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  • Ascendancy of the Religious Right in Bangladesh Politics: A Study of Jamaat Islami

    The ascendancy of Jamaat Islami to power in a country that was born on the basis of secularism indicates the changing political dynamics in Bangladesh. Its syncretic tradition rooted in its language and culture limited Jamaat's success. Nevertheless, given the role the party played during the liberation war, its political ascendancy speaks of the changing political landscape. This article argues that though the party has exhibited some political success, it faces challenges from the secularists in the socio-cultural sphere, thereby limiting its growth and expansion.

    March 2009

    Sheikh Hasina’s Regional Anti-Terror Task Force Unlikely to Takeoff

    Counter-terrorism and elimination of religious extremism were important parts of Sheikh Hasina’s election manifesto. But the concern about terrorism is not limited to top Awami League leaders and is also felt by a major section of the Bangladesh public. Many supported the Awami League in the hope of reversing the rising trend of extremism and terrorism in the country. In her very first press conference after winning the elections, Sheikh Hasina stated that she will not allow the country's soil to be used by terror groups and proposed a joint task force in the subcontinent to tackle terror.

    March 16, 2009

    Army officers blame Sheikh Hasina for murder of over 70 officers in BDR mutiny; Home Ministry comes out with a report on militant outfits; Malaysia revokes the work visas of thousands of Bangladeshis;

    March 2009
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    Angry Bangladeshi army officers blamed Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for the murder of over 70 officers by mutineering BDR guards.1 The government on its part indicated that investigators had uncovered a link between the mutineers and a militant group responsible for a series of bombings. Commerce Minister Farukh Khan stated that some of the guards arrested had links to the Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh (JMB).

    2009
    Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

    Consequences of the BDR Mutiny

    The mutiny by the troops of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) on 26 February 26 was extraordinarily brutal. The mutiny toll was about 81 with 72 still missing. Many of these were officers of the Bangladesh army. Three mass graves were discovered. Many bodies were thrown into the sewer pipelines. Many of those killed were stripped, mutilated, bayoneted and shot. The Director General of the BDR, Major General Shakil Ahmed was killed in cold blood. Even his wife was not spared. Her dead body was discovered in one of the mass graves.

    March 09, 2009

    Complicity of State Actors in Chittagong Arms Haul Case Revealed

    India’s position stands vindicated. It had for long maintained that not only have insurgents from the north east found safe havens in Bangladeshi soil but that they have enjoyed the backing of the Bangladeshi state as well. These allegations have now been proven with the confessional statement of Md. Hafizur Rahman and Din Mohammad, the two accused in the Chittagong arms haul case. This was the largest arms haul in Bangladesh, which had taken place on April 2, 2004 in the Chittagong area.

    March 09, 2009

    Is the BDR Mutiny a Conspiracy?

    The mutiny by Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) soldiers which started on February 25, 2009 with the brutal killing of army officers has sent shock waves through Dhaka. Even though many in Bangladesh empathize with their demands and genuine grievances, none have been able to fathom the reason for the brutality with which Army officers were killed. The officers were shot, bayoneted and dumped in mass graves and sewerage. The massacre also included the killing of family members, ransacking their houses and in some cases looting valuables.

    March 05, 2009

    ‘Transformational Elections’ in Bangladesh

    As Bangladesh is holding its most closely watched general elections, the apprehension remains whether democracy would prevail in the country. All the uncertainties about the elections were removed when the interim authority repealed the state of emergency that had been prevailing in the country since January 11, 2007. It was on that day that a military backed caretaker government had assumed power after months of political strife and failure of the earlier caretaker government headed by President Iajuddin Ahmed to hold free and fair elections.

    December 29, 2008

    Serial Blasts in Assam: Are Planners and Perpetrators Different?

    The October 30, 2008 serial blasts in Assam were the most horrific that the state has witnessed till date. These blasts have completely confused the investigating agencies, which still seem to be focusing only upon the foot soldiers while the real masterminds are sitting happily in Bangladesh and congratulating their points men in India for doing a good job.

    December 24, 2008

    An Elected Government in Bangladesh and India's Options

    If all things go well, Bangladesh should have an elected government in January 2009 following the Jatiya Sangsad (national parliament) elections. Contrary to much scepticism, the caretaker government headed by Fakhruddin Ahmed has embarked upon fulfilling its promise of holding free and fair elections on December 29, 2008. This caretaker government received groundswell support because it was viewed as an instrument of democracy in Bangladesh, something that the previously elected government was unable to deliver at the end of its tenure in 2006.

    December 23, 2008

    Oil Politics in the Bay of Bengal

    Hydrocarbon rich Bay of Bengal seems to be emerging as another centre of oil politics. This was recently manifested by a standoff between Myanmar and Bangladesh, when Dhaka sent three naval vessels to stop Myanmar from conducting exploration activities in their disputed Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). The crisis has since been diffused, though it is far from over.

    November 27, 2008

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