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Dissent is a key element of democracy

Published : Tuesday, 22 October, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 231

Dissent is a key element of democracy

Dissent is a key element of democracy

The speaker of Jatiya Sangsad has correctly pointed out that dissent is at the heart of democracy and the young generation should exercise tolerance to allow a variety of opinions to be voiced freely. This call comes at a time when the country is reeling from the death of a student who was allegedly beaten mercilessly after having posted his opinions on social media.

No country is perfect. And even those that claim to have reached the apex of democracy have grave flaws. A look at Britain's Brexit conundrum will clarify the matter. Even though Britain stands as a nation of tolerance, free speech and sensible politics, the complexity of Brexit has triggered division, mistrust and discord, and that too, from within the ruling party.

However, the shining example here is that any member of either the ruling or the opposition party is permitted to voice their views without fear. Bangladesh had sustained military rules plus a long period of autocracy when no form of dissent was tolerated. However, as the country moves towards greater progress, tolerance has to be cultivated at all levels.

The young of today should be allowed to express their hopes and fears so the government can address the social maladies before they result in the death of brilliant young minds. With the killing of a university student, the abhorrent culture of ragging at universities involving psychological and physical torture have come up and such behaviour is detrimental to the overall mental development of young people. At all academic institutions, students must have the right to stand up and speak against practices which they feel are unfair.

If we pretend that everything is alright the flaws within society, the abominable practices plus the abuse of power will not be revealed. The casino busting has showed that taking advantage of social silence, a vicious practice of gambling, extortion, drugs and other nefarious acts was allowed to run. Allowing the young to freely express their views also helps us understand if anyone is titling towards radicalism or not.

In these cases, early steps with compassionate counseling can save young minds from being indoctrinated by extreme and militant creed. When there is the platform for healthy dialogue, problems are easily identified and a path towards solution becomes possible. Since Bangladesh is already a shining example of development, it should also be a country which encourages a safe space for divergent views.

As much as it is important to voice dissent in a democracy, it is equally important to tolerate it with fair and logical response to it. It is encouraging to note that our leader of the house acknowledges dissent, so to strengthen democracy.

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