Activists of Ganajagaran Mancha have demanded that the government stop "extrajudicial killings" in a press briefing held in front of the National Library in the capital's Shahbagh area on Sunday.
The activists organized the press briefing after failing to get permission from the police to hold a protest rally. Additional Deputy Commissioner of police Md Azimul Haque (Ramna zone) refused them permission, saying they would not be able to hold a protest program at the Shahbagh intersection.
Dr Imran H Sarker, spokesperson for the Mancha, created a Facebook event page titled "Nirbichare manush khuner biruddhe jago Bangladesh" (Stand against the extrajudicial killing in Bangladesh) as part of the pre-scheduled program.
While addressing the briefing, Imran said: "Over one hundred people have been killed in the name of anti-narcotics drive across the country recently. They were killed without any specific allegations, or even proper investigation."
Imran claimed innocent people have also been killed during the recent drive without any justification.
"We appreciate the government initiative to eradicate narcotics," he said. "But instead of killing them, everyone should be given a chance at a fair trial."
He further claimed that law enforcement agencies created obstacles so the Ganajagaran Mancha would be unable to hold a rally in the Shahbagh intersection.
"It is like nobody is accountable for their actions in this country," he said. "On the contrary, the authorities seem to be trying to establish an autocratic regime."
Imran also condemned blocking the website of a popular English daily for 20 hours after they published an audio recording of a victim of "extrajudicial killing" seconds before he died. He considered the incident as a threat to the freedom of the press.
Previously, the Ganajagaran Mancha announced they would be holding a protest rally at the "Projonmo Chattar" at Shahbagh intersection on June 6.
Since the law enforcement agencies' crackdown on narcotics in early May, 132 people, mostly alleged drug dealers, have been killed across the country in "gunfights" with law enforcers. The act has drawn criticism from humanitarian agencies and intellectuals.