Bangladesh Poribesh Andolan member secretary, urbanisation and good governance, Iqbal Habib says that in a democratic country enjoying privileges everywhere in the name of VVIPs and VIPs is an assault on the public.
Such a practice was creating a special cultural trend among a large group of people which, in turn, is also encouraging people to disobey existing laws, he said.
He also said that the situation became even worse when the law enforcers and service providing agencies voluntarily give privileges to the relatives of the VIPs, companions and others people around.
While talking about ‘VIP culture’ Iqbal Habib said that nowhere in the world VIP culture had assumed such an odd form as was witnessed in Bangladesh.
It was natural that a country’s high-ups or the most important persons would enjoy certain privileges, or be entitled to some extra facilities on security ground during their movement to reach a designated destination, he explained.
‘The tendency to use the title of VIP to get some advantages in a democratic country is unfair,’ he said and added, ‘Our country is being identified as People’s Republic of Bangladesh where people is the source of all powers.’
Iqbal said contrary to the democratic ethos, such practice exhibited a problem — by allowing them an additional power to override the norms, the regular pattern of movement of common people were disrupted.
There was a sharp fall in our willingness to abide by the law, because even the drivers of VVIPs and VIPs display an indiscipline attitude while on road, he continued.
The rights activist also said that many VIPs consider it a privilege to run vehicles on the wrong side of the road, which was not legal at all.
‘It means they are ignoring the laws and sending a clear signal that they are not bothered about the state and its laws,’ he said and added that ignoring the laws was more unacceptable offence, through which they created a trend in the society which, in the end, encouraged people to flout with every rules and regulations.
The VIPs also used very loud horns on the vehicles which caused noise pollution, he observed.
‘Where and when do they get the right to use these horns,’ he asked.
The law enforcers ignore use of these horns while currently the common people and government officials are also taking to using these illegal horns.
By way of setting a series of bad examples, the VIP culture is changing the public perception and it is only a tip of an iceberg, he said.
‘At the same time law enforcers and service providing agencies create a special group by extending voluntarily the same privilege to the VIPs’ relatives, drivers, companions and others people concerned,’ he says.
Under the shadow of this culture of neglecting the system, a large group of people, including the law enforces and service providing agencies, were now trying to justify their misconducts, he observed.
This way law enforcers and service provider agencies engage in a process of coming up with various excuses, he said.
‘I believe that a cultural pattern has been to neglect all laws in the name of special privileges,’ he said and was also quick to urge the authorities to destroy this trend.
Only on security ground and in connection to very important works, VIPs or VVIPs should get privileges. In this regard a decision from the government side is necessary based on the practices prevalent in other democratic countries, he suggested.
Decision should also be taken so that VVIPs, defined as per the law, should get privileges while in movement only. And all other extra privileges should be cancelled, especially those that are in violation of the laws, he said.
Iqbal said that in Dhaka, where people were regular victims of traffic gridlock and there was a huge dearth in the number of public transports — these types of activities were an assault on the public who were being looked down upon at every step of the way.
‘This is unacceptable,’ he concluded.
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