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Apr 02

Bangladesh Police: Reaping the rewards of oppression

Police are being beaten. Police are being attacked. Police are being forced to fire. Police are being chased. Pro-government and complicit media are usually awash with such heart rendering news of law enforcers being subject to such severe instances of violence. As a citizen of the state, it hurts me. Attacking law enforcers is highly undesirable act by itself and should never be condoned. Police are after all, human beings of flesh and blood. 
Getting dewy eyed? Bear with me.
I say that opposition supporters are human beings of flesh and blood too. I say that just like the 5 police men who died after the 28th of February 2013, more than 100 people died too. Real people who lost their lives not at the hands of natural causes or old age, but at the hands of none other than the police. Police who were seen firing into crowds; who were seen aiming at protesters in an almost leisurely casual manner. Police who killed men, women and children.
But why, one may ask?
The answer is not difficult to find. Consider this. A policeman, DC Harun, was given the President’s Police Medal through showing gallantry by beating a Member of Parliament. Another policeman, ADC Mehedi Hasan, led a raid into BNP headquarters and arrested over 150 activists. BNP filed a case against some 500 policemen, accusing them of illegal entry, vandalism and loot during Monday’s police raid on its Naya Paltan headquarters. including two officials, accusing them of illegal entry, vandalism and loot during Monday’s police raid on its Naya Paltan headquarters. The case was rejected outright by the court. Mehedi Hasan was instead awarded with a vacation with his family to Singapore, paid by the government. Forget any accountability, the cloak of impunity just engulfs it all. More audacious the oppression, greater the rewards.
So, are all police awarded?
Unfortunately, no. Take the case of the policemen who were observed to be lenient in culling Jamaat-Shibir activists during the nationwide strikes called after the verdict of Delwar Hossain Sayedee on the 28th of February. A home ministry order was passed on the 24th of March to withdraw 24 police officers including a deputy inspector general (DIG) according to a decision by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) based on several allegations including violation of chain of command and mysteriously poor performance during the anarchy created by Jamaat-Shibir.
It is clear that the government has been following the policy of carrots and sticks in order to guide the police to carry out its dirty work. Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir, the man with the reigns, has not helped at all. He has been caught giving orders to shoot opposition workers. You’d think all human rights organizations would hate him. You are clearly wrong. The fellow has even received an award from a self styled human rights organization for his record in championing human rights!
A proverb says it all. You reap what you sow. Violence begets violence. As long as the government uses the police to do its dirty work and as long as the police allow themselves to be used as pawns in an exceedingly dirty political game, the cycle of violence will only propagate. 
Its high time the government takes appropriate confidence building steps fast. Steps that do not include arresting and killing opposition activists or extremely foolish ones like arresting the Shibir central President. Barring that, it will only have itself to blame for the repercussions.