Shun violence, force; adopt peaceful means to bridge gap: TIB

Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) on Tuesday expressed deep concern over the on-going inhuman and cruel manifestation of violence and use of force in an unhealthy competition for power at the cost of basic rights of the people and prospect of democracy and good governance.
The TIB in a statement called for shunning the path of violence, use of force and undemocratic means and to adopt peaceful ways of bridging differences and move towards mutual understanding.Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of TIB said the two largest parties are crushing basic rights of the people, particularly children, women and the youth by indulging in an unhealthy competition in the show of force in the name of democracy.
People are being deprived of the whole range of fundamental rights starting from right to life to right of normal death. Having locked themselves in a zero-sum game of power, our political parties and leaders are not only exposing their political bankruptcy, but also expanding their distance from the people and public interest on a daily basis, said the statement.
It said independence and professionalism of key institutions of rule of law and democratic accountability,  particularly the law enforcement agencies are being severely compromised. These are an extremely high-risk game for democracy and good governance.
The TIB executive said, political freedoms such as right of assembly, rallies, human chains, etc., are fundamental to democracy and democratic practice. However, he said violent programmes in the name of movement putting people’s life and living at risk are absolutely unacceptable in any democratic society.
On the other hand, the way the law enforcement agencies like Police, RAB and BGB have threatened use of disproportionate force and are apparently acquiring licence to become law-breakers is inconsistent with the spirit of our independence achieved thanks to highest sacrifice of millions of martyrs. These also expose the political space to militant and undemocratic forces to gain ground, he said.
The statement further said, in this crisis situation, efforts to reach mutual understanding between our two top leaders are indispensable in the interest of the people.
The key to overcoming the crisis and restoring normalcy in public life are in the hands of the two top leaders. At the same time senior leaders in both camps must also shun the confrontational path and practice restraint. Time is now to demonstrate that politics is truly about public interest, and not to undermine people’s basic rights; and that politics is not for a zero-sum game by use of force, which can be suicidal for democracy”.
“The on-going violence is not only undermining prospects of democracy and governance, but also causing extreme forms of damage to democratic institutions. Politics is being presented to the people at large, especially the young generation and school and college displayed as a synonym for violence, violation of rights, destruction and death. By sowing seeds of apathy towards politics, the worst enemy for politics is being created from within the political space”, Iftekharuzzaman said.
“There are no winners in such forms of political activism and practice except for undemocratic, militant and violent forces who may gain further ground. Not merely in the interest of the people, but also for their self-interest the two confronting sides must find peaceful ways and means for political game and leave the people in peace,” he added. – Staff Reporter