Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader commented that ‘BNP has fallen into a trap by trapping Awami League’. Is it really so? Who is actually caught in the trap? In our current situation, it seems that neither Awami League nor BNP or Jamaat-e-Islami, the people are the most ‘mainka chipaya’ or trapped. The violence and arson that is going on in the name of the movement, no matter what, it is doubtful whether the opposition will win. Because the people’s suffering, the sacrifice of life that they seek to bring about, can have boomerang results.
From police killings to attacks on journalists. Who will bear the responsibility of burning buses, vandalizing cars, killing helpers, attacking hospitals, vandalizing ambulances, burning cargo vehicles? The government or the people? The opposition does not know who is pushing the bus? Ministers, bureaucrats, rich class or politicians? They have their own car, police guard. Long-distance buses are not allowed to run, people are not able to leave Dhaka for necessary work, they are not even able to come to Dhaka. But those ministers, bureaucrats, rich class and politicians are working by plane. Do you think it will be possible to bring down the government tomorrow after imposing a tyranny called ‘blockade’ on the common people?
It is in this conflict situation that people have to go out for work, students are going to educational institutions, final exams are starting in schools, in such a situation you are setting fire to moving and standing passenger buses. And thinking that he will sit in power soon. Returning to active politics after so many years, BNP is trying to rise to power by stepping on the shoulders of the people instead of doing the politics of getting voting rights.
Has the opposition party ever thought about what the government has achieved or will achieve in the second round of 48-hour blockade after a 24-hour break. How much damage can the government or Awami League? BNP is going to continue its program from dawn on Sunday (November 12) with a break from Friday-Saturday without any review regarding how much success you have achieved in this movement, what is the reaction of common people, what is the impact on business.
After many years, the opposition party entered the political arena and chose hartal and blockade as a weapon to demand. Perhaps these are the two easiest political tools. It doesn’t take much military power, only if you can scare people, you will get benefit. People will not come down on the roads, vehicles will not run, commercial establishments will not open, schools and colleges will not run. And they have found a way to scare them, that is arson and vehicle vandalism.
In this case, the party is also thinking about non-cooperation movement. However, BNP leaders and supporters told the media that they have no idea about the ‘non-cooperation movement’. They are thinking of it as a strike-blockade. Leaders-activists and supporters have no idea about the movement, how will they understand the results? I have read in history that when Mahatma Gandhi called for non-cooperation movement against the British government, before this, the Swadeshis have come a long way through movement and struggle.
The Civil Disobedience Movement led by Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian National Congress in the Pak-India-Bangla subcontinent was a non-cooperation movement. This movement which lasted from September 1920 to 1922 was the first mass-based national movement in the history of India. The main objective of this movement was to disobey the orders of the British government and non-cooperation in government work. This movement is also called ‘Non-Violent Non-Cooperation Movement’. There will be agitation but no violence, that was the outline.
When the session of the National Assembly of Pakistan was suspended on March 1, 1971, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman called on the non-cooperation movement from March 2 and lasted until March 25. Therefore, BNP-Jamaat themselves need to have a clear idea about the shape of the ‘non-cooperation movement’ before calling for it.
We who are ordinary working people have a circulatory condition. We are struggling to live with this violent political action. Years of corruption, looting, civil harassment, price inflation, murders, disappearances, money laundering, insecurity, scarcity, economic recession have made the life of the citizens very painful and frustrating. Increasingly unnecessary expenditure of the government, increasing the benefits and salaries of government officials, against the acceptance of mega projects, a large section of the people are not ready to buy salt.
Middle class and lower class people have already started consuming their savings. Not only daily necessities, if we compare this year with 2022, we will see that additional money has to be spent in many other sectors. House rent, transportation cost, fuel, electricity, medical and education expenses have increased. In the last one year, prices of various import-based essential commodities like edible oil have decreased in the international market. But it did not have any impact on the market of Bangladesh.
People of the country do not know the real situation of the country. When asked what are the challenges of the common people, where 68 percent people said that their situation is difficult to buy food, it is normal that the situation becomes more difficult due to strike-blockade. It is clear that the common people have been affected by the unnecessary expenditure of the government in many ways. In this drowning situation, where the common people are trying to stay afloat, it is necessary to think about how correct is the strategy of the opposition party to incite and burn by hearing about the change of government.
In the name of political movement-struggle, now a time has come when I, you or your children or relatives will be burnt to embers in the streets of Dhaka at any time due to political problems. You may have to go straight to the other side without reaching your destination while sitting inside the bus. Those of us who want to stay away from politics, want to escape from political violence, want to be safe with our children are the most helpless now.
No matter how much we want to avoid the horrors of politics, this politics does not leave us. As usual, the political workers of both parties will continue to blame each other for creating unrest, the real attackers will not be identified, people’s property will be destroyed, assault cases will continue, the prices of goods will increase, and maybe this is how the world of Bangladesh politics will continue.
As the government is trying to avoid voting rights of the people, on the other hand, the opposition parties are not able to show us any hope about voting rights. The party’s field level leaders and workers feel that the non-cooperation movement will not be practical in this ‘broken’ state of BNP. According to them, BNP should think of non-cooperation movement after continuing the hartal-blockade for a few more days.
Without organizing the party, without fixing a leader, without doing any work at the field level, without direction and with a very weak organizational structure, the movement that BNP is struggling with will be limited to violence and secret attacks only? They need to remember that terrorism in the name of politics, the more incendiary, the stronger the government’s position will be. No matter how much the people are under economic pressure, they no longer want these strikes, blockades, damage to businesses, vandalism of vehicles and above all fire terror. It will be a big mistake if the government and political parties start playing with the people. Because a bad system defeats the people of the country again and again. And when the people are defeated, the country is defeated.
November 7, 2023 Author: Communication expert and columnist.