If a person violates the law, the state will take action against him; this is a vital aspect of the rule of law. However, when complaints are filed against individuals who have no involvement in such incidents, it becomes nothing but political harassment.
In Bangladesh, those in power often manipulate the administration and law enforcement to target their opponents. Similarly, when these individuals are in the opposition party, they are subjected to the same treatment. Unfortunately, this trend has persisted in our political culture for years.
It is alleged in the case filed by Shah Alam, a resident of Gandaria, that on the last Saturday around 11:30 am, BNP leaders and activists, including someone named Shawkat, assaulted local Awami League leaders and workers using sticks, machetes and rods at Murgitola intersection on Distillery Road in Gandaria.
They also reportedly detonated a crude bomb ('cocktail' explosive), resulting in seven injured Awami League leaders. According to the case statement, when the police arrived at the scene, they were attacked with bricks and sustained injuries as well.
However, during Prothom Alo's investigation, it was revealed that the person named Shawkat, mentioned in the case, had passed away due to heart ailments in December last year. The plaintiff who filed the case against the deceased individual is shown in police records as a police informant.
Moreover, the plaintiff has fabricated a false narrative about attacks on Awami League leaders and workers using batons and rods, and has also falsely implicated individuals who are already detained in prisons or residing in the United States and Malaysia.
The incident's location raises questions, as the plaintiff's case mentions Murgitola Mor Paka road on Distillery Road in Gandaria, but eyewitnesses refute any such incident at that location. According to their accounts, the clash actually occurred in Dholaikhal.
It appears that this case was filed to falsely implicate BNP leaders and activists from Gandaria. Among the defendants is Saddam Hossain, the deputy secretary of BNP ward no. 46 in Dhaka South City, who was arrested on 26 July from his home and is currently held in Keraniganj jail, as confirmed by his wife.
A total of 547 people have been accused in 11 cases filed by the police in 7 police stations within the city, with 467 people named and the rest remaining unnamed. The advantage of naming unknown accused individuals is that the police can later insert names as desired. The above records are for Dhaka city only.
There have been numerous cases against BNP leaders and activists outside Dhaka and across different parts of the country as well. As a result, approximately 700 leaders and activists have been detained in connection with the Dhaka incident. However, there is no record of any case being filed against police or ruling Awami League leaders for beating BNP leaders and workers on that day. There is no precedent for taking the case of the opposition party.
If law enforcement authorities resort to using wholesale or fictitious cases to harass opposition party leaders and activists, it undermines the very notion of justice. However, if someone genuinely violates the law, no objections would arise if the government takes appropriate action against them.
In establishing the rule of law, a person's political identity should hold no bearing. The individuals who file false cases under the names of deceased individuals, those imprisoned, or expatriates must be held accountable and subjected to the full extent of the law.