Power-addict Hasina & Fake Election in Bangladesh
The addiction & the calamity
Addiction to power is far more catastrophic than the addiction to drugs. A drug-addict only kills himself; but a power-addict may kill millions. They are more dreadful than the lethal bugs. No episode of Tsunami, epidemic illness or earthquake caused so such tragedies to the mankind as were inflicted by these power-addicts. The annals of history is full of their brutalities. They carry out every sort of cruelties to stay in power. Secrete killing, extrajudicial killing, mass killing and abolition of human rights are the awful expression of such power addiction. So, millions had to die in Germany, Russia and China because of the power-addict rulers like Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong. They didn’t give the right of survival to their opponents, let alone give any political space. Only those who submit to their ideological cum political enslavement, enjoy some breathing space in their domain.
This is why, political cum ideological slavery gets huge boost during the rule of the brutal autocrats. In its coercive milieu, millions of Germans, Russians and Chinese became the ideological convert cum political slave overnight to serve the power-addict rulers. Currently, President Bashar al-Assad of Assad of Syria happened to be the worst and the classic example of such power-addicts. He has already dragged the country to a blood-bath and shocking destruction, but not ready to leave his power. More than three hundred thousand people in Syria are killed and more than 6 million people are forced to flee from their homes. Hundreds of cities are bombed to rubbles. This shows, how a power-addict -like a drug-addict, is ready to die but not ready to give up his addiction. Like any other power-addict, he too, could amass a large number of political cum ideological slaves to help him killing people and destroying the country.
The case of Bangladesh is not different either. This country has been under the rule of awful power-addicts during the most part of its history since its inception in 1971. In 1970’s election, Shaikh Mujib took votes in the name of multi-party parliamentary democracy, but when grabbed power, established one-party autocracy. Like a drug-addict, a power-addict can’t stay strict to the established morality; the betrayal becomes the norm. So, Mujib’s power-addiction led him to banning all the opposition political parties and death to more than 30 thousands political activists. His killing machine could only be stopped at his own brutal death in 1975. Another power-addict General Ershad snatched power from an elected government of retired Chief Justice Abdus Satter by a military coup in 1982 and continued his autocratic brutality until ousted by a mass up-rise in 1990. But his ouster didn’t bury autocracy in Bangladesh; rather re-emerged with more brutality under the current power-addict Prime Minister Shaikh Hasina. During her rule, brutality has attained a new and more heinous dimension. Not only the opposition political leaders and activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and Bangladesh Nationalist Party are targeted for political assassination, crucial military and religious institutions are also targeted for weakening their grip. Hence, 53 military officers were slaughtered and hundreds of imams and religious students of Hefajat-e-Islam are massacred with utter ruthlessness.
Like a drug-addict, a power-addict too, can’t survive without crossing the red lines of civilised norms. Hence, the extrajudicial killing and the enforced disappearance of the political figures become his or her favoured tools for eliminating the political enemies. This is why, Shaikh Hasina can’t think of a political milieu that would allow the opposition activists freely roaming in the streets and mobilising people. Therefore, they are locked up in prisons. Addiction doesn’t come alone; it also brings in other vices. Hence, Hasina could be fully compatible with crimes like thievery of government treasury, banks and share market. Although the country is known for massive corruption -stood five time first in corruption in the world, but the prisons are full with political activists, not by the corrupt. To stay in power, she thinks it a political necessity to get rid of fair and free election in Bangladesh. Hence, engineering a rigged election is the part of her savagery. She has blocked not only the practice of basic human rights, free press and other democratic values, rather has taken the country far backward. Hence an impartial election that was possible more than half a century ago in 1937, 1946 or 1954 –in British and Pakistani period, now stands unthinkable in Bangladesh.
The fake election
The power edicts show her mastery in holding fake election. Shaikh Hasina did the same in Bangladesh. She has successfully killed democracy in Bangladesh. The election is held without an iota of democratic norm. It has been used only as a tool to rubber stamp the extension of her autocratic rule. In the recent parliamentary election held on 30th December, 2018, Shaikh Hasina rigged the whole electoral process. She has proven, how impossible is a free and fair election in Bangladesh under her autocratic and corruptive rule. The rigging started long before the Election Day. More than 10 thousands opposition political activists were put behind the bar so that they cannot take part in the election campaign. The opposition parties were mostly barred from holding the political meetings and displaying the election posters. The political agents of the opposition candidates were not allowed to do their desired job. So the poling agents of the ruling party in collaboration with the partisan government employees enjoyed unfettered opportunities to fill the ballot box by pre-stamped ballot papers.
Many of the polling agents of the opposition parties were beaten up and forcefully ousted from the voting centres. Many of them were arrested prior to the Election Day. Many voters found their votes casted before they reach the voting centre. In many places, the opposition voters who dared to appear in the polling stations were forced to stamp the ballot paper for Hasina’s party candidates in front of the ruling party thug. In some places, the voters are beaten if discovered that they casted votes for the opposition candidate. It has also been alleged that the ballot box were filled with the stamped ballot papers before the election was actually started. To hide the whole electoral rigging, the CCTV camera were either dismantled or not allowed to install. Independent press reporters were seldom seen to observe the voting process.
The sadistic Hasina
A drug-addict can’t enjoy his life without his drugs. Similarly, a power-addict can’t enjoy his life without the unfettered power. But there is a difference. A drug-addict goes against the laws secretively. But a power-addict autocrat publicly destroys all civil and military institutions, laws and values that restrict execution of his arrogance. Bangladesh under the rule of Hasina is a true example of that. Its laws, judiciary, media and state institutions are only allowed to fully comply with its power-addict ruler Shaikh Hasina. No one is allowed to stand against her wish. Abdul Qader Mollah –an Islamist leader, was given a judgement of life-long imprisonment for his role in 1971; but Shaikh Hasina and her cronies were not happy with the judgement. To please their whims, the judiciary had to change the judgement to his death by hanging. So, Abdul Qader Mollah had to die to please Hasina’s sadistic instinct. The former Supreme Court Chief Justice Surindra Kumar Sinha was still in job; but he had to flee the country hurriedly for his visible incompatibility with Hasina.
Shaikh Hasina’s illegitimacy
Hasina has already committed huge damage to Islam and the Muslims. It is indeed the inherited legacy of her father. In 1971, after the defeat of Pakistan Army in former East Pakistan, Shaikh Mujib and his party men -under the umbrella Indian occupational Army, committed huge brutality and violation of human rights. About half a million non-Bengali Muslims were driven out from their homes, jobs and businesses; and tens of thousands were brutally killed. Thousands of non-Bengalis women were raped. Their belongings were taken by the ruling party’s hooligans. Those who survived are made homeless, stateless and forced to live in concentration camps supported only by the UN agencies. Those camps still survive in Bangladesh with the legacy of untold atrocities. In fact, the type of atrocities that are now being committed against the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar had indeed happened with more brutality against the non-Bengali Muslims in 1971. Though these criminals belong to two different ethnicities, but proved to be the ideological cousins of the same ultra-nationalism. In the ruling Awami League circle, the same brutality still thrives. But the targets are now different: they are the opposition activists.
Shaikh Hasina grabbed power without holding a fair election in 2014. She spent most of her time to hide her illegitimacy. In democracy, the government must draw its legitimacy only from people; and it comes through a proper election. The electoral body and the election process constitute the most important institution in democracy; it works as an effective tool to know the people’s verdict. But if it is corrupted or made dysfunctional, those who get elected also lose their legality and credibility. But such a transparent election didn’t happen in 2014. The election was so massively boycotted by the people that there was no need to set up polling booth in 153 seats of the parliament. How a government can claim democratic legitimacy with absence of such a huge number of polling centres?
The indispensable care-taker government
In democracy, holding an election is not enough; it must be visibly fair and impartial. Otherwise, it doesn’t serve the purpose. This is why, creating a conducive environment for free and fair participation of people and all political parties is so crucial. In election in 2014, more than 90% voters didn’t cast their votes. Therefore, the election made the message quite clear. The people didn’t have any faith in that election. The whole election process was fake; and it loses its credibility. In fake elections, the people can still punish the self-declaring winners. They do that by staying away from the election booth. This way, they deny giving legitimacy to those who claim to be elected. Exactly that happened in 2014.
In the recent election on 30th December, the participation of the opposition parties didn’t make any difference either. This time, the rigging happened with a different strategy. But electoral rigging –in one form or other, never gives legality to anyone. Rigging is always rigging. So, this time too, Shaikh Hasina failed to draw her legality from the people. Such a fake election, could only expose her as a mega fraudster. Only the people with moral deprivation and with no shame could publicly display such a cheating skill and claim victory. Awfully, Hasina belongs to such a lot. The people with such moral deprivation disqualify themselves to hold any public office. So the leaders of the opposition parties have rightly rejected her election to the office. In such circumstances, the issue of holding election under an impartial caretaker government now receives extremely crucial importance. 01.01.2019