Govt’s behaviour towards BNP unacceptable

Prothom Alo illustration

It is constitutional rights to observe peaceful political programmes in a democratic system. An announcement even came from the top leadership of Awami League that there will be no obstruction to BNP’s programme. Yet not only programmes of BNP including its founding anniversary have been obstructed over past couple of days but the use of force by law enforcement agencies also exceeded in some places, resulting in violence and loss of lies. And BNP men have been made accused in the cases filed over these incidents.

Citing reliable sources of the Awami League and the government, a Prothom Alo report said the government will no longer allow BNP to wage movement with full vigor. Law enforcement agencies have been ordered to suppress the BNP with iron hand in case the party wants to launch movement.

Besides, leaders and activists of the Awami League and its associate organisations have also been instructed to remain prepared. Just after receiving this instruction, police opened fire on a procession in Narayanganj that left Juda Dal activist Shawan Pradhan dead. Besides, clashes took placed between police and leaders and activists of BNP Manikganj, Netrokona and Sirajganj. Police opened fire, charged baton and lodged tear shells in retaliation of brick chips hurled by BNP leaders and activists. Previously, two people were killed in firing at BNP programme in Bhola.

A series of cases have been filed against 4,081 leaders and activists in following the clashes in four districts and several top leaders of BNP have been named in these cases with the reaming accused being unidentified. It was seen in the past that such cases have been used to rein in leaders and activists of opposition parties in addition to mass arrest and harassment.

Again, unidentified people have been accused in the case that was filed over the death of Juba Dal activist, who killed on police-BNP clash in Narayangaj. According to case statement, Shawon was killed “after sustaining bullets fired from illegal arms by leaders and activists of BNP and brick chips hurled by them.” As a result, there is fear that this case will also be used against leaders and activists of BNP. The biggest fear is that the plaintiff of the case claimed to have not filed the case. There are allegations of various harassments that include taking a signature on white paper while handing over the bodies to relatives. Body was handed over and buried at midnight in presence of huge police forces. Relatives alleged Awami League and police are creating pressure in various ways.

A photo of the clash in Narayangaj published in Prothom Alo shows a policeman, wearing clothes of Detective Branch, firing shot. The government said BNP started attacking police in the name of a programme and there is no obstruction where peaceful programmes are being held. Will the government sit idle when a necessity of self-defence will arise? But, the reality is different, as leaders and activists of Awami League were seen bringing out showdown riding on motorcycles and wielding arms in various places.

With more than a year left for the parliamentary election, political activities gain momentum in ruling and opposition. Participation of BNP’s leaders and activists increased after the government had said there would no obstruction to BNP programmes. Amid this situation, the government rein in its ‘liberal stance’ and started going tough on BNP. It is not logical in any way to obstruct peaceful political programmes. Police have many ways to foil a programme that turns violent. It is not acceptable by any means to open fire on disciplined political programmes.