The right to assemble peacefully in protest is truly one of the cornerstones of liberty.
It is, then, disheartening to hear an influential ruling party leader and a former minister’s threat to protesters about having their legs broken for taking a stand against the controversial 3,200MW project.
This is not the first time Rampal protesters have had to fear for their physical safety. A consistent pattern can be observed of party goons engaging in hooliganism and injuring protesters.
What’s worse, the student wing of our ruling party tends to be backed up by the police in these crackdowns.
It is a sad commentary on our society that citizens cannot take to the streets for a legitimate cause without fear of bodily harm. No less than 50 people were hurt at the recent protest at the Shaheed Minar, and they were attacked as soon as the rally had started.
Can there be any justification for using excessive force against ordinary citizens who voice some legitimate concerns about the construction of a power plant which, according to experts, could indeed be detrimental to the environment?
Can setting indisciplined goons loose on protesters ever result in a constructive outcome?
It is a matter of great regret that we have been unable to solve the problem even after so many undesirable events of people getting hurt.
Citizens deserve to have their voices heard, and the government should be at the service of the very citizens that are getting hurt on the streets.
Violence is not the way to deal with disagreement. This culture of heavy-handedness must end.
We need to be more civilised.