Bangladesh Nationalist Party, or BNP, has blasted Road Transport and Bridges Minister Secretary Obaidul Quader for Saturday's remark “defending extrajudicial killings in the name of ongoing anti-narcotics crackdown”. The drive has been marred by widespread allegations of human rights abuse.
"Obaidul Quader said one or two mistakes may happen during such ‘noble’ [anti-narcotics] drive. Making such comments is an absolute mockery. How come we accept the mistakes that claimed people's lives?" BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said on Sunday, according to UNB.
By making such a comment, Obaidul not only “mocked human rights but also defended the unlawful killings,” he alleged while addressing a press conference at the party’s Nayapaltan headquarters in Dhaka.
The government has launched a crackdown on some “insignificant drug dealers” instead of taking actions against powerful narcotics godfathers, he added.
“Lawmakers like Abdur Rahman Bodi with the help of the administration are controlling the drug trade and its source points.”
The BNP Standing Committee member claimed that the people want to know how influential leaders of Awami League, including Bodi, left the country, dodging intelligence agencies.
"It's the government who helped the drug lords flee the country," he said.
“The audio clips that recorded conversations between Teknaf Municipality Councillor Ekramul Haque and his daughter and wife right before he was brutally shot dead by security forces have terrified people at home and abroad."
Bodi, an Awami League lawmaker from Cox’s Bazar 4 constituency, who has been widely criticized for his alleged involvement in drug peddling, went to Saudi Arabia Thursday night to “perform Umrah”.
Rizvi also accused the security forces of killing 250 people, mostly youths, in the last four months.
"The government must be held responsible for these unlawful killings. Law enforcement agencies are killing people in so-called gunfights as the government has authorized them to do so. Political killings are taking place on the pretext of this anti-narcotic crackdown," he alleged.
On May 26, Ekramul, an upazila-level leader of the ruling Awami League, was killed in a “shootout” with Rapid Action Battalion in Teknaf of Cox’s Bazar, as the government launched the aggressive anti-narcotics crackdown which many criticize as unlawful and unacceptable.
RAB claimed Ekram had been involved in drug peddling.
However, refuting the claim, his wife, Ayesha Begum, alleged that Ekramul was killed in cold blood, not in a gunfight as the elite paramilitary anti-crime taskforce claimed.
She wanted a fair investigation into the killing of her husband and intervention of the prime minister in the matter so on one has to lose her or his dear ones in such “unjust actions.”
Ayesha also gave reporters a total of four audio clips that recorded terrifying conversations between Ekramul and his family right before he died in a hail of bullets.
The clips recorded on a mobile phone also captured sounds of gunfire and groans of a dying man.
As the groaning continued for a while, Ekramul’s wife and two daughters on the other side of the phone screamed and begged for his life, saying he was innocent, according to one of the clips.