Midterm election will end turmoil and bring peace

A. M. K. Chowdhury

Over two weeks ago opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Chairperson and former Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia said, “The country is passing through a critical situation and Sheikh Hasina is the main creator of the crisis.” She said, “Awami League (AL) has demolished democracy by holding the farcical election on January 5, 2014. So she can solve the crisis by amending the Constitution in the ongoing parliamentary session.” Khaleda Zia reiterated her allegation that the government has carried out subversive activities to brand the democratic movement as militant activities, but BNP strongly abhors politics to killing the people. Khaleda demanded a neutral probe body to investigate the heinous attacks on innocent people making them political commodity. The BNP Chairperson said this while addressing a press briefing at her Gulshan office in the city. (See The Daily Observer, dated March 14, 2015).
Mention may be made here after the controversial election of January 5, 2014 Begum Khaleda Zia at a press conference claimed that some 242 leaders and activists of the Opposition political parties were killed and 60 persons were the victims of enforced disappearances in between December 26, 2013 to January 27,2014. (See The Daily Naya Diganta, dated March 18, 2015).

128 custodial killings
According to human rights organization Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK) some 128 persons were the victims of extrajudicial killings in the name of ‘gunfight’ across the country in the year 2014. Some 74 persons were the victims of enforced disappearances, 13 were killed by the law enforcement agencies after arrest and 60 were killed in police custody in the same year. (ibid, dated January 1, 2015)
The activists of ruling AL and its associate bodies were allegedly involved in acts of violence so as to shift the blame on BNP-Jamaat-Shibir men. Here I am quoting some news items published in the print media in recent days.
Police arrested AL cadre Rezowan Khan Punom, a nephew of Amanur Rahman Khan Rana, MP (Member of Parliament) Tangail -3 (Ghatail) constituency from his residence at Akur Takur Para of the town and recovered a foreign pistol, two 7.65mm pistols, one 9 mm pistol, 17 rounds of bullets, four magazines, nine chocolate bombs, four sharp weapons, three China axes, 45 pieces of yaba tablets, foreign currencies and several other weapons from his possession. (see The Dhaka Tribune, dated December 28,2014)
A Bangla daily reported that Amanur Rahman Khan Rana, MP, and his brothers had been in hiding for four months to evade arrest in Faruque Ahmed’s murder case. Former AL president of Ghatail upazila and freedom fighter Ajmal Hossain alleged that Rana has formed a group of cadres to carry out various misdeeds in the area as he was elected voterless MP. Local AL leaders demanded expulsion of Rana and his brothers from the party. (see The Bangladesh Pratidin, dated March 17, 2015)

Hand bomb makers
A pro- AL Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) activist Rahmat Ali, (24), of Bhulta Union of Rupganj upazila, Narayanganj was killed and another BCL activist Saheen Mia, (25), of the same union was injured in an explosion while making hand bombs. (see The Daily Naya Diganta, dated February 6, 2015)
Police arrested BCL activist Rahamatullah, nephew of Lokman Hossain, president, AL, ward No. 9, Bhulta union of Rupganj upazila, Narayanganj from Seba clinic of Mohammadpur thana, Dhaka where he had been undergoing treatment secretly. He was injured in an explosion while making bombs. (ibid, dated February 7, 2015)
RAB personnel in a drive at a mess at Icchakati colony of Kashipur, Barisal arrested Kamruzzaman Likhan, a cadre of city Jubo League and his five other accomplices and recovered one shooter gun, two rounds of bullets, eight large daggers, nine mobile sets, one stolen motor cycle  and one bottle phensedyl from their possession. (ibid, dated February 10, 2015)
An AL activist Sohagh, (22), of Gokul union, Bogra Sadar upazila suffered serious injuries in an explosion while making bombs at his home. The explosion severed the wrist of his right hand. (ibid, dated February 11, 2015)
Two BCL leaders Uzzal and Zubair of Putimara union, Nawabganj upazila of Dinajpur district were caught red-handed by the police while they were hurling petrol bombs on passenger bus at Motihar Bazar on Dinajpur-Dhaka highway. As the local AL leaders used their influence the police released them later.(ibid, dated February 15, 2015). Such examples are many.

Cocktails are coming from India
Besides, cocktails are also coming from bordering upazila. A news report said the BGB (Border Guard Bangladesh) recovered eight powerful cocktails from the packet of Indian cumin seeds coming fom bordering upazila Jaintapur, Sylhet from a Zaflong – bound Sylhet passenger microbus at Sreepur checkpoint. None was arrested in this connection. (ibid, dated February 9, 2015).
Police sued BNP chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia alongwith 59 BNP-Jamaat men with Phultala Police Station in Khulna district on charge of bomb blast and arson attack on a passenger bus. A gang of criminals in the guise of passengers hurled a bomb and set ablaze on a Phultala–bound bus in Phultala Primary School area after leaving two including driver injured. Police also arrested 7 BNP- Jamaat men in a drive in this connection next day. (see The Daily Observer, dated February 14, 2015). Unknown miscreants hurled bomb and set ablaze passenger bus in Khulna, but police sued BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia who is confined in her Gulshan office in Dhaka.
However, PM Sheikh Hasina accused BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia of resorting to militancy in the country in the name of hartals and blockade and termed her the “queen of militants and destruction.” Hasina alleged Khaleda and Jamaat are killing people like the militants are killing in other places in the world. BNP and Jamaat are parties of militants, she said. (see The Daily Star, dated March 19, 2015)
How long the sufferings of the people from bomb blast, arson attack, extrajudicial killings, gunfight, enforced disappearances and killings in police custody will continue? The ongoing political crisis could only be solved by holding an inclusive midterm election under a neutral administration through a dialogue as suggested by Begum Khaleda Zia. Reintroduction of constitutional provision for national polls under a non-partisan caretaker government will bring peace for all times. The AL leaders should realize it.

Source: Weekly Holiday