Fear that opposition leaders and activists may face repression, legal suits and be subjected to enforced disappearance has come true, says human rights group Odhikar.
Incidents of enforced disappearance rose remarkably, and according to Odhikar, more than a half of such incidents recorded this year took place only in September. There were 30 cases of disappearances compared to 28 in all in the past eight months.
Extra-judicial killing in the form of cross-fire or gunfight continued, said the monthly human rights monitoring report published on Tuesday. At least 36 people were killed extra-judicially in September, raising the toll of such deaths to 403 in 2018.
Filing of cases against leaders of the opposition, especially Bangladesh Nationalist Party, increases disproportionately in the month. Odhikar, however, could not produce updated number although the BNP said more than 4,000 cases implicating around 80,000 party men and 233,000 unnamed people were filed only between 1 and 20 September.
“The fear that opposition leaders and activists could be subjected to enforced disappearance ahead of the upcoming elections, is now turning into reality,” observed Odhikar.
It added that repression of the opposition leaders and activists and dissenters by the government ahead of the national elections, has escalated alarmingly.
The right body mentioned that the 11th parliamentary elections is expected to be held in December, but “a level-playing field for all political parties has not been created”.
“The current (Awami League) government is trying to dominate the election ground by violating freedom of opinion, expression, assembly and association by suppressing the opposition and dissenting voices.”