Column
Hartal Trade: Jamaat’s position

08 Nov 2013

#

Hartals (shut-downs) are being enforced in phases nowadays. The first phase of hartal lasted 60 hours from October 27. During this period, on average seven persons got killed everyday. Thereafter, the second phase hartal began and it also lasted 60 hours. The Opposition announced that the hartals would be peaceful.

 People of the country are well aware how peacefully the hartals were observed. The casualty figure during the second phase of hartal is known to all. It is the Opposition’s business to give call for hartal, but the responsibility for violence and death resulting from it falls on the government. Very strange indeed. 

 
Giving call for hartal is a legitimate right of the Opposition in democracy. Hartal is the Opposition’s last weapon against the government when all other means of protests fail. Those supporting the Opposition’s call for hartal respond to it spontaneously. They are not coerced or intimidated to support the hartal. This form of protest should be basically non-violent. There should not be any use of physical force, violence, vandalism, burning and killing during the hartal.
 
But those enforcing hartal in Bangladesh now have no regard for these norms. Their main target is attacking government establishments, vandalizing public properties, burning buses and other means of transport and destroying national wealth in every possible way. Ultimately it is the taxpayers’ money that is being wasted. Violence has become so rampant that even ambulance and vehicles meant for carrying dead bodies are vandalized. Innocent people of the country are held hostage for realizing political demands. Should the Opposition, that gave call for hartal, not condemn violence that  was let loose during hartal? The kind of violence witnessed during the first phase of hartal is unprecedented. 
 
Earlier, rail travel was considered safe. Although long route bus service used to get affected during hartal, goods carrying vehicles were kept outside purview of hartal. As a result, regular supply of food grains, vegetables and other essentials continued unaffected. But the latest hartals were altogether different. These did cast adverse impact even on imports and exports. The main source of Bangladesh’s foreign exchange earnings is export of ready made garments in European countries. Christmas and New Year are two major festivals in these countries and it is during these periods that the demand for Bangladeshi ready made garments rises. Garment exporters eagerly wait for these occasions. The exporters have appealed to both the government and the Opposition to resolve the political impasse by finding a way out. This has to be done in national interest.
 
Frequent hartals also have adverse impact on education system and academic schedules. When the Education Minister criticized frequent hartals for disrupting the country’s education system, the Opposition leader Khaleda Zia sought to justify it by saying that Awami League also did the same during the BNP-Jamaat rule. She may be right. But in those days hartals were not so violent, nor did so many persons die as a result. Moreover, the logic that just because Awami League did so, Opposition will also do the same does not hold good. 
 
Now, people cannot move out from home during hartal. Even at home they are not safe as bombs and grenades are hurled inside home. 
 
BNP-led 18 Party Alliance means basically BNP and Jamaat. Other parties are all one-man party. Jamaat and its student group Shibir are unparalleled in hartal trade. Jamaat does not have any plan to come to power as a partner. If BNP comes to power, Jamaat will automatically get its pound of flesh while riding BNP’s coat tail. All its senior leaders who have been convicted or facing trial on war crimes charges will have to be set free. In fact Khaleda Zia has assured Jamaat on this ground and said on a number of occasions that after coming to power she will stop the ongoing war crimes trial.
 
People of the country want a peaceful resolution of the political imbroglio surrounding the upcoming parliamentary election. They are fed up with violence, vandalism and killing in the name of hartal.



Video of the day
More Column News
Recent Photos and Videos

Web Statistics