Wednesday, 1 February, 2023

None should be allowed to block traffic

None should be allowed to block traffic

In what can perhaps be described as a symbol of Bangladesh’s nasty political culture, the busy roads in the capital as well as in other major cities are being frequently blocked obstructing public movement in the name of organising political programmes or any kind of protest movement. During the so-called movements, clashes with police are common, which lead to vandalism of public and private properties. That chaos unfolds occasionally in city roads much to the disturbance and even physical harm and financial loss of the commuters is a grave security lapse in the country.

Blocking traffic on busy roads is not legal. There is a High Court ruling and DMP instruction against blocking roads. And yet different political parties and groups are often found blocking roads over trifling matters. When one or two city roads are closed, pandemonium breaks out and life comes to a standstill in the city and commuters suffer.

Many roads and streets leading to schools, hospitals and offices are blocked. Pedestrians are forced to trek for miles to reach their destination and even ambulances carrying terminally ill patients remain stuck for hours. In a word, the culture of organising rallies and political movements blocking roads causes anguish and pain to thousands of people.

The city dwellers frequently face such chaotic situations when social and political organisations regularly organise movements blocking roads. It is strange that when different quarters occupy important roads and disrupt public movement, law enforcement agencies just look on. At times police intervention backfires, leading the protesters to run amok on the streets. But in most cases when police and protesters keep a safe distance, it is the residents of Dhaka who suffer because of administrative incompetence and uncompassionate political parties and their supporters.

We call upon the parties who are organising programmes by blocking roads to reconsider their decision keeping in mind the unbearable suffering of the commuters. At the same time, the authorities concerned should not just look away when public movement is halted; they should strictly enforce the ban against blocking roads. No one has the right to disrupt public movement and it cannot be allowed to continue in a civilised society.