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Opposition leaders in jail

Publication Date : 18-05-2012


Thirty three senior leaders of the main opposiiton Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its alliance partners are in jail in connection with an arson case having been denied bail by a trila court in Dhaka yesterday. The decision of the magistrate, though questionable in the sense of overall administration of justice, has apparently been taken following due process of law.

While it was entirely the jurisdiction of the judge to grant bail or not, and the judge is technically correct in the decision he has taken, one can recall that at least one person has been granted bail in the same case a few days ago.

However, there are certain legal matters that cannot be seen through a technical lens only. And while we do not want to comment on the decision we are constrained to say that in our view the entire case has been motivated by political considerations, right from the way it originated and to its final evolution through the preparation of the charge-sheet.

There are though a few aspects of the case that we are forced to comment on. First, we find it unbelievable that all the 33 accused leaders had participated in the burning of the bus. It is difficult too, to believe that such high profile leaders would feel inclined to commit arson. And we believe, given the above circumstances, the court might have been more favourably disposed towards the accused on the matter of granting bail. And one can hardly miss the self-enthused role of the police in preparing the charge sheet, which it seems they have done in very quick time. The validity of bail given by the High Court was till the framing of charges.

The result of all this is the hartal the country endured yesterday. While we are in principle opposed to hartal, and we condemn the violence that the opposition supporters indulged in on Wednesday, there is little doubt in our mind that this particular hartal has been provoked by the action of the government, and could have been avoided.

We are disappointed to note that while the general public is rooting for a dialogue between the two parties and dissipation of the political heat, the heat has instead been ratcheted up by this inconsiderate action.


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