Chaos before elections-the oppositions’ endeavors

প্রকাশিত: ১:২৪ পূর্বাহ্ণ, নভেম্বর ২৬, ২০২৩

Chaos before elections-the oppositions’ endeavors
Sharmin Jahan

It must be made clear that, despite our criticism of politicians and the parties they represent, we ultimately need to—or want to—look to them for answers.

It is a well-established fact that a nation gains the greatest advantages when its politicians steer it through the political process. There are many instances of non-political forces guiding a country; Pakistan, which is on the verge of bankruptcy, is one such example. In contrast, India still faces numerous internal issues. Nonetheless, they have established a solid foundation despite being governed by a democratic process headed by politicians. Our unwavering hope is that political parties will take control of Bangladesh via legitimate, respectable, and impartial elections. Regretfully, a flagrant absence of fairness, equity, and sound governance is increasingly being acknowledged by institutions over time.

As the January 2024 elections approach in Bangladesh, the country has once again erupted into chaos. Routine protests from the opposition parties and several arrests by the current government marks the beginning of election season in Dhaka. To protest the police action that broke up anti-government protests in Dhaka’s Kakrail area , the main opposition political party, the BNP, called for a nationwide hartal (strike) from dawn to dusk on Sunday 29th October. During the party’s rally in Naya Paltan on Saturday, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir declared that the strike would begin at 6 a.m. and last until 6 p.m. Police used tear gas and flashbang grenades to break up the rally shortly after. When asked, BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Rahul Kabir Rizvi stated that the hartal was declared in opposition to the police assault and the injuries sustained by a number of leaders and activists during the BNP’s nonviolent large demonstration. Three people died on Sunday 29th October as a result of clashes with police and arson attacks on buses that occurred during the periodic unrest and violence that followed Bangladesh’s political hartal. The opposition BNP and Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami enforced a hartal during which port operations were slowed down and bank transactions drastically decreased. These disruptions also had an impact on economic activity. BNP has declared nationwide blockades for three days beginning on October 31st in the midst of all of this.

Despite yesterday’s hartal, the nation’s garment factories, which are vital to its economy, remained open. Employees near Savar, Gazipur, and Ashulia reported working easily. Officers in charge of managing supply chains and operations, however, had difficulties getting to work, particularly those who lived 30 to 40 kilometers away in Dhaka. AK-M Shaheed Reza, the chairman of Reza Group, which runs three Ashulia-based garment factories, attested that there were few problems for employees, but there were issues with housing for executives. Rakibul Islam Choudhury, vice president of the BGMEA, gave the assurance that Chattogram’s apparel factories were unaffected by the brief strike and were running normally.

Nayem, a 22-year-old bus worker from Dhaka, perished from burns sustained when arsonists set fire to an Asim Paribahan bus in the Demra neighborhood at 3 p.m. on Sunday 29th October. The offenders got away with it. In the Mohammadpur neighborhood of the capital, another person perished after falling from the roof while being pursued by locals for setting the bus on fire. According to Adabar Thana BNP’s local government affairs unit secretary under ward-30, Mohammadpur zone assistant commissioner Azizul Haque, the deceased was identified as Abdur Rashid (38). But according to the BNP, Rashid was slain by Awami League activists who were in power when he was returning from a procession meant to enforce hartal. A leader of the Swechchhaasebak League was slain in a fight between the BNP and the AL at Mahendranagar Union in the Sadar upazila of Lalmonirhat. The deceased, Jahangir Alam passed away at Rangpur Medical College Hospital at approximately 1:30 pm, as reported by Saiful Islam, the President of the Lalmonirhat District Swechchaasebak League. Inspector (Investigation) Swapan Kumar Sarkar of the Lalmonirhat Sadar police station confirmed the death, saying, “We could not confirm his political identity.” However, we learned that he was involved in politics.” In the Baitul Mukarram Bangshal neighborhood of the capital, four buses were set on fire. Around nine in the morning, at the southern gate of Baitul Mukarram, the location of AL’s peace rally yesterday, a bus carrying Shikor Paribahan was set on fire. At 10:28 a.m., miscreants in Bangshal’s Tatibazar Mor set fire to another Bihanga Paribahan bus carrying passengers. Before the fire spread, the passengers had disembarked. A Swadhin Paribahan bus was set on fire at the Mohammadpur Bus Stand at around six in the morning. Additionally, in the Mohammadpur Town Hall Market area, a Porosthan Paribahan bus was set on fire. There were no reported casualties from the incidents. The capital city saw 27 of the 45 arson incidents that were reported nationwide on Saturday and Sunday, according to the Fire Service. Four of the thirteen fire incidents that were reported nationwide on Sunday happened in Dhaka.

Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, Senior Joint Secretary General of the BNP, declared yesterday that there will be nationwide blockades for three days beginning on October 31. Speaking at a media briefing, Rizvi stated that the blockades would be organized as a form of protest against the killing of multiple party activists, the attacks on the 28 October citywide rallies, and the imprisonment of the party’s general secretary, Mirza Fakhrul Alamgir. “A large number of our activists and leaders are incarcerated all over the nation. Many are killed or become victims of forced disappearances.” “Our leader Khaleda Zia is hospitalized in a critical condition,” he continued. She is not receiving better care overseas thanks to them [the government]. She was not given access to medical care.” The BNP secretary general and chairperson’s immediate release has also been demanded by the party. The police arrest of Mirza Fakhrul from his Gulshan residence followed fatal altercations between police and party activists and the ruling Awami League. Following three days of violent antigovernment protests, the BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami launched another 48-hour nationwide blockade on Sunday 5th Nov at 6 a.m. On Thursday, the last day of the week’s blockade, BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi revealed the new agenda at a virtual press briefing, with numerous leaders incarcerated. According to the BNP leader, the party will also host a prayer service on Friday in memory of the people who lost their lives during the protests. Before the election, he urged BNP members to support the ongoing effort to topple the Awami League government. Rizvi said that concurrent anti government demonstrations will be held by the BNP’s current allies, such as the Ganatantra Mancha platform. The Jamaat released a press release on Thursday night announcing its program, sometime after the BNP’s announcement. On Friday, there will be extra prayers in honor of the protestors who lost their lives.

In the name of a movement, BNP activists attacked people and set fire to public transportation, according to Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud on Friday. The party leaders are also announcing blockade programs from caves.It is not a political party’s creation. These are the kinds of things terrorist groups do. After meeting with leaders of the Online News portal Association Bangladesh (ONAB) at his official residence on Mintu Road in the city, he responded to a question from reporters, saying, “The government is firmly determined to take legal steps against all terrorists and miscreants.” The minister urged everyone to fortify themselves against the terrorists, declaring that the outlaws are the nation’s enemies. According to Dr. Hasan, nobody burns down public transportation worldwide as a protest or blockade. “We also didn’t burn any public transport when we were in opposition,” said the politician. The minister stated that traffic flow on Thursday was normal and that the BNP’s blockade program had already ended. He said, “The countrymen have boycotted the blockade.” Regarding the ongoing migration of garment workers, he stated that starting salaries have increased by 56% to Tk 12,500. However, he continued, “a vested group is trying to create instability in this sector through outsiders.” He claimed that a large number of worker leaders own homes, cars, and bank accounts. He said that in actuality, those leaders are the ones causing the instability. The minister stated that some leaders are asking for Tk 25,000 from the employees. He went on to say that, in actuality, it is unacceptable. He claimed that as a result, the prime minister gave garment workers a Tk 12,500 annual raise in addition to a 5% raise, and the majority of them have gone back to work. Nonetheless, he claimed that some outsiders are attempting to sow discord in some areas. According to Dr. Hasan, police have seen a lot of the offenders on video. The minister asked the reporters to look into this matter further. Investigative reports on this topic should be written, the minister urged the journalists. He asked the mainstream media to speak out against the rumors during the meeting, stating that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s administration supports both mass media and freedom of expression . He claimed that as a result, the mass media industry has undergone a tremendous revolution. He said that unidentified online mass media are disseminating rumors both domestically and internationally. According to Hasan Mahmud, mainstream online news portals that have registered are therefore obligated to speak out against misinformation and rumors.

As per the codified constitution of Bangladesh, it is a democracy. In any democracy, peaceful protests are allowed. The key word here is peaceful. As for Bangladeshi rules, before any protests, the police of that specific area must be informed. The police will then give a permission slip and a time frame for the protests to be carried out without any violence. As for the current opposition parties, they are not protesting peacefully or protesting at all. All they’ve done so far is commit arson, damage public property and murder people. Their actions must be condemned.

 

Sharmin Jahan <sharminjh55@gmail.com>