Govt ultimately to blame for sustained BCL atrocities
THE death of Shamim Hossain Fakir, a physically challenged young man, on Saturday from injuries sustained during assault by two local leaders of the Bangladesh Chhatra League, students’ wing of the ruling Awami League, on August 13 at Savar over mobile phone account recharge marks yet another instance of sustained BCL atrocities and excesses. According to a report published in New Age on Sunday, Shamim had incurred the BCL leaders’ wrath when he protested against their attempt at jumping the queue. It is worth noting that such highhandedness is neither unprecedented and isolated nor exclusive to the troublemakers in the Chhatra League. In fact, ever since the AL-led government assumed office in January 2009, many, if not most, leaders and activists of the ruling party and its front organisations have displayed a discernible tendency to bend laws, rules and regulations at their whims and wishes, and, worse even, swoop on whomever that dared to protest against, let alone resist, such lawlessness. They have acted as if the law was meant to take not its own course but a course defined and dictated by them. As such, for example, they went on a vandalism spree when the district administration in Pabna or the civil surgeon’s office in some other district decided to hold recruitment test and not directly appoint people of their choice, or engage in gunfights when contractors other than those of their own tried to drop tenders for government contracts.
It would perhaps not be an exaggeration to suggest that such highhandedness displayed by leaders and activists of the ruling party and its front organisations may have been inspired by the AL-led government’s general disregard for the rule of law and the rights of others. Very early in its tenure, the government made apparent its motto that the rule of law is applicable to anyone other than those in power and those associated with or loyal to them. Hence, for example, it was predominantly leaders and activists of the ruling party and its front organisations that were exonerated from criminals and corruption charges upon review of the so-called ‘politically motivated’ cases by a national committee headed by the law minister, and the government would rather fund the multi-billion-dollar Padma multipurpose bridge from domestic resources, which, according to economists, could spell disaster for the economy, than probe, prosecute and punish the person believed to be at the core of the ‘corruption conspiracy’ that prompted the World Bank to suspend its funding for the project in the first place. Suffice to say, there are numerous such examples of the government giving precedence to partisan loyalty over the primacy of law.
In such circumstances, it would perhaps be unrealistic to expect the incumbents to desert their ‘my way or highway’ attitude and start genuinely respecting the rule of law overnight. It is thus imperative for the sections of society committed to the rule of law mobilise public opinion and intensify public pressure so as to force the government’s hands in respect of taking decisive and demonstrative actions against the law-breaking elements in the ruling party ranks.
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