Update March 14, 2015

Dhaka 6-41 am, 03-December, 2020

Homage to Bangladesh’s politics: Bound and gagged

Sumel Sarker

Symbolic Protest.

Symbolic Protest.

14 March 2015, Nirapad News: A former student of the Institute of Fine Arts at Dhaka University against the malaise that has gripped the country’s political culture draws crowds on the Dhaka University campus. The protester, who asked not to be named, wrapped himself in jute twine and gagged himself with a sack, evoking the enforced paralysis and poor prospects for dialogue that have held Bangladesh hostage since opposing observances on the anniversary of last year’s parliamentary elections escalated into a full-scale political confrontation.

The resulting transport blockade called indefinitely by the BNP-led 20-party alliance on January 6 has unleashed a round of arson and bombings by blockade enforcers that has been met with reprisals by law enforcement personnel. It has now stretched to 68 consecutive days of unrest and claimed at least 90 lives, mostly the result of arson.

Secondary School Certificate examinations (SSC) scheduled to be held from the first week of February have been hit hard by a series of postponements that have left students, for whom this exam is crucial to academic and professional success, in a state of constant uncertainty.

Commuters and transport sector personnel have borne the brunt of the venality of the political impasse, in which every ride has become a life-threatening risk. Prospects for dialogue, hushed by the confrontation into a silence that is shattered only by uncompromising demands and new rounds of mutual recrimination, have been utterly impervious even to the best efforts of the diplomatic corps and the UN.

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