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Slide into Chaos

January 6, 2015

Once again, our politicians brought Bangladesh to a standstill. Programs and counter programs on the  first anniversary of January 5 election heralded a violent 2015. BNP and other major parties boycotted that election.

BNP called its supporters for observing January 5 a ‘Demise of Democracy Day’; on the other hand, ruling AL in a bid to spoil BNP’s program announced to celebrate the day and ordered its party activists to occupy the streets across the country.

Terming the political program ‘The End Game’, ’Final Effort to Topple Awami Regime’, ‘BNP’s Fight For  Survival’ actually did not help BNP. On the other hand, barring BNP from holding a peaceful mass gathering at the heart of capital neither helped AL. It simply exposed its authoritarian nature. All these raised the temperature to reach a boiling point. And Bangladeshis as well as the whole world watched once again that our politicians are good at creating political impasse instead of ending it.

Countrymen had their first experience of this year’s prevailing warring mood on January 4. Dhaka was cut off from the rest of the country so that BNP activists could not gather at Dhaka. Buses and trucks were set on fire in different parts of Dhaka.  An AL activist was killed in a bomb attack in an infighting in Dhaka .

BNP chief was confined into her party office at Gulshan. Police set up blockades in front of BNP party office in Gulshan with the aid of requisitioned trucks restricting Khaleda Zia to join party meeting in Naya Paltan. In retaliation, BNP chief announced to impose a non-stop country wide blockade from January 6.

Media houses, not biased towards the government, are also having a tough time. Ekushey Television, a private TV channel, was shut down for broadcasting Khaleda Zia’s eldest son Tareq Rahman’s message. Its CEO was detained by plain-clothes policemen.

On January 5, an aura of strike gripped the city though no strike was called. BNP men locked into clashes with AL activists and Police. Four men lost their lives in this violent agitation. But BNP’s main Islamist ally Jamaat-i-Islam has not been so active on the street and has not come forward to lick BNP’s wounds. An indication that it is cutting some sort of deal with the ruling regime, sensing futility of BNP’s all-out effort. By the way, a recent business report revealed that last year Jamaat’s financial institution Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited (IBBL) made the highest profits among the private commercial banks.

Government justifies its blockade of BNP office by saying that it was done to step up BNP chief’s security in the face of subversive activities. What is interesting it did little to stop the occurrences of subversive activities. The night before recent Jamaat-called strike two persons were burned and a teacher was killed by the picketers. No arrest has been made. But govt uses such incidents to dress down BNP, Jamaat’s ally, instead of going after the culprits. More than a year ago it was the minority communities and ruling party activists who were the victims of political violence.

Who are the culprits behind such violent political campaign? We would like to know their identities. Has the govt wrapped up the probes on those incidents?

I think one year is enough to complete the investigations of these cases. For some mysterious reasons, the present regime is very reluctant to punish the guilty ones involved with previous year’s subversive activities. Such political violence helped AL tremendously than BNP.

Rather than stopping the recurrence of subversive activities, AL govt seems more interested to use such incidents as a pretext to impose bar on political activities of BNP.

No doubt, government’s recent action severely undermines its image as a democratic party and it will further embitter the relationship between the two major parties. Prior to January 5 election, AL leaders said that they would hold talks about the next election after the January 5 poll. They can watch again those news clips.

One year after, there is no genuine initiative from the government to hold talks with BNP. It instead keeps blaming BNP chief for boycotting election. Even the Prime Minister, in her televised address to the nation on the first anniversary of one-sided election, put the blame squarely on BNP chief.

In such a tense situation, squalling democracy walks the path of confrontation, further waning any chance of dialogue.


From → Analysis

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