Rogue regime smashing democracy in Bangladesh
| by Jessica Fox
Something is wrong in a small South Asian nation, where a authoritarian regime is gradually enforcing series of anti-people policies, making direct threat to country’s democracy, which had been repeatedly disrupted by bloody and bloodless military coups since it got liberated from Pakistan in 1971. Bangladesh, though a small nation with a total 160 million homogenous population is heading towards another playground of Marxists and Stalinists, who grabbed power through an engineered election in 2008 with the help of military junta. Many of the political experts on South Asian affairs fear, Bangladesh could become the second Communist ruled nation after Nepal within the span of next two years. The current regime of Bangladesh Awami League led leftist coalitions have already exhibited tendencies of totally ignoring the West, including the United States, thus aligning with neighboring India as its political guru.
After a bloody war of nine months, the country named Bangladesh was created with 75 million populations. The first political party, Bangladesh Awami League, which formed the government under the leadership of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman continued committing series of political and diplomatic blunders while Mujib opted for establishing one-party rule thus banning freedom of expression, rights of citizen as well as encouraging secret killings of the political opponents. He also attempted for making stronger ties with anti-West nations such as Cuba or Palestine for example, with the ambition of becoming another Fidel Castro in South Asia . During his rule, on an average, more than ten thousand people were subjected to secret killings, while grabbing properties of religious minorities as well as various forms of state-patronized intimidation of different opinions were already at the worst-ever alarming level. It was further added by acute food crisis and famine, as well as corruption and lawlessness at every level, which at some point even risked the independence and sovereignty of the country. In 1974, Bangladesh experienced the deadliest famine ever, which killed around 1.5 million Bangladeshi people from hunger. The Bangladesh famine of 1974 is a major source of discontent against Mujib’s government. Bangladeshi people feel ashamed, insulted and demoralized as a nation for this famine that was not due to a food crisis but, according to Nobel laureate Amartya Sen — due instead to the lack of governance and democratic practices. Intense criticism of Mujib arose over lack of political leadership, a flawed pricing policy, and rising inflation amidst heavy losses suffered by the nationalized industries. Mujib’s ambitious social programs performed poorly, owing to scarcity of resources, funds and personnel, and caused unrest amongst the masses. BAKSAL (the one-party rule established by the government) was protested by different groups but they were punished by Mujibur Rahman. It was known that Mujibur Rahman never accepted any criticism against him. Mujib was widely accused for the responsible of 40000 killings by his Rakkhi Bahini (the para-militia force created for cleansing political opponents of the ruling class). On January 25, 1975 Mujib declared a state of emergency and his political supporters approved a constitutional amendment banning all opposition political parties. Mujib assumed the presidency and was given extraordinary powers. His political supporters amalgamated to form the only legalized political party, the Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League, commonly known by its initials – BAKSAL. The party identified itself with the rural masses, farmers and labourers and took control of government machinery. It also launched major socialist programs. Using government forces and a militia of supporters called the Jatiyo Rakkhi Bahini, Mujib oversaw the arrest of opposition activists and strict control of political activities across the country. Members of Jatiyo Rakkhi Bahini were granted immunity from prosecution and other legal proceedings. The militia known as Rakhi Bahini and police were accused of torturing suspects and political killings. While retaining support from many segments of the population, Mujib evoked anger amongst veterans of the liberation war for what was seen as a betrayal of the causes of democracy and civil rights.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is possibly the only leader of his contemporaries, who turned into a dangerous dictator from being a most-popular leader of the people. Though Mujib still is considered as a towering personality in South Asia for his courageous role in leading the nation towards attaining independence, the subsequent actions of his government, which mostly went against the people, had certainly labeled him as a good leader but worst administrator or even a ruthless dictator. The era of Mujibur Rahman came to an end following a military coup in 1975, wherefrom the country went through decade-long suspension of democracy, thus entering number of dictatorial military regimes. Things once again started changing in 1990, when military dictator and Islamist pal General Hussain Mohammed Ershad was ousted from power through a mass revolt. Since then democracy continued to crawl again. But once again, the high ambitious military men in Bangladesh put democracy into dictatorial clutches in 2007 by seizing power from a constitutional government thus continuing numerous forms of anti-democracy actions, including attempts of eliminating the mainstream political parties and leadership. It also got involved in criminal actions like extorting industrialists, entrepreneurs and businessmen, including social elites thus establishing a total reign of terror. International community became extremely critical of such actions of the military junta and started putting pressure for restoring democracy. Sensing severe consequences, the military junta attempted to bargain with the political parties about getting indemnity to all of their misdeeds during the dictatorial rule of two years. Few meetings took place overseas between the representatives of the military controlled junta and Bangladesh Awami League, while Bangladesh Nationalist Party rejected any such secret compromise formula. Moreover, international patrons of the military controlled junta, particularly India were putting emphasis in seeing Bangladesh Awami League installed into power for implementation of a number of Indian agendas, which include, letting New Delhi get the corridor facilities from Bangladesh for transporting its commercial and military cargoes to the North-Eastern region. It is rightly predicted by the political forecasters that such facilities were extremely necessary for India to maintain its tight grip over the North-Eastern region, thus eliminating the existing struggles of independence. Should India did not get the corridor facilities from Bangladesh for another 2-3 years, few Christian dominated independent nations would already emerge within the map of Indian sub-continent.
Secondly a pro-Indian mere puppet government in Bangladesh was essential for letting Indian security forces and intelligence agencies enter the territory of Bangladesh in discreet manner to hunt for anti-Indian elements within the country and gradually eliminate them thus continuing offensives on the anti-Indian notions and sentiments.
Thirdly, such government in Bangladesh was required by New Delhi to somehow dampen Bangladesh Army as well as paramilitary forces, which is once again important for New Delhi to establish Indian dominance within South Asia.
The long-cherished dream of India turned true with the victory of Bangladesh Awami League. It is authentically proved by various sources that India aspires to see the current government in Dhaka to continue in power at least up to 2021, when a submissive Bangladesh can be totally ensured. Though India proclaims to be the largest democracy in the world, it has agenda of establishing one-party authoritarian rule in Bangladesh with a brute administration, thus greatly and blindly compromising the interest of Bangladesh in every level. This is now a win-win situation for India while a real agony for the people of Bangladesh seeing a government in Dhaka, which puts more emphasis on implementing Indian agendas, instead of paying minimal attention to the interest of Bangladesh. When Bangladesh completed its fourth decade of independence recently, it is justly feared by many that the nation of 160 million people are now destined towards losing its own dignity and pride, thus letting the rogue regime in scraping democracy and establishing the one-party dictatorship with fullest and dedicated agendas of serving the purpose of India.