The following is a pretty benign picture of what is going on in Bangladesh in the name of democratic movement!
Opposition-called blockade supporters dug up a trench at Goreya on Gaibandha-Palashbari road, severing road communications between Gaibandha and other districts. Photo from the Daily Star http://www.thedailystar.net/people-defy-blockade-3577
Isn’t this picture quite generous by the current Bangladeshi standard? There is no burning of buses that causes horrible pain, suffering and death to innocent people! There is no bomb that decapitates unsuspecting poor people who must go out to work to make a living! The field criminals of the BNP-Jamat political alliance have even spread some brick chips before the trench to warn the motorists about the danger ahead!
The act of decommissioning of roads and rail lines is a tool for enforcing blockades, known as ‘hartals’ in Bangladesh. Do the politicians and their field criminals stop to think, against whom are these blockades? Who suffers from these blockades? Aren’t the ordinary citizens whom the politicians claim to wish to represent the real sufferers of these blockades? Aren’t the citizens of the country supposed to get angry with the perpetrators of these blockades? Aren’t these blockading politicians supposed to get unpopular in the country?
Of course, felling trees on the roads and digging trenches across the roads are not the worst acts of anarchy that are going on in Bangladesh. Here are some more recent headline news items from Bangladesh. Cop burned alive in city. Train derails as pickets uproot rail lines, 50 hurt. Burnt bus driver dies at DMCH. Dhaka-Chittagong rail line snapped: Tracks uprooted in Bogra, Rajshai. Teenager killed, 17 people burned as bomb hits Bangladesh bus.
None of the above acts are legitimate democratic movements by any civilized standard of the world. These kinds of criminal acts of anarchy would not be allowed in countries like the USA or UK, for example, even though the governments of these countries have been appealing to the government of Bangladesh to negotiate with the opposition parties that are perpetrating these lawlessness and sabotage.
The government in Bangladesh is clearly unable to control the anarchy in the country. The law enforcers are not always doing their duty of maintaining the law. For example, recently when the Jute and Textile Minister, Abdul Lattif Siddiqui, got out of his car and started to remove the road barricades himself, the police from two police posts joined him to clear the road. Couldn’t the police do it without the minister starting it? Couldn’t the police do their job for the ordinary people of the country?
It is quite well known that the police in Bangladesh collect dead bodies from mob violence instead of intervening when the violence actually happens. There is no doubt that in many parts of the country, the acts of anarchy could not take place without the police being inactive or complicit.
It is also well known that the supporters of the governing political parties commit illegal acts of taking laws into their own hands, and try to do the job of the police. Worse yet, they also commit acts of anarchy to deter acts of the same nature by the opposition.
Thus, Bangladesh is really a jungle. What is going on in Bangladesh is no movement for democracy. It is just for one party to try to get to power by making the life of ordinary people miserable, and for the other party to try to hang on to power. This uncivilized nature of the country must change. Unfortunately, there seems to be no real civilized way out in sight for the country. Under these circumstances, the patriotic intelligentsia of the country needs to support the party that has a record of decency in terms of respecting people of all religious and ethnic backgrounds, and in terms of recognizing people who were the victims, the heroes and the criminals during the liberation movement for the country appropriately.
In the long run, the culture of anarchy and terrorism must be shunned for Bangladesh to embark on the journey to a just, peaceful and prosperous country.
About the Writer: Sukhamaya Bain is a US citizen who was born in a place that is a part of today’s Bangladesh. He earned a Ph.D. degree in Chemistry in 1987, and currently works for the US federal government, evaluating chemistry. While being a scientist by profession, he believes that societal justice is vital for the well-being of mankind. Thus, he occasionally writes on sociopolitical issues.