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No one is above the law

  • Published at 12:16 am July 4th, 2018
  • Last updated at 01:45 pm July 4th, 2018

Student cadres cannot be permitted to run riot and take the law into their own hands

The images of peaceful protesters being attacked and abused by BCL cadres has shocked the conscience of the nation.

Even loyal and long-standing supporters of the government have been repelled by the scenes of violence that were visited upon the protesting young men and women. Indeed, no sentient human being can fail to be appalled by the vigilante activism of the attackers.

Not only is this kind of thuggery utterly unacceptable in a democracy, we cannot believe that it has any sanction from party leaders, much less the government.

As such, since so many of the perpetrators have been caught on camera, it should be an easy task to bring them to justice. 

And it is only by bringing the malefactors to justice and showing that there is zero tolerance for this kind of villainy that the government can regain the public trust.

If this kind of abuse is allowed to stand, then it risks undermining all the development and other gains achieved by the government. 

It was not just the horrific nature of the assaults, but also the arrogance and palpable sense of impunity that were on display, that raise serious questions. The impunity afforded the attackers, and the fact that law enforcement not only did not stop them but assisted them in their intimidation of the protesters is the truly worrisome aspect of these incidents.

This has to stop. Student cadres cannot be permitted to run riot and take the law into their own hands. The credibility of the government and the law enforcement authorities is at stake.

Whether or not a quota reform is required or desirable is beside the point. Freedom to protest peacefully is a democratic right. What BCL is doing threatens the fabric of democracy in Bangladesh, and tarnishes both the ruling party and its government.

They must be brought into line. Their contempt for the rule of law cannot be allowed to continue unchecked.