The Root Of Violence: Politics Without Principles

By William Gomes, 31 July, 2009

Mohandas K. Gandhi claimed that politics without principles was one of the roots of violence. The present political regime in Bangladesh has fully characterized their dictatorship as such, by enforcing politics without principles and leading the nation toward violence.

Bangladesh has experienced mass violence across the country. Recently, when innocent garment workers were killed by law enforcement agencies in Ashulia, violence erupted. Also recently, police arrested Mahmudul Haque Bhuiyan, the local president of a Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), in Brahmanbaria, a district in east-central Bangladesh, on specific charges of tender manipulation and abduction filed with the police. As the news of Mahmud's arrest spread, angry activists of the Chhatra League damaged public property and carried out arson attacks in the town of Brahmanbaria. The whole town turned into a veritable battleground.

Between January and March 2009, six serious acts of violence against women were instigated by fatwas, or religious edicts. The government was silent about the need to introduce a new and specific law to ban fatwa.

The government is ignoring the issue of removing Islam as the state religion and taking out the discriminatory parts of the constitution, in the preamble.

A dictatorship was created by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, known simply as Sheikh Mujib, when the Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League was formed as a national party by decree on Feb. 24, 1975. Any political parties other than the political amalgamation of the Awami League were outlawed at the time. In the three decades since, the rulers added various aspects to the dictatorship that Sheikh Mujib had started.

Sheikh Mujib himself encouraged the root of Islamic discrimination to be planted in the state’s machinery, by moving closer to political Islam, both through state policies and in his personal conduct. Bearing the consequences, we now have a defective and discriminatory constitution in Bangladesh with the preamble “BISMILLAH- AR-RAHMAN-AR-RAHIM” and with Islam as the state religion.

Torture and political killings were instituted in Bangladesh by a militia, Jatiyo Rakkhi Bahini, supportive of the government and by the government during the rule of Sheikh Mujib. Some people have also accused Gono Bahini, or the People’s Army, an underground gang loyal to the ultra-left political party Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, for political killings, looting of police stations, armed robberies, and other acts of sabotage with the purpose of undermining law and order and tarnishing the image of Sheikh Mujib by spreading rumors about him.

The growth of the BAKSAL was the single most important cause contributing to the death of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Some scholars argued that the BAKSAL was a government of national unity, when in reality it represented an immense national failure of secular democratic forces.

Recently, the cabinet has approved a law to provide lifelong security for Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's family, effective immediately on July 6, 2009. The law is in line with previous legislation enacted in 2001, when the Awami League was in power, which was repealed by the BNP government that replaced them.

The law is itself a violation and a source of discrimination. While the government shows concern for the security of Mujib’s family members, the common people, and especially the minorities, are facing an inhuman level of life in Bangladesh. Yet the government has not taken any initiative to ensure the rights of the majority of people in Bangladesh.

The law clearly contradicts the fundamental state policy of Bangladesh of “equality of opportunity.”

The present political regime is leading the nation toward another Islamic revolt. The underground Islamic movement is gaining more power than ever and human rights violations are increasing each and every day.

National challenges, dissatisfaction within the army, and the government's inability to deal with the needs of the time has caused Mujib's political regime to lead the country toward national failure. Hasina’s political regime is again leading the nation toward another national failure.

William Nicholas Gomes is a renowned Human Rights worker, film director and freelance Journalist of Bangladesh. He can be reached by emai at


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