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Not quite an indicator of improved law and order



WHEN miscreants force an additional deputy inspector general of police along with his relatives and the driver to get down from a car at gunpoint and drive away with the vehicle, it certainly does not point to an unprecedented improvement in law and order that the Awami League-Jatiya Party government so tirelessly propagates. According to a report front-paged in New Age on Friday, quoting the Mohammadpur police station, Abu Musa Md Fakhrul Islam, posted at the Police Staff College at Mirpur in the capital Dhaka, was on the way back home after visiting a relative at Square Hospital when the car was intercepted at Khilji Road in Mohammadpur early Thursday. Intriguingly, the deputy commissioner (Tejgaon division) of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police later insisted that the additional inspector general of police was not in the car when the incident took place, a claim subsequently iterated by the Mohammadpur police, as if the claim of improved law and order could be substantiated if it were proved the police official was not among the victims of the crime.
Regardless of whether the top police official was in the car or not, the incident itself provides yet another pointer that public safety and security has become increasingly at risk in the face of a sustained surge in crime in the capital, as elsewhere in the country. Only a few days back, a Saudi diplomat was found fatally shot just a few yards off his residence at Gulshan, where the affluent and important people live and which is adjacent to the supposedly high-security diplomatic enclave. Early last month, a journalist couple — Sagar Sarowar of Maasranga Television and Meherun Runi of ATN Bangla — were found stabbed to death at the West Rajabazar residence. These were just a few of the high-profile crimes that got significant media coverage. Crime, petty and serious, has these days become a daily reality, a reality that the government has so persistently denied thus far.
Such denial, as we have argued in these columns time and again, could very well be construed as either the inability of the government to contain crime or its indifference to the safety and security of the people at large. Either way, it risks inducing drastic erosion of public faith in the law enforcement system in particular and the government in general. Such erosion of public faith, in turn, could result in people seeking to arrange for their own safety and security and thus taking the law into their own hand. A substantial increase in the number of incidents whereby suspected criminals were beaten to death tends to suggest that the process may have already started.
It is thus imperative that the government should come out of its denial, shelve its rhetoric and take efficient and effective steps to improve law and order. It needs to make the law enforcement system produce tangible results in the combat against crime.




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