Political culture has become obsessively violent and corrupt in the current tenure of the Awami League-led government. People affiliated with the ruling party take advantage of local resources and exploit people and they use violent means to immobilise any voice against such exploitation. Such is the case of Mehedi Hasan, a writer and translator from Tangail. On Monday, the writer, as New Age reported on Wednesday, was ruthlessly attacked by ruling party activists as he raised his voice against illegal activities of an activist of the ruling Awami League at his village. The attacker in question is a follower of local AL leader and has been involved in illegally drawing power connections from a contractor with the Power Development Board for households and irrigation pumps after collecting Tk 2,700 for each household and Tk 7,000 for each pump. In March, a woman of the village died as the new power lines were not installed properly. The victim raised his voice against the political circle for running illegal business in the name of bringing power and the eventual killing of the woman. It is time that the ruling party took issues of corruption and violence of its leaders and activists seriously.
The political circle that assaulted the victim was earlier involved in extortion, obstruction to justice for rape and murder victims. Such allegations against activists of ruling party affiliates have become a common occurrence. In this column, we have previously written about the many ways ruling party activists exploit ordinary people to the extent that they do not even hesitate to extort money from people in extreme poverty. During the flash flood in haor region in 2017, ruling party men and their relatives reportedly took bribe from people to get their name enlisted for vulnerable group feeding programme. Vested quarters are formed in all public sectors involving government officials, law enforcement agencies and ruling party members that enjoy unbridled power and exploit people with impunity. In February 2017, Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha allotted plots to 31 people, including ruling Awami League activists, allegedly on political consideration. Public banks are sanctioning risky loans in large amounts without following rules and regulations to people close to the ruling party. Any voice against such abuse of power and nepotism faces threats. In February 2017, a schoolteacher in Rangpur was assaulted for protesting against the corruption of the local AL leaders. The recent physical assault at hand is, therefore, by no means an isolated incident.
To undo this deeply-rooted legacy of corruption and violence in the political culture, the government must judiciously investigate the attack on the victim in Tangail and bring perpetrators to justice. It must, therefore, recognise that to earn people’s trust, it needs a radical change in its political culture infested with nepotism, partisanship and violence.
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