Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal says the government will take steps as per the law if any killing of innocent people takes place while conducting drives against drug traders.
"An executive magistrate investigates whenever gunfire takes place," he told reporters after his lengthy meeting with US Ambassador to Bangladesh, Marcia Bernicat, at his Secretariat office on Wednesday, saying law enforcement agencies did not kill anybody in “crossfires.”
He said Bernicat wanted to know how many people had been killed and how many people were in jail following the anti-drug drives.
"She appreciated the drives against illegal drugs, but expressed concern about loss of life during the drives," he said.
The home minister said they provided details to the US Ambassador, who supported controlling the proliferation of drugs in the country.
"Our government has never directed law enforcement agencies to kill people," said the minister.
Asaduzzaman said that so far, 13,000 drug peddlers have been arrested during the drive and punished with varying sentences.
The US envoy laid emphasis on catching "kingpins" and finding the sources of illegal drugs. She also suggested bringing to justice, those responsible for the crimes, while respecting human rights.
"I always ask for human rights to be respected, and people everywhere can have the confidence that the right individuals have been caught and punished, and that no one is taking the law into their own hands," said Ambassador Bernicat.
The US diplomat said it is really important to find and capture not only drug dealers, but also the kingpins.
Talking to reporters after the meeting, Bernicat said she covered a number of issues, including the "killings" that have been taking place as part of the government campaign against drugs.
The US Ambassador said she does not know any country on earth that is not fighting against illegal drugs as it kills people, destroys families, and cripples economies, while damaging so many innocent victims.
She also emphasized educating people as one of the main ways to fight this problem.
"On the one hand, the goal should be zero tolerance. On the other, it should also be to try to bring everyone to justice," she said, adding that no country has found a foolproof way of fighting against drugs.