- Posted January 5, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Photo essays: Your stories in pictures
- Bangladesh on the edge: Barring the “march” or burying “democracy”?(!)
- Bangladesh roars as the Opposition rises: A New Pledge to revive democracy in jeopardy
- 2nd “Operation Searchlight” in Dhaka: Is ‘Mujib-daughter’ in the twilight of her demise?
- Hefajat "Long March" in Dhaka: A single event that changed Awami Government’s Calculations
Jan-5 ‘Sham Election’ in Bangladesh: The day the ‘Democracy’ died
At last, following all criticism and controversy, an unprecedented sham election took place in Bangladesh today staining country’s golden polls history with thick and red ‘blood’. Such polls-day violence is never seen throughout this nation’s journey as a whole. At least 19 civilian lives have been claimed today due to violent clashes over the controversial 10th national parliamentary election underway. Voting has been scheduled to take place in 147 parliamentary constituencies as ‘uncontested’ MPs have been made in 153 seats earlier. Even extreme violence has led 161 polling centers to total closure. Moreover, no vote is cast, even not a single one, in 44 polls centers. As many as 6 lakh law enforcement agencies’ personnel including 50000 Army men and 80000 cops have been deployed across the country to make polling successful. Admittedly, it’s not the law enforcers that can principally make an election successful; rather, it’s the voters who are meant to go to polls centers and effectualize the election by casting their votes. If the people, especially the voters, are not convinced of a fair atmosphere for free and impartial polling, they are not supposed to walk outdoors. But the situation sounds as if only the law enforcement personnel were going to hold a successful (!) election. How hilarious!!
To be frank enough, Awami League is an awfully stubborn party and not at all friendly, history says, towards the people and their interests. It once again repeated its historic role of autocratic outlook by holding an in-house election overlooking advice of all the influential quarters. The notable much lower turnout of the voters connotes that today’s general election is not one worth casting votes in as the ‘ballot’ is compared to ‘bullet’ and also as the bullet is not to be shot from a gun without a goal preset, balloting is, likewise, not to be held without any targeted point or at least if the target is missing. Contrarily, even ‘ballot-rigging’ is highly reported to be a thing in common in most of the polls centers. An election cannot be a token of multiparty democracy when the situation is that “many parties boycotted the polls”, as argued by the Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad while defending the low turnout partly, and “only several others joined in”. ‘Visual transparency’ of the election has also been cast doubt on as the journos have been kicked out of many a polling center.
The question as to “how much this in-house and exclusive election will hold water” has been raised as well as resolved by many. An election denied to be overseen by the United States, European Union, Commonwealth and Russia can easily be said to lose credibility to significant extent. The power-rivalry of the ruling coalition, especially Awami League that leads, is hurriedly paralyzing country’s economic and political orders. Perhaps, the world has never seen anywhere such ‘Opposition-hostile’ crippled democracy as is in Bangladesh these days. Autocrats walk to their demise as time passes by. No single autocrat or dictator could thrive sustainably in this world. An odd fellow like Sheikh Hasina, The Awami League chief in action against democracy and good governance, suffices to sink her ‘boat’ into water to a very critical extent.
Earlier, the joint forces (!) led by Awami League wreaked havoc indiscriminately in many parts of the country. Villages one after another became void of their male inhabitants. Hundreds of houses have been set on fire. Even news of rapes has come out. Even on the Victory Day, in Satkhira, countless houses were torched, vandalized and looted and 5 inclusive of a female Jamaat activist were killed. The government went crazier after it had killed Abdul Quader Molla, the prominent Islamic thinker and Assistant Secretary-General of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami. The state-backed forces made crude attacks on the people infuriated by the judicial killing (of Molla) in various districts so that they (people) cannot dare to protest. This is just a newer version of Awami ‘garrison force’ (of Mujib era). The queue of the corpses is being longer and longer day by day. Policemen, BGB and RAB personnel have gone reckless these days as they are ordered so by the government. They are religiously violating human rights now-a-days. All these nasty happenings pinpoint the fact that the people of Bangladesh are not safe in the hands of this autocratic regime.
More crucially, the mass media is not that vocal against human rights violation by state-backed terrorism in Bangladesh. Firstly, the government shut down the Daily Amardesh, Diganta TV and Islamic TV as these media dared to speak against government’s undemocratic and human rights violating actions. Secondly, it is airing news and information contrary to the facts by its polarized media. Threats are being posed to the media concerned so that they don’t even dare to publish any piece of news and information that goes against the government. On 16 December night, pro-government thugs raided, as per the announcement made earlier, the office of the Daily Sangram, an ancient prominent Bangladeshi daily, and attacked as well as fired into the residence of Shafiq Rehman, an eminent journalist of the country.
Bangladesh is now heading towards the very edge of collapse to be a ‘bottomless basket’ as dubbed by Henry Kissinger, the former US Secretary of State. This January-5 election is another dose of lethal push to the country to lead it to the untoward destination faster. Given the ongoing political instability and economic vulnerability which are only going from bad to worse, ‘today’ is a day democracy apparently died in Bangladesh; we are not sure whether it’s still in a coma or not.
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