A humble appeal to our leaders
I think we all agree that the nation is passing through a very crucial stage. It appears that there is zero tolerance amongst the contenders for the "Chair." The nature of this intolerance may well bring destruction for the whole nation.
It appears that Awami League, the ruling party, is fast degenerating into a fascist type government. Their indiscriminate arrests of opposition leaders, assault, murders, police brutality, remands, torture, death in police custody, are being carried out in the name of democracy.
BNP, the opposition, are unnecessarily hard and cruel in their reactions. How many hartals have they called? How many crores of taka are lost in one day of hartal? How much damage have they done to life and property? Our economy is on the verge of collapse, our children are bewildered, the poor cannot work and feed their families.
Jamaat-e-Islami are equally ferocious, killing police, cutting off tendons, carrying out clandestine murder, destroying public property etc.
Whose life and whose property are these people playing with? Who has asked them to act as 'god'?
These are human beings you are killing, maiming, terrorising; these are our own brothers, citizens of Bangladesh. They are duty bound to safeguard the life property and honour of our fellow man. But look at what are doing? How can they carry out such acts of barbarism? We beseech the leaders of the nation, please pull back your hoodlums, put away your weapons, stop this madness of internal strife taking us to a state of civil war.
Do you not see that in your mad rush to usurp power, you are hurting your own kind? Can you look that mother in the eye, whose son has been shot dead either by the police or your thugs? No you cannot. What has happened? Have we lost our morality, our uprightness, has our sense of judgement dimmed due to being intoxicated by the love of power and position and greed for wealth?
Recently, a new group emerged demanding death penalty for war all criminals, mainly Jamaat-e-Islamis. The so-called Shahbaghis, consisting of bloggers, students, intellectuals etc., started off well but got bogged down due to over- zealousness of a few and crossing all limits by demeaning Islam and the holy Prophet of Islam (sm).
The long march of Hefajat and its huge gathering of more than a million people, according to some estimates, from all walks of life have spelled out in unequivocal terms that people in Bangladesh love Allah and His holy Prophet (sm).
As for the apolitical Hefajat-e-Islam people, Islamic scholars and thinkers, with due respect, we expect from them guidance for the teeming millions, as well as sound advice for the government, pointing out where they are deviating from the principles of good governance and just rule. Examples of good governance abound in the biographies of the Holy Prophet (sm), Hazrat Umar (ra), Khalifa Omar bin Abdul Aziz (ra). But do we have time to read them? Or even ask those who know?
We expect from our respected scholars, restraint, tolerance, wisdom and sagacity, because people love them as being pious followers of Quran and Hadis, people who follow the noble and holy Prophet of Islam (sm) in thought, words and deeds. We don't expect hartals etc from them, (which hurts the common man).
So please, for the sake of our people, please don't add to their misery. We request you to rise above petty politics, act as leaders of a young and vibrant nation, which is our beautiful Bangladesh.
Sit together, talk, have mutual respect for your divergent views and work out a viable, workable solution.
It's just a personal feeling, but if Sheikh Hasina decides to reinstate the caretaker government provision, peace and tranquility may return. With one stroke, she will not only win the hearts of millions, but may well be looked on as a saviour of Bangladesh from mass destruction. Further, this may tip the scale in her favour come election time.
But it all depends on whose advice she is taking.
If you think you need international refereeing, observers or via media, get some neutral powers to help you, but please for the sake of God Almighty, don't become a means for the destruction of a nation. Act before its too late, before you face the wrath and fury of the people.
The writer is an Islamic scholar and an occasional contributor to The Daily Star.
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