Bangladesh: Police murder revolutionary leader
Posted by Mike E on August 5, 2008
4 August 2008. A World to Win News Service. The Bangladeshi police have murdered Mizanur Rahman Tutul, a leader of the Purba Bangla Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) Lal Pataka [Red Flag].
The police Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested the 42-year-old Tutul, also known as Mijan, on 25 July in the Uttara area of Dhaka, the country’s capital, according to a press conference given by his mother Novera Khatun at the Jhenaidah Press Club on the evening of 26 July. The 80-year-old woman demanded that the government not kill him and instead follow the process of law and bring him to trial. She also said her physician son had not committed crime any except membership in the clandestine party. The Bangladeshi newspaper Jugantor also reported that day that Tutul had been arrested on 25 July.
Nevertheless, on 27 July, the authorities claimed that Tutul was killed in a “crossfire” in a field in the northern area of Naogaon at around 4 am that morning– two days after his arrest and about eight hours after the press conference – in what was described as a police raid on a secret meeting of members of the outlawed party. Although the police claimed that the meeting had involved 50-60 armed revolutionaries and 80 police, they said that Tutul was the only casualty and that all the others escaped. Raninagar Medical Complex doctors pronounced him dead on arrival. A picture of his bloody corpse was triumphantly displayed in the press.
Tutul was a co-founder of the PBCP ML Lal Pataka in 1997 along with Quamrul Islam Mastar, killed in a police “crossfire” in 2004.
On the same day as Tutul’s death, the police announced that they had killed another party member in Natore under similar circumstances. This time the police admitted that they had arrested Ansar Ali alive on 25 July, but insisted that he was killed in a “firefight” when they took him back to a village to find and capture other comrades.
In denouncing the killing of Tutul, the Bangladeshi human rights organization Odhikar demanded that the government cease the extrajudicial killings that have cost the lives of 197 people in police “crossfires” , “shootouts”, “gunfights” and “encounters” since 11 January 2007, when the military took over and declared a national state of emergency. It said that this killing represented “a marked shift from previous such killings, in that the victim was reportedly not involved in any violent means to propagate his political beliefs.”
In a 1 August report, Odhikar further warned, “This killing has threatened the lives of persons believing in specific political ideals.” Police killed 16 people under similar circumstances in July alone, it said.
The Bangladeshi military and police have used similar means against revolutionaries ever since the country came into being in 1971. The recent slayings echo the murder in that year of Siraj Sikdar, a Maoist leader and founder of the Proletarian Party of Purba Bangla (PBSP).