Lessons of the verdict | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 12, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 12, 2018

Editorial

Lessons of the verdict

They made politics and violence synonymous

The verdict on the August 21 grenade attack case reveals some very dark features of politics in Bangladesh. It is indeed frightening to think that politics would degenerate to such a level where the psyche of the ruling party would be pervaded by such pathological animosity towards the opposition, so as to instigate it to eliminate the entire leadership of the opposition party, especially its leader Sheikh Hasina. Politics and violence became fungible and a natural complement of each other, and political opposition came to be considered as enemy by the ruling party.

To say that the DGFI and NSI were grossly misused would be an understatement. It is unthinkable that state security agencies would be used to plan and carryout the attacks, as the conviction and the sentence passed on both the then DGFI and NSI chiefs suggests. And that is exactly what the government of the day chose to do to subdue the opposition.

The principal function of these two agencies is to keep the country and the public safe from hostile intelligence, we witnessed on 21st August, 2004, most painfully, that they were used to attack the representatives of the public. What governments, which chooses to indulge in such depraved practice, fail to realise is that whatever temporary benefits they might gain from it, the ethos on which these agencies work and thrive is irreversibly destroyed when they are involved in politics on behalf of the ruling party. Thus, its moral fabric is destroyed and the security of the nation is put in serious jeopardy. A glaring example of this was the August 17th, 2005 simultaneous country-wide bomb blasts, which was possible because the intelligence agencies were busy suppressing the opposition.

August 21 is a black letter day in our politics, and we hope this verdict would act as cleansing tonic to rid our politics of violence. In this regard we strongly suggest that all political parties take note of the comment of the learned judge, that, “In a democratic state, whichever party comes to power, it has to try its best to establish democracy by applying a liberal policy towards the opposition party.”

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