Lynching and mob violence seems to have become norm of the day in Bangladesh with serious concerns being raised over the violation of rights and posing a threat to the overall law and order situation in the Muslim-majority nation.
A number of rights activists and academics blamed that the lack of rule of law and accountability over the years led to the repetition of such brutalities.
An estimate by rights group Ain o Salish Kendra shows that 30 people were killed in the first nine months of this year.
Khulna accounts for 10 of the total number of murdered persons.
On October 29, a Dhaka University graduate and a former librarian Abu Yunus Md Shahid-un-Nabi Jewel was lynched and burnt by radical mob.
He was killed following rumours that he dishonoured the Quran inside a mosque.
The police investigation, however, did not find any credible evidence that he was involved in any such act.
According to rights activists and lawyers, vested quarters exploit the repetition of the crime or the laxity of the authorities to properly investigate the incidents of crime.
Md Nur Khan, secretary general of Ain o Salish Kendra executive committee, said mob took lynching a solution like extrajudicial killings and expressed concern over the trend.
He, however, said that they had also come to see that leftist political leaders once used to be killed in the Khulna region in so-called mob beatings.
Kh Mahid Uddin, deputy inspector general of the Khulna police range, however, did not agree with the number of lynching in his region.
Statistics of rights group Odhikar show that 967 people were killed by mob between 2009 and 2015.
The 13-year-old boy named Sheikh Mohammad Samiul Alam Rajon was lynched in Sylhet by four men on July 8, 2015 accusing him of stealing a bike, triggering huge protest.
Following the incident, the police headquarters took a massive awareness programme across the country to curb the incidents of lynching.
Reported acts of lynching decreased to 204 during the four years between 2016 and 2019 compared with 967 in the past seven years.
But, rights activists said that the number of people being lynched hovered around 50 a year, which was still very high.
Odhikar said that 53 people were lynched in 2016, 47 in 2017, and 48 in 2018. Fifty-six were killed in mob beating in 2019 while at least 33 in the first nine months of 2020.
About the continued acts of lynching or mob violence, Md. Mizanur Rahman, a law professor at the University of Dhaka and a former chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, said that the repeated incidents of lynching were basically a manifestation of the absence of rule of law and accountability.
He observed that when the public saw that no investigation was conducted by the police or other authorities after someone was killed by a mob, the public did not care to kill anyone, enjoying impunity.
‘Anyone can be killed if branded as a pickpocket,’ he said, adding that basically it was the result of an overall sense of impunity that persisted in the country due to the lack of rule of law.
‘The local police or administration should be answerable for any act of lynching in their area so that lynching could be curbed,’ he concluded.
Bangladesh Peace Observatory of the Centre for Genocide Studies at Dhaka University in their October 29 report said that 151 people were arrested, 29 ended up dead and 114 injured in 95 incidents of mob violence from January to September in 2020.