A Plea from Mukto-Mona
Mukto-Mona Advisory Board
Published on April 14, 2006
Mukto-Mona (www.mukto-mona.com) is an Internet forum and a human rights organization of predominantly secular Bangalee origin whose goal is to promote rational thinking and upholding human rights in Bangladesh and rest of the world. We have been alarmed by the carnage in Kansat, Chapai Nawabganj, perpetrated by police. Our solidarity is with the villagers who are protesting in the street to lay claim to their rights of receiving electricity. The government of Khaleda Zia did not bother to listen to villagersí complaint for months. Instead of settling the dispute peacefully, the government decided to take a harsh measure that resulted in the death of 20 unarmed persons. The villagers told the newsmen that there were several midnight raids in scattered villages near Kansat. Many affected people are leaving their homesteads to get away from police and BNP goons dressed like police (as reported by villagers to news reporters). We protest the scorched-earth policy of the government.
Bangladesh Government should not turn Bangladesh into a police state. We fear that if disputes are not settled peacefully, violence may flare up not only in Kansat but in adjoining areas. There are resentments everywhere in the nation over escalating food prices, corruption, fundamentalism, terrorism, poverty and many other burning issues. One simply has to read daily newspapers being published in Bangladesh to realize the gravity of the worsening situation of our motherland. Recently, a lot of brutality by the police and other law enforcers in this country has been observed so far, but nothing can be comparable to the mindless killing that has been going on at Kansat during the last four months. According to the newspaper report, two were killed on January 4 followed by killing of seven on the 23rd of the same month. Then again four were killed on April 6 and another was injured, who later died on April 12. Finally, six were killed on 12th of the same month. So, in total of 20 innocent villagers lost their invaluable lives for the 'crime' of just demanding adequate electricity supply to carry on their farming. In addition to the mindless killing, there have also been rampant attacks on the their houses and their properties are being subjected to damage and looting by the brutal police force. The happenings at Kansat indeed should boggle conscious peoples' mind. This is a shame for gunning down unarmed people and looting their properties who were agitating for electricity supply. We condemn such police brutality at Kansat and our plea to Bangladesh government is to send immediately a committee of retired judges to investigate the alarming situation. We also demand exemplary punishment of the policemen responsible for the killings. Also, the families who lost their loved one should be compensated financially. Please stop this uncalled for violence perpetrated by police. Please bring a closure to public protests for their legitimate demand before violence grip the entire nation. The government should not be repressive in democracy. Please be mindful of this before another shot is fired at the protesters.