Attack on Alamgir's motorcade
We are deeply concerned at the increasing intolerance which has been vitiating politics in the country. This has once more been manifested by the attack on a motorcade of BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir in Laxmipur on Monday. Though news reports speak of the BNP leader and his associates coming under attack from unidentified elements, it does not require much wisdom to guess the identity of those responsible for the incident. That Alamgir had only moments earlier criticised an influential ruling party leader of the town was very likely the spark that led to the attack.
In a democracy, either well-rooted or fledgling, it is not expected that such an absence of civility in politics will be on display. There used to be a time, even after the liberation of the country, when politicians across the spectrum would vociferously disagree on key national issues and yet were careful about maintaining a clear line between their expression of opinion and an acceptance of the other person's point of view. Politics is fundamentally a matter of ideas. At the same time, it involves varied opinions coming into the public domain in order to encourage informed debate in the country. Our past testifies to the good which accrued from the political debates which defined the character of our leaders and that of our society. That, unfortunately, has gone missing. It is certainly not an edifying sight observing leading national politicians all too easily going for frontal assaults not just on one another's politics but also on one another's person. Such illiberal attitudes are doing us no good at all. If anything, they have prevented democracy from truly taking off.
The attack on Mirza Alamgir's motorcade is a regrettable act of political vendetta. It is part of the pattern of political behaviour now dominating the political landscape in Bangladesh. Such behaviour, based as it is on a total absence of mutual respect among the political class, does grave damage to the nation. It not only keeps society divided along violent political lines but also sends out a very wrong message to those young who will preside over the nation's fortunes tomorrow. Partisan politics may be all right up to a point. But the Laxmipur incident hints at something worse: divisive politics standing in the way of enlightening pluralism.
The ruling party and its followers must desist from such actions.