Bolstered by emergency powers, the caretaker government at one time appeared mighty powerful in their mission. Wholehearted support of the army pushed their image to an enviable height. They arrested both the former prime ministers who still enjoy robust popular support. They were so sensitive to unlawful assemblies that a few political workers were arrested in Sylhet while having their lunch at a fellow politician's home! They languished in jail for many months for their illegal (?) activities. In Khulna a former state minister was arrested from a private house allegedly for playing cards. They were prosecuted. Such examples of zero tolerance are abundant during the 19-month tenure of the CTG. We appreciated their firmness as the fallout of the great mission the CTG was going to accomplish.
But all their resolve and strength melted down when they faced religious bigots, be it at the north gate of Baitul Mukarram or elsewhere. The most glaring one is the latest drama around the secretary general of the Jamaat-e-Islami. Perhaps it is the first time in the world that a man facing arrest order held meeting with the chief executive of the government. No doubt it is possible during wartime, but in peacetime it is not conceivable in a civilized society.
Recent removal of Baul statues following the threat of a few bigots adds more insult to our administration. Vandalism at the office of the VC of Dhaka University by some Madrasa students is also not an isolated incident.
The days of the caretaker government are coming to an end. The 11 respected persons who came to power without any popular mandate got immense popular support at the beginning of their route. In course of time, the support and acceptability waned. Even then we, the ever-optimistic people, expected a happy ending. We still hope that they will deliver a universally acceptable election on 18 Dec/08.
Their unusual lenience towards religious bigots definitely cast a shadow of doubt on their strength and ability.