AL fronts at it again
THE feud and rivalry between various factions loyal to the ruling party has all but destroyed any semblance of law and order in the country. On Tuesday, none other than the Roads and Highways Department office, located in the Sarak Bhaban of the Supreme Court premises, fell victim to vicious fighting as an armed group of the Sramik League hoodlums stormed the office and opened fire on their Swechchasebak League rivals. The two groups have reportedly been feuding over a Tk 285 crore tender that was floated in January and has remained suspended since April. As many as five people were hit by bullets in the violence that lasted 15 minutes before the attackers were chased out by their rivals and guards of the premises. It is a horrifying incident, to say the least.
Ever since the incumbents assumed power in January 2009, inter-party and intra-party factional feuds involving various factions of the ruling party, fighting over dominance or tender-grabbing, has frequently hogged the headlines. Academic life in educational institutions, especially in higher education ones, has been repeatedly disrupted for prolonged periods of time as different groups violently clashed over different partisan and essentially criminal ambitions, in no less than around 100 institutions. Government offices have not been spared either, the incident in Pabna, where a recruitment examination of third and fourth class employees was violently attacked and halted by local ruling party-affiliated student groups in 2010, being a glaring example. A number of lives have been lost, public and private property has been damaged, while the sanctity of important offices and institutions, such as the Roads and Highways Department, have been violated thus far by such violence. And yet, it is hard to point out any serious punishment that has been meted out to the offenders till date, or any serious effort from law enforcers or the ruling party to rein in the unruly elements.
The government needs to understand the degree to which they are endangering the lives of ordinary people by continuing to patronise and/or by ignoring the misdeeds of such groups. They are also most certainly making unwarranted enemies and antagonists amongst the people, many of whom have actually voted them to power. The open battles over government contracts are also a sad reflection of not just the state of lawlessness in the country, but also the level of corruption that is being, in many ways, encouraged by the government.
If the government has any concern about gaining back the people’s confidence, especially with the next elections in mind, it must take determined and demonstrative steps to bring such incidents to a stop. The offenders so far, for example the ones involved in Tuesday’s incidents, should be made strong examples out of, so that it serves as a deterrent for other potentially violent groups in the future.
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