104 die in AL infighting since Jan 2009Mohiuddin Alamgir
Violent factional clashes in Awami League and its associate bodies over tender, extortion, land grabbing and supremacy in last three years plagued the ruling party besides affecting activities in various institutions, including recruitment, academic activities of students and the economy as well.
According to rights watchdog Odhikar, at least 104 people died and 16,500 were injured in factional clashes in the Awami League and its associate organisations since the party came to power in January 6, 2009. But the AL could not provide any statistics of the casualties in the party’s internal clashes.
Odhikar in its annual reports for 2009, 2010, 2011 and that for the first four months of the current year said 104 people were killed and about 16,500 were injured in incidents of internal violence in the Awami League and its associate bodies.
When approached by New Age for comments, Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, an AL organising secretary, tried to gloss over the infighting saying that AL was a large political party in which ‘stray incidents’ of internal clashes were ‘not unusual’ as there was rivalries for leadership at different levels of the organisation.
‘The reasons for most of such incidents are personal or family feuds, business interests and rivalries for domination at local levels,’ he said.
Misbahuddin Siraj, another AL organising secretary, expressed doubt about the Odhikar’s findings and said the information of 104 killings in internal violence needed to be verified.
Both the leaders, however, said that legal actions were being taken against activists of AL and its associate bodies if found involved in such illegal activities.
According to Odhikar, in the first four month of 2012, six people were killed and over 1,300 injured in incidents of internal clashes in the AL and its associate organisations.
In 2011, bloody infighting in AL and in its front organisations left 22 persons killed and 3,770 injured.
‘Like the previous two years of the present government, widespread political violence continued in 2011,’ said Odhikar’s 2011 Human Rights Report adding that the casualty toll in 2010 was 38 people killed and 5,614 injured.
In 2009, the report said, 38 people were reportedly killed and 6,092 injured in bloody conflicts in the AL and its associate bodies.
Political violence started plaguing the country immediately after the present government came to power in 2009. Most of such violent acts were committed by the activists or supporters of the Awami League,’ stated the Odhikar report in 2010.
‘Tender manipulation, extortion, land grabbing, bid to influence different institutions or offices and personal rivalries were the main reasons for such violent clashes,’ it added.
According to newspaper reports, On April 21 this year, Ruhul Amin, was killed in internal clashes of AL in village Gangnalia under Magura sadar upazila; on April 17, Zahidul Islam was killed in a clash between rival factions of AL at Bakri village in Jhenaidah sadar upazila; on March 30, Comilla Panchthubi unit Juba League president Khokon Sarder was killed by a rival group.
The then mayor of Narsingdi municipality, Lokman Hossain, also general secretary of the town unit AL and Dhaka city ward 41 AL general secretary Fazlul Huq were shot dead by rival groups in the party in 2011.
Alam, Bazlur Rahman and Sohan, were killed in a violent clash between rival groups of Juba League at Pobahati in Jhenidah in December 2010.
Jubo League leader Ibrahim Ahmed was killed by shots fired from a licensed pistol of Nurunnabi Chowdhury Shaon, lawmaker Bhola 3 in the parliament premises in August 2010.
Jahangirnagar University student Zubair Ahmed was killed in January 2012 by activists of a faction of the BCL reportedly over previous rivalry.
Dhaka Medical College unit BCL general secretary Abul Kalam Asad Rajib was killed in bloody clashes between rival groups of the organisation over extortion in March 2009, Dhaka University student Abu Bakar Siddique was killed in a clash between BCL factions in February 2010 over supremacy in Sir F Rahman Hall and Magura district BCL leader Al Amin was killed in a clash between rival factions in December 2011over distribution of food after an Awami League meeting.
News agency Banglanews24.com reported on April 6 that Sramik League leaders in the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) were extorting money from buses, trucks and counters of different transport companies at Paturia-Daulatdia ferry terminals.
In the last three years, appointments to many posts under various authorities, including civil surgeon’s offices, had been suspended either for irregularities or interference by the ruling party activists.
In September 2010, more than 100 Juba League and Chhatra League activists swooped on two examination centres in Pabna during a recruitment test for class-III government employees, after the DC refused to entertain demands of Awami League lawmaker Golam Faruk Prince.
In the same month of 2010, Jessore and Panchagarh civil surgeon’s offices postponed appointments of around 100 employees following attacks by the ruling party activists.
At that time the prime minister’s health adviser, Syed Modasser Ali, said in Gopalganj, ‘Some 13,350 employees will soon be recruited in community clinics. We have decided that none outside the party [Awami League] will be recruited.’
Activists of BCL in February 2010 attacked and injured the assistant commissioner (land) of Kachua in Chandpur after he reportedly tried to prevent them from building a structure on the government land.
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