We condemn in the strongest possible terms the deliberate act of vandalism in which some 200 vehicles across many districts including Dhaka were damaged or destroyed by cadres belonging to Jamaat-e-Islami and its student body, Shibir. This was a planned act to create havoc and anarchy. In that, the police was caught completely unawares. How violence can be a programme of a political party defies logic.
The Jamaat has made one grave miscalculation. The public will not put up with this sort of orchestrated violence. Whatever little public sympathy Jamaat may have had is bound to evaporate due to this wanton act of destruction of public and private property. We fully support what the finance minister has stated on intelligence failure of the law enforcement agencies. The fact that Shibir activists were able to coordinate their attacks simultaneously in a number of districts across the country speaks of the level of planning that went into it.
Live footage of the scenes shows that police were indeed caught off guard and on the defensive, particularly in Dhaka. How could this happen and that too in close proximity of the Secretariat where the prime minister was present then? And the Indian home minister was in town too at that time. It exposes serious lacunae in intelligence gathering capability of the agencies. And lack of intelligence leads to lack of preparedness to take appropriate measures to pre-empt violence, as was so obvious on Monday.
We find the home minister's perfunctory dismissal of the finance minister's statements untenable. There was an unprecedented breach of security on Monday, and the home minister should answer as to how violence could be perpetrated in a high security zone. Such explanation is now needed more than ever as the Inspector General of Police has reportedly indicated that they had prior information that a situation like this may be in the offing. The police should explain why they were so grossly unprepared to meet the challenge posed by Jamaat-Shibir cadres.