Today a daylong general strike was called by the main opposition party in Bangladesh. This is first such event in 3 1/2 years. The opposition party BNP had laid out the strike plan last month in protest of certain issues they have pointed out as government failure.

The general strike ( Hartal) is not a very popular mode of protest in Bangladesh. Yet opposition parties resort to this tactic more often than other means as they don’t find the alternatives to hartal as biting. One reason the opposition resort to this sort of general strike is because hartals make the government feel insecure and vulnerable. For this same reason current ruling party Awami League resorted to 303 ( nearly a year) days of general strike since 1991. Otherwise a so called successful hartal is never a testament to opposition’s popularity.

Hartals are now more a test of the mindset of the government than anything else. Accordingly today’s hartal was an opportunity for the government to show how tolerant and democratic they are and at the same time it was a tool of the opposition to trap the government into exposing the government’s intolerant fascistic mindset ( if there is any).

Clearly the following photo assay shows heavy handed repressive acts of the government in a day which otherwise would have been a day of peaceful non-violent exercise of democratic right.

This photo shows police beating up opposition MP and political leader Mr Shahid Uddin Chowdhury while he was leading a peaceful procession.

Soon ruling party members join police in harassing the opposition leader.

Under police protection ruling party activists  practice their martial arts lessons on opposition political activists.

In police presence, emboldened ruling party activists get to practice more lethal force on the opposition leader.

Shahiduddin Chowdhury Annie MP being beaten by BCL activists and police

…. until the leader is beaten unconscious.

And then our ‘law enforcing agency members’ made arrests. Who they arrest? Not the ruling party hooligans imposing the reign of terror. The arrest the victim, the already beaten unconscious opposition MP Mr Shahid Uddin Chowdhury!

Even woman activists did not escape the wrath of combined police-ruling party actions…

This the  elected Mayor of Dhaka, also a leader of opposition party. He is being cordoned off by police this way while he tried to attend a street rally in the city he is Mayor of.

Police and  elite force RAB  throws tear gas shells, attacks opposition leader Mr Mirza Abbas’s  private home where lives the 100 year old mother and the kids of the leader.  And shamelessly both police and RAB deny any such incidence.

Throughout the day  truck loads of opposition activists were arrested by police and taken to police stations.

Also arrested were ex Mayor of Dhaka opposition leader Mr Mirza Abbas and retired diplomat, wounded war veteran of our war of independence, Mr Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury.

Photo Courtesy: and Amader Shomoy.