Dhaka Courier

Of Jongis caught and OC Moazzem not

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Photo: PID

The Prime Minister has said that there were Jongi threats during Eid but the law enforcers were able to neutralize them. Our law enforcers are some of the least sung achievers, capable of significant efficiency and diligence. It’s true some/many have a poor reputation as bribe takers. Not much really has been done about that. It’s possible the state powers have made a cost benefit analysis of a police force which can get the job done and one that can’t. Whether some/many etc. are money clean or not was not an issue to them probably.  That is why they have become the cornerstone of the current regime exerting and delivering successfully all the tasks that they have been asked to do.

The PM and the missing OC

Which is why, while applauding them for brilliantly handling the Jongis, they have been less successful in reining on several other forms of crimes that affect common people. They are excellent in protecting the state but not so when it comes to its more vulnerable citizens. The case of Muskrat’s murder and involvement of the local police administration are issues that have cut deep into public psyche. What matters is not just the facts but public perception of who is doing what.

And given that the PM has taken cognizance of that public sentiment, one needs to recognize the political significance of this case. Unfortunately, when an accused or involved in such a sensitive case goes missing, people are going to think that something is amiss.

The PM has publicly said that had she not taken an initiative, the matter would not have reached the point it has now. Public anger against OC Moazzem is high as it was his duty to protect but instead he became an accessory. That is why Moazzem is so important for the case and the public image of the PM even. It doesn’t look good if the accused policeman is not hauled in by the police.

Moazzem, the OC has gone missing and it would be odd to think that the man accused in such a public interest case was not under watch.  One can understand that average criminals- and they are so many- often can go on the lam but in a case where the PM’s prestige is involved this becomes more difficult to accept.  If the OC is not caught quickly, it’s not the image of the police that will be damaged but that of the ruling regime and its administration. It has very much become a political case from being a standard violence against women and children case.

The politics of post 2018 elections

There is a fundamental difference between the government before 2018 and that after. One existed within a framework of multi-party multi optional election based party system. This changed with the 2018 elections which saw the rise of a single party dominated multi-party system where other parties really have no status. It means that conventional politics has largely diminished and in its place has risen an administrative politics system.  In such a scenario, political and the administrative becomes very close. It’s difficult to say where the administrative ends if at all and where the political begins if at all.

In such circumstances, any mishaps are bound to be read as political and administrative both. When the Sagar Runi case fails to make it to the court because of police investigation, it is no longer a matter of police inefficiency but lack of political will to try the case. When Tonu murder case doesn’t see the light of justice, it’s not a failure of police investigation but shielding the powerful.  When the BASIC Bank corruption case is not completed after 9 years, it is the same.

The politics of governance?

In the absence of all distractions particularly of the political variety, public’s entire focus is on the Government making the political part of the governance machine vulnerable.  It’s this lack of separation between the administrative and the political part of the government that makes any lapse on the part of the law enforcers or amlas so telling. With total control over the system, how can the authorities be unable to complete such a task which they routinely do all the time?

Of course there may be genuine reasons but media had been reporting that Moazzem was seeking bail and then he went missing. Given that the suspicion are indications of laxity or indulgence of a group within the administration. It’s thus no longer a matter of police action but how well the will of the state is executed.

The missing OC has become a symbol now. It’s important that he be recognized as he is – a test of the political will of the state and just a test of its efficiency.

  • Of Jongis caught and OC Moazzem not
  • Issue 49
  • Afsan Chowdhury
  • Vol 35
  • DhakaCourier

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