Vol. 5 Num 568 Sat. December 31, 2005  

Kushtia police firing unwise
Loss of lives should have been avoided
We are deeply shocked and saddened by the incident, which took place the other day in a village in Kushtia where three innocent lives were lost in police firing on an unruly mob while trying to bring things under control. The police were trying to stop illegal sugar cane crushers operating in a sugar mill area. As much as it is the business of the law enforcing agencies to maintain law and order, it is also important to see that the measures taken are rational and proportionate to the actual requirement on the ground. It is our feeling that things were carried out too far and such extreme measures like resorting to firing could have been avoided as already observed by the chairman of the local union council who said in no uncertain terms that the situation could be brought under control through use of tear gas only. Admittedly, however, the members of the public also did not behave rationally and their behaviour was reflective of having little respect for law and order.

The incident also appears to be the result of an uncoordinated and ill planned action. The Officer in Charge of the local Thana says that the police contingent did not include a single personnel from his Thana; the entire contingent was apparently brought in from the District Headquarters. We also find it rather strange that, as told to the media, the OC also was totally unaware of the entire operation. It is our firm belief that in tackling issues of the nature the authorities must involve the entire gamut of the local Administration first. This issue of illegal crushers in the vicinity of the mill is one that exists for years and hence an expertise in dealing with such incidents on the part of the law enforcing agencies should have been in place by now.

We are deeply concerned about rising incidents of the nature in recent times. We hope that the Administration will ensure that no repetition of such incidents takes place in the future. We believe not only tackling but also prevention of such incidents is quite possible given the wisdom, will and sincerity of purpose.