Fixing all ills by beating?
12:00 AM, August 02, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:26 AM, August 02, 2018

Fixing all ills by beating?

We never take one unique medicine for all illness. Do we? Never. Because it invariably would compound the illness and wreak havoc on the delicate human body, causing death even.  

In some ways, state machinery is also akin to human body. Different problems it develops would require different responses. Right interventions fix problems and wrong ones complicate.

Of late, the state of Bangladesh seems to have become a victim of one rubbish prescription: “beat up” to fix all ills.

And the results are what a wrong fixing should deliver -- a disaster. 

Identical scenes are being played out on the streets of Dhaka within a span of a few months. A group of youths with no links to politics, were seen agitating non-violently and another group of people with links to ruling party's student front or policemen beating them up mercilessly. 

Agitators were different but objective was same: a voice in unison, making no political demand but asking government for remedies to the ills they were suffering from.    

The first group of youths were older, up to 30 years old, asking the authorities to reform a highly unproportionate quota in government jobs. The demand of the jobseekers at the university level was nothing new or illegitimate. Rather, subsequent committees of Public Service Commission recommended successive governments to do so.  

The remedy that could cure the ill was very simple then: a concrete assurance from the government to look into the demand and take whatever steps it finds fit after examination.     

But that was not fully the case. The government saw hands of vested quarters in the demand, and as a result of which they got beaten up like criminals, denied treatment and sued for series of cases.   

And then emerged the present group of youths, up to 18 years old, when on July 29 a bus ploughed into college students while they were waiting to board another bus, killing two on the spot and injuring a dozen.   

The deaths numbed the nation, with school-and-college-goers coming out on the streets the next day to seek remedies for a safe road. Then again, it was no new demand by the children amid flurry of deaths on roads. 

True, the remedy to the complex road crisis is no easy dose. Yet, an assurance to the grieving children and parents was easy. The “doctors” in the state machinery could have prioritised the grim issue and come up with right solution for implementation.       

Instead, the labour-leader-first and minster-next Shajahan Khan added fuel to the fire by laughing off the logical demand of children. "A road crash has claimed 33 lives in India's Maharashtra; but do they talk about it like the way we do?" a beaming Shajahan asked journalists. 

His smile and remark would go down in history as one of the most insensitive and irresponsible response ever from a minister. And that antics kicked up an uproar in the social media and infuriated the students so much so that they took the streets again the next day.  

The children's “problem” was fixed on July 31 through indiscriminate beating and rounding up by the cops. Hearts of all parents must have bled looking at the bewildered looks on those baby faces, their blood-stained school uniforms and abandoned shoes on the streets. 

And there was no different medicine yesterday as well. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan hinted about hands of vested quarter in it, and a trucker ran over agitating school students but missed out on killing a few.  

Oh, come on, “doctors” in the state! Are you expecting a miracle out of a stupid fixing? 

Problem is with the transport sector, not with these children. They are out there on the streets because state has failed to fix the problem and ensure road safety. Can you fix the problem? If not, please shut up. And stop prescribing us the wrong medicine.

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