STRANGE though it may sound, the Munshiganj police and district administration allowed BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia to hold a public rally under 20 conditions. Those conditions, among others, required that the meeting should end before sunset, the speeches should not contain any provocative remarks and the party activists won't be able to carry any sticks. Surely, such a large number of conditions, all of which have not been clearly spelt out, lent themselves to all sorts of interpretations.
Why is the government setting such an unprecedented instance of cramping a public meeting being organized by a major political party of the country? It may be recalled that the government had earlier refused BNP permission to organise meetings at Jatrabari, Narayanganj, Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh and on the premises of High Court on various pretexts. Now once permission had finally been given and that, too, outside the capital, it was encumbered with so many conditions. This is unfortunate. It is reflective of a mindset that is clearly in conflict with democratic norms.
This practice of denying the opposition its constitutionally granted rights to assembly and voicing protests peacefully does not bode well either for the government or democracy or for the country.
In fact, no democratic government should shut off all avenues of engaging the opposition towards practicing inclusive politics.
The government must rise above such an attitude thus enabling the opposition to engage in an inclusive and constructive politics.