Bangladesh is a strange country and its people are even more strange! Cruelty, irregularity, misdeed, corruption and insulting others have become the daily events in the country. As if none is to oversee such things here. Here in Bangladesh, you can do whatever you like and thus the criminals can easily escape the trial. They are even not accountable to anyone. As if the common men are responsible for all occurrences here. Their crime is they are simple and “common.” And that’s why they must accept everything without any doubt. They always look for divine justice as in this country you can be exempted from the punishments if you are “influential.”
The transport workers enforced a 48-hour general strike across the country from October 28 which is a mysterious matter. Although the common men often fail to understand the political games, in this case it is clear that it is a political issue. The concept is not a new one here, we saw it before and we are prepared to experience it in the future. As if there is no easy way out from the “maze.”
My question is: does work abstention means enforcing general strikes? Interrupting people from doing their daily chores? Insulting them? Smearing burned Mobil oil on people’s faces? Giving sit-ups ear holding punishments? Actually what is happening here? To me, these are more disgusting things and are tantamount to hurling petrol bombs. None were spared from this harassment, even the ambulances. Why these things are being conducted? Who are the masterminds and what is their motive behind such anarchy?
There are several hundreds of question in my mind over the issue. They are said to be observing “work abstention” in demand of amending the much-awaited passed Road Transport Bill 2018. Then they must sit inside their houses, why they are harassing people on roads? Why they are creating such trouble for people? What do they mean by observing “work abstention?”
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith termed the so called demonstration by the transport workers “anarchy” and asked the authorities concerned to take strict action. But, it continued. The workers created a traumatic situation on roads. Two innocent children even were “killed” on their way to hospitals. Why such torture on the common men?
Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader called upon them to withdraw such violent programmes. He also made it cleared that this law cannot be amended until the next parliament session is being held. All rational demands could be considered then, he assured.
But, are those demands really logical and rational? The bill was passed following several meetings between the government side and the transport leaders. The Road Transport Law has been made tougher in many developed countries in the globe. But, they were not seen taking to the streets over the issue. Such practice can make the situation even worse as people will come out to the streets in order to realize their demands.
The Road Transport Act-2018 has provisions of five years' imprisonment for causing death by reckless driving and it replaced the Motor Vehicles Ordinance, 1983. According to the law, if anybody causes an accident by reckless and negligent driving, and kills or injures someone seriously, such person would face a maximum sentence of five years in jail or a fine of Tk 5 lakh or both. So what can be softer than that?
What do the transport leaders and workers think, then the government should allow them killing people on roads? An indemnity law should be issued for them? That means they will kill people and will be out of trial! In the beginning, they gave their consent but suddenly what happened that they started thinking as a trap?
Of the three top leaders two are the present ministers and one is BNP leader, who is serving in jail right now. So, people are blaming the two ministers for such anarchy.
According to a report of Kalerkantho (September 20), the cabinet gave its nod to the bill on August 6 on the backdrop of the deaths of two college students in a road accident that sparked a nationwide protest. The opposition party leaders in the parliament also opined that we need discipline on roads. And the government passed it based on their consent.
But, the transport workers started conducting subversive acts before the act is being slapped. The worse victims are the common men and none is here to see this.
I would like to thank our finance minister and road transport and bridges minister for understanding people’s demands and calling for the withdrawal of the protest. But, it is very difficult to digest that the workers are so powerful that even the government cannot take proper action against them? The government is handling everything so perfectly but it becomes helpless only when the question of punishing the unruly transport workers comes forward. This is mysterious.
We have clear idea about the power of the government. Is the vested quarter more powerful than the government and will such irregularities continue? We must not forget, people will become restless form such type of exploitation. Such small incidents injustice can make people furious and strong resistance can come from them.
People did not face any general strikes, blockade or any other obstacles due the political reasons. The practice of violence in the politics, in a sense, is no longer visible in the country. But, the workers are continuing such practices to protect the interests of their leaders. They are threatening tougher movement. But, who would be the victims?
As an optimistic person, I see everything from a positive point of view. I hope the government will consider the demands of the common people and take strict action against the anarchists. The government should also punish the masterminds, who are working against the government while being a part of it. They are just trying to create an embarrassing situation for the government. I believe, our government understands this very well.
[Writer: Kalerkantho Executive Editor Mostofa Kamal]