…..While it is only natural that the events of the last few days will be explained differently by different quarters, we strongly feel that the real causes of such dissent must be correctly identified by the present government. For the wrong diagnosis will only worsen the situation, and that will not desirable for anyone — be it the government, our armed forces, civil society, media or the general public. However, the official explanation that has thus far been provided — as can be discerned from the chief adviser’s address to the nation on Wednesday night — that university students’ response to a seemingly minor incident that had already been dealt with by the government was intentionally amplified by ‘evil forces’ and ‘self-seeking quarters’, appears to us to be not only simplistic but also incorrect. In our view, there is growing disillusionment with this government among the people at large, owing to the fact that this government, instead of concentrating on fulfilling the initial pledges that it had made, has been seen to be more busy with other activities such as trying to fracture political parties, expel political leaders, make arbitrary arrests, shut down factories and mills, evict slum-dwellers, etc. Also, instead of working expeditiously to bring about necessary political reforms through the enactment or amendment to electoral laws and rules, the government has given itself an open-ended tenure and has perceivably stalled the restoration of fundamental rights and return to elected rule. The disappointment and disillusionment with the government has, in our view, turned into anger, which found expression in the students’ agitation and the spontaneous involvement of the general public in the protests of the last few days…….
……we strongly and sincerely urge the Fakhruddin government to steer clear of conspiracy theories and to properly analyse the factors that led to the spontaneous street agitations of the last few days. We also urge it to immediately shift its focus back to the levelling of the playing field and on the holding of credible, acceptable and participatory elections in order to return democratic process to the country and to safeguard the army’s well-earned reputation as the symbol of our sovereignty.
…..One cannot of course ignore the reasons behind the imposition of such a drastic measure by the government. The level of violence that erupted in the nation’s capital as well as other places in the country following a clear resolution of the issue of the army camp at Dhaka University has been totally inexplicable, unacceptable and unwarranted. The vandalism that was demonstrated all over Dhaka on Wednesday left the nation in a state of disbelief and shock. With scenes of unmitigated violence in such places as Mirpur, Satmasjid Road and other places repeatedly shown on the television channels, it became clear that vandalism had been let loose and strong steps needed to be put in place to roll back the violence. The imposition of a curfew, from such a perspective, is therefore understandable. And yet let us note once more that thoughts should be given to its lifting at the earliest in order for people to go about their daily business…..