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Mar 27

Bangladesh government orders shoot on sight policy against protesters

Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir had spoken out. His true nature was laid bare for the world to see. Defying the basic constitutional rights accorded to all Bangladeshis to be able to demonstrate, gather and express their opinion, the government of Bangladesh has given legitimacy to an ongoing and prevalent illegal practice that has been only too well documented. It comes in a thinly veiled roughly worded package too. Banglanews says that the law enforcing agencies have been directed to ‘shoot-at-sight’ the persons involved in arson attack, vandalism and other subversive activities during hartal hours. The decision was taken in a meeting of heads of law enforcing agencies with Home Minister MK Alamgir at his Banani residence Tuesday. Wishing anonymity, a person, who attended the meeting, said decision was taken also to take action against the instigators of the violence. 
This decision has been has been widely denounced by almost all news agencies, who have published the news in all its dark glory. Starting with a big disapproval from top vernacular daily Prothom Alo, the news also featured on news dailies like Ittefaq and Naya Diganta and online portals such as banglanews and RTNN. However, news outlets such as bdnews, Daily Star and other pro-government media outlets have kept quiet. As a countermeasure, the Daily Star published news that the Home Minister had denied issuing such orders. 
MK Alamgir said, “Civil and criminal procedures would be taken against the persons involved in arson, vandalism and sabotage in the name of hartal.”
In contrast to the Daily Star claim, banglanews further reports that when asked about whether human rights would be violated by shoot-at-sight, the minister said human rights wouldn’t be violated if any action is taken against these persons for the sake of majority people. The Naya Diganta and Prothom Alo reports have added that they have talked to multiple sources at the meeting and on the ground who confirmed that the orders emanating from the meeting had been to shoot hartal supporters on sight.
The impact of such news is simple: its a death blow to democracy and human ideals that we have been so proudly marketing to the outer world. The official role the police earlier was to use baton-charge and tear shells along with physical charging to disperse any illegal protests. With this directive, police now have the license to shoot and kill, and wipe off their conscience with the tissue of protection of public safety, be it the public that they are shooting at. 
What is this country coming to? Where is the end to all this?