Friday, 1 March 2013

Come chill with the police - and leading party men

Look at the language of this Daily Star article:

"Alert to possible violence, a couple of thousand AL men also joined the prayers at Kataban Mosque, said Chhatra League General Secretary Siddiqui Nazmul Alam.
The atmosphere in and outside the mosque was completely different from other Fridays. There was calm all around with the heavy presence of law enforcers and AL men outside the mosque."

In fact, why don't we just dispense with the police altogether and make sure the lovely men from the AL provide peace and security for all of us? This reminded me of a HRW article on the violence from a few weeks ago:

Although the demonstrations were initially peaceful, violence has erupted in the last few days. Human Rights Watch was told by the spokesperson at Jamaat-e-Islaami that some members of its youth wing, Shibir, threw homemade bombs at the police, and that the police retaliated against these attacks. Photographs have emerged, taken by unknown people, which appear to show both police and protesters resorting to violence. In one photo at least, police in riot gear are pictured standing next to men in civilian clothes, who appear to be firing on protesters.

Also compare the Daily Star account above with the latest from HRW here:

The police in Dhaka and other places used live ammunition against protesters. Media reports suggest that most deaths were at the hands of police, but supporters of the ruling Awami League party have also engaged in vandalism and violence. The initial information received by Human Rights Watch suggests that the police were responding to attacks by Jamaat members and supporters that resulted in police and civilian deaths after the party called for protests against the verdict. The Jamaat party has denied that their members are responsible for any lethal violence, but media reports indicate that members of Jamaat’s Shibir group were responsible for several attacks, including against Hindu temples and houses.

Violence by Jamaat thugs is repulsive, but hardly any more so than the violence regularly meted out by the Bangladeshi police and Awami League thugs. Also worth noting from the latest HRW statement is this, on the ICT trials:
...the trials conducted thus far have been replete with irregularities. The defense has alleged intimidation and harassment of their witnesses, including the November 2012 abduction of a witness from the gates of the courthouse. In December 2012 The Economist published a series of intercepted communications between the senior judge and an external adviser, suggesting close and prohibited collaboration between the judge, prosecutors, and the government. The defense called for retrials in all the cases, but the ICT has refused to consider the matter.

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