Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal on Sunday has said that reforms can be initiated after reviewing the US report on the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).
He made the comment in response to reporters' questions after a programme in a Dhaka hotel.
"Reforms – that you speak of – we are doing all the time. We are modernising everything. We are doing what needs to be done," the minister said.
"RAB is an elite force; we give them special tasks from time to time. RAB works according to its policy," he said.
"Neither RAB, nor the police go unpunished if they commit punishable offences, the minister said, adding, "Many police and RAB personnel are in jail. We are not exempting anyone."
The home minister also said, "We are going over the US report. If there's any mistake, I will definitely look into it."
The newly-appointed Director General of RAB M Khurshid Hossain said that the issue of reforms in the force is up to the government.
"Whether there will be reforms or not, is for the government to decide. If they think RAB needs reforms they will take steps accordingly," Khurshid Hossain told reporters yesterday after paying respect at the resting place of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in Tungipara, Gopalganj.
He added that he does not personally think the force needs any reforms.
However, just a day before, on Saturday Khurshid Hossain said that there was no question of reforming the anti-crime elite force, which has been credited for dealing with militancy and serious crimes in recent years.
"Personally, I don't see any question of any reforms. We are not doing anything for which it needs to be reformed. We are working according to rules defined for us. We do not do anything in violation of the law. In that case, there is no question of reforms," he told reporters while paying tribute to the portrait of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in Dhanmondi-32.
"Sanctions have been imposed, and the government has replied to that through the official channel. This is not a challenge (for us)," he said adding that the elite force would continue to play its role by maintaining law and order and tackling militancy, terrorism and drug.
The DG's statement came in response to a recent comment by US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas that there was no change in US policy on RAB and sanctions on the agency would continue until there has been accountability and reform after human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, accused the force of violating human rights.
US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas, at a Dhaka event last Thursday, said that there has been no change in their position regarding the sanction on RAB. Haas said the sanction will remain in place until accountability and reforms are ensured.
The elite anti-crime force has been blamed for a number of enforced disappearances and so-called cross-fire incidents, but the agency refuted all the allegations.
The US envoy made the comment on Thursday (29 September) in a discussion organised by "Centre for Governance Studies" and German think tank "Friedrich Ebert Stiftung" in Dhaka.
Haas had said the sanctions imposed by the US against RAB and seven of its former and current officials were not intended to punish them, but to change their behaviour and hold them accountable.
"We are looking for accountability for past incidents," said the US ambassador.