By Ariful Hossain Tuhin
I usually don’t watch television. But my father is a passionate viewer of all kind of political talk shows, especially “ajker bangladesh” from independent tv.
Last night i was temporarily paused when some remarks from a guy in “ajker bangladesh” caught my ear.
Some lawyer i guess affiliated with AL, was saying something like this,
“Why don’t BNP create a popular movement to pressure government?”. Khaled mohiuddin, who runs the show, interrupted and told,
“How can BNP create a peaceful popular movement if the government fires live rounds even if its not a violent movement”
That guy answered along these lines
“The blame goes to BNP, if there were 200 people, police disperse them with sticks, if there were 2000 people, police fires at them, if there were 200000 people, police would not have done anything”
I was kind of shell shocked.
So the “freedom of association” clause in the constitution has condition of “head count” according to this lawyer guy. I don’t know where did he got his law degree.
This is a very dangerous way of thinking. The liberal democratic values dictates that , the state has to justify its use of force. Otherwise it has no right to suppress any kind of political protest even if it dislikes it. Yes i understand there are cases when BNP and jamat resorted to violent means where police may have the justification to use force. In all circumstances, they have to held accountable. A state can not behave in an arbitrary way, otherwise the very foundation of the state become void and illegitimate.
Liberals who are still supporting AL in this issue, that is, suppressing each and every BNP protests/rallies, have to do some soul searching. Where is exactly is their “liberal conscience “? This way the gets a kind of dangerous impunity which has a lot of side effects.
Its just a matter of time, that those police will attack preemptively in other scenarios. Just like they violently attacked primary school teachers, garment workers. It will turn against the liberal themselves if they fall out of favor just like Gonojagoron moncho.
This is not a debatable issue as our constitution guarantees “freedom of association”. And if there is no evidence of “violence”, the state has no choice to abide by it.
I once read in a article criticizing our constitution, I can’t cite it, because it was published in a print journal, where it was claimed that the the fundamental rights guaranteed in our constitution can not be enforced by a court(Like it can be enforced in USA). That means, i can’t file a writ petition to ask the court to enforce my “freedom of speech” and “freedom of association”. I’m not an expert, but if that’s the case, then constitution has little practical value as the court will not be able to check the state if the state violates fundamental rights. The argument put forwarded in that article was There are certain portion of the constitution which can not be enforced by the court. This is a serious shortcoming. (If anybody interested i can give him the copy of the journal)
Another thing is that guy subconsciously stated an obvious. Its not possible to overthrow this government by normal democratic politics. As he claimed , the state’s gun will only be silent if there were 2000000 people. So only an angry mob with pitchfork can make them behave. The government doesn’t believe in rule of law. They believe in mob justice. I should thank him for this simple honesty.