What could possibly justify attacks on children?
Parents and guardians from across the nation pressed concerns, as yet another brutal assault has been recorded by BCL men. This time on school students.
But a reasonable response from the Awami League or BCL is something we are yet to witness.
If you put aside your partisan identity for a minute and retain the moral impulses of a responsible human being, I’m sure you would be puzzled as to why anyone or any political organization needs to use such barbaric levels of force against kids, who were doing this nation a favour that was long overdue: Demanding effective road safety measures and justice.
Our kids understood where we had failed, that the time for incremental gain and waiting was over, and it ended for good when a few thousand people started to become victims of road accidents every year, mostly due to negligent driving.
Thousands of them -- as young as 5 -- took on the streets, an earthquake revolution some may call it, defending the right to life of the ordinary people of the country.
Under what circumstances can an assault on them be justified?
Several media outlets reported that as many as a hundred students have sustained grave bodily injuries.
Again, what is the Awami League waiting for? Have they and the BCL become so morally adrift that they have to see it from the usual narrow partisan point of view, instead of bringing the perpetrators to book?
Let’s shift the example slightly to understand how perverse this action was.
Imagine an equal number of BCL activists (still not kids) were harmed in the same manner during a protest like the old days, when attacks and assaults on BCL members were regular occurrences. In fact, being a former member of BCL, I myself have survived a few of those attacks.
Would anyone of the Awami ranks suggest that this was an accident or some regular turbulence that happens during a civil unrest?
Instead, the entire party machinery would be vocal demanding eighteous justice.
Yet the Awami League leaders, while expressing sadness and regret to some extent about the injuries sustained by the school kids, are of the view that those who assaulted the kids had legitimate concerns about their own safety.
In addition, accusations of the involvement of BNP-Jamaat men has been raised as well -- a line that is pushed a little too often to justify any oppressive action by BCL in recent years.
The question is, even if BNP-Jamaat men were involved, intending to commit atrocities -- a signature mark of Bangladeshi politics -- would that still justify brutality against kids?
It is worth mentioning that defending the rights of the school students is a BCL agenda, and every BCL unit has several assistant secretaries appointed specifically to assist school students.
Even just a few months ago, BCL had a plan to communicate with school students more effectively. How will they be facing those school kids now?
This deplorable event is a stain on the legacy of the party. It is not normal, and it is not right, but most importantly, it is unacceptable.
This party, including the BCL, has fought for the freedom of the country in the past, and now it is time to fight for the freedom of the people. Under the current circumstances, this has a simple meaning: Bring those to justice who have dared to assault our brave little heroes.
Nur E Emroz Alam Tonoy is a former BCL leader.