The lead picture of this newspaper’s Monday issue shows that an on-duty policeman comes under attack of two unruly activists of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD), the student wing of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), during a rally in front of the capital’s Jatiya Press Club. In the photo we saw the cop was single-handedly trying his best to protect himself with a shield from the wrath of the JCD men who were equipped with bamboo sticks. The rally was arranged in protest against revocation of BNP founder Ziaur Rahman's gallantry award and the death of writer Mushtaq Ahmed in jail.
Peaceful public demonstrations are a right in a democratic polity like Bangladesh. Here, peaceful demonstrations are permissible to enable the demonstrators express their opposition views. Like other political organisations, BNP has also the right to assemble, to protest or to stage demonstrations against any government action what they deem to be unjust. Then, what was the necessity of such brutality against the cop who was on public duty? Why such undemocratic behaviour on the part of the country’s major opposition party? Moreover, what was the benefit of attacking the cop? BNP got nothing in return; rather people might have reacted in a negative manner. In a democracy, police have the duty to uphold the rights of and afford protection to all political parties equally. But, if the BNP men continue attacking the law enforcers, they might be more revengeful against them during future programmes.We should never forget that police is a state organ. Police personnel are duty-bound to obey government orders irrespective of who are in power. Once in the opposition, a party may rise to the helm of affairs of the state any time if it is voted to power by the people who are the only source of power.
So, the irresponsible behaviour of the opposition activists is absolutely unfortunate, undesirable and unpardonable. However, we hope that BNP would be able to realise its faults and rectify them for the interest of creating a healthy democratic atmosphere in the country.