Not quite an indicator of improved law and order
THE manner in which a gang of robbers looted and vandalised three jewellery shops at a market in the heart of the Sylhet city Wednesday night is quite unprecedented. According to a New Age report on Thursday, a group of 15-16 robbers came to the market at around 7:45pm when electricity was off and it was raining with thunder storm. They hurled 15-20 crude bombs and then attacked the shops on the ground floor of the market. When the shopkeepers and the guard of the market tried to resist them they opened fire leaving the guard dead and two others injured. Intriguingly, the robbers took just ten minutes to flee the area, while the law enforcement personnel took more than an hour to reach the spot from the nearby police station even though they had been called by the businessmen at the market on several occasions since the robbers attacked them. In such circumstances, allegations raised by the businessmen that local police might have been complicit in the robbery cannot be readily ruled out.
The robbery took place at a time when key functionaries of the incumbent Awami League-led government have claimed repeatedly that law and order situation around the country is better than any time in the past. In fact, ever since the incumbents assumed office in 2009, there has been a surge in crimes, petty and serious, across the country. Moreover, a number of horrendous criminal incidents, including murder, took place in this period in which the law enforcement agencies have failed to find out even any clue thus far. Worse still, there have been many criminal incidents in which members of different law enforcement agencies, including police, were allegedly involved.
Overall, to address the worrying law and order situation, what the government needs to do in the first place is come out of its denial of the ground realities. At the same time, it also needs to do something demonstrative and decisive to make law enforcers render their stipulated duties to the letter and in spirit. The incumbents need to realise that unabated indifference to public safety and security may end up causing enormous public backlash against them in the months to come.
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