AWAMI LEAGUE INFIGHTING: Over 200 killed since 2009

Awami league

Muktadir Rashid

Over 200 people were killed and 26,470 were injured in Awami League infighting since the party assumed power in 2009.

Statistics available with rights groups showed that at least 219 leaders and activists of district to union units, educational institutes and different associate organisations and many apolitical people were killed in 2,544 infightings between January 2009 and June 2015.

It was not clear how many apolitical people were killed during Awami League infighting, but media reports said it might be one forth of total deceased.

During the same period, 30 people, mostly activists, were killed and 6,825 others were injured in infightings of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

According to rights organisation Ain O Salish Kendra, 34 people were killed and 2,206 were injured in 171 AL factional clashes while five people were killed and 300 were injured in BNP infightings in 2014.

It said that at least 82 clashes between Awami League and BNP killed 21 people and injured 784 in 2014.

Awami League organising secretary Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury told New Age on Friday that they were ‘obviously embarrassed’ over the infighting. ‘We are showing zero tolerance for any organisational misdeed.’

Narsingdi municipal mayor Lokman Hossain was shot dead on November 1, 2011 in front of district Awami League office reportedly over an AL factional clash.

His family are still waiting for justice.

In September 2014, Awami League infighting left two children killed at Dhaki Barakanda of Mithamain in Kishoreganj.

The police and other law enforcing agencies said that in most of the cases they found no other reasons than only of establishing supremacy for financial benefits.

The police, however, could take hardly any action against the perpetrators as a number of police officials said that both groups involved in the infightings had links with influential ruling party leaders.

In the wake of such situations, the cabinet committee on law and order in December 2014 ordered law enforcement agencies to ‘act neutrally.’

The committee meeting was also observed that the Awami League should take action against errant leaders and activists of its associate organisations.

Ain O Salish Kendra showed that at least 17 people were killed and 1,048 were injured in 112 AL infightings, while three were killed and 20 were injured in BNP factional clashes between January and June in 2015.

According to ASK, four were killed and 102 were injured in 17 clashes between the Awami League and the BNP during the same period.

‘Establishing supremacy in the party and attempts to gain financial benefits are the leading causes for the factional clash,’ said ASK director Nur Khan Liton.

He observed, ‘It’s no way any clash based on ethics or ideology.’

Dhaka University political science teacher Shantanu Majumder observed that the infightings in the ruling party were alarming but it was obviously because of the absence of a strong political opposition.

He said that the infighting took place not because of ideology rather because of post and position in party in order to maximise financial benefits, mainly extortions.

‘But,’ he said, ‘it is alarming that people’s safety is often compromised during the infightings.’

He suggested that a stern action needed to be taken by the party’s highest leadership.

In July, the south-western district, Magura, witnessed sequel of conflicts over establishing supremacy.

At least two were killed and around 50 other injured in Awami League infightings in July 22-24.

‘All the clashes were related to establishing supremacy,’ said Magura district superintendent of police EKM Ehsanullah.

He suspected that the rival groups tried to establish supremacy targeting the upcoming municipal polls scheduled for December.

One of the infightings came in the spotlight as it left an unborn baby was shot in her mother Najma Begum’s womb at Doarpar Karigarpara of Magura town on July 23.

The baby was born after a four-hour long caesarean operation on her mother at Magura General Hospital following the day. The newborn is now in the intensive care unit at Dhaka Medical College Hospital with injuries in the hands, throat, and eyes.

According to rights organisation Odhikar, at least 28 people were killed and 2,980 were injured in 263 AL infightings in 2013.

It showed that 382 AL infightings killed 37 and injured 4,330 injured in 2012, 340 AL infightings killed 22 and injured 3,770 in 2011, 576 infightings killed 38 and injured 5,614 in 2010, and 663 AL infightings killed 38 and injured 6,092 in 2009.

Source: New Age