by Jessica Fox
( May 01, 2012, Dhaka, Sri Lanka Guardian) Latest situation in Dhaka, the Capital city of the South Asian country named Bangladesh is fearsome in real sense. Members of law enforcing agencies are continuing combing operations in the city in search of top brasses of main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), while private television channels in particular are already in the owe of huge fear following government extreme repressive attitude towards political opponents. Especially the situation in Bangladesh turned very complex, when the ruling party lodged criminal cases against BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Munshi and members of the presidium ASM Hannan Shah, Mirza Abbas, Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, Sadeq Hossain Khoka, joint secretary Amanullah Aman, Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, BNP leader Abdus Salam, Moazzem Hossain Alal, Saiful Alam Nirob, Habibun Nabi Khan Sohel, Sarafat Ali Sofu, LDP chairman Col (Retd) Oli Ahmed, BJP chairman Barrister Andalib Rahman Partha, MP, Asiya Ashrafi Papiya, MP, Shammi Akhtar, MP, Rehana Akhtar Ranu, MP, Nilufar Chowdhury Moni, MP, Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Annie, MP, JAGPA leader Shahfiul Alam Prodhan and others. Meanwhile, allegations of inhuman torture in custody on the arrested BNP and opposition leaders have already been printed in Dhaka’s print media. Eminent Bangladeshi columnist Syed Badrul Ahsan in a front-page commentary titled “When anti-politics becomes the norm”, published in leading English newspaper The daily Star wrote, “…The truth, at this point of time, is that politics is in a deep slide toward regression. Or you could even suggest that where a revival of politics, in that very modern, renaissance sense of the meaning, was the goal following the general elections of December 2008, it is today the very reverse of that goal the nation happens to be going through. Anti-politics has become the order of the day.
“That a government enjoying a vast majority in parliament and therefore vast powers is not necessarily competent government is a fact demonstrated all too well in the more than three years which have elapsed since January 2009. The death of citizens in “crossfire” has gone on, with the authorities unable to explain why the security forces are so trigger-happy. Worse, the terrible malady of disappearances, something we thought was once associated with South America in the old dictator-driven days, is now part of Bangladesh’s anti-politics culture.
“A goodly number of citizens have been abducted in these past many months. Some have been found dead, but most have remained untraced. That is not what you expect in a democracy. And yet Ilias Ali and all those others before him have disappeared in all the aura of democracy which does not quite look like democracy as it should be. That is not acceptable.
“It is not acceptable that the government cannot trace Ilias Ali inasmuch as it is not acceptable that it remains unable to dig into the truth behind the murder of a Saudi diplomat, of a journalist couple, of so many others across the country. It is not acceptable that platitudes be offered where decisive action is the need.”
The same newspaper in its editorial wrote: “It seems that the government has lost its sense of proportion, a precarious state to be in for a government that is led by the oldest party in the country. It is difficult to conclude otherwise from the absurd step it has chosen to take several opposition leaders to court for creating violence during hartal on Sunday
“Reportedly, two cases have been filed against BNP leaders Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and Ruhul Kabir Rizvi and LDP President Oli Ahmed and several other leaders and activists of 18-party alliance. In fact as many as 73 leaders of the newly formed alliance have been made accused in several cases including the cocktail blast at the secretariat and bus torching case.
“To say the least, we find this utterly weird that party leaders belonging to the opposition are sought to be taken to the court accused of creating violence. Not that such action is the first of its kind. It had happened in the past which only exacerbated the situation.
“Not only does the government action appear irrational, there is little doubt also that the move has been motivated more by a feeling of vindictiveness rather than the government’s wish to curb violence. And at a time like this, when the situation is turbulent, and when the need is for a more coolheaded approach to defuse the prevailing situation that has the prospect of escalating further, it seems that the government is itching for a confrontation by ratcheting up the level of confrontation.”
Ruling party in Dhaka is pushing the current political crisis into much deeper state at timing, when the country is expected to receive US Secretary of States Hillary Clinton on May 5th, though now it is greatly feared that a civil war or a mass-revolt against the current regime may spark at any time. Especially the fear of speculation of revolt is becoming prominent following lodging of criminal cases against the opposition leaders at large while members of the law enforcing agencies are visibly increasing numerous forms of hostilities on the civilians. The culture of using the law enforcing agencies simply like political cadres are nothing new in Bangladesh. Such bad practices started during the rule of military ruler H M Ershad, who was ousted from power in 1990 though a mass revolt. Politico pundits in Bangladesh as well as expatriate Bangladeshis in various countries are seeing outbreak of similar mass revolt against the current repressive regime in Dhaka “at any time”.
It should be reminded here that the current political turmoil in Dhaka started following forced disappearance of BNP leader M Ilias Ali and his chauffer. Though the government is making false promise of rescuing Ilias Ali alive — a number of credible sources indicate that the BNP leader and his driver were “cleared” by the members of Raw-trained Crusader-100, hours after they were being picked up. It said Ilias and Ansar were taken inside a house located at diplomatic enclave named Gulshan, where they were slaughtered by the members of the killing squad, who are working on specific hit-list. Following the murder of the BNP leader and his chauffer their dead bodies were secretly transported to Buriganga river at the old part of Dhaka and was subsequently loaded in a river-going cargo vessel, which lifted anchor at 4:00 o’clock in the morning and started for Sunderban mangrove forest, where the dead-bodies were buried or might have been sliced and offered to tigers as feast. This tragic incident was brought into knowledge of the Bangladesh PM 2-3 hours of the “execution” of the Sunderban mission of the Crusader-100 members.