A highly charged debate has suddenly made the country’s political climate quite volatile last week on the role the leftwing political party JSD and its armed wing Gonobahini had played to destabilize the Sheikh Mujibur Rahman government in 1974-75.
Senior Awami League leader and Mujib’s nephew Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim and Mahbubul Alam Hanif have publicly blamed the JSD leaders and their armed outfits for destabilizing the country at that time which eventually created the environment for a military coup ending in the killing of Sheikh Mujibur by a group of errant army personnel.
Meanwhile, BNP leaders have also labeled similar charges against the JSD leaders and their violent politics at that time blaming them for creating the chaotic situation that paved the way to the unfortunate killing of Sheikh Mujib and his family.
Joining voice with Awami League leaders they have also demanded a judicial inquiry commission to ascertain the role of the players of 1975 change over that brought military leaders to rule the country destroying the nascent democratic experiment under the one party rule of Sheikh Mujib.
BNP has also demanded the resignation of Information Minister and present JSD leader Hasanul Haque Inu who was a young socialist revolutionary at that time organizing volatile activities in a bid to installing a leftist government replacing the Sheikh Mujib government.
However JSD is now a component of the grand coalition of Sheikh Hasina government and its leaders see an unholy nexus between some Awami League and BNP leaders in raising such issues at this moment.
Inu slammed the development saying when the government’s fight against terrorism and fundamentalism is moving towards the ultimate victory some quarters are out to destroy the unity.
The attacks and counter attacks through the media by leaders of the three political formations are at its peak and it appears that more tensions and mistrusts may overshadow the debate centering JSD’s presence in the government.
There may be a similarity of feelings at work. BNP is under pressure to distance itself from the Jamaat and the new development shows that sections within the Awami League are not be feeling comfortable with JSD’s role in the government.
Meanwhile, the tensions between the Hazaribagh ruling party leaders in the city and the elite force Rab centring the killing of Chatra League leader Arzu Miah appears to have created an uneasy development for the government. The misgivings further aggravated following the killing of three other party cadres last week in what Rab said in ‘gunfight’ encounters in Magura and Gazipur districts.
The killing of Arzu Miah in ‘gunfights’ within 12 hours of the killing of a boy by him drew hostile reaction from local party leaders including the ruling party lawmaker Fazle Nur Taposh MP, a close relative of the Prime Minister. They demanded trial of Rab officers who killed the local ruling party leader.
Controversy on RAB’s role
The lawmaker said Rab was established by BNP-Jamaat government and it appears that the force is now turning the gun against Awami League leaders and workers. It must be restructured, he said apparently calling to purge the hostile elements and ensure its total loyalty to ruling party leaders and workers.
Meanwhile, a case has been lodged against three Rab officers and its local commanding officer has been withdrawn to calm the local party men who are calling for action against the elite force. But what appears difficult to understand is that no extra-judicial killing is unlawful in all cases in any form. But Rab killed scores of BNP-Jamaat men in so called gunfights over the past six years, in addition to forced disappearance of hundreds others. However, nobody from the ruling party ever protested it as they are doing now demanding trial of Rab personnel for killing the party men.
The fact is that the ruling party wants that Rab must play effective role to silencing the opposition but when it comes to deal with the crimes such as mugging, killing or terrorising by ruling party men they must watch from sideline.
The factional fights within the ruling party have now escalated throughout the country and they are killing almost daily one another on flimsy grounds while the presence of the opposition activists in their areas has almost disappeared. Such intra-party killings based on local political control and toll collection appears highly embarrassing for the government. It may be noted that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has recently ordered law enforcers to ‘use strong hand to deal with crimes.’
Party leader Mohammd Nasim has denounced the unruly party activists saying they are intruders and the government has decided to cleanse the party of such elements. Some other senior leaders making identical comments suggested that Rab may have turned the guns against the rogue party elements on instructions.
Licensed arm cadres
But the fact is that the criminalization of the ruling party cadres now runs high with scores holding guns and firearms to face the rivals in the ground. It has made party cadres desperate apparently forcing the government to take up stern steps signaling that party men are not entitled to impunity for killing rivals within the party.
Some analysts suggest it is perhaps too late now because the government has provided local party leaders and cadres with about 12,000 licensed firearms over the past six and a half year. A former home minister allegedly had provided 3000 firearms including pistols, rifles and shotguns to party cadres of her constituency in north city.
Besides, illegal arms are flooding the country from outside prompting unruly men with political connections to engage in criminal activities. The four Jubo League leaders who were killed in factional fights in the past weeks in the city’s Badda area for controlling local politics and business were the victims of their own gun trotting. This is a time for introspection for those at the helm.
The challenge that Rab faces from ruling party cadres is an ominous sign and it is not known how the government would reign in the unruly party elements without using the law enforces. Additionally, the political tensions concerning JSD’s role in the government at present and in the past may be unfolding new debates with far reaching political ramifications.
Source: Weekly Holiday