Violence, prelude to hartal
VERY few will take issue with us when we restate that the 60 hour hartal, called by the BNP and the 18 Party Alliance, is completely devoid of rationale, but we feel equally troubled by the violence let loose by the opposition alliance activists, prelude to the hartal, particularly the recent targeted attacks on the media. Violence has been the most repetitively disquieting feature of the hartals called by the opposition alliance in the last five years.
BNP must bear the responsibility for the acts of violence carried out on the eve and during the hartals because the party has neither directed its or its alliance members to abjure violence, nor has it condemned such behaviour. Is the violence meant to inculcate terror in the minds of the people and coerce them to conform? We feel that no party that is sanguine about the moral justification of its cause needs to coerce the public to go along with its political programmes.
And alarmingly too, the pattern of attack has changed of late where the media, particularly those TV channels and newspapers, which were considered to be not so well disposed towards the opposition, have been picked out as targets. We find it preposterous that the opposition would on one hand talk about free media while on the other try to stifle the voice of those that are critical of them.
We condemn all such attacks. These are disturbing developments that cannot bode well, either for democracy or for the media.