Violence and killing continues

28 Mar 2015


Media reports say that with the killing of one person in petrol bomb attack on March 19 in Chandpur, more than 140 people have been killed so far in violence unleashed by supporters of the country-wide blockade enforced by BNP.

Most have died of burns suffered in fire bombing. BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia has refused to call off the blockade despite repeated requests by business groups who complain of severe losses and civil society groups. The government’s request for calling off the blockades during the SSC Exam has also gone unheeded.


The blockade and hartals have dented the country’s economy badly with businessmen saying they lost billions of Taka in failed production and export each day. Terrorism continues to inflict pain on people amid sabotage against the government and conspiracy to destabilize the country.


Continued blockade wreaks havoc on the country’s economy. Bangladesh’s top business body FBCCI has estimated that the country has been losing Tk 1500 crore to Tk 2000 crore daily due to the blockade that is oozing blood out of the country’s economy. According to a moderate estimate the transport sector is losing Tk 200 crore daily and the country’s highest foreign exchange earning Ready Made Garment (RMG) sector estimates a loss of Tk 400 crores in the last two weeks.


Arson attacks by blockaders continue to take a heavy toll as days pass by, leaving common people in a state of panic. Seldom in the past has the country witnessed so ominous and bleak a situation.


Some hospitals are finding it hard to give patients life-saving drugs and oxygen because the blockade has disrupted the supply chain. But Khaleda Zia who is least concerned about miseries of the people, has decided to continue the ongoing movement and intensify it further for her political gains.


Media reports indicate that Khaleda Zia has stood firm to continue and invigorate the blockade to unseat the government and compel it to sit for dialogue and arrange an early election. BNP and its allies have so far not presented any economic agenda or road map to improve the social and economic condition of the country. Their only concern is focused on how to capture state power by letting loose the destabilizing forces for creating anarchy and lawlessness.


Some developments during the last couple of months are clear indications that destabilizing forces have been operating with vengeance in Bangladesh to overthrow the democratically elected Government. The so-called Islamic nationalist forces in the country have embarked upon a meticulously worked out plan to create large scale lawlessness and anarchy with the objective of overthrowing the government for subverting the ongoing trial of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the anti-liberation forces/Pak collaborators of 1971.


A number of attacks have already been made on the life of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who is perceived as the only obstacle blocking BNP’s attempts to wrest control over the administration and establish perpetual hold over the reins of power. On August 21, 2004 there was an orchestrated attack on her while she was addressing a rally. She had a narrow escape while being whisked away.


This attack was not an isolated incident. BDR mutiny of 2009 was another well thought-out plot to overthrow the Sheikh Hasina government and bring BNP-Jamaat alliance to power. It shows the deadly machinations of BNP-Jamaat alliance even when they are out of power. In fact the mutiny was the first of a series of attempts initiated by BNP to overthrow the duly elected Sheikh Hasina government. Even last week Sheikh Hasina’s convoy was attacked in Dhaka. Intelligence operatives have come to know that a lady bomber has been recruited to kill Sheikh Hasina. Recently, there has also been a failed attempt to abduct Hasina’s son Sajib Wazed Joy in the US.


BNP, Jamaat and other pro-Pak entities have always been wary of Sheikh Hasina who is perceived as the sole repository of the legacies of liberation war and enemy of ‘Two Nation Theory’ propounded by Pakistan. Ever since the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975 it has been the so-called nationalist and Islamist forces with the backing of the Army and religious fundamentalist groups who exercised control over the State power in Bangladesh for most of the time. These groups despite being in numerical minority wielded formidable strength.


For most part of independent history of Bangladesh, the Awami League has faced violent challenges from these so-called nationalist and Islamic forces represented by BNP and Jamaat who do not believe in the concept of democracy and who wish to capture state power in the name of religion. Certain sections of the armed forces, some mercenary elements and sections of pro-Pak political entities have often come together to subvert institutions of democracy and hijack the State power. These groups have always found religion as a convenient tool and hence they advocate a strong Islamic nationalist identity for the country and paint India in a negative light to generate a sense of psychological insecurity among the masses although the people were not much enthused about political appeals in the name of religion and Islamic nationalism.


Sheikh Hasina-led government has kept the Army out of politics all along, but Khaleda Zia on several occasions called on the armed forces to come out of their barracks and oust the government. Recently Khaleda Zia made a very dangerous insinuation that the Army would not play the role of ‘silent spectator while people are getting killed’ and ‘it would play its role in due time’. She also instigated the armed forces to step into politics when she launched “one-point oust-government campaign” demanding restoration of caretaker government scrapped by constitutional amendment.
Khaleda Zia may be thinking of banking on support from the Army to fulfill her evil design of capturing power. But she must keep in mind that within the army only unscrupulous elements have showed eagerness to join hands to subvert democracy and grab state power.


There are important sections within the army who do not wish to get involved in politics. Refusal of the army to fire upon unarmed protesters during the fall of Ershad’s autocratic regime, or the way senior army officers remained supportive of the Sheikh Hasina-led democratic Government during the BDR mutiny in February 2009, or the way the Army foiled a plot by more than a dozen “religiously fanatic” officers to overthrow the Hasina government in January 2012, are a pointer to both a fair degree of professionalism within the military and even resilience of democratic traditions in the country.

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