M Khurshid Hossain, the new director general of the Rapid Action Battalion, has ruled out the need for reformation despite widespread criticism of the force, both at home and abroad, over its human rights record.
On his first day in office as RAB chief on Saturday, Khurshid paid tribute to the Father of the Nation at Bangabandhu Bhaban before speaking to reporters. He took over from Chowdhury Abdullah Al-Mamun, who became the new inspector general of police, reports bdnews24.com.
Reports of so-called crossfire killings or shootouts with alleged criminals have cast a shadow on the special police unit since its inception in 2004. In December 2021, the United States imposed sanctions on the RAB and several of its top officials in connection with “serious human rights abuse”.
Addressing the US sanctions, Khurshid said, “The government has challenged the sanctions that have been imposed by the US on RAB officials.”
“They asked us to address certain matters and we recently responded to them. After that, they didn’t have the chance to ask counter questions.”
“They [Washington] spoke about enforced disappearances of certain people but they have to specify who those people are. We provided their whereabouts. I don’t think this is a big challenge for the government or us.”
Khurshid acknowledged that there are bound to be a few mistakes, but the RAB will continue to carry out its responsibilities without hesitation.
On the prospects of reforming the force, he said, “I personally feel there is no question of bringing reforms. We will continue to perform our tasks and duties in line with our policies and guidelines.”