Violence against women has been continuing for long time, only the degree has increased. Generally this remains hidden from view and comes to the fore once the society awakens. As protests are all around, this is coming to everyone’s attention. The offender is not punished if the rule of law is absent. Under such conditions, the offender is no longer afraid.
Many speak of exemplary punishment in such crimes, but the punishment delivered in a proper trial is itself exemplary. Calling a punishment exemplary after delivering it all on a sudden hides the weakness of the rule of law. We should demand real punishment in every case. That will abate crimes.
When the criminals are involved with the affiliates of the ruling party, they think that the political power will save them. The criminals have support of such persons who are associated with the power in one way or another.
Another reason behind the spread of crime is that the real politicians of the grassroots have been pushed away and the opportunists have come into play. A void is created when the genuine politicians become inactive which is then filled by the opportunist leaders. They use politics for their own interests. They invest money in local politics and then rake it in from politics, using their business tactics.
When students of schools and colleges took to the streets demanding safe roads, the hammer and helmet forces attacked them. Nothing happened to the attackers, but an exceptional movement lost its momentum
In order to do this, they use the criminals and back them. But they withdraw that support sensing any danger. The politicians who, according to the media, were involved in the recent incident at Sylhet MC College belong to this criterion. They have no ideology, let alone Bangabandhu’s ideology. The real politicians have no connection with the criminals, but their number is declining.
Most of the people in the country hate crime. But the resentment and protest that should have emerged following the reckless crimes did not happen. The civil society, social, political and cultural organisations which had been protesting against injustice for long, seemed to have lost their strength.
Let us demand continuous justice and sentences as per the degree of offence rather than exemplary punishment. This requires state and political commitment, but that commitment will only be instilled if the movement continues
There are many reasons behind this. If the opponent is powerful, protests bring in danger. Imprisonment and torture take place. When students of schools and colleges took to the streets demanding safe roads, the hammer and helmet forces attacked them. Nothing happened to the attackers, but an exceptional movement lost its momentum.
The role of the administration and law enforcement comes to the fore in this case. The young officers in these forces are interested in change. But the degenerate political and social structures do not allow them the opportunity. The colonial system in which all our state institutions operate robs them of their spirit. Nothing good can be expected from them. The problems would not be so deep if we could at least introduce some necessary, if not total, reforms.
The movement that has been going on for a few days has created an opportunity for change. After the killing of retired army major Sinha Mohammad Rashed Khan, crossfire has stopped for the time being as all the institutions have become active. Whenever there is a crime, exemplary punishment comes to the focus. But we do not want that the movement be stopped with one or two exemplary punishments.
Let us demand continuous justice and sentences as per the degree of offence rather than exemplary punishment. This requires state and political commitment, but that commitment will only be instilled if the movement continues.
*Syed Manzoorul Islam is an educationist. This piece originally appearing in Prothom Alo print and online editions, have been rewritten here for the English edition by Nusrat Nowrin.