PM’S STATEMENT AND THE NEED FOR FIRMNESS
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has dismissed any possibility of a state of emergency being imposed in the country. Her statement testifies to the confidence she has in the ability of her government to restore normal conditions in the country despite the violence engendered by the blockade and hartals called by the BNP and its allies. At the same time, the prime minister’s remarks come as relief for citizens because they certainly do not look forward to the democratic process being undermined by any extreme measures.
A declaration of emergency is certainly a measure of the last resort. We expect, in the light of the prime minister’s statement, an improvement in the situation obtaining all across the country. Such improvement entails, of course, firmness on the part of the authorities in dealing with the elements responsible for the violence which has engulfed the country.
There can be no argument with the fact that the government needs to come down hard on those who have been promoting death and destruction over the last one month. It is appalling that the BNP and its allies have till now never seen any reason to call a halt to their so-called movement.
The manner in which citizens are being murdered through petrol bomb attacks, the destruction which stares the national economy in the face, the wounds inflicted on education and the overall insecurity from which citizens have been suffering is a circumstance the government must deal with in all firmness. There is no room for compromise here. Indeed, those who have been asking for a dialogue between the government and the violence-peddling opposition must be told in clear, unambiguous terms that no government worth the name negotiates with the proponents and purveyors of terrorism. What is happening in Bangladesh today is no politics but a clear slide to terrorism.
There are a number of instances in our times to strengthen the argument of why the Bangladesh government must not give any quarter, must not give any respectability, to the party or parties which are today cheerfully burning innocent citizens to death in the name of a movement. These parties have willingly mourned the death of the child of a politician but have felt no embarrassment at the death of those who have died and have been maimed by the violence their policies have unleashed in the country. They have felt no shame in ensuring that the grandchildren of their leader travel back home in foreign land because they have their examinations to appear for but at the same time are not at all worried about the mess they are making of the lives of 15,00,000 SSC
examinees here by their agitation.
It is time for the government to be firmer than it has so far been. It cannot afford to fail in quelling the trouble-makers. Any failure in restoring order will only cause new and
embarrassing problems for it. Again, care must be taken that in the name of nabbing lawbreakers, innocent citizens are not harassed by the law enforcers. If innocent people are disturbed, the entire purpose behind any move to restore order will be nullified.
FEBRUARY 06, 2015