THE RECENT grenade attack on a political rally in Bangladesh (Socialist Worker, 12 February) was not an isolated event. That attack killed the former finance minister Shah AMS Kibria and several other members of the Awami League (Bangladesh’s biggest opposition party), sparking a wave of strikes.
The Awami League leader, Sheikh Hasina, survived a similar assassination attempt on 21 August last year — but another leader, Ivy Rahman, and 20 other activists died.
Since 1999, a series of similar attacks have targeted secular, progressive social forces, as well as religious minorities and minority Muslim sects. Successive Awami League and Bangladeshi Nationalist Party governments have failed to identify those behind these crimes.
Bangladesh’s military rulers were defeated in 1990 after a long struggle. But neither of the country’s main parties have disturbed the vested interests and autocratic institutions that developed during the period of military rule.
The recent attacks show that Bangladesh’s rulers are still not ready to tolerate democratic political forces. There is a conspiracy to dismantle the parliamentary democratic process. Repeated grenade attack are the signs of that conspiracy.
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