Indeed, Bangladeshis are gripped by fear, in what some call a fight for democracy for the people of Bangladesh.
Interestingly, those who are fighting this war of egos for power only have never asked the populace – the populace that they are burning and killing – if they are even with this so-called fight for democracy.
The Dhaka Tribune published a photograph of a driver of a human hauler. The man suffered 35% burns after agitators had poured petrol on him and his vehicle, before merrily lighting them up for what they call a fight for democracy.
What kind of democracy is this? Killing people in the name of democracy is not democracy, it is “demonocracy.” Creating obstacles in the daily lives of the populace for someone’s ill-conceived motives is nothing short of demonocracy.
In the past few days of the so-called “oborodh” or blockade, more than 12 people have died, and many have been injured.
There have been people screaming in pain in hospital wards because of the wrath of a political alliance which has nothing to offer to the people of Bangladesh, except misery, death, and allowances for anti-Bangladesh elements to roam free.
My household help tells me how she needs to borrow some money this month, as her husband has no work because of the actions of the opposition. My driver, a staunch BNP supporter, was very critical: “Sir, madam is making a mistake,” he told me with a very disappointed expression.
However, I was amazed with his graciousness when he added: “Hasina has done a lot, and we should allow her to work … neither the BNP nor Jatiya Party have done so much for the country.” He admits that fact because he has been getting increasingly disillusioned with the BNP.
Bangladesh’s garment exporters have made it very clear that they will not put up with this unrest, since they too find no solid ground for such actions disrupting their business.
Atiqul Islam, president of the BGMEA, said buyers have promised to issue orders to live up to Bangladeh’s export target of $50bn by 2021. Why the pledge? Because Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina can restore their confidence and bring back order in the sector, but the BNP’s actions can effectively reverse this hope.
The blockade has already cost more than Tk450cr to this sector, which accounts for 80% of the country’s export earnings. “Politics is holding the sector hostage,” the BGMEA said, and if it were a popular issue, the BGMEA would not have termed itself a hostage.
Did the BNP leadership ever think how any harm done to the garment sector would render the lives of hundreds of thousands of workers uncertain, and have them face starvation even?
Sectors linked to the apparel industry would also face something of a disaster – is it fair to call for deadly action to be taken in the name of democracy? It is one big joke.
A blockade costs the transport sector alone Tk200cr daily, with 200,000 vehicles being taken off the streets due to the fear of arson and bomb attacks. Is that popular support? Public transport owners and employees have said how they would resume operations soon, and would retaliate if attacked.
The FBCCI is mulling to go to court against disruptive political actions. If the BNP-Jamaat’s actions are thought of as a good cause for the people and the nation, the FBCCI would not be thinking along those lines.
Thus, it is time for other professionals and organisations to take similar steps, and send a clear message that the BNP will face dire consequences if its illogical incidents of arson and killings continue.
For Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the warning of tough measures to curb such actions can only be called reasonable, because she has to secure the safety of the citizens, and her opponent’s cause has no popular support.
Why does Khaleda want a caretaker government now? She needs to think hard about the issues and her failed and much-criticised political strategies. Sheikh Hasina has to rein in the demon that is trying to destroy this country in the name of democracy.
Nadeem Qadir, a senior journalist, is a UNCA Dag Hammarskjold Scholar in journalism.
JANUARY 16, 2015