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     Volume 8 Issue 61 | March 13, 2009 |

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Resistance against the Culture of Impunity

Aly Zaker

Our hearts would bleed for the people we have lost in the recent carnage at Peelkhana,
people in uniform and without.

We are just about a couple of weeks away from our Independence Day. This is a very special day for us and calls for celebrating with pomp and magnificence. So we will, but at the same time our hearts would bleed for the people we have lost in the recent carnage at Peelkhana, people in uniform and without. This heinous act has put such a blemish on the entire nation that would be hard to erase. A lot of theories as to the objective of this act have been advanced by various people. I am sure, given the time, we might be able to know why and how this happened. Given the time, it also is true, that people would forget that such a thing ever happened right in the centre of the town that has seen so many glorious and gruesome events. Given the time we would get busy with our mundane chores. For, 'time is the greatest healer'. But little would we know what is marking time around the corner that would one day hit us and hit us hard again. We would then wake up from our slumber and start yapping away like some of our electronic medium did during this tragedy or put our heads together again to come up with imaginary theories that would be of little or no significance whatsoever. At the risk of being considered bitter or even a cynic I must confess that, in the ultimate analysis, we has been reduced to a navel gazing nation that does not care to think or act to really address these issues up front or ask as to how we have been reduced to a silent observer of what have been happening around us or how have we shirked our responsibilities over the years that has brought us to this state. A nation comprising people of diverse demographic, psychographic or ethnographic composition has to be more or less equally responsible for what has been happening to the country. But usually it is the class consisting of people that are upwardly mobile and are constantly in the look out for worldly possessions that encourages a culture of impunity in our society.

Such is their greed that they do not care to think about what their malevolence may bring to their own successive generations, leave alone the nation. Therefore we see a newly emerging class of moneyed people who have no respect for law or an orderly society in a nation where a majority of the ordinary citizens groan in a state of abysmal poverty. This culture, practiced and spread by a handful people involved in various professions---from the government agencies to business, have now come to be recognised as almost a 'done' practice that is not to be questioned. This culture of impunity has given birth to a kind of apathy and cynicism amongst the vast multitude of common people who have also started thinking that the dictum 'money can buy anything' is not to be questioned. Let me point out some instances of utter disrespect to law first. Readers, please to do not get me wrong. I shall start with as trifling a matter as our traffic system. On our highways we are subjected to grid locks every now and then. On enquiry you would find that the reason perhaps is a bus parked in the middle of the road depositing and collecting passengers. I have also seen traffic policemen leisurely chatting with each other while the traffic is piling. During this time the 'pheriwallas' are having a brisk business. A friend once told me that the longer the grid lock lingers the better it is for 'pheriwallas'. A part of the booty also goes to the policemen on duty. This is just an innocuous example of misdemeanour, the kind of which could be countless. The idea is that everything goes. From very minor misdeeds to very serious ones. We have managed to kill two Presidents. One with his entire family, some brilliant politicians who gave leadership during our war of liberation, some valiant officers of the armed forces who were also some of our bravest freedom fighters. There are countless others. We have, in keeping with our culture of impunity, never raised a finger in protest. We thought that since it has not touched 'me' directly I should not bother to speak about it. But just look around and you'd see that these crimes are closing in on us irrespective of creed, colour or political affiliation. A tragedy happens with or without a reason. A similar tragedy is repeated because we did not ask why the past tragedy happened. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that the civil society start a dialogue on how the culture of impunity could be put to an end. People should prepare themselves for societal resistance against such misdeeds. And an organised movement towards this direction should be started without further loss of time---before this nation is reduced to rubble.

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