The incident involving the beating, hacking, severing tendons, and critical injury of nine leader-activists affiliated with BNP and Jamaat in the last month raises concerns about the deteriorating state of law and order. Is it plausible that masked assailants targeted so many individuals within a month in a district, and the law enforcement personnel were unaware of these incidents?
According to Prothom Alo report, Of the victims, one is a BNP leader and two ar Jubo Dal leaders. The other six are leaders, activists and supporters of Jamaat-e-Islami. Six out of nine incidents took place in the district’s Naldanga upazila while three incidents happened in Natore Sadar, Singra and Lalpur upazilas. Five out of nine injured are still in hospital. The rest are receiving treatment at home.
A BNP leader sustained three bullet shots. Attackers severed tendons of two persons while miscreants wearing masks broke the arms and legs of six others.
Natore was once a haven for extremists, and militant groups were deployed to curb their activities during the BNP government. During that time, many individuals in this district faced torture at the hands of these militants. Following the loss of power by the BNP, militant activities subsided, and the general populace enjoyed an atmosphere of peace and security.
However, the recent spate of attacks on opposition leader-activists raises questions. It is crucial to investigate who is behind these attacks. Upon analyzing the incidents, a pattern emerges where the victims of each attack are consistently affiliated with BNP or Jamaat. This is in stark contrast to the situation during the BNP rule when Awami League and left party leaders were the primary targets.
In the BNP era, leaders and workers of the then-ruling party were implicated in attacks orchestrated by militant groups, with law enforcement officers allegedly supporting the attackers in various ways. The pertinent question now is, who is providing patronage to the current masked assailants?
Despite the series of attacks on opposition leaders and activists, only two cases have been officially registered, both filed by victims of the attacks. No arrests have been made in connection with these incidents, and there is no apparent police action to address the situation.
The statement from the officer in charge of Noldanga Police Station, Abul Kalam, appears to be an attempt to evade responsibility. His suggestion for the victims to seek recourse in court if they lack faith in the police raises concerns. The question is raised: why do we have police and police stations? Would such a response be given if leader-activists of the ruling party faced similar attacks?
The masked individuals involved in the attacks obviously are not from another planet; they are Bangladeshi citizens, specifically from Natore. It is essential for the police to recognise their role as custodians of the law, not as partisan enforcers for any particular party. The application of the law should not be influenced by the victim's political affiliation.
We strongly condemn the heinous attacks on opposition workers and leaders in Natore and call for the perpetrators to be brought under the purview of the law. Law enforcement agents must not act as bystanders when opposition workers are targeted.