300 killed in Bangladesh, political scenario polarised: Dhaka University professor

It is the extremely polarised political scenario in Bangladesh that has claimed at least 300 lives in last few weeks, said Imtiaz Ahmed, an eminent social scientist and a professor of international relations at Dhaka University.

Prof Ahmed was speaking during an interactive session on 'Recent Developments in Bangladesh and Its Implications for South Asia', organized by the Observer Research Foundation.

"Politics in Bangladesh has become polarized. The opposition party does not trust the ruling party. The politician- businessman-bureacucrats nexus is also becoming worse. The bureaucrats who are not partisan are made Officer On Special Duty, an unimportant position in our country," the professor said.

Apart from several other issues, the decision of the ruling party to form a war crimes tribunal in 2009 is one of the reasons behind the existing turmoil, believes Professor Ahmed.

"It was in the the Awami League's manifesto that a war crimes tribunal will be formed. While the tribunal was supposed be an international body, with judges, bureaucrats and other eminent personalities from other countries, the government kept it national. After 40 years of wait, when people asked for justice, this (tribunal) is what they got," he said. To make things worse, Ahmed said, the government formed a 'weak prosecution team'.

"There was a tacit alliance between AL and Jamait in 1996. Now there is an open alliance between BNP and Jamat. And so people started thinking that the tribunal, which has raised doubts since its formation, was formed with a political interest," he added.

Ahmed cited the ruling party's fear of people and the anti-incumbency factor as reasons for Dhaka not having seen any elections in the last five years. "There is a perception that Delhi shares a good relationship with Bangladesh and all of Delhi's aides will go to AL," Professor Ahmed said.

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