THE Rapid Action Battalion raided a ‘casino’ run in the Young Men’s Club at Fakirapool in Dhaka and arrested the club owner, who happens to be the organising secretary of the south city unit Awami Juba League, at his house at Gulshan in possession of an illegal weapon, ammunition and a stash of methamphetamine stimulant Yaba tablets. Two more weapons have also been seized for breaches of licensing terms. The battalion is reported to have detained 142 people at the club at Fakirapool until Wednesday evening. This is a law and order issue and the law enforcers would deter such crimes and stand the offenders in the court of law. But what makes it all worrying is the involvement of leaders and activists of the wings of the ruling Awami League in such crimes, which have in recent times continued to make the headlines. While leaders of the Chhatra League, the student wing of the ruling party, makes the headlines for crimes such as extortion, control over halls of residence in public universities and even hacking activists of other ruling party wings, leaders of the Juba League, the youth wing, hogs the headlines for running gambling illegally, keeping illegal firearms and trading in drug substances.
The involvement of people from various wings of the ruling party in crimes suggests a purported impunity that they think they enjoy having been close to power. And they could so do because the law enforcers often appear to turn a blind eye to such issues. But all such incidents of crime, especially having involved people from ruling party wings, as is the case with the incident at hand, have not reached such a height overnight. The prime minister, who is president of the Awami League, has earlier talked of the involvement of ruling party people in such crimes and expressed her resentment. The Awami League chief at a meeting of the party’s central working committee on Saturday, as New Age reported on Thursday, expressed resentment at allegations against some Juba League leaders and at a meeting of the party’s parliamentary board on September 7 resented at Juba League leaders being alleged to have been involved in extortion. The law enforcement agencies appear, as it stands to reason, to have known all this — as the crimes have been taking place for a long time — although they have not so far taken any step to stop the crimes.
In a situation like this, the government must immediately order the law enforcers to deter any crimes — not just in the cases at hand but also in other cases that appear to have rolled down for a long time — and to stand the offenders in the court of law for proper justice dispensation. And ranking leaders of the ruling party must also rein in and discipline leaders and activists of the Awami League’s different wings, who continue to make the headlines for wrong reasons, in order to stop such crimes and to save their image from being tarnished. Leaders of the ruling party must also rise above partisan interest and stop interfering in the justice dispensation process.