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26th-Feb-2014

We don't deserve a Bangladesh so unsafe and brutal

By MAINUL HOSEIN

What the government should try to do, whether it has people's legitimacy or not, is to show its competence at the minimum to restore safety and security of life. In that view of the matter let the government fight lawlessness within the government. Extra-judicial killings and rampant corruption are the examples of government sponsored lawlessness in the government itself.  No government can expect to be exonerated for killing by police in crossfire or police shoot-out. It is bad politics, yet, the government is too much dependent on police and allowing them too much free hand. This is neither good for police discipline as law enforcers nor discipline generally in society. The unbounded power of police for political use is crippling our criminal justice system. This cannot be the way to establish peace and stability in a country. The people feel provoked and challenged for having to tolerate mismanagement of unbridled corruption and unchecked police power. Any politician worth his name knows how power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It will be wise to take the election of 5th January as quietly as possible for showing compliance with the constitutional formality and not as election victory to boast about. The general public have spoken clearly enough through the Upazila elections that the national election was stolen from them.  To know what disgruntled people can do, one has only to find out about the current popular uprising in Ukraine. The President along with the police officers, Interior Ministry troops have vanished from the capital and their whereabouts are not known. Fleeing President watched in dismay as police officers, guarding him jumped into buses and drove off.  Instead of searching for clues to the existence of al-Qaeda type terrorism, the government should concentrate on how to avoid popular unrest for reasons of public anger against police excess and rapacious corruption.  If police were not used for government's politics, the police could have remained much above reproach.  Without certainty of peace there is no scope for satisfaction that the country's economy is not in dire need of reviving. The business of graft is not the economy. Some people are making quick money by abusing the government power. That is not also economic growth. But in this depressed economic condition the economically strapped people feel harassed every way possible. The post election calm we have is very uncertain because there are no signs of political accommodation and tolerance. Contrarily, more arrogance is displayed by the Awami League leadership in the belief that everything goes. But intolerance is political terrorism not desirable for calm and peace. Violence begets violence. Three persons facing death sentence were snatched away from police custody using violence last Sunday.  On the same day four persons accused of murder got away from the court premises in Dhaka when they were refused bail. These and many other instances are there to show how the government is disorganized and unbothered. To cite another example, in the afternoon of last Sunday, the students of Jagannath University locked into violent clashes with the police in the capital city in which over 300 students including teachers and 15 policemen were seriously injured. The student's agitation is still continuing. There is no answer to the question why police action was at all necessary? Anybody will say that the Vice-Chancellor of the university and the Education Minister failed to play their part in time. This is where the government is failing most. Depending too much on police at all level of government administration is certainly bad for the government's ability to govern.It is not acceptable that the government is helpless about extra-judicial killings. Another life was lost in police custody and it was justified by claiming to have been killed in a shoot-out with the police. It is no defense either that he was a militant facing death sentence. Lawless killings by police are the worst examples of lawlessness. The people are panicked of crossfire killings and its abuse. The government appears unconcerned despite international condemnation. It is not the wish of the people that Bangladesh will be isolated from the world, be it for the undemocratic election or extra-judicial killings.One gets the impression that if the government can convince some of its friends that Bangladesh is a country of Islamic fundamentalism it will have the support for its inefficient and undemocratic ways of running the government and turning it into a police state. The government must learn governance with faith in our people. Where there is no governance for the people there will be people's resistance. Under proper political leadership Bangladesh will be a proud example of a happy and peaceful country. Our people does not deserve a Bangladesh which is unsafe and brutal. There is real fear of leaderless public unrest, not desirable, though seems inevitable. We insist on using political ways and not police ways for dealing with the political crisis.