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Hold Them Accountable

December 11, 2017

Unwarranted violence unleashed by ruling party affiliated organizations and sometimes by the law-enforcing agencies makes the ordinary citizens frightened.

It is not that we are unfamiliar with violence. But this time the scale and severity of violence transcend all previous precedents.
Degeneration of ruling party organizations upsets many who witnessed creation of Bangladesh. What surprised me  bad conducts barely infuriate ruling party leaders.

They, however, feel complacent by putting the blame squarely on opposition quarters and intruders.
Rare are the occasions that witness criminal party workers are brought to book unless the incident causes huge uproar in the press.

Central committee of these affiliated organizations limits their role by stripping the wrongdoers off  party positions. Saving the face before the press outcry comes into play in taking such decision rather than the desire to maintain party discipline.

If containing crime and violence is the prime goal of our law-enforcing agencies, then I have to say they miserably fail to achieve that target.

What is worrying is that more and more of them engage in unlawful acts.

A recent report published on a widely circulated daily says that Detective branch of Ramna Thana Police has been harassing CNG taxi dealers for quite a long time. The dealers took the matter to Home Minister and asked for his intervention.

The complaint only worsens the harassment. Since August, at least  four CNG dealers  were detained by DB personnel in a bid to squeeze money from them.

It is also reported in the press that bribery takes place in the recruitment, transfer and promotion of Police personnel.

How can one expect  better  law and order situation in the country when law-enforcing agencies are mired in corruption and criminal acts?

We the ordinary citizens do not see them to come forward with a complete plan to contain this getting-out-of-control  situation.

There is a pertinent  question that deserves immediate answer. Is the prevailing system, which is to a great extent caused the anarchic situation, created by political rent seekers boon for security personnel?

Another thing I notice that there has hardly been instance where law-enforcing agencies’ chiefs were hold accountable for their misdeeds or role in controversial regimes.

Just a week ago Argentina sentenced former Navy captain Alfredo Astiz to life imprisonment for his role in ” Dirty War”, which saw abduction and killing of thousands of innocent people. This captain known as “Angel  of Death” abducted and tortured many people at a Navy training facility, including Azucena Villaflor who organized a movement of mothers of the disappeared.

Even in neighboring India , there are examples. RN Kao former Intelligence Bureau chief of India was summoned by people’s representatives to clear his  role during the time of emergency. Indira Gandhi government unilaterally  imposed a two-year-long emergency rule and detained hundreds of thousands people including politicians, dissidents, journalists and academics. Tortures were meted out to them.

As soon as the Indira regime was brought down, the Morarji Desai government summoned Mr Kao , who was considered a close aide to Mrs Gandhi, to spell out his role behind the secret detention and tortures.

Mr Kao faced the hostile politicians and gave convincing reply to each of their questions. Having heard of his answers, Desai government cleared him of the allegations of playing any role to detention and tortures of opposition politicians and innocent people.

In Bangladesh, such precedents have never been set. So, increasing dependence of ruling parties on law enforcing agencies to  subdue rivals gives them a kind of signal that they are kingmaker and untouchable. This overriding feeling often gives birth to some kind of “showguns” who start to set their own rules.

The harassment of students by ruling party student wing stalwarts happened right before the Police at Institute of Health Technology in Rajshahi. They did nothing while harassers  humiliated the complainers.

Turning a blind eye to the wrongdoings of ruling party affiliated organizations calls into question role of police maintaining rule of law in the country.

People have grown suspicious about ruling party affiliated organizations. Organized criminal racket like operation of these organizations only popularizes depoliticization scheme and creates an ecosystem of perks that serves as incentives for police to overlook party-led anarchy.

The air is thick with growing cry  of  curtailing some of the abusive power of these agencies as the list of disappeared, widow, orphans continues to long.

We have regulatory authority to protect consumer interests, we have regulatory authority to watch the operations of mobile operators, we have regulatory authority to monitor the operations of universities. Then why do we not have such a body to have a close eye on their operations?
At least people’s representatives or higher court can summon them and hold a public question and answer sessions.

Election is knocking on the door. To put an end to anarchy by those closer to power , it is imperative that the law enforcing agencies will play an objective role while maintaining law and order. To create an equal turf for all the parties also calls for their impartial role.
Resulting political imbalance  stemming from one-sided election of 2014  will only add woes of Bangladesh.

In stead of knee capping opposition political activists and giving a carte blanche to hooligans to do whatever they wish, law enforcing agencies should concentrate on their efforts to create fear-free atmosphere for a conducive election.
They have to remember that a lame Bangladesh cannot win a race, let alone achieve the development goals set by govt’s book of visions.

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