When I was a student of class six, my parents had disputed the sudden tuition fee hike at my school. The aftermath of their fight became my nightmare. My school’s administration initiated its prejudicial treatment against me. I was barred from my very first Chemistry lab visit, not allowed to go on study trips, and was being marked unfairly in exams. At a very tender age, I felt the sting of being deprived and discriminated against. But who could I go to and ask for redress?
My school was my second home and it was supposed to be my safe haven. I was being wronged but I surrendered. Not being able to fight this battle; I had to move to another school, defeated.
Have we not often felt like that 11 year old me - that we cannot make a wrong into right, and facilitate the change that is necessary?
My friend Silvee, however, chose to express her grievance; to bring the change she wanted to see. As a regular commuter on the bus, she had to be a victim of passive smoking quite often.She knew she had to act if she wanted a remedy.Silvee chose to do her research to find the right place to knock at. After studying the relevant law, she came to know about the National Tobacco Control Cell (NTCC), the functional arm of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for tobacco control activities in Bangladesh. She then visited their website in order to learn about the complaints procedure.
Following that, she sent an email to the cell, but never received a reply. Silvee, however, was determined to get an acknowledgment. Optimistic, she tried to reach the authorities using the number provided on their website. However, the only person who received the call was unfortunately not working at the cell anymore; yet he gave her some guidelines. Accordingly, she sent an application to the Health Ministry and the Transport Authorities. Silvee is yet to receive a response but that has not made her pessimistic; she still believes that the pen is mightier than the sword and thrives to bring about change.
However, unlike Silvee, we are often bullied, harassed and yet we choose to be silent, thinking nothing will change.
So, we need to act and act now.
If you have ever been cyber bullied, let your keyboard be your sword, and simply lodge a complaint to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) via email to [email protected] or make a call at +88029611111.
If you have been harassed by telephone calls, just dial (+88029611111) to lodge a complaint. We often consider it a petty matter; however, according to Section 70 of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Act 2001, it is an offence punishable by a fine not exceeding 25 thousand taka and, in default of payment of fine, to an imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months.
Silence is not golden anymore and the solutions to our problems lie within us. If we want to see a change, it should start with you and I, and especially our youth.
Tahsin Noor Salim is a Legal Researcher at Bangladesh Institute of Law and International Affairs, (BILIA).