Political repression is reaching new highs in Bangladesh. The government’s abuse of rule of law institutions for political ends has created an atmosphere of injustice that is increasingly exploited by anti-state extremist groups. The gruesome recent killing of a secular blogger is just another tragic result of these groups' growing power and impunity.
Search committee appointed late Jan to appoint next election commission 6 Feb sent President Hamid list of ten candidates, including suggestions from ruling Awami League (AL), opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) and civil society groups. Hamid 6 Feb appointed new commission: new Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Hada, former senior bureaucrat and “freedom fighter” during 1971 liberation war. BNP-led 20-party opposition alliance described Hada as controversial, partisan, and unable to oversee free and fair national polls (due Jan 2019); Hada said he has no connection with any political party. Security forces 1 Feb announced arrest of four further suspects in July 2016 Gulshan café attack, 14 Feb shot dead suspected militant commander linked to attack. Five Islamists sentenced to death 28 Feb for Oct 2015 murder of Japanese citizen. Police 10 Feb arrested nine union organisers calling for higher minimum wage, bringing total number of known arrests since labour strikes in mid-Dec to 34 – most on vague and arbitrary grounds, including under draconian police Special Powers Act, many without warrants. Three-member Myanmar delegation of advisory commission on Rakhine State arrived in Dhaka 28 Jan to hold discussions with authorities on Rohingya issue, and visit shelters and slums in Cox’s Bazar where several thousand Rohingyas from Myanmar took shelter to escape security operations across border. FM 20 Feb called on international community to do more to stem flow of Myanmar Rohingya refugees into Bangladesh. Asian Centre for Human Rights NGO 20 Feb accused Bangladesh govt of pushing members of country’s Buddhist Jumma minority out of Chittagong Hill Tracts area to make way for Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.
Violence continues to plague the aftermath of Bangladesh’s deeply contested January 2014 elections. The country’s two main post-independence parties must turn back from a political dead end that is doing long-term damage to them both, negotiate a return to democratic rules and work towards a new all-party cabinet to oversee new elections.
Bangladesh faces growing political violence in the lead-up to the 2013 elections unless the government takes a more conciliatory approach towards the opposition.
Jamaat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), a terrorist organisation, remains active and dangerous despite the decimation of its ranks over the last five years.
After decades of misuse and neglect, Bangladesh’s police are a source of instability and fear rather than a key component of a democratic society.
Bangladesh’s 29 December 2008 general election is expected to end a two year military-enforced state of emergency and return the country to democratic governance.
These organizations [in Bangladesh] — whether they’re jihadists or student wings of parties like Jamaat-e-Islami — they’re becoming more attractive avenues of opposition.
Originally published in Nikkei Asian Review
Originally published in World Politics Review
The brutal murder of a law student blogger who had criticized Islamist groups in Bangladesh has underlined the growing power and impunity of the country's extremist rump. The death of Nazumuddin Samad, 28, who was hacked and shot to death on April 7, has also highlighted how the rise of religious extremism is affecting the country's image and its efforts to advance economically.
Originally published in The Nikkei Asian Review