A humble proposal for national budgetby M Mizanur Rahman
I have been closely following the talk-shows on different television channels over the past few days. In the wake of the disappearance of the BNP organising secretary, M Ilias Ali, most of the guests on these programmes — usually politicians, journalists, academicians, business leaders and social scientists — expressed concern.
None of them from the ruling party leaders are found to be worried or embarrassed. Many said that it is a threat to democracy to flourish in the country. Many claimed that, day by day, we are again being confined to one handed politics.
Again, many people, especially from the ruling party, opined that Elias Ali may have been abducted for some of his other personal involvements. None of these claims can be ignored; but the thing is that one of our political leaders has been abducted and now his family is suffering from uncertainty. Abduction is more serious than killing. The pain the family is bearing now is really indescribable. People say ‘the wearers best know where the shoe pinches’. Yes, I would say that the same feeling is there for the drivers of both Elias Ali and Suranjit Sen, and other abducted people whose dead bodies have not been received by the families. What is happening to them when the only earning member is lost and the family does not know where he is, alive or dead?
In the last few months media and the opposition leaders are trying to point to the increase in the rate of abduction in the country. In a democratic country we cannot tolerate these sorts of activities and our government and law enforcing agencies cannot deny their responsibilities in any way. People have given their mandate to this political party with a long history of politics, and there are indeed many tested and experienced leaders who fought for the country and guided the country with the father of the nation. But the indifference of the government to these harmful activities has made people puzzled. Now, people believe that police can do everything until any political involvement, especially of the ruling party.
I am writing here for two points – firstly, pain of death is equal to everyone and the family. And my second point is that the death of a woman in the MP hostel symbolizes insecurity everywhere.
When many countries have banned the death sentence, even for a murderer or a serious criminal, in our country it is increasing alarmingly. Usually, in our religion also, punishment of death is given to make the others frightened, so that they do not commit such crimes. But what are we observing here? Punishment of death or even undisclosed abduction is making people frightened. Nobody dares to talk and work in their own way.
Most alarmingly, we have observed both our political streams become vindictive. We all must know that the people of Bangladesh do not tolerate haughtiness. Everyone must know where to stop. We all have freedom, many of us have the power do many things and say many things, but we need to know that there is some point where we need to stop.
In any democratic system, power is nothing absolute and the endeavour of the ruling political party needs to be to work for the people and allow them to take their decision whether they like to continue with this party or not. They should be given absolute freedom to choose with nothing to restrict, nothing to compel. But unfortunately, our political leaders forget this and whenever one comes in power, they want to perpetuate it with force, not with work or love. BNP did the same thing earlier and had to pay for it, but is not the current ruling party doing the same? The nation is so wretched that our political leaders do not learn from the past.
Our prime minister has some charismatic presence among the people. Many people love her and her family for their dedication to the country. And as a result, people made her prime minister twice. She also has a good name in the world. But after the murder of Sagar and Runi, when she said that the government cannot guard everyone’s bedrooms, people became frustrated. The common people of the country, who voted for her, want to hear words of optimism from her. When she proclaims her determination to fight against all sorts of militancy, people become happy; when she proclaims to punish the war criminals, people find peace; but when she makes such comments that government cannot guard bedrooms, it becomes a matter of hopelessness for the people.
I will not go into the detail of the bedroom safety of every people. But what about the MP hostel, one of the most secured places of the country where the policy makers live. A thirty year old woman was found dead after six days in our MP hostel. Will the family get justice for this killing? We know that behind every killing, there is a story. But can we, even the media, know that particular story? If one dies in my home, I am the first one to be made responsible and here also, whether the MPs live there or not, they should be made responsible for it. People want to know the story behind this killing.
We all talk about development and a prosperous country but, no development can be possible without security. When people suffer from lack of security, what is development to them?
In the last few days, a number of killings have occurred in the country, but unfortunately none have been unveiled by the law enforcing agencies. Now there may be two things we can do. One, government needs to be sincere in preventing these crimes. And two, we need to strengthen the law enforcing agencies both in number and in quality.
The time for the next annual budget is coming. I would propose to the government to invest some money in strengthening the capacity of the law enforcing agencies. It is better now to cut the development budget and invest the money for the safety of the people. Please take some initiatives in the budget so that no more people are killed illegally. Observing the need, please increase the police and other agency members in number and provide some training for their capacity building and finally let them work freely. Because, now people are not concerned with the economic growth rate of the country, rather they want to have assurance, that they will have a normal death, that they will be buried and prayed for by the family, friends and relatives. Please let them live first and then go for rushing towards industrialisation.
The writer is a development researcher and working for an international organization. Email: email@example.com
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