Extortion in any form is unacceptable
It is a pleasant surprise to hear that party leaders of the AL have spoken against the practice of extortion by some party activists to carry out programmes on the National Mourning Day. The issue came up at a joint meeting between AL's city unit and its associate bodies at the party Chief Sheikh Hasina's house. The AL's deputy publicity affairs secretary proposed to stop party men from extorting money and erecting unnecessary self-promoting archways. Unfortunately, such a sensible proposal was rejected by the Disaster Management and Relief minister who seemed to be in favour of allowing party activists to continue with the improper practice.
It is common knowledge that over the years the programmes, supposedly to mourn the gruesome assassination of Bangabandhu and most of his family members, do not always respect the solemnity of the occasion. Instead, banners, festoons, posters and archways are put up all over the city to promote party men. What's more, the funds for such 'decorations' are raised by practically demanding business organisations and institutes to sponsor these activities. There is, moreover, no accountability of how these funds are spent.
Such a freewheeling attitude will not improve the image of the party or the government. The proposal to put an end to the unethical practice should be welcomed by the party leaders wholeheartedly. In any case the observance of the National Mourning Day is the sacred responsibility of the State which should make sure that it is observed with the dignity it deserves.