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Limon to be cleared - Govt decides to withdraw cases filed by Rab

Bangladesh on 10 July 2013
Location : Bangladesh | Source : The Daily Star

The two-year long battle Limon Hossain had been waging against the state machinery seems to come to an end, after the government yesterday decided to withdraw the two cases Rab had filed against him.

This comes eight days after Limon was indicted in an arms case, drawing huge outcry from rights bodies over the government’s failure to protect the innocent college boy.

His ordeal began on March 23, 2011, just yards away from his home at Shaturia village in Jhalakathi.  As Limon, then 16, went to fetch his family cattle from a nearby field, a Rab team shot him point-blank in his left leg, taking him for a notorious criminal it was looking for.
The elite force then picked him up and sent him to a hospital. On the same day, Rab filed two cases against him — one for possessing arms and another for obstructing law enforcers. As evidence against the poor, meritorious boy, Rab produced a worn out revolver and a used bullet cap.

Four days after the shooting, Limon’s leg had to be amputated. He now walks on an artificial leg.

Over the last two years, national and international rights bodies described the whole episode as injustice and an utter violation of human rights and urged the government in vain to right this wrong.

Yesterday, Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir said: ”We have decided to withdraw the cases against Limon.”

Asked if the Rab personnel who shot Limon would be brought to book, the minister said he saw no need for that.

”We should consider one thing: the way Limon was caught from the spot indicates resistance from him and others against Rab,” he told reporters at his secretariat office.

For Limon, who is now in Dhaka for treatment of his ear that was injured during his arrest in 2011, the day started with his usual worries over being accused in two cases that could send him to jail, if convicted, for 24 years.  

But the news changed his day.

“I got a call around 2:00pm from the human rights commission chairman,” said a delighted Limon. “I could not believe what he said. I think it’s a victory for the good people of our country and the media and also those who helped me at every step during my ordeal.”

Asked if his family would consider withdrawing the case against six Rab officials for shooting and maiming him, Limon said he was always for justice.

“The cases filed against me are false but my mother’s case against the Rab men is true. So I shall always seek justice,” he added.

Limon’s shooting and everything that followed drew a barrage of criticism from the public, the media and rights bodies.

In a press release, the National Human Rights Commission yesterday said it had been vocal about protecting Limon’s human rights from the very beginning.

Commission chief Mizanur Rahman had urged the government several times in writing and also verbally to withdraw the cases against Limon, it added.

The home minister called the NHRC chairman in the morning to inform him of the government decision, the release said.

Talking to The Daily Star, Mizanur Rahman said he saw the withdrawal of the cases as “a victory for humanity”.
“Our responsibility towards Limon is not over yet. The state has more to do for the young man who lost a leg,” he noted.
Even in his miserable condition, Limon took his HSC exam this year from Kathalia PGS Bilateral Technical School and College. He is now waiting for his results.

In his hometown, people from all walks of life expressed satisfaction over the government decision, reports our Jhalakathi correspondent.

“We are really happy that the government has at long last realised that Limon has always been innocent,” said Zakir Hossain, a Union Parishad member of Shaturia.

REACTION IN DHAKA
Asked to comment on the development, eminent lawyer Shahdeen Malik said: ”Now, there needs to be a neutral and thorough investigation to find whether those who opened fire abused their powers. It also needs to be investigated if they had proper training in handling such incidents and all other issues.”

He noted that some members of a force might act wrongly and criminally. In such a situation, it is mandatory for the force to investigate the matter to learn from the mistake so that such things do not recur.

Nur Khan, director of the rights body Ain o Salish Kendra that gave legal support to Limon, said: “We are happy at the government’s move to withdraw the cases against Limon.”

He added: “We think that the government through this move has cleared the way for trying the Rab personnel concerned. But we are shocked at the home minister’s comment that he does not see any need for taking punitive action against the Rab personnel.”

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