Nation in turmoil: Judicial probe of killings and dialogue indispensable

Appallingly monstrous as it is, innocent injured victims of ghastly arson attacks are being admitted to hospitals and vehicles are torched day in and day out on the main thoroughfares of Dhaka city, intensely guarded by various law enforcing agencies including the paramilitary BGB troops despite repeated calls for ‘peaceful’ blockade by the opposition BNP whose secretary general is imprisoned, 1787 leaders have been sued and over three hundred thousand opposition men stand accused [vide the Daily Star, January 07, 2015]. As so many arrests and police cases have obviously weakened the opposition BNP, and PM Sheikh Hasina said on Jan 11, 2015 that the government would “do whatever is necessary to ensure security of the people”, so puzzled and dumbfounded people are pondering as to who are responsible for perpetrating the ongoing violent activities and hurling of bombs across the country.
However, alleging that “joint forces were creating a reign of terror in different parts of the country”, former Prime Minister and opposition BNP chief Khaleda Zia held the government and the ruling party responsible for the killings.
For reasons best known to the incumbents, those police cases were not pursued. Meanwhile, during the past fortnight 15 opposition leaders and workers were shot dead by police, RAB personnel and ruling party men, in addition to in the so-called “encounter”. In Chapainawabganj, fearing arrest, most of the males in two villages of Shibganj upazila are staying away from home at night after members of the joint forces of police, RAB and paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) allegedly ransacked and torched houses during raids there on 15 January.
Doubt and suspicion last week befuddled all and sundry how on earth gunshots could be fired at former ambassador and state minister for foreign affairs and advisor to Khaleda Zia Riaz Rahman by four persons riding two motorbikes at that high-security impenetrable restricted area strictly monitored with closed circuit (CC) cameras—-which had been most extensively guarded for many days round-the-clock by a large number of armed police personnel with modern devices and various transport vehicles.
As scores of policemen, RAB personnel and the like miserably failed to catch then and there those bandits who—-apparently in a relaxed manner—-doused Riaz Rahman’s car with petrol to set it alight and comfortably drove away, so should not all those inefficient officers and personnel of those forces deployed there on that evening be discharged from service forthwith? Are they not shockingly incompetent for any job, let alone government security service for maintaining law and order? Indeed they are both threat and liability. Earlier, the car of BNP Chairperson’s adviser Sabihuddin Ahmed was torched on January 11 near Khaleda Zia’s Gulshan office in front of policemen on duty there.
It is very much pertinent to ask who sowed the seed of this absolutely unnecessary trouble which has now assumed the shape of turmoil. The answer is: Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina. At a public meeting she stated that people are united for caretaker government (CG) to ensure free and fair general elections and launched movement for CG, joined by Jamat-e-Islami and Jatiya Party, from 1994 to1996 during which years she called Hartals and blockades for 96 days, in addition to one uninterrupted 96-hour hartal, two 72-hour hartals and five 48-hour hartals. In those programmes marked by vandalism, bomb blasts, cocktail bursts, gunshots and arson, over 50 people were killed and over 1,000 people were wounded, while the new railway station at Chittagong was demolished, according to  dated 10 June 2011.
In 1996 Sheikh Hasina had strongly rejected the idea of going to parliamentary elections under the then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, but since 2011 Hasina is asking Khaleda to contest elections under Prime Minister Hasina. In 1996, responding to Hasina’s demand, Khaleda had the goodness to hold an election only for amending the Constitution to incorporate the provision of caretaker government (CG) which was welcomed by Hasina. But after three polls under three CGs, Hasina retracted and most unethically rescinded the CG provision from the Constitution. Is it not a brazen usurpation and double standard?
In sum, Khaleda’s demand is a morally and logically correct principled stand to ensure the citizens to exercise their voting right in free, fair and credible elections. But Sheikh Hasina has denied the people their voting right because she has made 154 persons of her choice lawmakers without votes! This severe political conflict may conflagrate unless Hasina goes by logic and reasoning.
Given that even an insignificant political party leader’s first and foremost goal is to gain popularity and reputation, it needs no elaboration that a big political party like BNP (enjoying far more public support than the ruling Awami League as surveys revealed) which has ruled Bangladesh for 16 years, should want to run the risk of inviting unpopularity and bad name by burning people and torching automobiles, which will mean its sure and certain political hara-kiri. Therefore, people are not buying this theory, although ruling imperious jabbers are blaming otherwise.
As we have over and over again said, meaningful dialogue with BNP brooks no delay to avert impending doom in this country where the populace including students, teachers, doctors, lawyers and other professionals are distinctly divided into two groups—-a unique phenomenon in the world. Finally, we suggest immediate formation of judicial probe committees into arson, torching and killings by police etc headed by retired Supreme Court judges.

Source: Weekly Holiday


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