June 20, 2013 | 05:11 PM (BD Time)
20 June, 2013 Thursday
No polls until doomsday if caretaker comes: PM ; SC appoints 2 amici curiae for Quader Mollah appeal hearing ; 3 robbers killed in Sunderbans ; India floods strand thousands: more than 100 dead ; 8 killed in lightning strikes in C'nawabganj ; RMG factory catches fire in city ; Obama in berlin calls for US-Russia nuclear weapons cuts; 18-party to stage demo countrywide on June 22 ; Scenarios for Snowden: Escape, arrest, asylum
Armed cadre-based politics has made political activities dangerous
The complaint made by the leader of the opposition Begum Khaleda Zia that the government has formed a special force comprising Chhatra League, Juba League activists, police and RAB personnel with the target of killing and abducting popular politicians has alarmed all.
She has been quoted also to have said at a public meeting at Kapasia on Saturday, if voted to power, the BNP will bring each member of the force to book.
The complaint is in line with an online story coming from a Sri Lankan paper that one hundred people have been trained and engaged in killing mission in the country.
Any knowledgeable man in Bangladesh is aware of the fact that the major political parties have their own armed cadres who often engage in clashes with political rivals, and even in intra-party internecine battles between rival factions for supremacy and share of loaves and fishes. And the politics of arms is bound to breed corruption and violence.
At the state level the engagement of forces to punish crime suspects through crossfire leading to deaths, has been practiced by both the past BNP government and the present AL government. A civilised society cannot condone such killings without trial. Political dimension to such killings, if proved, would be extremely disgraceful. Using government agencies for dangerous crimes cannot be ignored if it is found true.
European Union envoys said in Dhaka last week that Bangladesh's image abroad faces a serious crisis because of political violence, hartal, corruption and disappearances.
The statement by the leader of the opposition has come at a time when cases of abduction or disappearance have been reported in significant numbers for about two years. A leading vernacular daily has reported the disappearance of 100 people in the last 27 months. Human rights group Odhikar has reported that 58 persons were reported missing while the Ain-O-Salis Kendra (ASK) said 51 people disappeared and could not be traced during the last 40 months. The abduction of BNP leader Elias Ali on April 17 night was the flashpoint.
From the government side while assurance has been given to make all efforts to rescue Elias Ali, finger has also been pointed at the BNP for allegedly trying to put the government into trouble on any plea. "It's BNP not the AL which has past record of the politics of killings and abductions," it has been stated from the high echelon of the administration as well as the ruling AL.
Whatever be the explanations of secret killings, the plain truth is that such killings or disappearance of people from the society has been on the rise. The disappearance of Elias Ali has only given the issue a new dimension and spread the feeling of insecurity among all conscious citizens.
But our political leaders should blame themselves for this because they have promoted cadre-based politics over the years. Their cadre members have weapons, both local and foreign, and use those whenever they clash with their rivals. Time has come for them to stop this politics of self-destruction. Because, the use of armed cadres has made politics dangerous for all including politicians.
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