Caution against post-poll violence


A woman from Noakhali’s Subarnachar recently alleged she was raped by 10 or 12 Awami League men for casting her vote in favour of BNP in the 11th parliamentary election. This is alarming. Such vindictive tendencies after the election affect peace and order. Political antagonism impacts personal, family and social life. The government should be alert that election feuds do not affect social relations.

Around 18 people were killed in polls violence in different places of the country on the day of the election. The worst outcome of such political violence is that the victim’s family turns vindictive against the offenders. The day after the election, several reports of socially disruptive post-election violence appeared in the media.

These incidents included torching a house and a poultry farm in Gazipur and vandalising two Chapainawabganj houses. An independent candidate’s men allegedly vandalised 20 homes of Awami League supporters in Faridpur. Such vengeance is social rather than political.

The Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader acted responsibly to ask the party men to behave patiently.

The BNP (Bangladesh Nationalist Party) leadership should also follow suit. It is actually the political parties’ responsibility to control their people and prevent violence. It is the law enforcement’s role to take legal steps after any violence. As each of the violent incidents is a criminal offence, the law enforcement must remember there is no scope to ignore the legal process for political reasons. The offenders must be arrested, and required legal steps must be undertaken. Legal measures against the ruling party men over internal feuds are often avoided. This is unacceptable.

Though there were allegations against 10 to 12 persons in the Subarnachar incident, only one was detained. Others must be arrested soon too.

The law enforcement’s quick response to any crime always has a positive impact on society. The phrase ‘culture of lawlessness’ is already prevalent in the country. Allegations are common over negligence of law when powerful people commit crimes. It is also a common perception here, that the ruling party men always get away with huge offences. This should change.

There should be directives from the ruling party and government to the law enforcement agencies to ensure that no one is exempted due to political influence.

The role of the law enforcement is not enough to implement the law. The role of the political parties, especially of the ruling one, is crucial in this regard. Prevention of post-poll violence, and peace and order across the country must be ensured.