A nation argues with itself
- Spot-fixing: Chandila was in touch with four sets of bookies, says Delhi Police
- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrives, to hold talks with PM on boundary, water issues
- IPL 2013: Delhi Daredevils crash to defeat, finish last
- Jaganmohan's wife attacks CBI, accuses it of working at Congress behest
- Blast accused death: UP govt seeks CBI probe, FIR against 42 persons
If successful, the Shahbag movement can redefine the character and course of the state
Beyond the obvious demand of "Quader Mollahr fashi chai (hang Quader Mollah)", the Shahbag movement can be read as a battle between two competing visions of the state: a secular Bangladesh and an Islamist one. Islamist forces, led by the Jamaat-e-Islami, played an anti-liberation role in 1971 and were banned from political activities in the immediate aftermath of independence, but they returned to politics in due course. In the degenerative political evolution of Bangladesh, they have captured a significant political and social space over the past few decades. The Shahbag movement, led by the youth, aims to recapture that lost ground and restore the state to its original vision. If successful, it can redefine the character and course of the state. The Shahbag protest began on February 5, soon after Quader Mollah, a Jamaat leader, was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) for war crimes committed during Bangladesh's liberation war. The protesters demanded the death penalty for Mollah as they argued life imprisonment was too lenient for his crimes.
The demand of "hang Quader Mollah" has now grown into a demand for imposing a ban on the political activities of the Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing, the Islami Chhattra Shibir. Last Thursday, the ICT found another Jamaat leader, Delwar Hossain Sayedee, guilty of murder, rape and torture and handed down the death sentence. Protesters at Shahbag welcomed the tribunal's decision. But Jamaat-Shibir activists immediately went on a rampage to protest. Over 50 people, including five policemen, have been killed in the violence. More violence is expected as Jamaat fights for its existence. The movement has shaken the country's political class. The mainstream political parties are still trying to grapple with this turn of events. After all, they have all flirted with the Jamaat in the past, in a struggle for power that has not only rehabilitated the party, but also ceded ground to the Islamists at the cost of secular forces.
- Quake-hit and shaken, Bhaderwah spends nights in the open
- UP blast accused dies on way to jail, govt wanted to drop case against him
- Former civil aviation secy changes mind, seeks airport security exemption as EC
- BCCI suspects Gujarat players in other teams were also approached
- Police on money trail, Sreesanth in fresh trouble
- Chhattisgarh 'encounter' leaves 8 villagers dead, no Maoist link yet