Don't hold people hostage

Jan 25, 2018
The residents of Dhaka were stranded for hours on the streets on Monday as the traders of New Market were protesting the Dhaka South City Corporation's plan to turn the market into a two-storey building, by blocking the capital's Nilkhet intersection for around four hours. Whatever may be the merits of their demands, holding people hostage in order to extract them is totally indefensible.
People had to go through indescribable suffering as the blockade created long tailbacks in almost all the major thoroughfares of the city and hundreds of people had to walk to their destinations. The worst sufferers were the critically ill patients who had to wait for hours on the street to get to the hospital. But as it seems, the organisers just couldn't care less about public suffering. And it was only after the local lawmaker assured them of taking steps to meet their demand that the organisers called off the blockade. While we believe that it is the traders' right to ventilate their grievances, we also believe that this could have been done without causing public suffering.
Also, we wonder if the organisers took permission from the law enforcement agencies as well as the city authorities before holding such a big programme. If they did, then the question is, on what grounds did the authorities give them the permission? And what steps did the police take to ensure that the programme would not cause public suffering?
Considering the pains people go through because of these programmes, we believe that blocking roads as a means of protest must be stopped once and for all. And the city authorities as well as the law enforcement agencies must play their due role in preventing such programmes.
The Daily Star, January 25, 2018

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