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A pointer to ruling partyâs double standards

THE photograph front-paged in New Age on Wednesday, which shows some activists of the ruling Awami League carrying firearms and axes as they attacked their Bangladesh Nationalist Party opponents on Laksam Road in Comilla during the BNP-sponsored countrywide hartal (general strike) on Tuesday, highlights what has come to be a regular phenomenon since the AL-led alliance assumed office in January 2009. It not only bears testimony to what could very well be called an inherent tyrannical tendency of the incumbents but also lays bare the duplicity and double standards that have apparently become a signature of their politics in general. The message that such instances tend to send across society is the Awami League, and not anyone else, has the exclusive right to political violence, and even killing.
Ironically, the incident photographed took place on the same day that the police pressed charges against 21 leaders and activists of the Bangladesh Chhatra League, the student wing of the ruling party which seems to have established itself in a league of its own when it comes to perpetrating crimes and atrocities on its political opponents, for the killing of Bishwajit Das, who was hacked to death by some BCL men during an opposition-sponsored countrywide road blockade on December 9, 2012. As such, it would suggest that the legal action may not be in any way indicative of the willingness of the ruling party to rein in troublemakers within its ranks. On the contrary, there are reasons to believe that the case against the BCL leaders and activists could just be an exception, and not the norm.
Ironically still, the incident took place amidst widespread criticism and condemnation in respect of the countrywide violence and vandalism allegedly perpetrated by exponents of Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir in protest against the trial of several top Jamaat leaders by the international crimes tribunal on the charge of crimes against humanity committed during the war of liberation in 1971. Suffice it to say, the ruling party has been at the forefront of such criticism and condemnation, and rightly so but when it remains indifferent, and even gives indulgence to, armed violence by its own people, its moral authority to criticise and condemn Jamaat and Shibir troublemakers stands significantly eroded.
Regrettably, however, such duplicity and double standards have thus far marked the ruling party’s stance vis-à-vis political violence. It has on the one hand talked tough against disruption in law and order but conveniently overlooked such disruption caused by leaders and activists of its own people, especially leaders and activists of the Chhatra League. Such duplicity undermines not only the incumbents’ authority and credibility but also embolden the troublemakers to continue with their excesses and atrocities with increased frequency and ferocity.

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