Obama-Modi initiative urgent for resolving political crisis
Govt expecting the police to restore peace by foiling movement for free election06 February 2015 Editorial Desk
It is not surprising that when the President of the United States visited India as recently as in end January, the crisis in Bangladesh both political and human, came to the attention of both Mr Obama and Prime Minister Modi of India for consideration. Phil Reiner, senior director, South Asia Affairs of the National Security Council has officially confirmed that both leaders discussed the ongoing tense political situation in Bangladesh. The issues were strengthening democratic forces and empowerment of citizens of Bangladesh.The senior director read out such observations from the paper on the President's trip to India: Perspectives on US-India Relations. The situation in Bangladesh is to be described not just as tense but most dangerous when the government ignores that in a political crisis peace cannot be restored by the police power. The government is relying on the law enforcers and expecting the police to restore peace by foiling the political movement for a free and fair election. Almost in every encounter, the ruling party functionaries are resorting to police option with repressive measures.Short of engaging the armed forces, the government is using the police, ansars including paramilitary forces like RAB and BGB to encounter the political situation resulted from government's refusal to agree to the demand of the 20 party alliance headed by BNP for a free election. Their demand is not just the universal need of free election, but also implementation of prime minister Sheikh Hasina's promise to hold an inclusive election made soon after the disputed election of 5th January last year.More than one month has passed but the crisis is only deepening and violent clashes between both sides of the conflict causing death, destruction and indescribable miseries to the innocent people. The movement has become more and more violent. At same time the police are being asked to use full force to deal with the conflict caused directly as a result of going back on the government's promise of holding a fresh election in consultation with all political parties. Our political leaders seem to have lost the appreciation of human life. They have lost the value of human blood. Despite an easy and democratic solution available to the present crisis the political leaders are turning more and more inhuman in a deadly but never ending power struggle.Now the government has taken firmly the position with no dialogue and no election. The government feels no remorse in asking the security forces to do everything that needs to be done. As a result, in most cases innocent people are the worst victims of killing from cocktail bomb and gun fire in this ongoing inhuman confrontational politics. Nobody is spared, not even the children, women and the elderly. There are allegation also of secret disappearances. The situation should appear to all as most tragic and volatile but the political leaders are unable to approach the crisis politically. So they need real help.The security forces have the clear orders to shoot at sight. The DIG of Chittagong range has recently reminded all that the police have the ability of killing two against one by the arsonists. But that is the most unlike police attitude. Police cannot do killing against killing. That will be killers competition. The Prime Minister's close aide, HT Imam, a retired civil servant who himself takes credit for the engineered election of 5th January has urged the new generation and pro-liberation forces to participate in a real war to save the country from the anarchists. As reported in the press he assured on Wednesday that 'In this war we will help' the law enforcing agencies with arms. Side by side, the pro-liberation forces will be there to help.This is a call to arms fight between security forces and liberation forces of the people's liberation war of 1971 on one side and the rest of the people on the other side. This is the kind of irresponsible advice the prime minister is getting from advisers around her.The question is why there has to be a war when the issue can be democratically and peacefully resolved? The government is to be elected in a free and fair election. The prime minister herself admitted the election of 5th January was merely a constitutional formality and assured the nation of an inclusive election later. So the demand for free election is nothing new. But instead of election the supporters of the government are provoking a war, meaning armed clashes, between the so-called pro-liberation forces and others. For whatever reason, in our estimation, the political leaders are trapped in a vicious circle and proving helpless by the circumstances of their own creation. There will be no dialogue and there will be no election for the people to decide. But the country is bleeding and the government is only functional more in name and yet no role is left for political leadership.So it is our considered view that without outside mediation we cannot save ourselves from the politics of killing and mayhem. We emphasize the urgent need of an initiative by President Obama and Prime Minister Modi to help our political leaders to resolve the crisis which is undermining not only our people's democratic aspirations but also our sense of humanity. It is our firm belief that these two leaders of two powerful democracies shall have the confidence and trust of both sides of the conflict as well as our people for reaching a peaceful and far reaching settlement strengthening our journey on the path of democracy.Armed clashes can be effective in a war but let us not begin a war against ourselves. It is our people, not a certain section fought the liberation war specifically for democracy and their democratic right of electing their own government. So genuine freedom fighters cannot be against democracy and democratic electionIt is time to help the government to end the violence sensibly and immediately. Innocent ones are being killed everyday. It is gravely misleading for the government to buy the idea that by treating the crisis merely as a law and order situation and relying upon police excesses, it will find the problem disappeared.