Govt must not reward errant police officers
The home affairs minister and his ministry appear to have been bent on pursuing their anti-people policy of repressing political opponents, no matter how much public ire it provokes against the incumbents. When various sections of society, including physicians and academics, are opposing the use of severely harmful pepper powder against people, the home minister has not only sticking to the idea of continuing to use the dangerous chemical, but also said on Friday that ‘no one has the right to make comments on the use of pepper spray.’ The minister’s reason being, as New Age reported on Saturday, ‘pepper spray is one of the elements approved by the international convention to prevent illegal gatherings.’
The minister did not spell out as to whose ‘international convention’ it was that approved the use of injurious pepper spray, in the first place. Besides, what makes him brand opposition parties and groups protesting against the continued price increase of power ‘illegal’? It is, rather, the government that illegally raised the power price, evading public hearing to be conducted by the Energy Regulatory Commission. Moreover, the minister’s comment that ‘no one has the right to make comments on the use of pepper spray’ is absolutely contradictory to the citizens’ constitutionally guaranteed right to the freedom of expression.
That the home ministry is least bothered about public sentiment has also been manifested in its decision to reward some errant police officers, who rather deserve punishments for insincerity and incompetence. For example, Harun-Ur Rashid, a deputy commissioner of police who had publicly beaten up the chief whip of the opposition in the parliament in July 2011 and remained an onlooker when activists of the Chhatra League, the student wing of the ruling Awami League, were hacking Bishawjit Das to death in December 2012, is selected for the President’s Police Medal. Nazrul Islam, the erstwhile officer-in-charge of the Sutrapur police who witnessed the fatal attack on Bishawjit without taking any action against the unruly Chhatra League boys, has also been selected for the medal. Clearly, in awarding gallantry award to the police officers, the home ministry has followed the policy of rewarding those who have either repressed opposition leaders and activists or helped ruling party activists in carrying out repressions against political opponents. No right-thinking citizen can appreciate the policy.
Under the circumstances, the government, if it has any respect for people’s sentiment, democratic principles and political will to streamline the police force, should stop using repressive measures such as the use of pepper powder on political opponents on the one hand and revise the decision of rewarding the errant officers, on the other.
comments powered by Disqus