It has been a week since the national parliamentary election and the newly elected members of parliament have taken oath. The government is being formed. However, normalcy has not returned in all parts of the country. On the day of the voting and after, violence erupted in various areas. Houses were set on fire and other criminal acts were carried out. Awami League hoodlums gang raped a woman in Noakhali because she voted in favour of BNP’s paddy sheaf.
Such incidents may be termed as collateral damage of politics or the election, but the social impact and reaction is far reaching. The government administration, that is, the law enforcement, must clamp down on such acts.
The police arrested some of the accused rapists and have taken them on remand. This is the first visible measure taken by the law enforcement regarding election violence. So it may seem that the police have not been totally inert. Perhaps it will give the other perpetrators of violence the message that they cannot get away with such crimes. It is necessary that such a message be sent all over the country. Investigations should be carried out into the crimes that took place before, during and after the election and due legal action taken.
Unfortunately, enforcement of the law has taken a sharp nosedive in recent times. When politically influential persons commit crimes, the law enforcement turns a blind eye. Yet the political opposition’s leaders and activists are charged and arrested for carrying out their political activities, accused of crimes they did not commit. There are thousands of fake cases against BNP’s leaders and workers. There are dozens of criminals cases lodged against BNP leaders and activists in every district and upazila of the country. All this has been done with political motives. Many BNP leaders face over a hundred cases each.
The police continue harassing leaders and workers of the political opposition countrywide. They even extort persons for money, threatening them with fake cases. Many leaders remain fugitive. Others remain in fear of arrest after returning to their homes. The families live in alarm.
It goes against all democratic norms to use the law for political interests. This has a dangerous impact on social relations and can damage social harmony. It is imperative that all cases filed on political motives be withdrawn and the police stop unnecessary harassment of opposition leaders and activists.