Blanket arrest
Friday, 06 June 2008

The people deserve explanation to such move

It is shocking that the average number of arrests has been roughly 3,000 daily since Sunday. The political parties and the media have identified this move as a tactic of political repression and intimidation while home adviser MA Matin has claimed it as a drive against miscreants and criminals. Again, the inspector general of police, Noor Mohammad, has claimed that there has been no evidence of a slide in the law and order situation of the country. This however, points to the discrepancy between what the government highlights and what police administration has to say.  We see that a majority of those arrested are principally grass roots political leaders and activists. In the way that the government has enforced its policy of blanket arrests, they have run roughshod on the rule of law, and civil and political rights, arbitrarily applying the emergency power rules to serve what we can only suspect to be a crude political end. We observed similar instincts when over 90,000 people were charge-sheeted for the Dhaka University protests that erupted last August, and with more than 30,000 people charge sheeted when clashes broke out in Sadarghat in May this year. Under emergency power rules, the government is under no compulsion to produce the detained before a magistrate within 48 hours, nor can the accused petition for bail. In this abysmal state of civil and political rights that this government is using as a weapon, a travesty of democracy and the rule of law really sounds ridiculous. The people may at least want to learn of such arrest.

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