October 29, 2006

Bangladesh in turmoil

Today Bangladesh had a nightmare in the day time. Violence erupted in many places across the country as the oppositions protest continued. The protesters had stabs and oars in their hand as prescribed by their party leaders and were put in use as their rage went on when they were attacked by police or the ruling coalition supporters.

The summary of today's events:

* Special Security Forces (SSF of president's guard regiment) were withdrawn from AL leader Sheikh Hasina's house.

* Violent clashes went on in Paltan Maidan, Dhaka with AL supporters, Jamaat-e-Islami supporters and police turning. Especially the down town Dhaka turned into a battle field. TV footages showed lynching two Jamaat-e-Islami activists to death while two of their activists were dead when Jamaat opened fire on them. The private TV channels provided some scenes people wished they had never had to watch.

* Violent clashes in Chittagong as AL supporters broke the 144 law (restricting protests) lead by mayor Mohiuddin. BNP leaders vehicle attacked.

* Riot hits across the country between ruling party and opposition activists. 12 reported killed and more than 2,000 injured in total.

In a mass gathering of BNP in New Paltan, filled with corrupt ministers, Khaleda Zia gives the war call, "respond to them in their own language!" (source Drishtipat)

* Justice KM Hasan refused to take oath as the chief adviser. He said:

"It is best I should stand aside rather than be a hurdle. I am making this gesture to render a peaceful atmosphere to the people of Bangladesh and to show my solidarity with them. The people of this country deserve better."

A copy of his press release can be found here.

* I wonder whether Both BNP and Awami League new about it since long. Couple of days before Eid they concluded the talks abruptly without facing press. Probably this was the solution fixed then. Poor Mr. Hasan, he was on strings like a puppet since long. Because in this way the face of both the parties are being kept sadly with the expense of above mess. However, Mr. Hasan can be lauded for not furthering the controversy regarding him.

* President Iajuddin Ahmed called Awami League and BNP to discuss caretaker govt. after KM Hasan's refusal.

* The events took a dramatic turn as details of the talks emerged. President Iajuddin offered himself to be the chief adviser after AL General Secretary Abdul Jalil and his BNP counterpart Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan could not agree on any former judges to head the caretaker government.

Sheikh Hasina, chief of Awami League rejected the offer outright. They said they will accept any person as chief adviser other than KM Hasan and MA Aziz. But Justice Mahmudul Amin Chowdhury, who is the second fiddle to KM Hasan is not acceptable by BNP.

BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia said: "The president is now the only elected representative. He will take the decision on how to ensure free and fair elections. We will accept whatever decision the president will take."

* Dhaka will anxiously wait tomorrow to know what decision the President takes. Mahfuz Anam of the Daily Star urges the president to keep himself above controversy. He writes in an editorial:

The constitution states {article 58(C), clause 6}: "If the provisions of clauses (3), (4) and (5) cannot be given effect to, the President shall assume the functions of the Chief Advisor..."

So only when all the five options of forming a caretaker government are exhausted ONLY THEN the President can offer himself as the caretaker chief.

* Dhaka city became to a standstill as shops were closed and violence spread throughout the city. Hundreds of thousands of people especially sick old men, children, pregnant women were caught in misery while trying to return home after Eid vacation, because the public transports did not run. Many remained stranded at roads, ports, rivers, trains.

Many people lost their lives today. I only hope that this controversy settles down soon without further bloodshed. Let sanity prevail in our leaders.

Related: Bangladesh is tensed.


Post a Comment