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Bring perpetrators of Jhalakathi outrage to justice


THE judiciary of the country is under attack. Two senior assistant judges of Nalchhiti upazila and sadar upazila of Jhalakathi district were killed, as the microbus carrying them became the target of a bomb attack by unknown assailants. However, an arrested person in this connection identified himself as a member of the banned outfit of Islamic militants called Jamaatul Mujaheedin, Bangladesh (JMB). The arrest of the alleged member of JMB and his confession to the police points unambiguously to the fact that the masterminds behind this outrage are out to strike terror in the hearts of the officials of the judicial organ of the state. What are the terrorists up to by committing such mindless acts of murdering judges, who still represent the most venerated institution of the state? The question arises naturally because this latest instance of physical attack on the members of the judiciary is not a stray incident of terrorism. Because, even some moths ago, religious extremists of similar brand attacked a judge while his court was in session at Laxmipur, a southeastern district of the country.
What came out from the confession of the person arrested in connection with the killing of judges in Jhalakathi is that the target was carefully selected and the plotters of the killing knew beforehand about the pattern of movement of their victims. From the circumstances of the terrorist attack against the judges, it will not be too rash to infer that by singling out the judiciary as their target, the perpetrators of the Jhalakathi outrage are trying to drive a wedge between the two vital organs of the state -- the executive and the judiciary.
Meanwhile, the Islamic militants, active under the putative umbrella of the JMB, have amply demonstrated through their simultaneous bombing all over the country that the executive branch of the administration, its law enforcement department to be more specific, is a mere sitting duck before their power to strike anytime anywhere in the country with impunity. And finally, by attacking and killing the members of the judiciary the terrorists involved have again sent the message loud and clear that both the organs of the state are at their mercy.
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), who visited the residence of the bereaved family members of one of the victims along with the law minister and the state minister for home affairs, is learnt to have expressed his department's desire to provide all the judges of the country with gunmen to protect them. The very idea of providing gunmen to protect government functionaries, the judges, in this case, patently expose the failure of the existing police administration to do the job with its present set-up. What is more, the concept borders on the absurd in that the government will now be obliged to create a separate department of gunmen to look after the security of all the judicial officials of the country. But then what will be left of the responsibilities of the police department in its present shape?
The tragic killing of two judges in Jhalakathi by terrorists has again brought to focus the fact that it is not only the members of the ordinary public, now the government servants themselves are very insecure before the terrorists' bombs and bullets. And it is exactly such conclusion that the masterminds behind the latest act of terrorism within or without the country are trying put across to the world at large. The special forces like the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), Cheetah, Cobra and the like had demonstrated some success when they had begun their anti-terrorist drive in the country. But the latest spate of terrorist bombing by the JMB activists in particular belies the efficacy of such special forces to combat this new kind of terrorism on an escalated level.