The abuse of the judiciary and law enforcement agencies have been persistent, since the birth of Bangladesh, very true. Almost all regimes have abused their power in persecuting the opponents in varying degrees (And I guess this practice isn’t endemic to Bangladesh only, many countries with similar socio-political stature face the same phenomena)
However, some interesting and noteworthy aberrations during the past (and present thanks to a farcical election) government’s regime include the arrest and continued incarceration of high profile opposition leaders. At least 25 leaders of the topmost leadership of the opposition party is currently in jail. Starting from the secretary general to the common ward committee members of the main opposition parties have been constantly being subjected to police harassment and sentences. Cases against them include farces like burning of garbage trucks, stealing trivial things from anonymous people etc. Despite the High court rulings that set very strict standards for obtaining remand, police and the lower judiciary are seen abusing those standards and are granted remands. More and more opposition leaders are denied bails. For unknown reasons, eminent people are being kept in prison without granting bails. The list includes newspaper editors, human rights activists, online activists and people from the academia as well.
Many opposition leaders are getting arrested just as they voice their demand in public, being shown arrested in previous cases, which are in most cases of absolutely no merit . As a result an atmosphere of fear has been created, an all out police state is being implemented. Many leaders are afraid of coming out in public. Let alone the grass roots level activists who are seldom spending the nights at their own places. And not only that, police are arresting other family members of the leaders family too, including female members. The houses are being ransacked, in some cases bulldozed. There are also reports of the combined forces looting valuables from the households form the opposition activists. In some cases mass arrests are leading upto bribes, and people are being freed based on the amount of bribe being given to police. The already overcapacity prisons are getting are even more crowded by thsese wholesale arrests. There was an instance of arresting 200 topmost leaders of the opposition en mass from their party office, over a case of cocktails been found in their party office premises.
All this harsh treatment meted out to the opposition has an even more harsher underlying subtext . It is true that the prisons have been over capacity for years. But, how are these new prisoners being accommodated ? There lies the more shocking tale. Many convicts are let go by the government. The list includes top terror crime bosses, sentenced ruling party thugs, known drug peddlers, known petty criminals. Some of these criminals are let go on the promise of staying in the field alongside ruling party activists to thwart any political movement of the opposition. Many newspaper reports an increase in the supply of guns in the recent months. Before every other election, their was a strong drive to recover illegal weapons by the previous election time caretaker governments. This time the political government totally shied away from that drive. And a servile Election Commission didn’t push for it either. They even published a farcical decree to not even submit the weapons, insisting only not to carry it !!.
So, spreading the blame equally across the board seems to do injustice to the prominent role this quasi fascist regime, elected through pseudo-elections, is playing in completely decimating the rule of law. The abuse of power to persecute opposition coupled with a flagrant disregard for the rule of law under the current regime is simply shocking and is plainly reminding of the anarchy of the mid seventies.