Bangladesh, mostly known for its booming garments industry in international arena now witnessing a new form of ‘Civil War’! Today alone there are more than 75 people killed by state police which is first time ever happened in the 42 years of History of Bangladesh. Senior Opposition Leader Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) called it Genocide that country even not witnessed during the bloody war of independent in 1971.
History of Crisis
Those of you don’t know about Bangladesh, lets know some facts straight forward. Bangladesh, once known as East Pakistan, the teen democratic nation of south Asia got independent after a bloody imposed war from West Pakistan (Now Pakistan) in 1971. Thousands of civilians had been killed, women been abused sexually, towns-villages been burned by then Pakistani army. Historically, Left-secular and Nationalist first took the opportunity to mobilise people against Pakistan and Leaders from those circle under current ruling Party Bangladesh Awami League (BAL) declared the independent. Unfortunately, Islamist at that time didn’t realise popular pulse out of their fear of left-secular uprising into the power, thus prompted them collaborating with Pakistan Army in cause “Saving Pakistan, saving Islam”. Islamist had been used by notorious army leaders and left their political ambition in mistrust for ages.
Political Scenario of Bangladesh
Despite the fact of “anti-liberation” Islamist mainly Bangladesh Jamaat E Islami(BJI) party with innovative strategy, organisation and tactic occupied their position in today’s Bangladeshi politics. BJI became the third largest democratic political party with moderate ideological stance in Bangladesh. Peculiarity of Bangladeshi politics is one party alone cannot form government if they don’t form alliances which leave BJI in between secular Awami League and Nationalist BNP. Both BAL and BNP want BJI in their side but historically & ideologically Jamaat sided with BNP that left BAL for a new calculation. This political scenario raised concern among pro BAL secular-left intellectuals. The new calculation focused to demolish Islamist political ambition. December 2008, BAL came to power with an outstanding majority backed by Army and 14 party alliances. Overwhelming majority gave BAL a hope to retain power for longer but unless Islamist growing political position keeps on check, the ambition will not be sustainable.
Causes of Current Crisis
Bangladesh knows Jamaat’s position in liberation war. According to Pro-BAL civil society’s prescription current government revive an old discourse to try ‘War Criminal’! After liberation war then Bangladesh Govt found 195 war criminal, almost all were Army leader. A law had been made for the trial of those war criminal under International Crime tribunal Act 1973.Irony is, new born state Bangladesh had not enough resources neither international support to carry out such trial, thus govt left this discourse forever. However, Current govt revive that law in 2009 to try collaborator of Pakistan army in 1971! ICT act 1973 has been modified to justify international standard and prime target has been set to try Jamaat Leader who are happened to be second largest opposition party of Bangladesh now. The act become very controversial and received severe criticism from many international human rights organisation, International BAR association, even form UN Human rights council. Moreover, a recent skype leak found by UK Economist that one of tribunal chairman justice Nizamul Hoq discussing very confidential information with outsider ‘expert’ who actually designing the verdict!
Despite national outcry and international criticism current govt continued politically motivated trial. This tribunal already given three verdicts, first, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad a nationally known TV presenter and preacher ex-Jamaat member given death penalty in his absence for his alleged crime against humanity during 1971, then the tribunal gave life sentence to Senior Jamaat Leader Abdul Qader Mollah a life sentence. This verdict made an outstanding condemnation nationwide from both side; Jamaat rejected the verdict one side and on the other hand pro govt supporter found life sentence is not enough rather they demand similar death penalty as earlier! Pro Govt supporter gathered in Shahbag, Dhaka and occupied the street since February 5 and demanding death sentence for Qader Mollah. This demonstration sponsored by government, feed by local Awami Leaders and protected by Police and other law enforcing agency. Shahbag protest demanded ICT act 1973 change to make sure Death Penalty of every accused and laughingly National Assembly pass the amended law within a week!
Today 28th February Tribunal given verdict of Maulana Delawar Hossain Saydee, a prominent scholar, national and internationally known popular preacher. Prosecutor filed 20 cases against him inclusind killing, rape, arson attack, force conversion etc but court found him guilty in 8 cases. It is to be noted that there were serious misconduct took place by prosecution, where they failed to provide enough witnesses, readymade witness testimony had been submitted in the court which later condemned by witness themselves. It is also reported by many international organisations including New York Based Human Rights watch that witness of defence team had been kidnapped before appeared in court who was supposed to give witness for Mr. Saydee. Despite all this flaws, today controversial tribunal has given him Death penalty as demanded by Pro Govt Shahbag protest.
[Aljazeera Report on Saydee Verdict:
After the verdict, while Shahbag protester celebrating their joy with sweets, Saydee supporter across the 64 district of Bangladesh came to street to protest against this verdict. Police started firing anonymously and killed 75 people brutally since morning and number remains on increase.
It is reported that Govt shut down local mobile network, deployed Para military Border guard and armed police. Police giving raid Jamaat supporter’s houses and arresting them after severe torture. Few police also been killed in clash with angry Saydee supporter. Police shot even to journalist and office of interior ministry censoring media strictly. International organisation and countries should act urgently to save Bangladesh from a full scale civil war before it is too late.
Please see the link of some video of Horror, Police Brutality;
Source: CNN iReport