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Using raw police force against a public cause is not right

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16th-Mar-2017       
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THE use of tear gas and water cannon and beating protesters of left political parties by police in front of the Jatiya Press Club yesterday as they gathered to protest gas price hike showed the brutal police power that they can unleash over a political programme. Protesters of Gonotantrik Bam Morcha; which is an alliance of left-leaning political parties gathered outside the secretariat building as part of their earlier announced programme to lay siege on the Energy Ministry if the government does not withdraw the gas price hike announced on February 23 for 22.7 percent from March 1 and in the second phase to 50 percent from June 1 this year.

The whole nation is badly affected by such high cost of gas. Any people's government would have understood the hardship of the general people. 

Anybody would agree that such huge gas price hike was quite unusual, not justified in the context of average income of our people. Leaders of political parties and civil society organizations as well as consumer bodies had earlier rejected such proposal in public hearing. But the Energy Regulatory Commission, which is instrumental to fix gas and electricity prices for the government took the unusual decision sparking protest from all levels. Left political parties observed half day strike on February 28 and called for nationwide protest and the siege prograamme for March 15.

We do not understand why the government was so arbitrary in raising the gas price ignoring reasonable public objections.

A  High Court Bench comprising of Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice JBM Hassan has stayed the implementation of the second phase of the gas price until December this year. We fear that the agitation will flare up again in December when the government will try to implement the second phase price hike.

The government has to respond to just demand of the protesters if the government means wellbeing of the people.      


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