Logo
22nd-Jan-2015

Shooting at sight is war : Holding election is peace

By MAINUL HOSEIN

One does not need to be an intellectual to tell us how sad and painful is the loss and suffering going through by the people. The scenes are vividly shown in the media.  We need honest intellectuals to tell us honestly why free election is not acceptable for immediate peace. They cannot deny that violence, killing, arson, bomb throwing, hartal and blockade are the ways of opposition politics in our political culture. Against that, the government of the day uses police brutality and repression. Such activities though heart-breaking and intolerable, we have failed to stop them every time the nation faces an election crisis. Such violence and use of force cannot be called politics. But in all such instances our protest went unheeded. The politicians only listened to their followers. They are not ready to consider and judge views of others to decide right and wrong.  The truth is Awami League and its promoters cannot easily accept now a free election. The contradiction lies in  that the government is repeatedly saying they have public support. Then the solution is easy : Both the Awami League government and the BNP alliance must agree to face election to show it to all who has the people's support. The opposition will have nothing to oppose. The truth is that the government is not sure of winning the election. The Awami League and its defenders must be given assurances. Such assurances can only be achieved through discussion at whatever level felt necessary. As the opposition leaders are branded as terrorists and anti-liberation elements so the government cannot sit with them and they cannot agree to hold free election as a means of transferring power according to the people's wishes. Denial is being done to the people.The government is at war with the anti-liberation forces as they see their opponents. But denying the peoples' right to vote by force is a war against the people. That is why the government wants their supporters to condemn violence but not to accept the easy way of election for peace and to save the people from deaths and destruction, they so volubly decry. When the nation faces intense insecurity of life and wishes an early solution, the ministers seem ready to fight a violent war of their choice but 'no dialogue', and no election.  State Minister for Home Affairs announced Tuesday to reward people for providing information leading to arrest of the attackers, dead or alive. Meanwhile, a leader of the students' wing of the main opposition party was killed in a "shootout" with the police in the capital. His family members alleged that the police took him away and killed.  Earlier on Monday in a similar "gunfight" with detectives at Motijheel area in the city, a ward-level leader from Narail municipality, was killed. So the extra-judicial killings and disappearances are seen again getting new impetus. The Social Welfare Minister has gone as far as to assure straight 'shoot at sight' law as an easy solution to the crisis. The cross-fire killing is not enough. The government is even contemplating to arrest the opposition leader Begum Khaleda Zia after keeping her in confinement for nearly a month.  On the other hand Begum Khaleda Zia led 20 party opposition alliance will not stop their programme of blockade and hartal till the demand for free election as promised by the prime minister is met. It does not matter to them either, how many are killed or how much suffering is inflicted on the general public. The opposition, of course, shifts the blame on the government. According to them such violent acts are being committed under police protection. Besides, they say, there would have been no need of violence of any kind by any side had the government agreed to hold the election impartially like before.It is one thing to blame the opposition for violence, but when the government without accepting free election seeks solution through 'shoot at sight' then it means nothing but using absolute power and showing absolute intolerance to remain in power.Our deeper crisis is that we have no political leadership to think and act politically. So a civil war situation is fast developing in the country. The question that makes me very sad and worried is why we cannot solve the crisis over the election demand without outside help, especially when both sides claim popular support behind each of them? Then why our intellectuals cannot insist on both sides to face election? It is a national disgrace that there are so many persons in public affairs who are too selfish to be sensible. They are for fighting fire with fire but that is not the way to extinguish fire.