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'Crossfire deaths'


BRITISH High Commissioner Anwar Choudhury hit the headlines in the local media last week for his comment on the government's 'crossfire solution to terrorism'. He, along with the new European Union (EU) envoy while addressing the members of press said: "the crossfire death is not an acceptable solution to any problem."
The government can say a lot about this. But any one sensible would agree with the British envoy, who himself was a victim of terrorism here, that crossfire deaths are a clear violation of the law. Being a conscious citizen, I fully appreciate the government's efforts to restore law and order. But I can in no way agree with the idea that killing people would bring back a sense of security among people.
The stories told by the law enforcers are same for every individual who died in the so-called crossfire. It has always been the same story: a matter of a 'criminal' being nabbed by the security forces, then interrogated to get the 'confessions' from him, followed by a night-time visit to his hide-out where his accomplices pounce on those who have taken him there. In the end, what remains is the body of the arrested man and the very untenable explanation that he lost his life in the crossfire between the security forces and his fellow criminals. A peculiar side of the story here is that all the members of the security team survive even without slight injuries. Simply the arrested man is vanished at night. No one is wounded and no bodies lie sprawled, except that of the man killed in the 'crossfire'. This type of story is being told since all this crossfire aspect of law and order has become an usual pattern with the enforcers of the law which dealing with the so-called criminals.
This is a systematic violation of human rights and a methodical breach of rule of law and justice. It is time for the government to adopt a serious, politically sound approach to this whole issue of 'crossfire' killings. Criminals must be tracked down. But they have to be brought before the courts. Killing them in the darkness of night without trial is nothing, but an encouragement from the state to violate the rule of law.

Zareen Rafa