2,190 days have elapsed; Tawki’s soul is still crying for justice
No inordinately lingering agony of bereaved parents—who have been mourning their adolescent son’s murder and seeking justice for the last 6 (six) long years or 2,190 days/nights—can be so intensely unbearable and beyond endurance which can be comparable with any other grief whatsoever. They say, time is the best healer; but not in the case of deceased Tawki’s mom and dad whose son was absolutely a part of their own self, biologically.
Teenager Tanwir Muhammad Tawki, an A-level student, was found murdered and floating on 8 March 2013, in the Shitalakshya River in Narayanganj city. According to The Daily Star report dated 11 March 2015, the Rapid Action Battalion, which was investigating the murder case, could not make any tangible progress in their probe either. Sultan Shawkat alias Bhromor, who had been arrested in cpnnection with the case, has allegedly fled the country. In a confessional statement before Senior Judicial Magistrate Court of Narayanganj, Bhromor said a gang led by Azmeri Osman, son of late Jatiya Party lawmaker Nasim Osman and nephew of Awami League MP Shamim Osman, killed Tawki. He added Tawki was killed at the office of Azmeri in College Road area of the city on March 6, 2013, and his body was put in a sack and dumped in the Shitalakkhya river at Charargope. The body was found on March 8.
Meanwhile, Santrash Nirmul Tawki Mancha, a platform seeking justice for the gruesome killing, alleged an influential quarter was trying to obstruct the submission of the charge sheet. Tawki’s father lodged the murder case against seven people, including Shamim Osman and his son Ayon Osman on March 20, 2013. On March 5 2014, RAB Additional Director Col Ziaul Ahsan claimed the investigation was at final stage and the charge sheet would be submitted soon. But alas, bdnews24.com reported on 06 Mar 2018 that in March 2014, Col Ziaul Ahsan, the then additional director general of the elite force, said evidence had been found against 11 people, including Ajmeri Osman, a nephew of Awami League leader AKM Shamim Osman. Rabbi claims that the RAB is done with its investigation but is not filing the charges because “it is under pressure.”
The Santras Nirmul Twaki Mancha (SNTM) on May 16, 2015 held a roundtable meeting on the state’s reluctance in trial of Twaki murder at National Press Club in Dhaka. A group of leftwing politicians, academics and journalists said it was not possible to bring the killers of Tanvir Muhammad Tawki to justice as the government machinery was ‘directly giving protections’ to the killers. Rafiur Rabbi, the father of Twaki, was in the chair. “The trial is not progressing as the government machinery has taken a decision to protect the killers,’’ rights activist Anu Muhammad observed. Twaki was found dead in the River Sitalakkhya two days after his abduction on March 6, 2013. [Vide “Govt’s protection of Twaki’s killers hindering justice: roundtable”, New Age May 16, 2015 ]
Communist Party of Bangladesh adviser Monjurul Ahsan Khan alleged the state itself was ‘involved in the killing of Twaki.’ He said, ‘those who killed Twaki are not outside the government. Senior journalist Kamal Lohani said ‘The Prime minister spoke in favour of Shamim Osman standing in parliament and she took the responsibility of taking care of the Osman family. He added, ‘Shamim Osman is carrying out these activities becoming more brutal than his ancestors’. [Ibid]
Speaking on the occasion, Dhaka University professor emeritus Serajul Islam Choudhury, CPB president Mujahidul Islam Selim and Samajik Andolan president Ajoy Roy called for waging a united movement to change the character of the state. Echoing most of the speakers, Rafiur Rabbi alleged justice was not being delivered in most of the cases because of the protection from the government. Twaki’s father further said, ‘justice will never be ensured unless the prime minister wants it.’ [Ibid]
According to rights organisation Odhikar, at least 486 people were subjected to enforced disappearance between January 2009 and October 2018. Replying to a question on enforced disappearance, Gowher Rizvi did accept that it was ‘deplorable’ if it was taking place and that the government ‘will investigate’. [Vide Al Jazeera English ‘Head to Head’ programme dated 02 March 2019.] In a previous study Odhikar said, the total number of victims of extrajudicial killings from 2001 to 2017 February was 496, of which 149 were killed during the BNP rule (2001 – 2006), while during the Awami League regime (2009 to February 2017) the total number of victims of extrajudicial killings were 319—-more than double that of the BNP rule. [Vide http:/ /1dgy051 vgyxh 41o8cj 16kk7s 19f2. wpengine. netdna -cdn. com/ wp- content/ uploads /2017 /03/ Statistics_EJK_2001-2017-Janu-Feb.pdf].
Grief and bereavement have diverse inconceivable dimensions and connotations. The devastating reality of the murder is replayed over and over again in the minds of the family and they can become trapped in the traumatizing paroxysm of the grotesque murder. A victim dies alone, but the traumatised survivors of homicide victims are left not only with the sorrow of the loss but with the profound subjection of not having been able to protect or rescue the one they loved. [Vide trauma -informed. ca/traumatic- grief/ homicide- bereavement/] And it is universally acknowledged that murderer should die, and this punishment is deterrent. Families of victims want to see the perpetrator dead. If a killer gets life term in prison it is not justice—justice will only be served when the killer “is rotting in the ground”.[Vide www. debate.org/ opinions/do-families-of-victims- feel-justice-with-the-death-penalty].
It is advisable that the incumbent remembers the adage: “Every unpunished murder takes away something from the security of every man’s life”; because frequent murders, extrajudicial killings by law enforcers and enforced disappearances are rife in Bangladesh.