74 die since January, says Bangladesh rights group
Apr 13, 2007 - 12:46:59 PM

Dhaka, April 13 - Seventy-four people have been killed and 139,059 arrested across Bangladesh since Jan 11 when emergency was imposed in the country, says human rights body Odhikar.

Of the 74 people killed between Jan 12 and April 12 by law enforcers, 43 were allegedly killed by the elite Rapid Action Battalion -, 16 by police, six by the army, six by army-led joint forces, two by the navy and one by officers of the Department of Narcotics Control.

Odhikar demanded independent inquiry into all the extra-judicial killings and deaths. It has also said that the results of all such inquiries should be made public, the New Age newspaper said.

The figures includes 41 killed in 'crossfire' with RAB, two arrested by RAB who later died in hospital, five killed by police in 'crossfire' and five tortured to death by police.

Eight of those killed were activists of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party - and three belonged to the Awami League.

The listing by the unofficial body that is a conglomerate of various human rights groups indicates that like all past governments in Bangladesh, this one too has particularly targeted ultra-Left groups and Maoists. The number of activists of these groups adds up to 23.

Authorities appear to have spared those of the rightwing Islamist groups, some of them proscribed after international pressures by the government of Begum Khaleda Zia. The Zia government had allegedly made use of the Islamist cadres to eliminate the Maoists.

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