Dr Kamal for citizens' thana committees against 'sick politics'

Dr Kamal for citizens’ thana committees against ‘sick politics’

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Gono Forum chairman Dr Kamal Hossain has called for forming citizens committees in all thanas of the country to organise citizens for a nationwide movement against the ‘sick politics’ practised by the two main parties.
“People want to see a working democracy, accountability, and the rule of law prevails. They want to see the security of life and property provided by the state,” Dr Kamal said in an interview with Dhaka Courier.“If these are being undermined we need a unified assertion that challenges the process through which it is happening,” he said.
Dr Kamal, the architect of the country’s constitution, professed his unassailable faith in the power of the people to be agents of change, against the efforts of the main political parties to ‘capture the state’, that yields fundamentally undemocratic actions such as the January 5 election. But for them to realise this power, citizens need to be ‘organised’.
“Take those who were denied their right to franchise in January. This is a minimum expectation for anyone living in a democracy. It showed total contempt for people’s rights, contempt for public opinion,” he said. Asked what people can do in such a situation, Dr Kamal Hossain called for conscious citizens’ activism that prevents the people from turning themselves into ‘passive subjects’.
“The essence of citizenship that everyone must get is that if you own something, you must be willing to exercise your right of ownership. We should be having meetings in every thana. I say, through citizens’ committees where we articulate what we’ve lost with our right to vote being taken away,” he said, keen to point out that the denial of the right to vote was not a ‘BNP issue. It’s true for everybody’.
The Gono Forum president went on to bemoan in the influence of black money in politics. “The electoral process has long been undermined by the injection of money, especially the influx of black money into the campaign-financing process,” said the 77-year-old international lawyer, known as the architect of Bangladesh’s first post-independence Constitution.
Dr Kamal described the High Court judgement based on which the caretaker government provision was removed from the Constitution as ‘peculiar’, but said it would be unwise to blame the judgement only.
He said: “It (the judgement) said clearly you could continue with the caretaker system for another two elections. Yet one year before the judgement even came out in writing, it was used as a pretext for the 15th amendment that removed the caretaker provision. It was, to put it simply, in bad faith.”
Dismissing the recent controversies in the political arena concerning the history of the Liberation War, Dr Kamal Hossain said these are not issues, rather a manifestation of what he calls ‘sick politics’.
“History is history, and everybody knows the history. While Bangabandhu and Ziaur Rahman were both alive, these issues never arose,” he said. “The attempt by those who practise sick politics is always to project division. The two highly centralised leading parties want to project this division because that is the basis on which they can say that one section belongs to them, while the other goes to their opponents,” said the Gono Forum leader. – UNB

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