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What does violent hartal portend?

November 13, 2013

To Bangladeshis, hartal(strike) is not a new phenomenon. They are very much familiar with it. But in recent hartals they are exposed to such a degree of violence that is shocking and a costly new experience for them.

Harrowing graphic images not only left the whole nation traumatized but also bore a threatening message—‘This could happen to you’.

Once upon a time, it was a non-violent instrument. Now anarchy reigns supreme on a hartal day. It already lost its mass appeal and became anarchists’ best possible option. People have already begun to ask:”Has it outlived its utility?”

After the much publicized telephonic conversation between two leaders, we hoped that it would herald a change in the relations between two feuding parties. Despite the bitter conversation, a positive sign was that two ladies talked for 37-long-minute. However, the conversation caused much uproar in the media. At one point, it seemed that the possibility of negotiations between two ladies dried up. Business community took an initiative and approached two ladies with a proposal of General Secretary level talk. Sheikh Hasina was positive to the initiative. Khaleda Zia also nodded to the proposal. Out of the blue, fresh round of hartal was called and three key opposition leaders were detained. Once again, the opportunity of a genuine dialogue has been snatched away at the last moment. Apart from the two parties, it seems that an invisible hand is in action. It wants to derail any process of dialogue. Such violence and lawlessness only help to swallow the narrative that ‘two ladies are incompetent to run the country.’ Why should our two beloved leaders step into this trap?

This transitory period is very crucial. As Chief Executive of the country looses her grip on key state organs, vested quarter may take the advantage of the situation. In this critical period, when there is less accountability, personal gain and self interest may dominate over national interests.

The 37-long-minute talk lit the light of hope. It is still flickering. Two ladies have significant experience in running the country and we believe democracy is safe in their hands. They should resume talk and reach a settlement in line with constitution. I hope their egos will not endanger our democracy.

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From → Analysis

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