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Trial of War Crimes and Politics of Jamaat-Shibir November 17, 2012

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Trail of war crimes is continuing and it is expected that judgment on a few cases may be announced by December. The country is also witnessing a sudden rise of political violence on the streets of Bangladesh from capital to district towns. The shibir activists are likely involved in this violence. They are suddenly attacking the police on duty in groups with bricks and sticks. The attacks continued for about a week injuring 200 policemen in different parts of the country. The last attack took place in the heart of the city in the last week where they even attacked the protection cars and car of APS of Law Minister. The police were mercilessly beaten. The police looked helpless. Hundreds of people observed the scene as bystanders without coming in support of the police. Shibir activists only left the scene when police forces were reinforced.

The government showed sharp reaction to the incident. Home Minister in strongest language condemned the attack and declared to punish the culprits. He asked the AL youth wing-Jubo league activists to come in support of police though Juba league president didn’t accept the request saying that it is the duty of police and not of Jubo league workers. Home Minister also dismissed to have any form of dialogue with Jamaat Shibir in reply to the appeal made by US ambassador. He commented that we can’t compromise with decoits and killers. Let us first suppress them , then we shall talk. PM said that time has come to think about the religion-based politics in Bangladesh. She also said that the attacks will also accelerate the war crime trial. The AL leaders also blaming BNP for indirectly support Jamaat-Shibir attacks.

BNP recently declared that it no way owns the responsibility of attacks made on police by Jamaat-Shibir.

The objectives of the attacks on police is not clear. It is stated by neither Jamaat nor Shibir. But it is assumed that the attacks are made to somehow interfere the war crime trial. Jamaat was trying to project the trail in and outside the country as biased and not of international standard. In support of their demand they tried to organize protests at different times and different parts of the country, but those attempt were foiled by police in the capital and elsewhere. That may be a reason why they attack the police in desperation. It may be an abnormal expression of suppression of their political rights.

But is the way justified or logical in the context of judicial framework and political reality? The attacks may embarrass the government but it will at the same time distant them from the people and it will jeopardize the political existence of their party.

Government also make its position complex by starting the war crime trials not in its first term but a decade after and let Jamaat-Shibir to spread its root deep in the society, jointly conducting movement with Jamaat in early 90s for caretaker government, by not making the International War Tribunal international in standard and not independent in its procedure and inviting blame on itself to use the tribunal for its political ends.

It is difficult for an ordinary citizen to clearly visualize the days ahead but he can feel that the country is going through a very difficult phase and only hope that people would survive the crisis.

An ordinary citizen