The clashes in Bangladesh between supporter of an Islamic political leader and police have left at least sixteen people dead, on the first day of the strike. The protest started because of an Islamic leader’s sentence to death. Delwar Hossain Sayeedi, which is the leader of an Islamic party in Bangladesh named Jamaat-e-Islami party, was convicted by the government of Bangladesh on charges of violence against humanity such as rape, murder and torture during the independence war between Pakistan and today’s Bangladesh in 1971. Such convictions of leaders can be very dangerous for the country stability, economic and reputation. Therefore, the government should take actions carefully and at the right time in order to avoid harm against people.
Although thousands of protesters have rallied in cities across Bangladesh for a third repeated day, demanding the execution of a religious political leader who was sentenced to life in prison because of conviction to crimes against humanity which committed during the country’s 1971 independence war. The sentencing of Abdul Quader Mollah by a war crimes court on Tuesday for charges including murder, rape and torture was the second outcome in trials that have reopened the wounds of Bangladesh’s struggle to break away from Pakistan. Mollah, 64, is the assistant secretary-general of Jamaat-e-Islami, the country’s largest religious political party. Public outrage was fuelled by bloggers and activists using social networking sites such as Facebook and other social media websites who called for mass protests. Protest leaders have called for activists around the country to join in Dhaka on Friday for a mass rally. Demonstrations were held for the third day running on Thursday in more than a dozen cities, including the capital Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet, Rajshahi, Rangpur and Khulna. Thousands of people poured on to Dhaka’s Shahbag Avenue, vowing to continue their protest until authorities agreed to their demands to execute Abdul Quader Mollah. Police blocked nearby streets and diverted traffic. “We won’t go home until we are satisfied,” said student Shams Islam as the crowd sang patriotic songs, beat drums and burned effigies of the Islamist leader. “We are not only pushing for justice, but also reminding our political leaders that the nation can unite and stand together for a genuine cause,” said another activist, Abdul Latif. “Shahbag has become a model for unity, especially for the young generation aspiring for a happy and prosperous Bangladesh,” he said. Bangladesh became part of Pakistan at the end of British rule in 1947 but broke away in 1971 after a war between Bangladeshi nationalists, who were backed by India, and Pakistani forces that cost three million lives. Some factions in what was then East Pakistan opposed the break with Pakistan, and numerous abuses were committed during the nine-month war. Jamaat denies accusations that it opposed independence and helped the Pakistani army. (Al Jazeera) (2013).
However, such leaders as Abdul Latif Mollah or Delwar Hossain Sayeedi could be war criminals but governments should deal with the judgment process carefully in order to hold the country’s stability and security. Even though, Delwar Hossain Sayeedi was an active pro anti-Bangladeshi freedom supporter during the Bangladesh freedom war which resulted in independence of Bangladesh from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan which occurred during 1971 and continued for a duration of nine months and was recorded as one of the most violent wars of the 20th century, it witnessed large-scale of murder and mass departure of 10 million refugees with the displacement of 30 million people. According to the government of Bangladesh Delwar Hossain Sayeedi is convicted of crimes such as murder, rape and torture during the independence war but nowadays his party has wide support of Bangladesh nation. Therefore, the government should consider the country’s stability during his judgment or sentence, (wiki).
According to the investigation authorities of Bangladesh on war crimes during freedom war, the Bangladesh government established an International Crimes court in order to hear cases of crimes during the struggle of independence and provide justice and peace for the victims. There had been very old cases of abuses during the war, including forced conversion of Hindus to Islam, sectarian attacks on minority Hindu of communities, attacking of civilians and raping of women, among the excesses. Therefore, on 24th July 2009, officers from the immigration department of Bangladesh stopped Delwar Hossain Sayeedi at the Zia International Airport from traveling abroad. Thereafter, Delwar Hossain Sayeedi stood against the government’s limitation against him and he filed a petition with the High Court on 27 July. “The Attorney General stated before the chamber judge that Delwar Hossain Sayeedi had opposed the independence of Bangladesh in 1971. He argued that if Delwar Hossain Sayeedi was not banned from foreign travel, he might have worked against the government’s efforts to bring justice for war crimes during that independence war. In November 2011 The Human Rights Watch condemned the behavior of the International Crimes Court of Bangladesh, signifying that the court did not provide enough protection for the defense of Delwar Hossain Sayeedi. Because the lawyers which were representing Delwar Hossain Sayeedi before the International Crime Court were harassed by the officials and threatened with arrest. Not only that but many witnesses and an investigator which was working for the defense of Delwar Hossain Sayeedi reported harassment by the officials and threats for cooperating with the defense of a criminal. “Human Rights Watch has long called for the International Crime Court of Bangladesh to establish an effective victim and witness program which would ensure protection for both prosecution and defense witnesses. Rights Watch said. (Wiki)
However, the government could not solve the current issue of Delwar Hossain Sayeedi and they start charging other political activist and arresting them. After charging another thirty three senior opposition leaders with the conviction of being involved in anti-government strike of last month people come out to streets in the capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka for a general strike against the government arresting. In response to ruling the main opposition Bangladesh National Party called for a nationwide strike. The Bangladesh National Party pointed that the International Crimes Court decision was “politically motivated”. Adding more “It is totally unbelievable and a fabricated case”. The government arrests included Mirza Fakhrul Alamgir, the acting secretary of the Bangladesh National Party led by Khaleda Zia, and former Dhaka mayor Sadeq Hossain. While the secretary of the Bangladesh National Party is missing. Therefore, the Bangladesh National Party which heads the eighteen party opposition alliances called for a series of general strikes to protest against government’s involvement in politician’s disappearance. On the other hand the chairman of Bangladesh National Awami Party Jebel Rahman Ghaani told the reports such as Al-Jazzera that “the government has been quite incompetent in the handling of most national issues”, in particular, the case of disappearance of the Bangladesh National Party official. The opposition also set a June 10 ultimatum for the government to restore a caretaker government system to oversee the next national elections, due in 2014. The government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina scrapped the 15 year-old system last year in what the opposition says was part of a plan to rig the elections. The opposition has said it will boycott the elections if the system is not restored. Political anxiety have sharply rise since Elias Ali, an organizing secretary in Zia’s party, went missing along with his driver on April 17 from a street in Dhaka. Police reported his car dumped in Dhaka and his driver is also missing. The opposition accuses the government and its security agencies for his disappearance. But the government authorities deny the allegation. After all efforts of the oppositions the government decision still resulted in keeping the thirty three defendants remaining in jail until further legal proceedings. (Al Jazeera) (2012).
Furthermore, in March 2013 The Bangladesh strike turns in to violence. Security personnel started opening fire of live ammunition against unarmed protesters. After continuation of a two day strike which was organized by the united opposition parties, the protesters were protesting for the deaths of over one hundred people over the last seven weeks and demanding release of hundreds in detention. Bangladeshis are divided since the recent government conviction of the men alleged of collaborating with Pakistani forces during the independent war in 1971. The demonstrators are fighting with security forces since late January 2013 therefore many of them were killed or injured and hundreds more were put in jail after the convicted of the one of the biggest Islamic party leader’s sentence to death. His convection among to others led to more demonstration in the capital. Resulting in serious humanity violation as one of the students spoke out his story of being shot. He says “I was demonstrating and the police shot him” adding more “I bagged the police officer why do you want to shoot me? What crime have I committed? And I bagged the police officer as brother not to shoot me” but still he end up being shot and lost one of his legs. Since the start of the protest a lot of images have been uploaded in internet which shows unkindness of security forces over the unarmed protestors. Such as one video shows that the security forces has captured an unarmed protester first the officers physically beating him then shooting him with life ammunition and leaving his body in cold blood, as it goes for many more of the protestors. The Human Rights Organization says the Bangladeshi government needs to do more in order to protect the people. As one of the Human Rights Organization authority speaks out saying “we demand an independent investigation in this kind of crime which is happing recently in Bangladesh, which are committed by the law enforcement agencies and we want justice, and we want these kinds of human right violation to be stopped immediately”. The United Nation, the United States of America and the European Union all condemned the violence and demand all sides to stop. The political alliance that called the strike says more will follow and their demand is to resign and call for an election but the government of Bangladesh responded saying they have no intention of doing that. (Al Jazeera’s Sohail Rahman) (2013).
As conclusion, The Bangladeshi government should stop the human violence as soon as possible. Because they want justice, if the government wants to punish someone who is violated human rights in 1971 and the government is violating human right now 2013 there is no difference between these two parties. Furthermore, this case does look like a fabricated case because back in 1971 after the independence war the father of current Prime Minister which was the president of Bangladesh at that time announced full immunity for all in order to bring peace and stability to the country. Moreover, the current in power party which is Awami party of Bangladesh was an ally of Delwar Hossain Sayeedi’s party. If the current in power party was really cared about the violence against human rights, then it was not right tobecome ally with a party of war criminals. Furthermore, the Delwar Hossain Sayeedi’s party clam that in the list of people who are convicted to sentence there are names of people who were not involve in war. It all leads to the source which is the alliance of Delwar Hossian Sayeedi’s party with Bangladesh National Party therefore the Awami Party felt that they might lose power and they started arresting and sentencing the political activist of these parties. Whatsoever, the main point is the people should not suffer because of political games. The government should be more careful on its behavior with people because the government is from the people and for the people. All war lords and criminals should be sentenced but not for sake of empowering one party or the other but for sake of the war victims.
Al-Jazeera. (2012). “Opposition arrests spark Bangladesh clashes”. Al-jazeera English Network. Retrieved on April 05, 2103 from http://www.aljazeera.com/news/aia/2012/05/201251714 412968606.html
Rahman, S. (2013). “Bangladesh strike turns violent”. Al-jazeera English Network. Retrieved on April 06, 2013 from http://www.aljazeera.com/video/asia/2013/03/201331920422222 0 523.html
Al-Jazeera. (2013). “Thousands in Bangladesh war crimes protest”. Al-jazeera English Network Retrieved on April 05, 2013 from http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia/2013/02/20132 7 181442185887.html
Wikipedia. (2013). “Delwar Hossain Syeedi” Wikipedia. Retrieved on April 05, 2013 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DelwarHossainSayeedi