Bangladesh scholars blame Jamaat for creating divide in society

Rajshahi (Bangladesh), Dec.23 : Bangladesh war veterans and Islamic scholars have slammed the Jamaat-e-Islami for creating a divide within the society, and added that the party should be declared unconstitutional.

Freedom fighters and social activists blamed the party for mounting tensions between the feuding parties ahead of the national elections in the country.

A socio-cultural organisation gathered in Rajshahi on December 22 and discussed about the current political situation and the role of opposition, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Islamist forces.

Bangladesh will hold its national election on January 5, the Election Commission said in November, enraging the opposition, which took to the streets in protest and called for a blockade of roads, waterways and railways across the country.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formed a poll-time administration last month, involving members of the ruling and opposition party to oversee the ballots, as is the usual pattern in Bangladesh to try to ensure a free and fair vote.

However, BNP says the interim cabinet is not impartial and has rejected any attempt to hold an election until it is satisfied a neutral interim administration is in place without Hasina.

An Islamic leader, Allama Fariduddin Masud, urged the Bangladesh Government to seize the properties of Jamaat-e-Islami, which is trying to create a divide within the country.

"We urge the government to ban Jamaat-e-Islami, make it unconstitutional, seize its properties and made those properties available for public and ban its organisations which aim at creating divide within the society," said Masud.

In the recent months, Bangladesh has been hit by a wave of violent protests over war crimes convictions, presenting the government with a security and credibility challenge ahead of polls early next year.

The parliament in 2011 scrapped the "caretaker government" system.

The dispute over the conduct of the election, nothing new in Bangladesh where power has flipped between the dynastic parties since the 1990s, has led to the deaths of some 25 people in protests and the arrest of some BNP leaders over the past weeks.

It comes against the backdrop of protests over conditions in factories supporting Bangladesh's $22 billion garment export industry, the economic lifeblood of the poor country of 160 million that has been rocked by a string of deadly accidents.

If the impasse is not broken, the BNP may boycott the poll, unleashing fresh unrest - or there could be a repeat of 2007, when the Army stepped in and installed a provisional government to crack down on the political thuggery and violence.

The two parties differ little in terms of policy, with voters frequently just booting out the incumbent in the hope that change will bring improvement.

--ANI (Posted on 24-12-2013)

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