Rifat Murder The Portrayal of a Degrading Society By Shahidul Islam
At present, Bangladesh is facing a great number of problems such as corruption, drug addiction, drug trafficking, road accident, abduction, eve-teasing, suicide, sexual harassment, rape, violence, domestic violence, assassination, political violence, murder, etc. Apart from these, different forms of misdemeanor and immoral acts are prevailing in the country. That’s why, seeing the prevalence of crimes, sometimes it seems that Bangladesh is a dwelling home of criminals who are dominating in the country.
Recently, a barbaric murder has occurred in open daylight in Barguna on 26 June. Rifat Sharif was the victim of this cruelty who was killed by pre-planned and an organized attack that can be easily understood watching the video footage. It has been covering all print media, stirred online and circulated on social media. Furthermore, Rifat Sharif killing is the repetition of Biswajit killing who was hacked to death in the same way and strategy during murder on 9 December 2012. He was murdered by members of the Bangladesh Chhatra League. It is a shocking matter that most accused of Biswajit murder are yet to be arrested. Thus, the culture of impunity motivates the offenders to occur like Rifat murder. An innocent baby Sayma is killed after rape for being encouraged from the culture of impunity. These gruesome killings are increasing at alarming rate for which people feel insecurity to their life.
These occurrences generate a few crucial matters towards conscious people. First, the horrific incident provides a message in our society that there is no certainty or security of life. Second, the offenders are connected to influential persons who use them as a means of committing perpetration like narcotic businesses. Third, Nayon Bond represents thousands of perpetrators who are beyond the touch of law enforcers. All of them should be brought under the law so that people are not witnessed such gruesome killings. Fourth, the video footage proves that it is a clear picture of moral degradation, the collapse of social order as well as degeneration of social norms. Fifth, most of the time, convicts are extricated from punishment.
The prime purpose of a modern country is to protect a citizen from attack, aggression, menace, and intimidation of other citizens. If the country cannot ensure the security of human life, there is no necessity for the existence of a country. It is the first and foremost responsibility of a government to provide life safety and ensure social security. Adam Smith mentioned that there are three main purposes of a state. The First is protection from external aggression and maintenance of internal peace and security. The Second is the protection of the individual against injustice and atrocities of other members of society.
Right to life cum the security of life is an integral and inalienable part of human being which is related to human rights. None can survive except having core human & fundamental rights. From this realization, the United Nations set forth the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). It includes 30 Articles that elaborate equality, human dignity, and social justice. The three elements are the basic foundation for a society. They help to keep stability in a country. Article 3 of UDHR mentioned that everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of life.
Bangladesh has ratified this human rights charter for protecting the rights of citizens. Following the milestone document of UDHR, the constitution of Bangladesh has incorporated all fundamental rights. Every citizen possesses to enjoy the right to secure life, right to movement, right to freedom as a citizen according to the Bangladesh constitution. But, at present, the laws are a monopoly for potentate people. Article 27 of the Bangladesh constitution “all citizens are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection of the law is merely written document, there is no existence in a practical situation.
Not surprisingly, the ruling system from a higher level to a lower level in Bangladesh has become as such that might is right. Only powerful persons belong to all opportunities either in legal or illegal process. Criminals commit crimes under the shelter of powerful person that is the root cause for increasing inhuman activities. As a result, social security and social order are replaced by anarchy and chaos. All kinds of perverted, distorted culture have widely been appeared in our country which tarnishes our country’s image. Road Accident, rape death etc have turned into a malady particularly an epidemic. It is a curse for the country as well as a challenge for the development of Bangladesh.
The number of unlawful death is being extended across Bangladesh. The latest report of Ain O Salish Kendra mentioned that, during the first six months of 2019, at least 204 people became victims of extrajudicial killings by law enforcement agencies. In addition to the report, every day more than one person fall victim to extra-judicial killings by law enforcers. It is notable that Law enforcement agency cum police is a security force. They are consisted of maintaining the security of people. Contrary to, Police are posing insecurity, disorder, and chaos in most cases. They are engaged in extrajudicial killing named the gunfight. They are becoming a threat to community people.
Nayon Bond, the prime verdict of Rifat murder, was killed in the crossfire. Many people supported such crossfire. The reason why people supported such crossfire is lengthy process of judicial system and lack of trust on judiciary to get justice. The tricky point is the government has already taken the lower Court under their control. They are not willing to ensure the independence of Judiciary; so it seems from the circumstances that politicians may have influence on an individual judge. For this reason people may be dissatisfied and may protest or loss their trust on the government. To cover such situation, government took some rapid actions like crossfire to convince the people that they are always in support of the justice. Such extra judicial killing without justification & finding out of all probable elements, causes behind such brutal murder may be the cause of big problem. Such extra judicial killing closes the door of finding out the psychological problem of a criminal from which the authority could take preventive measure to minimize the crime and could find out all other criminals who sheltered him to kill the victim. Moreover, it indicates that government is not willing to resolve the problems of the judicial system. And of course, such extra judicial killing promotes the la enforcing agencies to overlook the judicial system and manipulate it. Thus, any law enforcing agency may kill innocent people just claiming that victim was criminal which shall be dangerous for the social and state security.
So shootout or crossfire can never be a way of ensuring justice; rather it is illegal and contradictory to the constitution of Bangladesh. Article 31 of the Bangladesh constitution cites: “To enjoy the protection of law, and to be treated in accordance with law, is the absolute right of every citizen where ever he may be, and of every other person for the time being within Bangladesh and in particular no action unfavorable to the life, liberty, body, reputation or property of any person shall be taken except in accordance with law.” In fact, extrajudicial killings are contrary to good governance and civilized country.
However, these extrajudicial killings should have halted for establishing justice. It is time to rethink about the judicial procedure. Tribunal should be maintained impartiality, fairness, and neutrality. Besides, distinct tribunal, like International Crimes Tribunal (Bangladesh), might be formulated for addressing the rape case, murder case, etc. It may be helpful to assure social justice by identifying perpetrators and giving punishment rapidly. It enhances life safety and upholds the core human rights.
Islamic scriptures opine to abstain from such heinous crime and horrible killing. Homicide is prohibited except for the necessity as well as it considers as a great sin. The Almighty Allah narrated in the Holy Quran, “Whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one- it is as if he had saved mankind entirely” (Quran, 5:32). Beloved Prophet Mohammad (SM) also cautions about homicide while delivering the last sermon in the farewell Hajj. He declares the sanctity of life and property.
Above all, maintaining the security of life and giving the opportunities to enjoy the basic necessities of all people as a citizen are the essence of a modern country. Every citizen hopes the right to life, liberty, and property exchanging tax or revenue offering the government. So, the Government should be taken effective steps in order to protect innocent people from violence. Social security and social order must have ensured. Moreover, basic social elements, for example, social values and social norms, which are the foundation of a society, should be revived. Then, onlookers will come forward to help instead of taking picture or video. In that case, Moral education can play a great role to rescue social values.
The author is an undergraduate student of the University of Dhaka.