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Huge demonstration in front of 10, Downing Street, residence of the Prime Minister of UK and Memorandum submission.

Edit Date:7/20/2010 12:00:00 AM

 Huge demonstration in front of 10, Downing Street, residence of the Prime Minister of UK and Memorandum submission.

Call for mass resistance against the irrespectively arrest, oppression and torture of Awami Government.

London July 20: A huge demonstration held in this afternoon infront of10, Downing Street, residence of the Prime Minister of UK demanding immediate release of the top politicians, journalists those who been arrested in last few weeks.

Thousands of people gathered in the protest among them there were lawyers,doctors politicians and community leaders.

Two  memorandums was submitted today to the British Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy prime Minister Nick Clegg drawing their attention regarding ongoing political onslaught on opposition parties, especially on leaders and activists of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami in Bangladesh. Giving emphasis on Awami misrule it was mentioned in the memoranda as how a fascist party such as Awami League has managed to portray itself with liberal and secular credentials, enabling it to carry out its repressive actions unhindered by appropriate international observation and action.

The memorandum said that, since it came to power in January 2009, the hardline Awami League led government has systematically repressed opposition. The Awami League has a history of repressive rule: a previous Awami League government, from 1971 – 75 amongst a range of repressive and brutal actions, closed all but four government controlled newspapers and banned all other political groups.

The current government has shut down critical media outlets, including the second most widely-circulated Bengali newspaper Amar Desh. On 1st of June 2010, following the seizure of the Amar Desh headquarters, its editor Mr. Mahmudur Rahman, was arrested. While in police custody, he was blindfolded, stripped naked and severely tortured (on ‘remand’ for several days) by unidentified people.

Stating Jamaat-e-Islami as a moderate Muslim group it is mentioned in the memorandum that Bangladesh Awami League infact a hypocritical party which uses religion for mere political gain. There are innumerous allegations against Awami hooligans for systematically persecuting minorities, grabbing their lands, properties and wealth as well as violating   the honour of their women.

Symbol of a civilized country is its independent judiciary which Bangladesh enjoyed till the current ruling party took the office.  They have compromised the independence of the judiciary by appointing partisan Judges to the High Court division of the Supreme Court, reorganised the benches with their active political supporters in the most important writ and bail benches along with the Appellate division by appointing Judges less competent by superseding other senior judges which is not normally the customs of the highest judiciary of the country, regularly intervened unduly into judicial decision through the politically appointed Attorney General’s office and that of Public Prosecutors.  Citing the recent raid in the office of Barrister abdur Rajjak by plain clothes police officers it was mentioned in the memoranda that even harassing solicitors, raiding their offices on bogus complain and thus intimidating them so that they do not dare to defend the political opponents of the current regime has become a common practice of the Awami League Government. 

The memorandum also expressed hope that current coalition government of Britain should put maximum pressure on the current Bangladeshi regime in order to prevent it from committing further political repression and human rights violations. It is obvious that the regime is effectively heading towards a one-party political system presumably on the Awami League’s 1975 model. The memorandum demanded that the advocate of human rights and its defender British Government must act to ensure the democratic rights of opposition parties of Bangladesh, should talk with Bangladesh government to release all political prisoners of conscience, put emphasis on the restoration of the independence of the judiciary, ensure afree and unfettered press and the rule of law and reigning in of officially sanctioned mob-rule.

Earlier thousands of people gathered in rally in front of the Downing Street, the office of the British Prime Minister.  Presided over by the President of Save Bangladesh Barrister Nazrul Islam,the rally was also addressed by former International Affairs Secretary Of Bangladesh Nationalist Party Muhidur Rahman, UK Representative of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami Barrister Abubakar Molla,Ameer of UK Khalefat Majlish Maolana Abdul Kader Saleh, Chairman of Islamic Oykya Jote Europe, Mufti Maolana Sdaruddin, General Secretary of UK Khelafat Majlis Sadikur Rahman, Convenor of Bangladesh Muslim UK, Maolana AKM Sirajul Islam, community leader Moudud Hasan, Belayeth Hussain, Noor Bakhs and many more.

 Full text of the memorandum is as follow:

Rt. Hon. David Cameron MP

Prime Minister

10 Downing Street

London SW1A 2AA

20th July 2010

Dear Prime Minister,

We most urgently draw your attention to the return to repressive rule by the ruling Awami League party in Bangladesh. Human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and a plethora of international press watchdogs have repeatedly reported on the ongoing crisis. ‘Save Bangladesh’ (SB) is a collective of British Bangladeshi individuals and leaders across the community spectrum, that have been brought together by immense concerns regarding the escalating human and civil rights abuses.

It is unfortunate that the Awami League party has managed to portray itself with liberal and secular credentials, enabling it to carry out its repressive actions unhindered by appropriate international observation and action.

Bangladesh is home to 10% of the world Muslim population. It is the frontline state for climate change, and already has a large Diaspora throughout the world, with Bangladeshis accounting for a large proportion of British Muslims. It is imperative that we avoid the potential destabalisation provoked by the unnecessary andvindictive actions of the Awami League government, which is turning this moderate and freedom loving country into a police state. Such governmental irresponsibility can only cause anarchy within a densely populated country which is home to 160 million people.

The Awami League’s brutality against critics

Since it came to power in January 2009, the hardline Awami League led government has systematically repressed opposition. The Awami League has a history of repressive rule: a previous Awami League government from 1971 – 75, amongst a range of repressive and brutal actions, closed all but four government controlled newspapers and banned all other political groups.

The current government has shut down critical media outlets, including the second most widely-circulated Bengali newspaper Amar Desh. On 1st of June 2010, following the seizure of the Amar Desh headquarters, its editor Mr. Mahmudur Rahman, was arrested. While in police custody, he was blindfolded, stripped naked and severely tortured (on ‘remand’ for several days, a term recognized as a euphemism for torture) by unidentified people.

 The Awami League’s repression of Opposition: BNP and BJI

The government has targeted both the main opposition, the Bangladesh National Party (BNP), and the second largest opposition, Bangladesh Jamaati Islam (BJI). Amnesty International has reported on the events of 27 June 2010, when during a daylong political strike, police stormed the house of leading BNP politician, former Minister and former Mayor of Dhaka city, Mr Mirza Abbas, and physically attacked his family members including his wife and 85 year old mother. Mr. Shahiduddin Choudhury Anny MP was also attacked by ruling party men in the presence of the police, who then arrested Mr. Choudhury, rather than his attackers, placing him on remand for four days and subsequently imprisoning him. Many other BNP leaders including former Foreign Secretary and ambassador, Mr. Shamsher Mobin Choudhury, who is also partially disabled, were tortured on that day by the police and then incarcerated.

BJI, a moderate Muslim party with a large grassroots constituency base, which has participated in democratic politics for decades, has been a particular target. On 29 June 2010, the regime arrested the three topmost senior leaders on flimsy blasphemy charges. Sensing the futility of the allegations, the regime rushed to sue them on a host of other flimsy cases; and now they are on successive remand. Two other central BJI leaders, Abdul Quader Mulla and Kamaruzzaman, have more recently been arrested in direct contravention of the country’s High Court ruling that ordered the government not to arrest or harass them. When their family went to visit them, the police arrested all of them and put them on remand.

Amnesty International has reported on the targeting of BJI and ICS since the beginning of these arrests, which have continued unabated. Approximately five thousand BJI and Bangladesh Islami Chatra Shibir (ICS, the student wing of BJI) followers have been recently arrested on flimsy grounds.

BNP and BJI have been united in their opposition to the Awami League government’s actions against the interests of the Bangladeshi people. They have protested the government’s inaction regarding India’s pernicious plan to build the Tipaimukh Dam. Like the existing Farakka Dam, this new Dam will disastrously affect 10 million people, particularly the people of Sylhet in Bangladesh (the region of origin of most British Bangladeshis).

The success of the recent national strike called by the opposition and the overwhelming victory of the opposition BNP candidate in the recent election of Chittagong City Corporation (the second largest metropolitan centre) made it clear that the regime had lost public support. All the subsequent examples of political oppression point to the regime’s desperation to remain in power.

Rule of Law compromised

In the last 18 months, the government has:

1.  Compromised the independence of the judiciary by appointing partisan Judges to the High Court division of the Supreme Court

2. Reorganised the benches with their active political supporters in the most important writ and bail benches along with the Appellate division by appointing less competent pro-government Judges to supersede other senior judges against the customs of the highest judiciary of the country.

3. Regularly intervened unduly into judicial decisions through the politically appointed Attorney General’s office and that of Public Prosecutors.

Recently a number of police personnel entered the chamber of Barrister Abdur Razzak, a senior advocate of the Bangladesh Supreme Court to intimidate him. The government is also obstructing the normal course of the rule of law by not allowing lawyers to meet the detained opposition leaders in custody.

Exploiting the 1971 Liberation War to justify arrests

It is widely agreed by most internal and international observers, and noted recently by The Economist, that the Awami League government’s action to pursue a ‘War crimes’ trial is politically motivated to persecute the opposition. If the events of the 1971 war were the main reason for the recent repressions, arrests and torture, a number of Awami League and Jatiya Party leaders currently holding ministerial posts would have been in prison by this time for their role in 1971.

Our Plea to Our British Government

We request our coalition government in Britain to put maximum pressure on the current Bangladeshi regime in order to prevent it from committing further political repression and human rights violations. It is evident that the regime is effectively heading towards a one-party political system presumably on the Awami League’s 1975 model.

We call for:

  • The democratic rights of opposition parties to be upheld
  • Release of all political prisoners of conscience
  • Restoration of the independence of the judiciary
  • A free and unfettered press;
  • The rule of law and reigning in of officially sanctioned mob-rule.

 It is the innocent people of Bangladesh who will continue to bear the brunt of the repression. Furthermore, in a globalised world, it is only a matter of time before we in Britain may also be affected with the consequences.

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