Experts have underscored the need for designating grounds or places in Dhaka city for holding political programmes to cause no sufferings for common people by blocking streets.
If a road is blocked for a political programme like public gathering, its spillover impact is felt on other roads, causing traffic jam, wasting working hours and harming the country’s economy, they said.
Political parties have the right to stage programmes, including rally and meeting, at any time. But they cannot block a street for this. So, a specific ground or space should be earmarked for organising such programmes.
Since the Pakistan era, the Jatiya Press Club (JPC) and some places around it have been hosting public gatherings. This is because journalists can travel quickly from the press club to the events.
In the far past, if a road was blocked, other streets hardly felt its impact.
However, Dhaka city is now bustling with people with streets full of vehicles. If a road is closed for any reason, its spillover impact affects the rest of the streets.
Professor Dr Syed Anwar Husain, Bangabandhu Chair Professor at Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP), told the Daily Sun, “The law states that no political programme can be held after blocking a road. Besides, no one can cause public sufferings.”
Professor Anwar urged the political parties not to undertake any programme which causes public sufferings. “We’ve seen that all political gatherings of Bangalees had been held at Suhrawardy Udyan. I think Suhrawardy Udyan should be specified for political programmes, not elsewhere” he added.
Dr Syed Manzoorul Islam, former professor of Dhaka University, said, “I saw that the name of Kamalapur Stadium came for hosting BNP rally. In that case I think the Kamalapur Stadium can be chosen for political gatherings since it is not used widely. There’s no traffic problem as there are many roads around it.” “Sometimes our girls play there. And rallies are not held every day. Such arrangements can be made on non-playing days. It must be completed before any game. The party which uses the stadium for their event will clean it and make it usable,” he said.
Manzoorul, however, suggested that the political parties should go for digital mode for holding their public meetings. “They should convey their demands through digital means. This will reduce public sufferings while leaders and workers will not have to be arrested and there’ll be no dead bodies on the streets for no reason.”
Prof Dr ABM Obaidul Islam of the Department of Physics at Dhaka University told the Daily Sun, “Earlier, we had a place for holding political rally and it was Muktangan. But now Muktangan is banned for all kinds of public gatherings.”
“I think a place should be designated for holding political rallies. If a rally is held at the specific place, there will be no obstacles. Then we can avoid such fighting centring on a rally,” said Prof Obaidul, who is the former convener of White Panel, a platform of DU teachers backed by BNP.
A businessman named Sohrab Hossain Chowdhury said he has to travel through the JPC-Gulistan road every day for business purpose. “But meetings and rallies of various political parties are held there almost every day. We have to experience traffic jam there for this. We feel very helpless. If politics is for our good, why do we have to suffer again and again?”
“I think political parties should come to a decision to hold their programmes at a selected ground or place in Dhaka city. Then the sufferings of people will be eased to a great extent,” he added.