Crime galore and the state of the nation

M. Shahidul Islam

We’re into an era of crime galore, immunity bonanza, dictatorial dispensation and, socio-political anarchy. But that’s not supposed to be. Societies survive and thrive on a set of fundamental principles defined and fashioned by the consents of individuals who forfeit some fundamental rights to the ‘elected rulers’ in return for collective protection, progress and happiness.

In return for such consensus and compliance to the authority that be, the state remains committed to ensuring the safety, security and progress of individuals through execution of rule of law and social – political – economic justices. The fact we do not have ‘elected rulers’ tells a lot why our sufferings are exacerbating by minutes.
Ruptured social contract
One may harp on the fallacies and the tragedies of history, but, in Bangladesh, the universal model of what is known as the ‘social contract’ has been eroding, gradually, since the nation’s inception. The pinnacle is peeping now. Today, one observes a total breakdown of the rule of law as crimes are also committed in large numbers by police and other security forces; the political elites and their henchmen; and, the affluent and the powerful people.
Criminality, on the other hand, is not limited to cruel, inhuman and forbidden acts and behaviours alone. The state too has become the highest usurper and extortionist through unconstitutional acts and uncensored misconducts of public officials and employees. In today’s Bangladesh, the state murders and maims more than do a hybrid of criminal brands.
The state also does much more. The ubiquitous instances of bribery aside, there’s no accountability whatsoever in any organ of the state. The misuse of power by the ruling politicians and the top executives has prompted the hierarchy down below, inclusive of the security forces, to do whatever they like.
Crime galore
The rot has not come to this pass in a day or two. The coercive- authoritative methodology adopted for years to justify clinging onto power indefinitely by the ruling AL had only resulted now in the rupture of the entire model of the social contract following the state machinery’s drenching of the remnants of the trust, accountability and the legality to govern. The unwarranted usurpation by the state, for too long, have now begun to spur aggravated acts of criminalities in all levels of the society.
The data too being subjected to doctoring and being seemingly deceptive, more so if prepared by a distinctively partisan police force on its own record, a glance at the data on major crimes, provided by the government-controlled Bangladesh police, at least corroborates our assertion that criminalities of all forms had increased manifolds.
For instance, recorded instances of murder had gone up from 3503 in 2002 to 4514 in 2014. Instances of police assaults on unarmed public had hiked from 281 in 2002 to 702 in 2014. Ironically, despite concerted clamours to show the world that the nation is gripped by the menace of Islamic terrorism, arms related cases had fallen from 3060 in 2002 to 2023 in 2014.
Downtrodden victims
As well, recently committed horrific crimes against children have a pattern that many overlooked. The victims are poor, helpless, downtrodden children of marginal families who’re involved in child labour. Their number is estimated to be over 10 million across the country. They’ve no means to go to school in a nation where over 32 per cent of the population is still below the poverty line; more than 10 per cent of the population squatters; 99 percent of the national wealth has been gobbled by one per cent elites; and, yet, the claim from the condescending, usurping ‘unrepresented regime’ is that the nation has vaulted into a mid-income one.
This authoritative claim slams hard on the face of the known facts that, thousands still die while fleeing the country by sea or by land; millions more are uprooted by river erosion and natural calamities and rush to city slums to survive; affluent ones take flights in droves to reach and settle in secured destinations abroad by investing millions of dollars to obtain immigration status; foreigners shy away from investing; and, local entrepreneurs say they have had enough amidst chronic shortage of gas, electricity and other mundane facilities, as well as the obtrusive bureaucratic hassles and bottlenecking.
Worst still, in a country where money floats like capsized yachts and the over- population-pressure on the real estate is bound to grow every day, no one is investing in the real estate anymore. Isn’t that a danger warranting immediate remedy?
Changing agenda
Amidst this desperate state of the nation, no one seems much bothered while such crucial matters are often shelved off as not being the staples of discourse within the government or the loyalist media outlets. Instead, issues of inclusive election, human rights, law and order, investment and employment are all dwarfed by an antique political jargon that only sees the ugly fangs of Islamic terrorism. And, shamefully, only in Bangladesh those phantom terrors use machetes and chapatis to kill someone while not engaging in fight with law enforcers, or, not vying for state power. That such symptoms are anything but representative of the IS or Al-Qaeda modalities need scholarly insight to understand. Sycophantic inclination for personal gains, which is what is driving most of our intelligentsia, will always miss that reality.
Above all, mendacity and deception looms large to exacerbate this national danger. For instance,  whenever the talk for an election attains any meaningful trajectory, another so called blogger is found slaughtered and the hype multiplies to show the audience within and outside that the nation is under the grip of those menacing medieval forces who must be reined in by the regime that’s in power, and shall remain in power indefinitely. The message is: forget an inclusive election. Join the AL and fight the Islamic extremists first.
This is dangerous politics from which conscientious ones must disassociate from.  And it’s time we must agree on one point: Unless there is an inclusive, representative- elected government, imagined terrorism will transform into crude reality. It did in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and many other countries. Bangladesh today is at the edge of a cliff, pushed therein by the narcissist and dictatorial mindset of those who think power is hereditary, perpetual and eternal.  Thinking all else are fools excepting the ruling elites and their paid agents is a mistake that can cost dearly to the perpetrators first, and the nation later.
Niloy Chatterjee’s murder
Recent murder of blogger Niloy Chatterje is one of the painful incidents that is taking the nation on another propagandist-bandwagon ride while, at the same time, propelling many to think who’re behind these serial tragedies. Noticeable is the fact that Niloy’s sudden death had changed the political discourse and brought into fore once again the moth-eaten issue of Islamic terrorism. If benefactors of crimes are to be suspects, the finger is bound to point toward those who’re not even suspected.
Besides, how come the intelligence services can trace out in minutes who had sent a threatening message to the PM but fail to pay heed to a victim like Niloy who’s advised by police to go abroad upon being approached, seeking protection from proven electronic threats.
Surprisingly as well, an online Indian media, Daily O, had already publicized on May 14 Niloy’s death along with the killing story of bloggers Ovijit and Anonto. But Niloy was killed on August 7, almost three months later. Does it sound like a reality show or a premeditated block buster celluloid?
It could be anything but a spectacle that we as a nation cannot watch and digest dispassionately any more. This incident reminds we’re faced with a crucial question: Are we all being taken for a ride by forces that are all out to destroy our moral fiber and the physical ability to withstand external onslaughts? If so, let’s unite and fight back those evils.
Source: Weekly Holiday


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