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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2647

Bangladesh President becomes PM, violence spreads

By M Rama Rao - Reporting from India

New Delhi, 30 October (Asiantribune.com): Bangladesh President Iajuddin Ahmed, a BNP appointee, has taken over as caretaker prime minister amidst reports that troops might be summoned to quell violence rocking the country for the third day.The opposition is not convinced of the neutrality of President Iajuddin Ahmed.  They point out that he was propelled into presidential palace by the BNP lawmakers.The opposition is not convinced of the neutrality of President Iajuddin Ahmed. They point out that he was propelled into presidential palace by the BNP lawmakers.

He cited the failure of four major parties - BNP, Awami League (AL), Jatiya Party and Jamaat-e-Islami to reach a consensus on who should head the interim government. The four parties met at the Presidential palace on the direction of Iajuddin Ahmed himself.

Only on Saturday, Khaleda Zia, the outgoing Prime Minister has asked the opposition to accept whatever decision the President takes to 'end uncertainty'. Her initial choice for the job, Justice Hasan, was rejected by the 14-party opposition led by Awami League. Hasan also backed out to the glee of the AL.

The opposition is quite unhappy with the President's decision and in fact outright rejected the proposal when he made it on Saturday. So when he was sworn by the Chief Justice Syed JR Mudassir Husain as caretaker prime minister, the opposition boycotted the oath-taking ceremony. And vowed to continue with their street protest programme and blockade of the capital.

The opposition is not convinced of the neutrality of President Iajuddin. They point out that he was propelled into presidential palace by the BNP lawmakers.

Another argument is that with President and Prime Minister posts held by one person they doubt the possibility of fair and free elections for which the interim, non-party government concept was put in place ten years back.

The interim caretaker government is assigned to ensure general election in a free and fair manner within next 90 days.

Reports from Dhaka say troops are kept in the meanwhile in readiness for deployment to control the violence unleashed by the opposition's agitation that has crippled normal life across the country for the last three days.

At least 14 people have been killed and hundreds injured in the violence clashes between the workers of outgoing four-party BNP led alliance of Khaleda Zia and 14-party alliance led by Awami League of Sheikh Hasina. The homes of some senior ministers were attacked and several had to flee. The security cover for Hasina was reportedly downgraded. Her party workers have mounted a round the clock vigil at her house.

India Concern

New Delhi is concerned over the situation in Bangladesh in view of fears at home and abroad of amidst fears about the role of Islamist parties who are aligned with Khaleda Zia party. These groups are known for their pronounced anti-India stance and have close links with Jihadi movement.

The hope here is that Bangladesh will be able to overcome the latest hiccup and have a free and fair election The Ministry of External Affairs has expressed concern over the situation in Bangladesh.

-Asian Tribune-

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