It’s been 47 years of our independence and now we are a developing country. With the political and economic developments social complexities have risen. Due to this ,the crime rate has surprisingly increased. The state with the help of police machinery(i.e Police,RAB,BGB) and judiciary introduced various ways to barrage the increasing crime rates .All the laws dealing with the criminal offences enable police to arrest the criminals according to certain law and summon them before the court. But in recent years police machinery has been seen taking retributive measures and thus gave rise to extra judicial killings or encounters.Recently encounter has become a euphemism to describe extra judicial killings in which police ,RAB or other armed force is involved. Basically the tradition of encounters started in 2002 while the BNP govt. initiated an illegal operation named Operation Clean Heart.A significant number of people were killed by that army lead operation. Since then encounter has become a familiar word for those who reads or watches tv everyday. In last 4 years almost 823 people were killed by encounters says Human Rights forum,Bangladesh. This year encounter has become a serious public concern as govt. declared a war against drugs.Almost 100 alleged drug dealers have been killed by the police or RAB in couple of weeks. Have you ever wondered what is the legal basis of this encounters?
Most of the time encounters are justified on the basis of self defense.But in reality the scenario is different.Most of the time encounters has nothing to do with self defense and many of such incidents are either calculated or done in retaliation to the attack against the force.Self defense and retaliation are very different in nature. A victim of aggression has a right to private defense or self defense according to section 96-106 of our penal code. So, self defense is available to any person ends,specially when there is a possibility of overpower the culprit without killing him.If the armed force kill the victim even after they got the scope of overpower him then it no longer a self defense. We know very well that how mighty the RAB or police force is! They can not always resort to the theory of self defense especially when the opposite group is a minor group with fewer weapons. When police or RAB fire the victim even though they had every possibility of overpower the victim ,then it’s retaliation. The Indian Supreme Court in Extra Judicial Execution Victim Families Association(EEVFAM) and ors.Vs.Union of India and ors stated that right to self defense falls in one basket and use of excessive force or retaliatory force falls in another basket. Therefore, while a victim of aggression has a right of private defence or self-defence (recognized by Sections 96 to 106 of the Penal Code) if that victim exceeds the right of private defence or self-defence by using excessive force or retaliation leads to the death of the original aggressor. When the State uses such excessive or retaliatory force leading to death, it is referred to as an extra-judicial killing or an extra-judicial execution.
Article 32 of our constitution has secured the right to life of a person.Various international laws also assure right to life which are binding on Bangladesh such as Article 3 of the UDHR ,Article 6 of the ICCPR etc. Many international Human Rights Organizations have already shown their concern about the encounters and extra judicial killings taking place in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has been praised by various Human Rights organization and international communities for receiving the Rohingya migrants and ensuring their minimum basic human rights. The positive image Bangladesh has created in international arena recently for the Rohingya crisis ,we don’t want it to fade away just because of this illegal encounters or extrajudicial killings. I personally appreciate govt.’s concern about the drug problem. Government can do this in a legal way. They even can pass new laws if they think the existing laws are not sufficient for eradicating that problem. The govt. can file cases against the alleged drug dealers and then transfer the cases to Fast Trail Tribunal according to the Druto Bichar Ain 2002. Then after trial those who are guilty should be condemned in accordance with the existing laws. It is to be noted that that the drug problem we are dealing with guns and bullets is not a military problem. It’s a social problem and if we really want to solve this problem for a sustainable period , we should solve it through initiating social projects.
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