Shared Borders, Shared Oppressions: India And Bangladesh

Posted on June 19, 2011 in YKA Editorials

By Abhirup Bhunia:

India and its Eastern neighbor, Bangladesh, share a lot in common, the most obvious being its borders. West Bengal shares a linguistic similitude with that country. There are several other recognized and well-known connections but recently there have been fresh additions to the catalog of Indo-Bangla similarities… Read on…

Circumstances in both nations and government means of handling them thereafter have made possible the issuance of another similarity — state backed coercion and intolerance of dissent.

Since Youth Ki Awaaz takes an evenhanded view of things, let us for a moment’s time pack away our political patronages and pay particular attention to what has transpired in the region recently.

What followed in the form of police brutality when noted yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s fast in the national capital was brought to a gory end has led to the country’s electorate taking strong offense and casting solemn doubts over the regime’s level-headedness.

The UPA II government’s overall reaction to popular protests against corruption has been criticized for its hypocrisy and high-handedness. The protestors that night of state cruelty were in the midst of a peaceful sit-in, many of them sleeping.

“Use of force on peaceful protestors in the middle of the night is outright autocracy,” people have been crying out even as the Congress led government shamelessly scouted for justifications on prime time television.

With that piece of reaction, what the government essentially put out was that objecting to widespread sleaze and administrative apathy could land somebody in trouble (in police custody primarily).

So, was it India’s Tiananmen, or was Ram Lila India’s Tahrir Square? Well lets for a moment’s time forget China and Egypt. Instead, let’s look eastward. And that’s where the headline assumes significance.

In Bangladesh, over the last few days police atrocities have emerged as the new reality, in what could be an ugly throwback to the post-1971 period. The chief opposition party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party had apparently gone about protesting the government’s move to scrap a decades old rule which ensures pre-polls neutrality. However, this would require a constitutional amendment that the principal opposition had a serious objection to.

It is alleged that protesters were assaulted by policemen and activists and dissenters jailed indiscriminately. Apparently the big human rights issue here is that those locked up weren’t given a chance to defend themselves. That in fact beings back memories of the Indira Gandhi led Emergency epoch.

Truly now we know, India and Bangladesh share more in common that just language and borders.

They share a newfound tendency to crush dissent and mute popular anti-establishment voices. A propensity to deploy policemen at the slightest provocation also seems to be a shared attribute these days. Here’s wishing both the nations’ ruling parties a safe run till the next elections.