The High Court is yet to hear the probe reports on the 2012 communal attacks on Buddhists in Ramu of Cox's Bazar although five years have elapsed since their submission.
Lawyers have flagged out “overburden of cases” and “reconstitution of HC benches” as the primary causes of the delay.
One of the three reports submitted on May 16, 2013, blamed the failure of the local administration, intelligence and law enforcement agencies for the attacks.
The inquiry, led by a judicial body, found 298 people responsible for the attacks. The committee made 20 recommendations, including improving competence of the administrative officials, containing social media posts and strengthening a sense of patriotism among people.
The second inquiry, led by the police, highlighted failures of erstwhile Cox's Bazar SP Selim Md Jahangir and former Ramu OC AK Nazibul Islam. The committee, however, recommended action against Nazibul only.
The third report submitted by the home ministry claimed that 205 people were behind the mayhem which was designed in four phases at least 10 days before the attack.
A mob destroyed 12 pagodas and more than 50 houses in Ramu on the night of September 29 in 2012. The violence was apparently triggered by the image of a Buddhist youth's Facebook page that had been photo-shopped, revealed The Daily Star investigation. The page contained an anti-Islam picture.
The investigations were carried out on HC orders over writ petitions filed by Supreme Court lawyers, Jyotirmoy Barua and Eunus Ali Akond, on October 2 and 3 that year, seeking action against the perpetrators and the local administration.
The High Court is yet to hear the petitions due to reconstitution of its benches, according to the petitioners.
The probe reports were submitted to the High Court bench led by Justice Mirza Hussain Haider, now a justice at the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court. The then chief justice had reconstituted the bench before his promotion.
“I am not pushing further as the High Court is overburdened with cases. I will pray to the chief justice for constitution of another bench after the court reopens,” Jyotirmoy Barua told The Daily Star recently.
The court, which went on annual vacation on August 15, reopened on October 1.
The lawyer further told this newspaper that most of the accused in the Ramu violence cases were out on bail.
Advocate Md Eunus Ali Akond said the HC bench headed by Justice Mirza Hussain Haider was reconstituted before his petition could reach it following a long serial. He expressed unwillingness to pray before a new bench citing “overburden of cases”.
Eunus believes that at least 1,000 more judges need to be appointed to the HC for prompt hearing and disposal of cases.
The police have submitted seven charge sheets to a court in Cox's Bazar accusing 385 people over the Ramu mayhem cases filed with the Ramu Police Station.
However, none from the police or the local administration was named.
Prime accused Tofail Ahmed, chairman of Bandarban's Naikhyangchhari upazila, was detained in January 2016. He is now on bail.