But why do we all have to suffer?
So BNP is going to continue hartals till Ilias Ali is produced. What kind of cynicism is this that forces people to suffer on party to party issues that has nothing to do with them? We didnât abduct Ilias Ali, so why should we pay the price? BNP should do it to the AL and its supporters and not to everyone who are guilty only of living in Bangladesh. How can a BNP rule is better if all they care about is their party leader and not the rest of the millions who suffer not just hartals but politics in general?
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If a group of people have made selfishness an art form for personal gain, itâs the politicians. Our sadness began when we trusted them with building our future when that was not their objective at all.
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Itâs amazing how these political parties can ignore the plight of the poor not to speak of the rest. I remember back in the mid 90s when the AL was trying to oust BNP from power, they also called for a long stretch of hartal. It was abominably painful for the urban poor particularly the rickshaw-pullers who after a week of this could no longer keep going and tried to make it to the street. The AL activists jumped on the rickshaws on the road and totally destroyed them as the pullers begged for mercy.
Although as a journalist I am supposed to be neutral, I lost my cool and protested. âThis is for democracyâ they shouted.
âYou can have your democracy but what about his democracy, his right to feed his family?â
âWho are you?Â You are a BNP agent.Â A razakar.â
I walked away as the activists shouted slogans against me.
I learnt a big lesson. Political parties and their supporters have democracy but ordinary people donât.
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What does the BNP mean when they say that the hartals will go on till Ilias Ali is returned by the Government? Suppose Ilias Ali is dead and canât ever be returned by whoever took him? Will hartals go on forever? The BNP is accusing the government for his abduction but suppose someone else is involved? How does the BNP know for sure? And if it does, why doesnât it present evidence of this knowledge? Or does the BNP think that the people have a right to know only when the party approves that choice? Can they now back down from endless hartal programmes if Ilias doesnât return?
More to the point, is Ilias Ali greater than the existing suffering of millions? Does the BNP think that no one in this country has anything to do other than ponder on the missing politician? Donât they have to go out and make a living?
The BNP had some popularity towards the beginning of last week as people were exhausted with the AL governmentâs ineptitude and inability to control the law and order situation. The abduction of Ilias Ali certainly scared many but the BNP response, completely devoid of any political intelligence is also scary. With the several hartals under the belt, the BNP is not looking better at all and the tolerance for its tactics is rapidly shrinking.Â Nobody wants hartal but the BNP and the AL doesnât seem to know that.
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Who could have abducted Ilias Ali and why? Taking the names being mentioned letâs quickly swim through the list.
Itâs the Government/ AL
There is no gain in this abduction for the government because it has obviously been the trigger to cause so many problems for everyone in power. To abduct means to murder because Ilias canât be returned now but who is Ilias Ali anyway that he deserves such a lot of attention? And would the government want to gift a âbodyâ to the Opposition which is what has happened and strengthen the movement?
Itâs the BNP
The AL supporters say that itâs the BNP which has hidden him to create an issue. They say that the party had been saying that the movement would escalate in May/June and this is the proof of that. Apart from the absurdity of the suggestion, his return would automatically raise too many questions. He has to return to get his reward if the BNP has done it so how is that going to be without more political pitfalls? Is the BNP that cynical?
Itâs the âKhaki boysâ
Unless there is a definite plan to take over, this abduction doesnât make sense though such a scenario is possible. Media has reported of reports of âclose cropped peopleâ involved and speculation is growing but isnât there smarter ways to capture power? Or is it part of a longer plan to cause such political exhaustion that people wonât care who takes over?
This is a favourite with a section of the BNP-Jamaat activists. Ilias Ali, itâs claimed, was taken because of his Tipaimukh agitation activism. But why should India bother to take him when nothing Bangladesh does will really bother India? Why should India bother with Ilias when it can swoop on literally anyone?
Itâs the Aliens
This has gained credibility after Rumi Ahmed made the suggestion last week in this Opinion page. It has gained the highest number of shares in this section proving that many believe this is certainly a possibility.
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No matter what or who, there is no reason to make people suffer. Public frustration is high and can go higher. If the situation goes on, it will be difficult to say how much instability may follow.
As a not so wise man said, âThings can never be so bad that it canât get worse.â Unfortunately for us, this aphorism comes true again and again.
Afsan Chowdhury is the Executive Editor of bdnews24.com.