157 killed in 9 months

Tasneem Khalil

Tasneem Khalil

[Dhaka Correspondent] Security forces in Bangladesh killed at least 157 people in the last 9 months, according to a survey conducted by human rights watchdog Odhikar.

Of the victims, 83 were killed by the Rapid Action Battalion, 52 by police, 7 by army, 7 by joint forces, 3 by navy and 1 by officers of narcotics control department, 1 by jail police and 3 by RAB and police jointly, Odhikar detailed. Of the total, 107 were killed in “crossfire” or “shootouts,” 29 reportedly tortured to death and the rests died in various incidents, said the report released Monday.

The number of people who were tortured to death increased by more than 52 per cent this year as compared to the same period in 2006, it said. The number of people who died in jail custody also increased by about 42 per cent. A total of 64 people died in custody this year.

During the period, some 32 journalists were reportedly injured, 11 journalists were arrested, 31 were assaulted and 75 were threatened. 12 legal cases have been filed against journalists and 1 journalist’s house was attacked, 1 journalist was forced by the Bangladesh Rifles to sign an agreement that he would not publish any news without their prior permission. In August two TV channels were asked to refrain from broadcasting any “provocative” news, documentaries, talk shows and discussions critical of the government.

According to press reports, in separate orders, the government held that it can ban or attach conditions on broadcasting provocative news, documentaries, talk-shows and discussions critical of the government under powers given to it by Article 5 of the Emergency Powers Rules 2007.

Restrictions were imposed following broadcasting of reports on disturbances in Dhaka University and other places in August, Odhikar said. In September, with the government’s advice on self-censorship and direct restrictions on the media in place, one organization, CSB News, was temporarily shut down for allegedly filing forged documents to obtain frequency allocation.

On women and children repression, Odhikar report said that a total of 346 women and girls were reportedly victims of rape. Of them, 38 women and 18 girls were killed after being raped and one woman committed suicide.

Acid was thrown on a total of 118 people, including 64 women and 19 children during the period.

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