Tuesday's Jamaat-e-Islami-enforced hartal came as a protest against what the party claimed the government's denying them permission to hold meeting the day before. The party said it sought permission from the government to hold a rally, while the home minister refuted it saying the party did not seek it. We are confused whether the situated was precipitated.
That said, we strongly condemn violent means Jamaat adopted on the previous day resorting to arson and smashing of vehicles. Such pre-hartal tactics of intimidation unmask the party's current approach to protest.
In the main, Tuesday's hartal took a violent turn. Shibir activists went for hit-run policy and carried out surprise attacks on moving vehicles, and law-enforcers. They carried out their vandalism at Mirpur, Tejgaon, Farmgate, Karwan bazaar, Jatrabari, Banani and burnt and smashed vehicles. Outside capital city, similar attacks on police and public vehicles were reported from Narayanganj, Savar, Brahmanbaria, Chittagong, Rajshahi and other parts of the country. Several person were injured, while the day before one died in Dinajpur.
It is becoming increasingly clear that Jamaat is on belligerent course. But as an open and legally recognised party, it cannot simply engage in such violent activities like arson and vandalism. Two positions cannot go together.
Jamaat's agitation programmes and ruling Awami League's announcement for meetings that coincided with those threatened to create a law and order situation in different districts. This led to clamping of section144 by the government in those areas.
Such behaviour is in not sync with democratic norms.
In this paper, we have been consistently opposed to hartal, because it causes tremendous public suffering and leads to huge loss to national economy apart from other deleterious impacts.
While Jamaat must desist from such a violent path, we urge the government should see the need for providing Jamaat with a democratic space.