Police have direct responsibility to save and protect life16 April 2015 Editorial Desk
Any government, elected or not elected, has to be conscious of protecting the life of every citizen. The right to life is guaranteed as a fundamental right under our constitution.
Our people wanted free Bangladesh to be free of lies and insecurity of life as experienced under the authoritarian rulers of Pakistan days.
As far as political movements are concerned, the more people die, the more successful is the movement to the organizers. According to one estimate, some 30 lakhs men, women and children died or killed during the liberation war.
But at no time it was thought important to consider the question if anything could have been done to avoid such huge massacre.
However, the desired change of empowering the people over the government is moving in reverse direction. The police have been politicized for the politics of those in power. The true role of the police to serve and save the people must not lose its due importance.
What is not also seriously taken by the government is that almost every day people are being killed due to irresponsible driving and damaged highways. Highway police are seen at the spot long after the casualty occurred.
Last Sunday it was reported in the press that 11 lives were lost within previous twenty four hours in different places. Prior to that 24 persons were killed in another incident. In the same way lives are also lost in river journeys. There were fatal accidents in railways as well. These instances cannot be explained without inferring grave negligence of the government administration.
Countless persons die in the capital city alone from collapsed buildings and shelters set up in violation of binding legal requirements but the authorities responsible to supervise ignored such illegalities for illegal gains or sheer negligence.
The government, especially the ministers, could not escape liability for the deaths due to callous negligence in following safety measures. Some would have surely lost their jobs for their own negligence of duty if the government had accountability to the people.
During every political movement it is the ordinary people who suffer the worst casualties. In the present movement under BNP-led alliance, it is undeniable that the leaders have been arrested and jailed but the victims of killing, burning and overwhelming use of police power are the general public.
That is why we feel strongly that leaders whether in power or outside have to be responsible and other people's lives must receive due importance. The leaders have to be conscious enough to know that they do not enjoy impunity about loss of lives.
The government must realize that they are enjoying state amenities with public money for protecting the people's lives and properties. The guns the police are using are guns bought with people's money and not to feel free to use such guns to kill them.
Surely, the police have more direct responsibility to save life, they being the law enforcers. When a police kills somebody in self-defence, he has to face murder charge in a court to prove he killed for saving his own life.
In the USA, a police officer is now on trial in a court for killing someone claiming it was done because he thought his life was under threat. But video picture showed otherwise.
Our law enforcing agencies should be law enforcers and nothing else. Only then, we shall have a society where respect for law will prevail. Only then the problem of lawlessness will be rightly addressed. The politicized police means greater lawlessness. This is not unknown to the police officials.
Let us not make the police a lawless force for adding to the lawlessness of the law breakers.