People of Bangladesh have been terribly betrayed by Sheikh Hasina's Awami regime that seems to be more enthusiastic to please its near and distant masters than to look after the country's interests.
A dangerous silence and bewilderment in Bangladesh seems to be shared equally by those who voted for the current rulers and those who did not. The police have never been so 'active' (read brutal) in the street with regard to opposition demonstrations and strikes. It is a novel experience for both the police and the people. What is more, the helplessness of most of the police officers has never been so apparent in the face of orders from upstairs to crack down on opposition political forces. However, Awami cadres in the police garb may have been seen overly enthusiastic about torturing opposition leaders and activists.
Sadly, the police and the members of the RAB in Bangladesh have lost most of their original characteristics. If you compare the police and RAB of today's Bangladesh, you may not find much difference between them and the special political militia force of 1975, Rakkhhi Bahini. The world may now be taking some heed of what is going on in Bangladesh because the Opposition Chief Whip Zainul Abdin Farrouque was beaten to near death by the Awami cadres in the garb of the police in the street of Dhaka on 6 July 2011 (he is now receiving medical treatment in America). What the world may not know or did not want to know is that, such brutality has been the order of the day with regard to Awami treatment of political rivals especially since early 2009.
Physical violence is not the whole story. Sheikh Hasina's regime (widely known as pro-Indian) has taken away the phrase 'absolute faith and trust in Allah' from the constitution of Bangladesh, a country with 90% Muslim population. Although, with such a phrase in the preamble of the constitution, previous regimes including hers did not hesitate to perpetrate anti-Islamic activities, the phrase was a kind of psychological attachment of the people to their country's constitution. After traumatizing the Bangladeshis with this audacious act of removing such a phrase, Sheikh Hasina and some of her ministers have been making sarcastic remarks only to heap insults on injuries.
For example, Sheikh Hasina recently said: "After returning to power through people's votes, we have been able to free the constitution of stigma by amending it" (The Daily Star, Dhaka, 15 July 2011:
ttp://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=194353). It may be interpreted as an incautious sentence blurted out of her mouth, as she is not well-known for making careful and judicious statements. But what I understand from this statement is that, despite her strategic headscarf on her head, she regards 'absolute faith and trust in Allah' as a 'stigma'. I leave it to the readers to draw their own conclusions about Hasina's level of respect for Islam.
She and her ministers now also tell Bangladeshi people to look for Allah in Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem which she thankfully did not touch. However, after some time, the regime may come up with another argument to remove Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem and tell people to look for Allah in their hearts. We wonder if Sheikh Hasina and her cohorts had adequate respect to Allah, why did they strip the constitution of the phrase 'absolute faith and trust in Allah'! We can sense that Bangladesh is now part of a larger narrative and things may not be in the hands of Sheikh Hasina and her ministers. But they can at least remain quiet after slashing the sentiment of the people. Making such statements only fuels the fire of discontent and anger.
Few will disagree that Bangladesh is now under a fascist regime. Opposition parties are not being given any opportunity to express their views either in parliament or the street. As is the practice in Bangladesh, BNP and its allies have been forced to resort to the tough programme of hartal. This elicited a sarcastic remark from Awami League general secretary Syed Ashraful Islam that the government was ready to sit with the opposition even if it were arranged in Makkah. Syed Ashraful Islam knows very well that his party and BNP do not have to make a journey to Makkah to sit together, as Bangladesh is big enough to accommodate such a meeting. What is needed is responsible behavior and professionalism on the part of the Awami regime. He should also know that it would be disrespect to the holy place to let the Awami League and BNP do verbal bickering and chair throwing there. So in my opinion, his statement is also outright blasphemy and intended to heap insult on injury of the aggrieved opposition parties.
Another example of the regime's mockery of the country people's sentiment is Sheikh Hasina's intermittent statements to warn her 'student' wing, Chhatra League. Thus far, we all have seen and some of us have had the taste of Chhatra League's hooliganism and ferocity. It has ousted thousands of students of opposition student organizations from the dormitories of educational institutions around the country which are now replete with non-student Chhatra League ruffians.
At the absence of opposition students, different factions of Chhatra League are fighting with each other and turning the universities into arsenals of arms and ammunitions. Instead of taking any effective actions against her boys, Sheikh Hasina from time to time makes some verbal warnings to them, and thus seems to have been trying to fool the whole nation.
Does Sheikh Hasina want us to believe that she has been trying to discipline and disarm the cadres of Chhatra League and has failed? Isn't it an insult to our injury to see Hasina make such statements of admonition on formal occasions? We do not need to see such statements published in her media machines. What we want is an end to the atrocities perpetrated by her student wing which is now synonymous with murders, money extortion, admission business, sexual violence and all our vices. We also want to know what Sheikh Hasina generally says to the members of her student wing in private.
Sheikh Hasina's party hooligans have turned the whole country into a terror zone through using fear, violence and intimidation as their usual means of wrecking havoc to the lives and properties of the people countrywide. In such a situation, when she again and again reiterates "her government's firm commitment to show zero tolerance towards militancy and terrorism", we really feel confused. What does she actually mean by these two words? Isn't militancy or terrorism a kind of byword for Chhatra League? Does she want to fight against an imagined phantom and revel in the wrongdoings of her party hooligans? Dear Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the country is contemplating!