Saturday, April 23, 2011

Supremacy of rivals in Bangladesh caused injuries to 140 political activists

SALEEM SAMAD
In an attempt to establish political supremacy have cost injuries to 140 people and at least one death in Bangladesh in past six days.

The clashes occurred among the rival activists of ruling Awami League party in at least five places, in south, and south-west Bangladesh.

Political clashes is common and often originates from political enmity over establishment of supremacy in the area, new committees of the party’s local branches and new leadership, said political scientist Dr Imtiaz Ahmed of Dhaka University.

On Saturday (April 23), at least 22 people were injured in Awami League factional clash over the selection of a chairman candidate for the upcoming local government election in Gazaria town in south Bangladesh.

Police said the conflict between pro-government student organization and ruling Awami League over establishing supremacy in the area. The rivals fought with sticks and batons scores of injuries on both sides.

Rival pro-ruling party student organization Chattra League in Shariatpur clashed on April 20, to establish supremacy in the district town leaving nearly 30 activists wounded, reports wire service United News of Bangladesh.

Witnesses said they heard more than a dozen gun shots during the clash. However, the information could not be verified through independent sources.

At Benapole, a frontier town and gateway to eastern India, at least 10 people were injured on April 19 when two factions of ruling Awami League over clashed over a lost mobile phone.

As a sequel to the incident two groups armed with bamboo sticks, hockey sticks and home-made bombs swooped on each other, says UNB.

A ruling party activist was killed and 30 others were injured in a series of clashes between two factions of Awami League over submission of bidding for the lease of local markets in Shailkupa town, in the south west.

Police rushed to the spot and lobbed few tear gas shells to disperse the party supporter.

In another incident on April 17 at Kotalipara town, in south-west Bangladesh at least 50 people were injured in series of clashes between two rival groups over local government poll.

Among the injured on both sides, 20 were admitted to Kotalipara Health Complex with serious injuries. Police and eyewitnesses said supporters of two candidates were locked in battles with their supporters.

In several incidents, members of parliament (MPs) and central leaders of the ruling party puts their weights on rival groups, which encourages fierce violent clashes. In most incidents, police remain silent spectators and makes no attempts to defuse the tension. Also no arrests are made, though rival group files cases separately, which are later registered by the police as local problems, Dr Ahmed remarked. [ENDS]

Saleem Samad, an Ashoka Fellow is an award winning investigative journalist based in Bangladesh. He specializes in Jihad, forced migration, good governance and politics. He has recently returned from exile after living in Canada for six years. He could be reached at saleemsamad@hotmail.com