by Jessica Fox
( May 02, 2012, Dhaka, Sri Lanka Guardian) Leaders of the main opposition – Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and members of its 18-party alliances are in huge fear as most of the front-ranking leaders were forced into hiding following lodging of number of criminal cases against them by the State on April 28. There is no trace of the acting secretary general of BNP, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir since April 29 early hours, while many other leaders, who’s names already exists in the “hit-list”of Crusader-100 – are also facing similar charges and are absconding. Current situation in Dhaka can only be compared with that of “One-Eleven”, when mainstream leaders were indiscriminately arrested by the military dictated government, thus creating a kind of fearsome situation in Bangladesh . Now the ruling Bangladesh Awami League (AL) has visibly copied the same policy of the one-eleven government, possibly with the target of eliminating BNP and its alliances or at least cutting them into such a size, wherefrom they can barely play any active role in Bangladesh politics. Following lodging of the criminal cases and absconding of the opposition top-brasses, leader and spokesman of ruling AL , Mahbubul Hoque Hanif said, “the opposition has vanished from the political show just on lodging of the cases.”
He said, “Opposition leaders will onwards not be allowed to create any anarchy in Bangladesh in the name of political agitation.”
That means – AL will make sure that the opposition voices are completely suffocated, while it will march ahead with the agenda of establishing Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s one-party system once again in the country, prior to the general election, which is scheduled for 2014.
The hardliner mystery:
All on a sudden, the AL government has gone into hard-line policy by lodging criminal cases against most of the top-brasses in the opposition quarters, while it has also decided to lock them into prison at least for a period between 3-6 months, with numerous charges, which would come at a later stage. The reason behind such tougher decision is, the AL government is pledge-bound of signing a number of treaties during the “joint-visit” of Hillary Clinton and Indian minister Pranab Mukherjee, which will take place during 5-6th May. Washington wants to get the TIFA treaty along with several contracts on the oil-gas blocks at Bay of Bengal singed during Hillary’s visit, while India specifically wants five treaties to be sealed during Pranab Mukherjee’s upcoming tour. The Indian desired treaties are:
- Full fledged corridor facilities to India , both on land and river route enabling it to mobilize “civilian” and “military”cargoes onto the north-eastern states,
- Allowing Indian Central Bureau of Investigation along with other “counter-terrorism” forces to conduct raids, investigations, interrogations and arrests “in special occasions” within Bangladeshi territory for the “sake of countering terrorism and jihadist activities”, while the Indian counterpart will have legal access to existing data of the Bangladeshi law enforcing and intelligence agencies,
- Handing over ULFA leader Anup Chetia along with other members, who are inside Bangladeshi prison,
- Allowing Indian army to join Bangladeshi forces “in case of emergency and necessity” for the sake of “protecting the democratic government” in Bangladesh ,
- Giving 3-4 oil and gas blocks at Bay of Bengal to Indian mining companies.
It is understood that Indian lobby at Washington has been making strong efforts in convincing the US administration in extending support to Delhi’s demands, in order to ensure Bangladesh from being free from any possible influence of China in particular.
AL is also decided to press the ongoing orphanage graft trial of BNP leader Khaleda Zia and her son Tareq Rahman and get both of them convicted by June 2013, in order to stop the door for them in participating in the next general election in Bangladesh . India and United States will jointly collaborate with AL led government in getting Tareq Rahman and Arafat Rahman Koko extradited from United Kingdom and Malaysia once the final verdict of the orphanage graft case will be pronounced. Clearly the AL government has been able in entering the US-India nexus for the sake of upholding power until 2021 under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina.
Repression of press:
The current government in Dhaka and its agents made furious reaction following publication of a number of reports in Sri Lanka Guardian (SLG) -– because these reports generated huge media storm within and outside Bangladesh. The AL government blocked SLG site for hours, while it instructed few of the pro-AL editors in the country in publishing confusing stories against SLG and its writers. One such report was carried in Dainik Samakal on April 30th quoting “intelligence” sources, where the Bangla daily questioned the existence of SLG even on the web. Editor of this newspaper, Golam Sarwar is a veteran AL member, with great connection with New Delhi . Sarwar, an US citizen is known in the Bangladeshi journalist community as a “money-monger” and there are numerous allegations on his private life. Prior to publication of this report in Samakal, local television channel Ekushey TV aired a report on the SLG report and the case of Crusader-100, where it interviewed a number of politicians, intellectuals and former military officials. As the SLG report continued to spread in Bangladeshi society, the ruling party took specific agenda in starting negative propaganda against SLG and its writers.
Clearly, Bangladesh politics is moving fast towards huge uncertainty. When the government has so-far failed to trace missing BNP leader M Ilias Ali and his chauffer, Rapid Action Battalion and Bangladesh Police have issued statements saying Ilias is not in their custody. It was earlier claimed by various newspapers in Bangladesh that M Ilias Ali was in the custody of Bangladeshi military intelligence – DGFI, while it has even been rumored that Ali and his chauffer had already been murdered by his abductors. Signals from all such incidents do not exhibit any good news. Rather it is clearly seen that the one-eleven ghosts are returning to Bangladeshi politics by riding into the shoulders of AL leadership. No one dares to say – Bangladesh might be heading towards another political mishap.