Odhikar Bi-Annual Press Release
From January 1 to June 30 2006, 166 people have been killed by the law enforcement agencies throughout the country. Of them, 84 people were killed by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), 80 by the police, 1 by forest guards and the other 1 by the Detective Branch (DB) police. It is remarkable that, out of 166, 133 were killed in ‘cross fire’. During this period, 8 people have died in police custody and 29 in jail custody. Odhikar prepares this report with the support of Academy for Educational Development (AED) on the basis of the report of 14 national dailies and its own fact-finding investigations.
According to statistics, there have been 160 political killings during the first six months of 2006. Besides this, 9939 people have been injured and 42 abducted for political reasons.
Due to demands for reform in the Caretaker Government system and the Election Commission and calls for the resignation of the Chief Election Commissioner and two other Election Commissioners, the 14 party alliance and Awami League called a 36 hour hartal from 13-14 June 2006. Before the hartal started, police arrested 3057opposition workers and supporters. Moreover, the police and Detective Branch of police arrested 1500 opposition workers and supporters from across the country between 12 and 16 May due to the fears that opposition workers and supporters would create a situation similar to those in Kansat and Shonir Akhra. On these two occasions, police arrested a total of 4557, including 3057 during the 36 hour hartal people.
Police arrested a further 1500 activists and common people from different areas of Dhaka during the siege program at the Prime Minister’s Office on 19 April 2006 and the dawn to dusk hartal the following day. Both events were called by the Awami League and the 14 party alliance. Besides, police arrested more than 10,000 activists and common people of Dhaka and else where in the county on the occasion of long March called by the 14 party alliance and Awami League on 5 February 2006.
A further 2983 people were arrested for political reasons in separate incidents across the county between 1 January and 30 June 2006.
Human rights violations have also been reported in the Chittagong Hill Tracts area were 7 people were killed, 207 injured, 19 arrested, 8 abducted, 2 raped and 3 went missing during the first six months of 2006.
It is also mentioned in this report that, between 1 January and 30 June 2006, 114 journalists were injured by the police across the country. In one incident, on 29 May 2006, 19 journalists, including the editor of the Bangladesh Obsever, Iqbal Sobhan, were injured when B.N.P. cadres swooped on a journalists’ convention in Kushtia. On another occasion, on 16 April 2006, police attacked on duty journalists at the Birshrestho Ruhul Amin Stadium during the first day of the second test match between Bangladesh and Australia, injuring 20. During this incident, police were found beating journalists mercilessly and victims of the attack included 65 year old photo journalist, Alhaz Zahurul Haq. Thirty were assaulted, 2 were arrested, suits were filed against 69, attacks were made on 13 and 42 received death threats as a result. A number of attacks on seminars, meetings, newspaper offices and press clubs have also been recorded during this period.
Throughout the country, a total of 347 females were violated during the first six months of this year. Of these, 251 are women and 97 are girls, one of whom was violated by a member of the law enforcing agencies. Seventy-one of these females were killed following rape and 10 have committed suicide as a result of rape. A total of 72 have been victimized in acid attacks across the country, among them 11 children, 44 women and 17 males. One hundred and seventy-eight women have also been victimized for dowry. Of these, 133 were killed, 37 were tortured, 3 were divorced, 1 was a victim of acid throwing and 4 have committed suicide following torture for dowry.
During this period, 451 children have been tortured. Of them, 151 were killed, 66 were injured, 97 were raped, 46 were abducted, 4 were arrested, 11 were victims of acid throwing, 16 have committed suicide and 60 are missing.