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25th-Aug-2016

With loss of lives, disappearances and anarchy all around need is governance

By Editorial Desk

Some fifteen thousand people have been detained on suspicion of terrorism which has been noticed critically by The New York Times last Wednesday. Instances of so many persons being kept without trial is unnecessary by any reason. The allegation made in renowned daily is that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government's real purpose is not to prevent terrorism but to punish opponents. In our view the government's image is tarnished by overenthusiasts in the government. In the passing fortnight time, the country experienced a host of man-made disasters, repeated incidents of fire, gruesome killings, brute violence against poor women, child killings, fatal accidents, deaths in hazardous workplace, alleged forced disappearances, deaths in natural calamities like tornado, deaths due to intra-party power dominance etc. In short, the country has been going through man-made and natural calamities. What is most worrisome is that the government functionaries do not feel that they are public servants to serve the people. They are not responsive to public grievances. They are more anxious about security of their jobs.    Besides, the routine cases of death in 'shootouts' or 'cross-fire' remained 'business-as-usual'. However, colossal damage of properties caused by fire at the city's mega shopping mall - Bashundhara City - remains at the top of all talks of negligence in public duty. A fire broke out at the mall namely Bashundhara City in the capital's Panthapath area on Sunday. No casualties were reported in the fire. Before that, on Mar 9, 2009, a fatal fire had swept the mall, popular among Dhaka residents, claiming seven lives and injuring more than 100. Another incident of fire occurred in August the same year and another in September 2015. It seems the shopping complex is fire prone. This time the total loss may stand around Tk.100 crore. The businessmen there are simply shattered. Arson has been taking place one after another in this big shopping mall at the centre of the capital. Our newspaper on Tuesday reported that at least two fire incidents took places in the city's Mirpur and Mouchak Markets while another at Railway Gate Market in Gaibandha district town on Monday after the Bashundhara City Shopping Mall fire on Sunday. In city's East Monipur of Mirpur, a youth died after inhaling huge smoke caused by the fire that engulfed a five-storey building. Police confirmed a 30-year-old youth identified as Mamun Miah, who passed away on Monday fire cause. On August 20, a fire broke out at a ready-made garments factory in Kaliakoir upazila of Gazipur. At least 35 people have fallen ill by inhaling gas leaking from a tank of a Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) fertiliser factory in Chittagong's Anwara on Monday. The gas spread after the leak at the factory adjacent to Chittagong Urea Fertiliser Ltd (CUFL) factory owned by the state-owned Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC).Another report of a national daily said, around 200 liquefied petroleum gas cylinders of Padma Oil Company exploded during unloading the cylinders from trucks at Sujabad of Shahzadpur in Bogra on Saturday. According to depot officials, five labourers sustained minor injuries in the incident. They blamed that the cylinders of BPC companies were very old and not useable and therefore exploded while unloading.At least five people including a man and his wife were killed in a head-on collision between a truck and auto-rickshaw in Comilla on Saturday. The accident took place on Muradnagar-Eliotganj road at Payab village under Darra Union of Muradnagar upazila.A Sylhet-bound mail train was derailed in Akhauara section disrupting Dhaka-Ctg train movement for 6 hours. Luckily, there was no casualty. However, on the highways and other local-roads, some 100 plus people died (on an average of 8 persons per day) this fortnight.   College in Dinajpur and Bogra witnessed stiff student clashes between the activists of ruling party students' wing. In Comilla University, one student was killed in one such bloody clash. In Sylhet, BCL cadres blasted home-made bombs on police on Monday injuring 6 persons including 4 police men because they opposed the BCL's unauthorised rally disrupting normal live severely.  Several reports of violence against women came in the press during this time. The worst being at Rangpur (Peergonj) where a non-Muslim woman was inhumanly beaten by her neighbours (also non-Muslims) as she demanded payment of money which they owe to her. Two children, -- a brother and a sister - were brutally killed inside their house in the city's Bashabo area on 12 August. Some other such incidents also occurred across the country, as reported in the press.A trader was shot on his legs on Monday (Aug 22) at Tipu Sultan Road in the city and snatched of Tk 6 lakh. The day before, a bKash agent was robbed of Tk 8 lakh in similar manner in Bogra.A youth was killed by police beating in Rangpur on Saturday. On Aug 11, in Moulvibazar district, a man died in police chase when they looked for his sons allegedly involved in Yaba trading. Police foiled demos against Rampal Power Plant in the city's Shahbag area on Sunday. The police was, however, very prompt in dispersing 3 (three) demonstrations - (i) of the National Committee on Oil, Gas and Natural Resources Protection Body, (ii) Students demanding trial of Afsana Killers and (iii) JnU students demanding setting-up of  residential halls for them at newly vacant old Jail premises.    They brutally charged baton on the activists who demanded cancellation of the Rampal Power Plant on the ground that it would be environmentally unsustainable. A college girl namely Afsana studying in a private poly-technic college in the capital has allegedly been killed by the cadres of ruling party students' wing. As per media reports, on August 13 two unidentified men dumped Afsana's body at a local hospital. She was a final year student of Architecture at Mirpur's Saik Institute of Management and Technology. Afsana's family alleged that the victim was raped before being murdered.A Central Committee member of Jubo League hailing from Gopalganj has grabbed several  acres of land in the district (near Jalilpar - a Hindu dominated area) for his so-called industrial establishment as reported in the press last week. During the period under review, nearly a thousand (1000) opposition leaders and workers have been arrested mostly on anti-state/ terrorist account. Even a not-so-serious look at the facts reported above would make 3 (three) things clear to all. First, the government by its utter inactions or inability to act promptly on these incidents has proved to be ineffective in running the day-to-day affairs of the state. Secondly, over all law and order situation of the country has come to a near halt and the men close to the power have developed a sense of immunity and do not bother to draw a line limiting their act of lawlessness or arbitrary deeds in perpetuating their greed. And thirdly, the government of the day is manipulated by behind the scene forces to distance itself more and more from being a government of the people and for the people. It is unhelpful for good governance when police are politicised and the people cannot trust them as their friends. The government's top priority should be to listen to the people if the government has to stay in power. Public support and cooperation are essential for good governance. The government only listen to its own self-seekers. Yet we are trying to caution the government that they must think and act seriously to come closer to the people. Don't divide the country as freedom fighters and non-freedom fighters. It is time to unite the people for living together. It is not acceptable that whoever went to India in our crisis time during Pakistan's army occupation, is a super patriot and has the audacity to question patriotism of those who did not run away.  In our anxiety we see that the country is poised for widespread violence.