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Are police behaving like activists of ruling party?

Published : Wednesday, 15 September, 2021 at 12:00 AM  Count : 463

Are police behaving like activists of ruling party?

Are police behaving like activists of ruling party?

Most administrative officials and many in the different ranks and files of police are allegedly engaged in strengthening the hands of the incumbent government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Secretary General Fakhrul Islam Alamgir recently reiterated that police and officials of the administration have been helping the government to consolidate its power since it ascended to the governance sweeping the election in December 2008, held under an army-backed interim government.

The remark is sufficient enough to tarnish the image of the administrative officials and the police personnel who are supposed to remain politically neutral as the servants of the state, which recruits them, trains them, appoints them on different posts and pays them for serving the nation and the people, albeit under the government elected by the people. But in no circumstances the administrative officials and the police personnel should perform as the activists of the ruling party. Simultaneously the government also should not utilize them in the political campaign of the ruling party.

However, Fakrul Islam Alamgir might find it difficult, if someone asks him to prove his allegations that the administrative officials and the police personnel had acted as the ruling party cadres at certain political events including the national and the local elections. But, he would certainly mention instances of large scale arrests of his party cadres by police following sporadic political violence across the country in the recent past, although occurrences of violence now have been reduced greatly due to lack of issues and organisational weakness of the government opponents. It is also apparent that the administration and the police do maintain a rigid stance against anti-government activists.

Police still hunt activists of BNP and its allies for the large scale violence and arson they resorted in the first three months of 2015, when more than 300 people were killed, thousands maimed and properties worth billions of taka were burned. There were also sporadic political violence occurred in the country time to time and the latest was in March last, when radical Islamic group Hefazat-e-Islam group took to the streets at different spots in the country to protest against the presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Bangladesh  Golden Jubilee of Independence celebrations in Dhaka. However, the administration and the police quickly restored order and arrested scores of radical leaders having links to BNP and other regular Islamic political parties.

Several political programmes of BNP were also dispersed in Dhaka and some other spots of the country by police on different grounds, including trying to hold political events without taking due permission from the administration. These police actions might have prompted the opponents of the government to add more allegations against the administrative officials and the police personnel for allegedly helping the government to implement its political agenda for annihilation of the opponents in order to bring back one-party system in the country once imposed in vain in early 1975.

Earlier after the largely boycotted general elections held in 2014 and 2019, under the incumbent government, Fakhrul Islam Alamgir alleged that the ruling party activists were helped by police in ousting all the polling agents of the BNP from the booths and helped rig the elections, in order to perpetuate the government in office. However, these elections were largely peaceful, except some sporadic violence at some poling centres, where there was strong presence of BNP activists and general supporters, who tried to mobilise voters in their favour.

But in most other centres, where BNP and its allies had no strong presence, the ruling party activists allegedly mobilized the general voters in their favour peacefully and without any violence. Analysing the election scenario at most polling centres, BNP leaders including Fakrul Islam Alamgir resolved that the police and the polling officials helped ruling party activists in manipulating the elections. In this analysis the BNP leaders alleged that the polling officials and the police performed on behalf of the ruling party activists.

Meanwhile, with the siding of the administration and police with the government, the general people have also become reluctant to participate in the anti-government campaign of the opposition. Analysing  the change of the people's attitude towards the anti-government campaign, it has been found by certain political observers that the people of the country including the most government administrative officials, troops of the defence forces and law enforcements have been convinced that the BNP which ruled the country almost for the two five-year terms from 1991 and 2001, was the patrons of the anti-liberation forces and the off-shoots of those who derived benefits from the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who was killed with his most family members on August 15, 1975.

They were also convinced that BNP was the sympathisers of the killers of Bangabandhu and the four national leaders killed in the Dhaka prison on November 3, 1975. Following a subsequent recent court verdicts, the people were also convinced that BNP leaders had not been involved only in corruption but were also involved deeply in an attempt to kill Sheikh Hasina, the then opposition leader and her entire party leadership in a grenade attack on her rally at Bangabandhu Avenue, in Dhaka on August 21, 2004. However, some 24 leaders and activists of the party including then Mohila (Women) Awami League chief Ivy Rahman were killed and scores maimed.

Another court verdict convicted former ministers and officials of the BNP government in its 2001-2006 term for their involvement in smuggling huge sophisticated weapons, which were captured by police at a river terminal in Chittagong on the night of April 1, 2004. The weapons were illegally brought in from China to pass it to the insurgents in north-eastern India.

All these court verdicts, proofs and history have convinced millions of the general people, most members of the administration, defence forces and the law enforcers that the BNP and its allies were really engaged in consolidating their own position the country's politics annihilating the party which led the liberation war in 1971. Moreover, the military rulers General Ziaur Rahman and General Hussain Muhammed Ershad and the parties they created to perpetuate their rules in civil garb between 1975 to late 1990, failed to bring economic development for the country, as a result the country remained in abject poverty, with poor economic growth amid resources crunch, power load-shedding and inadequate infrastructure till 1996.

The members of the different ranks and files of the  administration, defence forces and the law enforcers have noticed that the real development of the country in all sectors began to start when Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina led her party to power in 1996. They also noticed that when Sheikh Hasina returned to power in January 2009, reinvigorated her drive to attain economic prosperity for the country. At first she took a thrust programme to raise power generation as she realised that without power, economic growth won't be achieved.

As the people of all tiers, professions and irrespective of religious belief have strong confidence on the government, it has become really tough for the opponents of the ruling party to take their political campaign further forward ahead of the upcoming general election due in late 2023 or early 2024.
The writer is business editor,
the Daily Observer

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