High Court directives on Shaheed Minar welcome | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 27, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 27, 2010


High Court directives on Shaheed Minar welcome

But it must continue to be the focal point of our democratic expression

The High Court has issued a set of eight directives as a measure toward upholding the dignity and sanctity of the Central Shaheed Minar. We believe that these directives will prove instrumental in reasserting the homage the memorial has always had from the nation. More importantly, the HC move will further strengthen the resolve of the nation in upholding the legacy of the martyrs of the language movement of 1952. Theirs is a legacy which was to lead, in time, to the growth of our nationalism and eventually to the emergence of Bangladesh as an independent state
It is to be particularly noted that our nationalism, our yearning for democracy, indeed the essential secularism of our statehood are all a direct offshoot of the language-based struggle we launched and carried through to fulfilment between 1952 and 1971.
It is against such a background that the Central Shaheed Minar has carved a special niche in our collective consciousness. In recent years, its importance has been getting even more pronounced through individuals and organisations making it a point to express their democratic right of speech and action before the altar of the Shaheed Minar. In a very large sense, it was only proper and fitting that they do it, for the Shaheed Minar has always been an embodiment of our collective national aspirations. One may recall the fury with which the occupation Pakistan army destroyed the monument in the first few minutes of the genocide on 25 March 1971
One will also recall the sheer speed, powered by patriotism, with which the people of Bangladesh rebuilt the Shaheed Minar immediately after Bangladesh stood liberated in December 1971. It is in such sublimity that we have consistently held the Shaheed Minar.
The reason behind the High Court directives on the Shaheed Minar is understandable. The propensity of some people to misuse or abuse the premises, the inclination of some to take advantage of its sanctity and indulge in questionable behaviour are acts that must be prevented. The High Court has now seen to it that the Shaheed Minar is maintained in a state of full and regular security and that no one is permitted to make use of the main altar.
We appreciate the move. At the same time, we would also like to point out here that no unnecessary steps, beyond what the HC has noted, should be taken to prevent people from paying their homage to the language martyrs or reasserting their dedication to democratic causes at the Shaheed Minar. The spirit of the judgment must be fully understood by the authorities who must guard against the possibility of misinterpretation of the judgement, so that the people's place, which the Shaheed Minar is, does not exist only in a state of dignified seclusion.
All our democratic aspirations are rooted in 1952 and in the Central Shaheed Minar. Let the monument be kept secure from unnecessary and unwelcome intrusions. But let there be the reassurance as well that citizens will not be kept in isolation from it.

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