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Trials Lead Bangladesh to Civil War

Published: 18/03/2013 05:18:28 PM GMT
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DHAKA - As tension is gripping the Asian Muslim country, Bangladesh is feared sliding into a d civil war over war crime trials and death sentences against Islamist leaders. Political instability brewing in the country will (more)

DHAKA - As tension is gripping the Asian Muslim country, Bangladesh is feared sliding into a d civil war over war crime trials and death sentences against Islamist leaders.

"Political instability brewing in the country will cause loss of life and destruction of public order," Dr. Mohammad Tofajjal Hossain, a senior physician, told

"This situation has been created by present government through execution of its fascist policies and they have declared against Islam and Muslims."Politics Divides War-Scarred Bangladesh

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Deadly clashes have engulfed Bangladesh following death sentences against Islamist leaders on alleged war crimes during the 1971 independence war.

Earlier this month, Delwar Hossain Sayedee, leader of Jamaat-e-Islami group, was sentenced to death on charges of committing war crimes during the independence war.

The 73-year-old leader was the third person to be convicted by the war crimes tribunal, whose verdicts have been met with outrage from supporters.

More than 150 people have been killed in deadly violence since the death sentence was announced.

"War between Islamist and non-Islamist forces has started in Bangladesh," Akon Abdul Mannan, a senior journalist and former executive member of Dhaka Union of Journalist (DUJ), told

He believes that the current government has taken up a blueprint to kill Muslim leaders under the cover of war crime trials.

He thinks that annulling the war crimes tribunals and holding parliamentary election soon under a caretaker government would help ease tension in the country.

The former East Pakistan declared independence from Islamabad in December 1971 at the end of a nine-month civil war in which the government says three million people were killed.

Independent estimates put the figure much lower.

A dozen of defendants are being tried by the Dhaka-based International Crimes Tribunal, which was set up in March 2010, over their alleged role in the war.

But all the defendants are either members of the Jamaat-e-Islami party or of the main opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP), prompting accusations that the process is politically-driven.


Analysts predict the situation would deteriorate further in Bangladesh due to the government crackdown on protestors.

"The situation is heading towards a more confrontational situation," Dr. Tareque Shamsur Rahman, a senior professor of International Relations of JahangirNagar University in Bangladesh, told

He predicted that the situation would further worsen as the coming parliamentary elections approach.

"On one side, the leaders of the major Islamic Political parties are being tried for their so-called involvement in war crimes in the liberation of Bangladesh," Rahman said.

"And on the other hand, a demand of a neutral caretaker government to run the forthcoming 10th Parliamentary election is getting stronger day by day."

Many accuse the government of Sheikh Hasina of using the trials to silence the Islamist opposition.

"Now, Bangladesh is being ruled by an extreme autocratic regime," Farid Uddin Khan, a senior lawyer at Bangladesh Supreme Court, told

"This ruler has been killing civilian people like mass killing. This government has usurped all democratic rights, freedom of speech by use of law and order forces."

Mohammad Shawkat Ali, a writer and columnist, shares a similar view.

"Now Bangladesh is in crisis, which is created by present government's intolerance and undemocratic activities," he told

He opined that the government should response to the public opinion and international advice to overcome the current crisis.Bangladesh is the world's third-largest Muslim majority nation with a population of some 148 million.

Reproduced with permission from