THE photo of the burning Subarna Express was in the front page of The Daily Star yesterday. Islami Chattra Shibir men purportedly torched five coaches of the Dhaka-bound train. Yet again, the pre-hartal vandalism leaves a scar.
Some may wonder where railway security was when the incident took place. The railway authorities suspended the station manager and other officials for negligence of duty. Railways Minister Md. Majbul Haque later visited Chittagong railway station and urged people to protect public property. However we wonder what will be the role of police and other authorities if the general people have to not only protect their own lives but also shine as heroes and protect public property. Interestingly, the minister did not comment on the railway authority’s role on minimising or ending such incidents, when railway police and security have a major role to play here.
The bottom line is, this method of infecting Bangladeshis with fear during and around hartal has become a common practice. If you do not have stones flying at your car then you have your train compartment torched. One’s right to live one’s daily life and go about one’s business is no longer an easy option. And worst of all, such fear tactics tend to work, as no one wants to risk their lives.
We do not know how many more of these incidents will take place, if the law and security system does not toughen itself and be on guard to cover a few extra miles. If our people will finally tire of being in fear and get out in their private and public transports and continue with their lives things will settle to normality. How much fire needs to burn before it loses its effect and how much fear needs to gather in order to draw ultimate courage, that’s the equation the country unfortunately needs to solve.