Rising AL-BNP confrontation is most disturbing
The signals coming from the streets are very concerning. Our two biggest political parties might be heading towards greater violence with the focus firmly on tomorrow's rallies at the moment. While both sides express their determination to not trigger any violence themselves, they seem more than willing to jump into the fray if the "other side" provokes it. And, as we have seen in the past, there will always be an "other side" to blame if it happens.
The tragedy of the situation is that regardless of endless talks about avoiding violence, neither side will make any concession that can ensure it. Leaders of both parties know in their hearts that, without compromise, there is no way to stop violence, and yet no leader will publicly even hint at such a possibility without any clearance from the top. And so far, there has been no hint of that.
We have criticised the ruling party for always trying to hold rallies on the same day as the opposition does, but to no avail. In tomorrow's case, it is going to be the same as Jubo League, Swechasebak League, and Chhatra League have all shifted their programmes to coincide with that of the BNP. The aim of the ruling party appears to not let BNP be physically present on the streets of the capital without ensuring its own simultaneous presence – the logic being that if BNP is allowed any open play, it will get some advantage from which it cannot be dislodged later. So, prevent it before it happens! It is quite uncertain how far this goal of the ruling party can be implemented with any serious occurrence of violence as BNP will have to be contested every time it plans an event. The ruling party's suspicion has been further fed by BNP's calling for two major demonstrations in such quick succession.
Whatever may be the goal of the two sides, the general public cannot but be worried about how the rising tensions between the two will affect their lives. It can almost be assumed that shopkeepers, rickshaw pullers, daily workers, etc may have to forego at least a day's earnings for tomorrow's events, assuming that there is no violence, police assault, arrest or death.
We express our serious concern about the way political events are unfolding in the country. The constant exchange of invectives, the growing violent tendencies on both sides, and the diminishing chance of a peaceful settlement have created uncertainty about the prospect of a peaceful transition towards the coming polls. More and more, our passage towards the polls appears to be strewn with violence which is turning people away from the most crucial of democratic exercises – casting their vote. This cannot bode well for our democracy.