Incidents of violence abound in Bangladesh the last few days of hartal. Analysts of news and many reporters have been eager to pin all the blame on the activists of the opposition in perpetration of violence. Little reported is the fact that Awami League (ruling party) cadres along with police have often tried to use a combination of ruthless force and guile in implication of BNP, Jamaat and Shibir activists in violence that is in reality reactionary, but shown and published by a maximum of media (complicit with the government and the ruling party due to either ownership issues or ideological affiliation) as being perpetrated by the opposition itself. However, little propagated reports of news show that everything does not go unreported. Despite a heavily focused biased campaign of implicating the opposition in every act of violence, we have managed to sieve through and bring forward specific examples we believe will help in showcasing otherwise.
Case study: Awami League cadres using opposition slogans while carrying out violence
Giving the “Naraye Takbir” slogan ( a slogan associated with the Jamaat-e-Islami) , a robber gang, headed by a Chhatra League [Awami League’s student wing] leader, robbed and vandalized vehicles along the Dhaka-Chittagong highway at Sitakund. 5 passengers were seriously injured in this incident. General people converged upon the miscreantsand and held 3 of the robber gang. According to local sources of information, after the hartal was concluded on Tuesday, at 7:30 PM a 7 member robber gang pounced upon passing vehicles on the Barabkund Siraj Bhuiyan street of the highway, robbing and vandalizing 10/15 cars in the process. During these, the robber gang beat several microbus passengers of Mirsorai area along with Nasifa (11), Momotaj Begum (34), Monir Uddin (18), Mohiuddin (38), Mostaq Ullah (32) and then snatched their money & cellphones. Later, hearing the cry of the victims, local people came down the street, ran after those robbers and caught three of them. The held three are Shuvo Dash (18), Sobuj Dash (22), Shahin (19). They admitted that on the order of Jamshed Uddin, the former in-charge of Sitakund Degree College’s Chhatra League, they gave “Naraye Taqbir Allahu Akbar” slogan and carried out the vandalizing and haphazard robbing. On being informed, Sitakund police station’s SI Mahbubul Alam came to the spot. On the other hand, Jamshed has been hiding since this event.
Thu, 31 Oct, 2013 12:05:04 PM
3 Jubo League (Awami League’s student and youth wing) workers were held by the public for vandalizing vehicles while giving slogans associated with the opposition parties BNP and the Jamaat-e-Islami. Local people informed that they held the three Jubo League cadres from the Dhaka-Chittagong highway in Sitakund while they were vandalizing cars and robbing under the cover of these slogans. According to information provided by locals, after the Hartal had concluded on Tuesday, at night 7/8 thugs attacked all the cars on the Barobkund bridge and Siraj Bhuiyan road area of the Dhaka-Chittagong highway, vandalized 20/25 vehicles and robbed money and cellphones from the passengers. During this, the slogans which the thugs were giving were “Naraye Taqbir Allahu Akbar” and other political slogans of Jamaat, Shibir & BNP. During this terrorist attack, several passengers of microbus along with Nasifa (11), Momotaj Begum (34), Monir Uddin (18), Mohiuddin (38), Mestaq Ullah (32) were injured. Their money and cellphones were snatched. Hearing the cries of the injured passengers, local people came down to the street and chased after the thugs, nabbing three of them from the spot, namely Suvash Dash (18), Sabuj dash (22) and Shahin (19). After being held, those three thugs admitted that they were Jubo League workers. They further admitted that they were acting under orders from Jamshed Uddin from Mahmudabad village, the former in-charge of Chhatra League (student wing of Awami League) of Sitakund Degree College, who had ordered them to carry out the aforementioned vandalizing and haphazard robbing. They further informed that Chhatra League cadres Alauddin, Alamgir and Hosain from Fokirhat were among those who had escaped. In reply as to why Jamshed had told them to carry outsuch unwarranted acts, the three informed that Jamshed’s shop had been vandalized during clashes on the 25th of October. That was why, in order to avenge that incident, Jamshed had ordered this robbing with false slogans in order to file a case against BNP & Jamaat activists. On being contacted about the incident, Jamshed informed the media told that he knew nothing about the incident whatsoever. He also claimed that the above incident was false propaganda of the BNP & Jamaat against him & that he didn’t know any of the held miscreants. On the other hand, after being informed about the three held Jubo League workers by concerned citizens, Sitakund police led by SI Mahbubul Alam came to the spot on Wednesday and interrogated the thugs. Local people wanted to hand them over to the police. Surprisingly however, after getting wind their Jubo league identity, the police decided not arrest them. Then on Wednesday in the afternoon in presence of the elders and eminent persons of the locality, they were freed and sent back to their guardians after making them sign bonds that they wouldn’t commit this kind of crime further.
Case Study: Opposition activism vs Awami League cum police action
The reports around opposition induced violence reported in various print and television media outlets indicate that all violence is solely from the side of the opposition Shibir, Jamaat and BNP activists. What these media fail to take into consideration is the popularity that the opposition has gained in their demand for free and fair elections under the caretaker government. What these media have failed to see is the participation of general people in the strikes around the country in the past few days. The situation in Dhaka has featured so prominently in all media that the situation of the whole country is unfortunately measured in terms of the political temperature in Dhaka.
In the majority of the country, the rural areas saw the instantaneous participation of the people in the opposition strikes while urban and metropolitan areas were so blanketed with security forces assisted with Awami League cadres, many of them hired thugs, that going out to demonstrate without anything to defend the self was tantamount to a one way ticket to a near fatal attack through gang lynching followed by imprisonment.
This was the picture of public participation,
Students of the Islamic University out on the streets in peaceful human processions in support of the strike.
Strike supporters in peaceful stand; playing cricket on the streets on Dhaka-Rangpur highway at Bogura. If this is not peaceful, then I don't really know what is. But this is something you will not see in your regular media.
On the other hand, Awami League thugs along with police used force, intimidation, arrests and what not, resulting in retaliation that became fodder for the cameras which were used by government complicit media to show that the strikes were all about violence. Perhaps none of this fearsome violence would have materialized if the government and security forces would have allowed the opposition to peacefully protest and above all, actually sit in talks with the opposition for a better future instead of just adding fuel to an already volatile situation through a staunch thick headed stance.
These are some instances of how peaceful the Awami League and police were,
This is Rashed from Rajshahi, who was killed by automatic gunfire from the ranks of the police and the Awami League last week. His fault was that he attended a protest in support of the strike.
This is a Jamaat Dolia union Ameer who was tortured by Awami League thugs
Sharp weapons and shooting at the body level were the combination used to great effect by the police and the Awami League in order to create chaos, anarchy and violence. An Awami League cadre using a sharp weapon at Comilla in order to disperse opposition who are seen using rocks as understood from the picture.