We have been observing this great outpouring of young people in the square with candle lights, placards, bandanas chanting “death to Kader Mollah”, “blood wanted; blood wanted”, “hang war criminals” and “ban Jamaat, Shibir”. Many observers were watching this scene and trying analyzing it in perspective. We will also try to do it here in this article.
Last night, there was a huge candlelight vigil, very orderly and spectacular. The young people have been sitting in this square for more than a week and vowed not to leave the area without getting their demands fulfilled. Food, beverages and other amenities are supplied to them in very orderly fashion and they seemed very comfortable. The security men cordoned the area off to the suspected intruders with CCTV watching every move by others who could disturb this vigil. It is indeed a very orderly sight which is very unusual for a disorderly country like Bangladesh.
If this called a protest or a revolution; all protests should happen this way. The protesters should be protected by the government’s security apparatus with all their might. And this should be applicable to all gatherings that permeate displeasure of the public. Indeed this is what a perfect society should have. Perhaps this is the precursor to all other public protests in the future. The government should give permits readily and protect the protester’s rights. If this is what came out of this protests; Bangladesh has gone up a notch. If to the contrary, it shows favoritism of one protest over the other.
Last night all student bodies were allowed to speak out their minds. Only people absent were the students activists from the Jamaat and BNP and their allied parties. All speakers were student leaders from the Awami League and their affiliated coalition while their veterans watched from the sidelines holding candles to show solidarity with this spectacular gathering.
Indeed it is a historical moment and a sight unparalleled in the violent history of Bangladesh. We would like to see the ruling coalition provide similar arrangements for the opposition parties to congregate peacefully and let them have their vigil peacefully. No to rubber bullets, no to hitting people ruthlessly by sticks and no to inciting of the party thugs beating up or killing the protesters. This should actually be the ground rule. We should never forget we are an independent nation. Every citizen has the right to voice his/her opinion and allowed to hold protest rallies peacefully with full police security.
The protest in Shahbagh already looks and smells like a ruling party generated event. There is no two way about it. Therefore we cannot call it a revolution; rather it is a party activism in luxury and under protection. It is not spontaneous as it was allowed look like. Yes; the opposition is stunned and are in an awkward position and are counting their worry beads in panic. It has put BNP and their supporters to an extremely tight situation. Unless they can pull the dove out their hat, their future seems ruined for now.