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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2958

United States should immediately intervene into Bangladesh affairs

By Tharupiyum Lakmali Luvishewa

Another "Khomeini" is being born in South Asia clearly with much deeper hatred towards the Western world. Most possibly, dictator Sheikh Hasina in Bangladesh, the second fastest growing economy has been signaling of spreading the venom of anti-America and anti-West venom in her society with patronization of India and China.

She does not hide her face as a brutal autocrat, who has been continuing extreme offensives on her political opponents. Instances of repression in Bangladesh have already crossed the instances of Beijing's cruelty on the student protesters in the Tianman Square. She is now known to the world as "Iron Lady" or "Madame Hitler." But it is evidently clear, President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Theresa May and the leaders in the Western world either are ignoring or undermining the potential threats posed by this lady to our future days.

Sheikh Hasina, a radical Muslim has already aligned with a Qawmi madrasa-based organisation named Hefazat E Islam. This group comprising radicalized teachers and students from the Qawmi madrassa denounces democracy and promotes Caliphate. Its charters are Xerox copies of that of Islamic State. During Dec 30th general elections, at least 4 members of Hefazat E Islam got elected under the umbrella of ruling Awami League into the next parliament. Even before Hefazat had succeeded in getting "elected" through a heavily rigged election, it had compelled Sheikh Hasina in implementing few of its demands such as removing "un-Islamic" and "pro-Hinduist" contents from the school and college text books. It also has succeeded in forcing the government in removing the statue of 'Lady Justice' from the compound of Bangladesh Supreme Court.

Hefazat rejects empowerment of women and it is well anticipated that Sheikh Hasina being a woman would certainly succumb to Hefazat's demands in putting the evil shackles of isolation on the females. Hefazat will most certainly turn Sheikh Hasina into a Lady Khomeini.

Entire world already has come to know about the naked exposition of vote robbery by the ruling party during Dec 30 general elections in Bangladesh. It was also reported, members of Bangladesh army alongside police and other law enforcement and security agencies had openly had participated into the process of vote robbery with the agenda of getting autocrat Sheikh Hasina win a third consecutive term. To clearly understand the density of this state-patronized vote rigging, one has to go through the latest report by the CNN on January 1, 2019. In this report CNN has clearly described the entire episode of this shameful fake election.

According to CNN: “On December 30, Bangladesh's government was reelected in a landslide. According to the country's Election Commission, the Awami League (AL)-led ruling coalition won an astounding 288 out of the 300 parliamentary seats up for grabs. The political opposition has understandably alleged massive rigging, rejected the results, and called for new elections.

The disputed election outcome could plunge Bangladeshi politics, already poisoned by bitter and often violently expressed partisanship, into a new and dangerous era.

The opposition has every reason to be furious. For several years, the AL has engaged in a systematic campaign to undercut the opposition, if not dismantle it altogether. The crackdown has included scores of arrests. Several top figures, including opposition leader Khaleda Zia, are in jail. A weakened Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the main opposition party, has become a shadow of its former self. The AL's unrelenting campaign of political repression made any idea of a level electoral playing field a farce. And yet the BNP, after cobbling together a new coalition, still defied the crackdowns to campaign and contest the election. It's hard to imagine the opposition sitting quietly in the face of a suspiciously lopsided electoral result. At the same time, the AL is a popular party that can bring in votes. To denounce the party's resounding victory, as the opposition and other government critics have done, as a "selection" rather than an election is to overlook its strong constituencies.

These include voters that support the AL for its tough law-and-order position and brutally efficient counterterrorism tactics; that hail it as an embodiment of Bangladesh's secular traditions in contrast to an opposition that includes political Islamists and religious hardliners; and that credit it for the country's impressive macroeconomic growth.

Indeed, poorer supporters are likely willing to overlook the AL's authoritarian tendencies and ugly poor human rights record because they believe the party has delivered on the bread-and-butter issues that matter to them the most.

To be sure, one could easily take issue with such characterizations. In order to expand its vote bank, for example, the AL has increasingly aligned itself with the positions of several religious parties, including Hefazat-e-Islam, one of the country's largest Islamist organizations. Additionally, beneath the veneer of strong GDP growth lie several worsening economic indicators, including inequality. But such critiques of the AL's track record don't daunt or deter the AL's rank and file.

This isn't to say the AL didn't steal the December 30 election. On the contrary, it beggars belief to assume that any party, no matter how popular, can cleanly win more than 95 percent of parliamentary seats. Rather, the point is to highlight that the AL does have a deep support base that the party can count on to deliver votes -- and to come to its defense.

Unsurprisingly, officials have rejected the opposition's request for new elections. In reality, other than getting the Electoral Commission to look into some complaints about irregularities, the opposition has few options to redress its grievances.

Additionally, the BNP and its allies lack the capacity to orchestrate mass street protests, given their weakened state. Still, given the anger and disillusionment within the ranks of the opposition -- few of whom likely expected such a lopsided margin of victory for the ruling party -- isolated demonstrations are still a possibility, and they could well turn violent. Such acts could prompt retaliatory attacks by ruling party members.

With the opposition sidelined and the ruling party having secured five more years of rule through highly questionable means, Bangladesh has become something closely approximating a one-party state. Looking ahead, it is difficult to imagine any type of coexistence, no matter how uneasy, between an emboldened ruling party and a cut-down-to size opposition. Neither appears in a mood for conciliation. In an environment rife with iron fists, it's hard to find olive branches.

Bangladesh's future is unclear. On the one hand, there will likely be a return to normalcy of sorts, with Dhaka continuing its efforts to grow the economy and strengthen development. At the same time, the AL, galvanized by its electoral triumph, could continue if not step up its crackdowns on dissent -- so long as it believes such draconian acts won't affect its global image and deter investors. The opposition will push back, to the extent that its weakened capacity allows. Meanwhile, an increasingly suffocating climate for the opposition could prompt the radicalization of more hardline opposition elements, particularly from the Jamaat-e-Islami party.

More broadly, and most ominously, Bangladesh's young people -- a critical constituency in a country where people under 40 account for nearly 80 percent of the 166-million-strong population -- could start to lose faith in democracy.

No matter how you slice it, troubling and turbulent days are ahead for Bangladesh.”

There is no doubt, after successfully getting over 95 percent of the total seats in the parliament through massive vote robbery, dictator Sheikh Hasina will turn more offensive and cruel on her political opponents and critics. Her actions will get unconditional support from the Bangladesh army and police. Meaning, army and police in Bangladesh have already turned into fearsome monsters in protecting the interest of an Islamist-aligned dictator.

These forces are rejecting any suggestions or requests from the United Nations, United States, United Kingdom and the European Union of reinstating democracy in the country. Sheikh Hasina’s son and her adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy is continuing cracking cruel jokes on the West giving an impression, his mother does not need any support from the West when she has India with her. Now even China has joined hands with this dictatorial regime in Bangladesh. Due to such suffocating situation, Islamic militancy will definitely expand and would ultimately pose gravest threat to the security of the world, more precisely the Western nations.

It is urgent task for the US President Trump and other Western leaders to take stern punitive actions against Sheikh Hasina and her regime before this monster grows further. Sanctions on Bangladesh now have become essential. United States in particular needs to take due actions against Sheikh Hasina’s son Sajeeb Wazed Joy, who is a permanent resident of that country. It should be stated here that, Joy possesses billions of dollars which he made through corruption and theft during past ten years of his mother’s authoritarian rule.

Immediate steps from President Trump can save Bangladesh from a new and dangerous era .

- Asian Tribune -

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