Law-enforcers on Monday stormed into BNP's central office at Nayapaltan and arrested some 200 leaders from there. In their two- and-half hour raid, the police also reportedly confiscated papers and party documents.
But amid this worrisome development, a bit of relief is that the next day (Tuesday), three of the arrested senior opposition leaders including the party's acting secretary general Fakhrul Islam Alamgir were released.
On Monday, the police acted with vengeance and in an extremely highhanded manner. What is of utmost concern is what led them to barge into the central office of a major political party, break down doors and manhandle senior opposition leaders. It was outrageous, unprecedented and uncalled-for. We condemn their action in the strongest possible terms.
Such behaviour on the part of the police serving under a democracy is unacceptable. Rather they seemed to be obeying an authoritarian diktat. It is an assault on democracy, pure and simple.
And what is more shocking than the police action as such is the wholesale manner in which the home minister termed the arrested opposition leaders and activists as 'criminals'. One wonders if those words were coming out of the mouth of the minister of a democratic government. This is the last thing one would expect from a government leader in a democracy.
Clearly, the entire responsibility for the excesses committed by the police at the BNP's central office falls on the government's shoulder. The home minister, in particular, owes an answer to the nation for the police action as well as for his utterance about the opposition leaders arrested from their party office.
In any case, the government has set a very bad example by its action. To all appearances, the government is gagging the opposition's voice by all means and thereby shutting off all the openings for dialogue one by one.
The government must stop this dangerous game for the sake of restoring peace, public security and democracy.