe from the crossfire , this is how the chain of making money by the Police has been going on for last two years in the whole Cox’s Bazar districts according to the victims, sufferers, witnesses and media .
The irony of fate and the fact of sadness are , some of the journalists allegedly support this crossfire instead of writing against these inhuman killings, some of them on their face book, thank and wish the officers involved in crossfire , they even go further by mocking at the ill of deaths, by saying that , more wickets fell, another wicket goes etc.
A senior journalist accused a quarter of reporters for fueling this extra judicial killings, the flipside is , most of the journalists in Cox’s Bazar did not receive any training on humanitarian principle neither any training on professional journalism.
A rebellious reporter named Faridul Mustafa had been writing on the corruption of Teknaf Police Station former officer in charge Pradeep Kumar, paid his price , he was caught , tortured to injuries , and sent to prison with false cases.
The rest of the journalist in the city kept their mouth shut , no hints of protests ever took place in his favor .
Upon fear, nobody protested against this heinous crime bestowed on him by the Police , humanity passes through and justice denied .
Recently, we also came to learn that , the longest marine drive of the world on the bank of the Bay of Bengal is chosen for the suitable spots to carry out the cold blooded crossfire. I wonder how can the lives be taken without showing a minimum sympathy , no soft heart , no stable mind, how barbaric and inhuman it could be !
The recent killing of Major Sinha by the Police in this marine drive became a popular troll on the social media so is the ‘ changed money’ taken by an officer in charge of Ukhiya police Station from the house a slain UP member .
Upon this incident , a journalist asked to stop the crossfire on this beautiful marine drive of ours, to IJP Benajir Ahmed, though he denied any crossfire really exists .
Again it was a wrong question to be asked , the question is not the changes of the spots but the immediate closure of the extra judicial killings by the name of so called crossfire .
As a neutral citizen of a free country , I don’t understand why the accused needed to be carried away with the law enforcers to seize more drugs , he can just tell the availability of those drugs if he really possesses so , or if he is needed to be accompanied by them, he might be covered by helmet and bullet proof jacket, thus he can avoid being shot from the opposite direction .
The law can be made stronger for the drug dealers, as our prime minister already proposed with the size of the drugs , still the criminals will get the rights to justice , then the court will decide to hang him or let him walk free .
Not only the narcotic drives cause the crossfire , over the years , the terrorists, rapists, money launderers even thugs were the victims of crossfire .
The audio recording of the killing of then Teknaf municipality councilor Ekramul Haque ransacked the entire country , millions cried for his family albeit the justice still denied.
In a democratic country , as soon as a criminal is caught , the Police must let him know that , ‘ You have rights to remain silent, you can call your lawyer’.
On the contrary , in our beloved country, Police search the entire house without search warrant , police arrest the people without arrest warrant , without previous case of offences, the authorities shoot the people and case is filed posthumously .
We are the law abiding citizens , we still respect the honest Police officers, let us hope something great from the Police again . Let us expect , Police to be our safeguard next to almighty Allah .
The civil society , mass people want to know, when will this crossfire come to an end ? When will the people have rights to justice ?
Till then we wait for a better Bangladesh with great expectations .
The writer is the English correspondent of coxsbazarnews.com