Wednesday, April 24, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

What's good for the goose

Update : 22 Apr 2013, 06:00 PM

It is shocking (though hardly surprising) that the AL government would allow activists of the Bangladesh Chhatra League to go on a rampage through Mirpur, torching at least 100 vehicles, and terrorising and terrifying the public, after one of their leaders was shot dead, apparently by a local gangster over a feud.

Violence during a hartal is bad enough when the opposition calls one, but for a ruling party or its associates to destroy the very peace it is oath-bound to maintain is utterly unacceptable and needs to be condemned in the strongest terms. There is simply no excuse for the government to allow its cadres to unleash this kind of mayhem on the long-suffering public.

The BCL violence is no different from the crimes committed by opposition activists during hartals. Indeed, opposition leaders are behind bars as a result of being held responsible for hartal violence. Why should the same standard not be applied to the BCL, or even the ruling party?

The AL must put a tight leash on its cadres, and make an example of those who went storming through the city. But that is not sufficient. The leaders who instigated the violence need to be held accountable as well. When the opposition wreaks violence throughout the country, the prime minister harshly decries the violence, and stern action follows. Such incidents are not to be tolerated. But when the government turns around and allows the BCL to riot and destroy at least 100 vehicles when they are aggrieved, with very different consequences, the double standard is lost on no one.

The government needs to send the message that violence by any party will not be tolerated. The AL government needs to take full responsibility for the actions of its cadres. The public isn’t stupid, and it won’t continue to take the damage done to it lying down. Enough is enough.  

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