The incident of Haji Salim’s son only reiterates the story of weak and subjective enforcement of laws in which some people are more equal than others
The most recent hotcake event of the lightning fast justice sentencing MP Haji Salim's son to jail for one year by a mobile court in a drug case should not give you a feeling of complacency. This also should not be considered a good example of the rule of law.
Let us look at the obvious reasons.
This incident rather proves the fact once again that a victim may get justice if s/he is someone belonging to a powerful community that matters in the hierarchy of the state powers. So, what this incident exposes cannot be warranted for all of us.
Erfan Salim landed in jail following a quick action by RAB that led the mobile court and sentenced him on the spot in a summary trial for possessing illegal foreign liquor and using walkie-talkies unlawfully. The unlawful things for which he was found guilty were not sudden discoveries.
The hot button issue of the assault on a naval officer by the MP's son on the street after a minor road rage incident prompted the law enforcement agency to go for prompt action against him in a bid to avert a possible strong reaction from powerful quarters as it happened not too long after the cold-blooded murder of retired Major Rashed Sinha by some Cox's Bazar policemen last July.
Stern actions were promptly taken against the officer in charge of Teknaf police and his aides allegedly involved with Sinha murder. But all actions followed public outcry, especially from the retired armed forces officers' welfare association, RAOWA.
OC Pradeep fell from grace. He was suspended and is now facing trial along with others.
But it was only the tip of the iceberg of Pradeep's other actions. He was allegedly involved with more than one hundred extrajudicial killings in the region in the so-called action against drugs. He was also accused of extorting people and torturing them if they failed to pay promptly.
But none of his victims and their families were able to raise voices against his brutalities seeking justices. Fear and hopelessness ruled their lives. Regrettably, Pradeep was even awarded a police medal portraying him as a "brave" police officer in the fight against drugs.
Incidents of extrajudicial killings have been the most discussed issue for around the last two decades. But, strong actions after Sinha killing have suddenly changed the situation. Incidents of extrajudicial killing came down to almost zero.
The incident of raiding the MP's palatial home in his constituency and sentencing his son within less than 24 hours after he and his associates assaulted the naval officer became the talk of the country on Monday. Some television channels broadcast the operation live. Social media have been flooded with postings expressing disgust about the incident.
One important question was raised by people repeatedly in their posts: Would the law enforcement agency go for such strong action if the MP's son assaulted someone who did not belong to any community that matters in the hierarchy of the state powers?
Numerous anecdotal examples of incidents may offer you a clue to the answer.
A case has been filed against the MP's son for attempted murder. He will face trial. But before that he was sentenced to jail on charge of possession of illegal foreign liquors.
He has been sacked from the councillor post of Dhaka South City Corporation after his conviction by the mobile court.
Some more actions may be taken against him as he fell from grace by assaulting the naval officer. Such things took place in previous cases. For example, the series of actions against casino kingpins are noteworthy.
However, the incident of Haji Salim's son only reiterates the story of weak and subjective enforcement of laws in which some people are more equal than others – which is contrary to the rule of law.