WHY DID India react with such tepidness and defensiveness to the Shahbag Square protests in Bangladesh? The reference here is not so much to the response of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) as to civil society, the media and intelligentsia.
The government was correct but concise in its approach and its support of “the capacity for political mobilisation and open-mindedness of Bangladeshi youth” — to borrow National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon’s words. The MEA could not have done much more. It was worried, and legitimately so, that open support to the Shahbag protesters would lead to the Jamaat-e- Islami labelling them (the protesters) an Indian fifth column in Bangladesh.
Indeed, following the surge of popularity for the Shahbag protests, the Jamaat sought to hit back by diverting the issue and questioning the credibility of the students. The latter were labelled atheists and anti-Islamic, when in reality many of them appeared to be devout, practising Muslims. Attacks on Hindus, a small minority in Bangladesh today, also began and were clearly aimed at provoking larger religious and nationalist fires. The Jamaat was praying for a strong statement from or backlash in India, which it would then use to marginalise the Shahbag protesters.
The Dhaka uprising should remain apolitical if the desired change is to come
The sea of humanity at Shahbag Square is unprecedented. But the protest by the country’s restless youth has a larger message for Islam in the subcontinent, says Kunal Majumder
Kunal Majumder in conversation with Imran Sarkar, blogger, online activist and convenor of the group that initiated the Shahbag protest
By Veena Sikri | Something remarkable is happening in Bangladesh. For over two weeks now thousands of youngsters have been protesting at the Shahbagh Square around the university area in Dhaka, demanding that war criminals of 1971 be given capital punishment. Interestingly, it is the post-1971 generation that is at the heart of the protests Read More>
Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said there has been a demand about banning Jamaat and “the government will definitely consider it”
Foreign minister Dipu Moni said it is a part of democratic norm that whenever foreign dignitaries visit the country, they meet both the head of government and the leader of the opposition
According to the victims, Jamaat-e-Islami unleashed terror against the Hindus, burning down houses and temples, shortly after a war crimes tribunal gave death sentence to Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee last week
It was not immediately known whether the President, on a three-day state visit to Bangladesh, was inside the Sonargaon Pan-Pacific hotel or not
Bangladesh witnessed unprecedented violence after Jamaat-Shibir activists responded to the death penalty awarded to their leader. The violence followed the verdict of the special Bangladeshi tribunal that handed down death penalty to Delwar Hossain Sayedee, vice-president of the party, amid a nationwide shutdown called by Jamaat-e-Islami (JI). Read More>
Violence grips Bangladesh after war crimes verdict, 23 killed
Bangladesh was on the boil today as at least 23 people, including three policemen, were killed and scores injured in violence after a death sentence was handed down to a top leader of the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami for “crimes against humanity” during the 1971 liberation war. Read More>
Shahbag protesters are headed for a confrontation with the Islamists political parties led by Jamaat-e-Islami on Sunday 24 February. Jamaat-led groups had announced a country wide hartal, which Shahbag protesters have promised to oppose. The line of political divide has become more clearer with former Prime Minister Khalida Zia’s Bangladesh National Party supporting the Islamists, while the ruling Awami League and other political groups in the country have come out in support of the Shahbag protesters. Read More>
The counter protest against Shahbagh movement in Bangladesh turned violent on Friday 22 February leaving four dead and nearly 200 injured including more than a dozen journalists. Immediately after the Friday Jumma prayers, activists of 12 Islamic parties led by Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islamic Chattra Shivir tried to take out rallies in different parts of Dhaka and around the country. And most of these protest march turned violent with Islamists attacking police, stoning journalists and breaking down banners put up by Shahbagh protesters. Read More>