Nayapaltan and some other issues

16 December 2022
Nayapaltan and some other issues

Dr. Syed Nesar Ahmad Rumy :
Recently political situation in the country is getting uncertain shape gradually. The de facto opposition, BNP is now on the street for protesting price hike of essentials and absence of good governance in the country. They started the movement since October last and they successfully organized big public meetings in all the divisional headquarters in the country despite facing transport strikes and unfriendly behavior from the different quarters.
The last meeting that is Dhaka divisional meeting was held at Golapbag field in Dhaka but BNP had a plan to hold this meeting at Nayapaltan area to declare the second phase plan of their movement against the government. But BNP could not hold this meeting in the Nayapaltan following police restriction. The logic behind the police proposal was that Nayapaltan is a busy road and on principle they would not allow holding any public gathering there. But BNP said the day of the meeting was a holiday and there would not be any problem for the people as the business house of that area would be closed in that day. But DMP did not agree with this notion.
By this time it was reported that hundreds of thousands people were on the way to Dhaka to attend the BNP rally. This might have sensitized ruling corner and law enforcing agencies. Maybe for that reason, making slower the human streams check-posts of police and camps of ruling party were set up at different entry points and important corners of the city temporarily. And they started checking the bags, mobile phones of the common people. People became embarrassed of that action of the law-enforcing agencies and the stalwarts of the ruling party. Checking mobile phones, call lists, sms, gallery were some sort of insulting action to the common people coming to Dhaka. And it is also the violations of the constitutional rights of the individuals and their privacy.
On 7th December police started action to disperse the gathering in front of BNP office at Nayapaltan. It was a general phenomenon that there was always some sort of gatherings in front of BNP central Nayapaltan. It was very common thing. Even there was always gathering in front of ruling party central office. Maybe police apprehended that the workers of BNP coming to Dhaka might hold a sit-in situation in front of their party office. For that reason it seemed police started preemptive action against them. They blocked the area and entered the BNP central office and arrested huge number of BNP workers including some senior leaders. As a result of this action one person was killed with bullet injury. This action got space in international media and even the US also called for appropriate inquiry for this action. This action showed us there was a serious lack of trust between BNP with government and law enforcing agencies.
After mid-night of December 8-9 BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakrul Islam Alomgir and Standing Committee member Miza Abbas were arrested from their house. It was a clear blow to the BNP for arranging of such big meeting. The way they arrested was not acceptable to many people and this action might be an initiative to demoralize BNP. But BNP had not been demoralized rather the action somehow boosted them up. But lastly BNP was agreed to hold their meeting at Golapbag field. It was almost afternoon on 9th December they got the permission. But within a very short time the field was filled up by the workers of BNP and common people. Facing hundreds of obstacles, inconveniences BNP made their program successful and a big meeting was held at Golapbag field within very short notice. It was quite amazing to many of us.
The behavioral pattern of state police force should not be double standard and the officers in charge of different occasions in this regard did not talk to the senior leaders with proper attitude. And they were unlike civil servants though police is a civil force; DMP did not allow BNP workers and activists in their party office. On the other hand they allowed ruling party activists to stay in front of the road of their party office and allowing them to cook the meals for their activists.
It was reported in the media. Even they allowed ruling party activists to make camps in the entire important place on the roads of the city area to prevent BNP men going to the rally.
DMP was strict not to allow BNP's meeting in front of their party office as DMP commissioner has that authority under section 29 of DMP ordinance. But Section 30 of the ordinance also says that DMP commissioner has the authority to reserve any street or public place for any public purpose. So in that case for greater interest of the city dwellers DMP could allow BNP to hold their public meeting rather to prevent them from there. Not allowing there DMP had to close that road at least three days. If DMP allowed BNP, the road could have been closed not more than six hours. Which one could have been prudent decision? Police can say BNP would not dismiss their meeting rather they would start sit-in demonstration there. If that was so, DMP then could start their action and that could get full legal coverage from the law of this land. So this action of police at Nayapaltan may be termed as a premature action. It is very much unclear now whether we get a convincing answer for this action from the appropriate authority.

(The writer is former civil servant
 and freelancer).

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