Bangladesh Government cracks down on protests with impunity

Yesterday Hefazot-e-Islam (deshi deobandis) and friends marched back to Dhaka to press for their 13 points one month after the Long March which went surprisingly peacefully. I have written about the points in detail in a separate post, yesterdays points were slightly reformulated and included the protection of religious minorities this time. Sadly this time, the government lashed out a full armoury of police, paramilitaries and thugs with deadly effect. Hundreds may have been killed.

Hundreds of thousands, if not a million protesters turned up in a show of seriousness and desire to have their legitimate concerns widely recognised. TalukdarShaheb has published a photoblog of the day as he saw it.

Police, the disgraced and rebranded Border Guards and ruling party aligned thuds, shot at and beat protesters in the day, and in the wee hours of the morning today appear to have prosecuted a massacre in the business district of Motijhil. A friend, by no means an Islamist (...yet) has told me enough from the scene for me not to be able to write it off as bluster from any of the three cyber groups, Basherkella, SaveBangladesh  or Feb28.org.

The crackdown has been systematic. The British-trained Rapid Action Battalion has raided and closed Diganta TV and Islam TV channels. I am told that plain-clothes intelligence agents are keeping the countries madrassas under constant surveillance. The Secular liberal establishment, do not regard the attacked as human beings and are too lazy to push back the hand that fed them all their lives.

We might not agree with the protests demands completely but the right to life, assemble, protest and dignity are non negotiable. It is a shame that most human rights warriors in Bangladesh are cowards and strategic with it comes to standing up for the oppressed.

What is to be done and who is to do it?
As ever it depends on our knowledge, position and location.

  1. The moving Prayer of the Oppressed connects us to the divine in a political justice kind of way.
  2. Write to your MP, or other (s)elected representative. If you are from the USA, try to find out if this crackdown was endorsed by them.
  3. Try to establish truth from chaff, avoiding the risk of self-delusions.
  4. Withdraw support for this Government, on family and other scales.  
  5. The terrorism industry is often bored and looking for its next hapless victim, do not feed this monster by misframing the Hefazot.
  6. Demand fairer coverage of Bangladesh, make lazy journalists aware of the gate keeper distortion.
  7. Think, act, write, act, dream, act, see, act, seed. 

1 comment:

maruf said...

its truly a shame how educated progressives are utterly silent about it. whether 2500 were killed may be disputed. but the fact that government forces fired live bullets at unarmed, sleeping protestors in the middle of the night and killed many is indisputable. we don't have to agree with hefazat's 7th century demands. but in a democratic country they have the right to organize and demonstrate.