Friday, January 28, 2005

grenades & Bangladeshi politics

A 73 year old man had just finished a speech in a small north-eastern town of Bangladesh. Someone form the crowd threw a grenade. The elderly man and three others were killed. Mr. S.A.M.S Kibria was a Finance Minister in the previous regime and current Awami League MP. Even though he was in the twilight of his career, this is no ordinary 'incident'.
After a somewhat surprisingly quiet winter political lull, the violence is back.
Who gains from such instability?Quite a few people and groups. And they are not necessarily underground.
Politics in Bangladesh ceased being peaceful from the mid 90s. We are no longer surprised that political leaders are killed. There have been several such attacks over the last seven years.
However, it is quite strange that this region, Sylhet, has borne the brunt of these explosions - significantly an attempt on the British High Commissioner in 2004. A few opposition women leaders were at the receiving end of a similar assault a couple of months ago.
Is civil society complacent or is it fearful?
Maybe 2005 is not going to be such a smooth easy ride after all.

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