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We better avoid ruse


Let us call a spade a spade. In a belated, rather grudging, show of sensitivity to the barrage of criticism drawn by it over a series of crossfire deaths, a poor prevarication of extra-judicial killings in Rab and police hands, the government has decided to hold 'executive' investigation into all such unnatural deaths. 
The announcement of the decision has a vibe of acknowledging a Rocca visit and the EU concern for human rights having been voiced a priori. It has a ring of familiarity too with the placatory touch of sophistication shown under the spell of an impromptu donor community meet on Bangladesh earlier on.

Shall we ever learn to act preemptively to save us the embarrassment of doing it when forced down the gullet? It could have been nipped in the bud with perhaps the same executive inquiry which is not just too little too late now but also abjectly suspect after 365 instances of so-called crossfire death. 

Turn now to the potential quality of the evasive, self-explanatory executive probe! Understandably, it will be held by magistrates, who are under the executive control of the government susceptible to doing its bidding. We see why it is an 'executive' probe! It's a shade upbeat than departmental or the earlier-vintage executive inquiry, though. But what conclusion did those administrative inquiries reach? Most of the instances of firing were given a clean chit! 

Although we would like to believe that the latest correctional sounding move is serious, the governmental attitude, disposition and approach so far towards any hint of humans rights violation by the media, legal circles and broader civil society hardly inspire any confidence in the new resolve. Let's be disproved on it. 

Yet, our overriding suggestion is that the government has judicial investigation headed by a sitting High Court judge into the whole episode without which no fair trial is possible. 

The root goes deeper, indeed. There is the factor of blanket dropping of cases by the BNP government pertaining to 72,000 who were accused on 'political considerations' of assorted crimes during the preceding AL rule. The wholesale release of the accused was an unthinking reaction on the part of BNP government to the AL's perhaps sweeping haul-ups, because among the let off might well have been real criminals who needed to be proceeded against under any government. One couldn't easily shrug off an impression that among those set free are elements who have had a hand in wreaking havoc on law and order. 

Over all, the right way to go about the whole thing, to our mind, would have been to take at the right time some of the other decisions the cabinet committee has taken, such as for setting up separate crime control and investigation units in different police stations and placement of senior police officials in charge of investigations. Reforming and materially strengthening the police force hold the key to establishing an effective and sustainable crime control regimen.