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     Volume 12 |Issue 08| February 22, 2013 |


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Current Affairs

The New Battle

Shakhawat Liton

It is not merely a protest or a street agitation–the rise of youth has turned itself into a social revolution. The unprecedented mass upsurge is against anti-liberation forces–all individuals and organisations. The revolution is against the political parties, politicians, individuals and organisations that patronise the anti-liberations forces.

The fight may not be easy as the vampires are refusing to remain silent in the dark. They fear light. So, they are desperately trying to kill the sources of light as they did in the past.

What prompted the skyrocketing rise of political parties and organisations based on religion? Framed within a year of the country's independence, the constitution, which was considered a fruit of the historic liberation war, in its preamble pledged to hold the ideals of nationalism, socialism, democracy and secularism as its fundamental principles because they had inspired our brave martyrs to sacrifice their lives in the national liberation struggle.

The constitution at that time provided special procedures to eliminate communalism, abuse of religion for political purposes and barred the state's political favour for any religion. It also imposed a ban on the formation of political parties or organisations based on religion.

Jamaat-e-Islami and other Islamic parties were constitutionally banned for their role against the country's birth. But the violent overthrow of the regime in August 1975 was the beginning of a dark episode in the country. The constitution lost its supremacy as the country was placed under martial law. The regime made the constitution subject to its whims and brought about many changes in it by issuing proclamations.

During the martial law period, the principle of secularism was completely deleted from the constitution and was replaced by absolute trust and faith in Almighty Allah. Even above the preamble of the constitution, the phrase "in the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful" was inserted. The ban on religion-based politics was withdrawn, allowing the anti-liberation Jamaat-e-Islami and other Islamic parties to resume their activities. Thus, martial law ruler General Ziaur Rahman finally made politics difficult for politicians, opening the window for anti-liberation forces to do politics in Bangladesh. Zia's widow Khaleda Zia in 2001 made two top war criminals Matiur Rahman Nizami and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojahid ministers. Therefore, the anti-liberation forces Jamaat and others have consolidated their political base. Similarly, Jamaat and its associates have built their financial kingdom by expanding huge businesses.

Zia's successor, Gen Ershad, the second military dictator, made Islam the state religion through amending the constitution in 1988 in a parliament constituted through a rigged election.

Over the years, the situation has become so complicated that the present AL-led government, which brought about major changes in the constitution in 2011, could not bring back the original spirit of secularism despite a Supreme Court verdict in its favour. But in the prevailing political situation, the AL-led regime had to compromise for its own political purpose. It could not take any strong stance fearing losing public support. Now, in terms of secularism, the constitution is in a peculiar situation, secularism stands along with Islam as state religion and politics based on religion.

And the other ideal, democracy, has yet to deepen its roots. After the 1975 changeover, the country was governed either directly or indirectly by military rulers. After the collapse of the Ershad's autocratic regime, democracy was restored in the country in 1991. The parliamentary form of government was introduced by amending the constitution. But a lack of democratic mindset gave birth to confrontational culture in politics. Now the political arena is divided into two camps led by Awami League-led alliance and BNP-Jamaat-led coalition. In electoral politics, it is difficult for the BNP to sever its link with Jamaat. BNP's acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has already announced that that 18-party-alliance led by BNP-Jamaat will be strengthened further. .

Many still doubt the AL-led government's sincerity and determination in truly honouring the rise of the youth. The AL wants to win the next parliamentary polls at any cost.

A new war has begun. If the anti-revolution forces win, darkness will engulf the nation again like it did in the past. If the torchbearers win, the darkness will be removed. People will get the fruit of liberation. The youth will rise time and again for the love of their motherland.

The writer is Senior Reporter, The Daily Star.


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