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Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury: Government continuing to fail in Bangladesh

Government continuing to fail in Bangladesh
The present government in Bangladesh, led by Sheikh Hasina is continuing to fail in each and every sector including law and order situation. According to statistics, on an average 5-6 people are murdered in the country since inception of this government in January 2009.

Almost everyday, there is a report of minority repression in Bangladesh, mostly by the leaders of the ruling party or its affiliate groups. There is no action yet by the government on the notorious incident, which took place at Sutrapur area in Dhaka, where ruling party thugs abducted members of a religious minority group, sexually assaulted the female members and tried to grab a valuable land with the help of local police.

Although local media is continuing to cover this heneious incident, none of the responsible members of the government ever visited the spot to give assurance of security and safety to the members of the Hindu family. It is alleged that, perpetrators are continuing to give threats on the family of a fresh attack and murder, if they were [the minority family] not leaving the land for construction of a commercial complex by one property development company named Anandadhara. It is further learnt that several influential Awami League leaders are holding shares in this property development company.

The incident occurred on Friday [August 21, 2009], when 9 members of a Hindu family at Dhaka’s Rhishikesh Das Lane were abducted by a group of miscreants mostly belonging to the ruling party under patronization of the local police station. According to reports, operation officer at Sutrapur police station, A B M Forman Ali was already aware of the abduction of the members of the religious minority group and grabbing of their property. But he did not take any action in either preventing such incident or even rescuing the abducted members of the Hindu family as several influential leaders of the ruling party were already involved with this notorious crime.

According to several investigations, series of meetings took place between a property development company named Anandadhara Housing Limited and few influential local leaders of Bangladesh Awami League. Student front leaders of the ruling party also attended these meetings. Subsequently local police station was informed and instructed to remain silent to give chance to the party cadres in abducting members of the Hindu family thus illegally grabbing their property.

Owner of the house Mohabir Das told reporters that, they were abducted by the members of the ruling party and taken to a workshop named Janata Engineering at 65 Rhishikesh Das Lane. Several police officers were also seen with the abduction gang, while 9 members of the Hindu family were abducted. Female members of the family were gang-raped inside the automobile workshop, wherefrom they were rescued lateron by the members of law enforcing agencies.

It is also learnt that, police gave chance to the abductors in escaping arrest, although at least 6-7 abducters were present when police rescued the abducted minority members from the mentioned workshop. It should be mentioned here that, whenever any ruling party activist is found involved in any sort of notorious crime, starting from extortion to murder to rape etc., law enforcing agencies are always seen reluctant in taking any action against the perpetrators as there is reportedly silent instructions on the police and other law enforcing agencies to ‘ignore’ some of the ‘activities’ of the ruling party men. Moreover, influential ruling party leaders compel the police in dropping most of the cases lodged against their partymen for various forms of criminal activities.

Since Awami League came in power early this year, hooligans and thugs belonging to this party are continuing to grab minority properties in different parts of the country.

It was even reported that, several minority girls were abducted and forcefully converted to Islam, mostly by ruling partymen. Cases of abduction, rape and even forceful conversion of minority girls have crossed all past records in Bangladesh. Although Awami League claims itself to be a secular political party, it in reality is finally showing its extreme fanatic face to the nation and especially to the religious minority groups.

It may be mentioned here that, on December 23, 2007, Bangladesh Awami League signed a treaty with pro-Al Qaida group named Bangladesh Khelafat Majlish for transforming Bangladesh into a Shariah state from present democracy. This treaty was greatly criticized at home and abroad and finally Awami League leadership decided to technically step back from the treaty. But, after tha landslide victory in the General Election in 2008, the same concept of establishing Shariah Rule is being pursued by the Allaince partners of the ruling government.

The present government in Bangladesh has not only failed to protect the religious minorities from the nasty fangs and grips of its own party thugs, it is also reported that frequency of crime has crossed all time record in Bangladesh. Each of the cities in the country turn into mere crime haven right after the sunset. According to sources, most of such crime gangs are led by ruling partymen.

Extortion has already turned into a major headache for the business community in the country. Prices of essentials are increasing alamingly, while the government and the extremely talketive minister in charge of the commerce ministry has virtually flopped in doing anything in controlling prices of essentials. It is even reported that, some of the ‘powerful figures’ in the government are now behind some syndicates which are increasing prices of essentials exorbitantly with the aim of making quick cash.

It is even rumored that, a few extremely influential figures in the ruling party are extorting huge amount of money from some large Corporate Houses as well as Cell Phone Operators on a monthly basis. Each month, such amounts are deposited in foreign bank accounts of a few influential members of the ruling party.

It is even learnt that a very controversial business house in Bangladesh, which is owned by the family members of a much questioned thus important minister has already taken the lease of huge complex of two five-star hotels and a commercial complex near Zia International Airport. It is rumored that, a member of Banglabandhu family is holding major segment of share in this project.

It is surprising to observe that after devastating actions on the politicians after the political changes in Bangladesh in 2007 [known as 9/11], ruling partymen as well as politicians are quickly forgetting the past and getting back to their very old track of massive corruption and looting of public wealth by abusing political might.

Power shortage is another major problem in Bangladesh. Although the present government came in power with the promise of taking immediate steps in resolving the crisis, it is observed that the situation is rather getting worst from bad. On an average, the entire nation is witnessing 4-5 hours load shedding, which according to many analysts will increase in the coming months.

Market for Bangladeshi manpower is getting narrower every week, while the government is continuing to fail in taking any steps in resolving the crisis. It is anticipated that, more than 60 per cent of Bangladeshi workers abroad may return home by next year, if the present government especially the foreign ministry will continue to fail in talking to the respective countries, which had been recruiting Bangladeshi workers and find any solution to the crisis.

Bangladesh exports to West may also see dramatic reduce in next few months. It may be mentioned here that the country has been failing to get duty free access of Bangladeshi goods to U.S. market. Although several initiatives were taken both by the government and by some figures like Dr. Muhammed Yunus, there is no sign of any progress in getting FTA [Free Trade Agreement] signed so far. According to analysts, Bangladeshi has been failing to get FTA due to wrong policy and misled diplomacy adopted by the government and the ministry concerned.

In brief, due to series of failures of the present government in Bangladesh, the entire nation is destined to face series of challenges and problems in the coming years. And, of course, repression on religious minorities is one of the major concerns, while there is no sign from the government in doing anything in protecting the religious minorities.

Political analysts believe that, the ruling party is simply wolf in sheep’s skin as it proclaims to be secularist party, but in reality its actions and behaviors are no better than any religious fanatics and extremists.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina after her release from prison in 2008. She was arrested on several corruption charges.

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