The India doctrine and the elimination of political opposition in Bangladesh
The India doctrine and the elimination of political
opposition in Bangladesh
The repression of the political opposition and the increasing intolerance of the ruling alliance headed by the Awami League should not be considered as politics as usual in Bangladesh. We are witnessing the final acts of a play that had been suspended in 1975 but has now been renewed under improved circumstances for the AL and its principal backer India. The forcible removal of Khaleda Zia from her cantonment residence and the decision of the BNP to call a hartal (shut down) for 30th November in reaction to the eviction should not be seen in isolation from the wider political undercurrents now influencing events in Bangladesh. The hartal is not simply about the dispossession of a single house but more precisely its symbolic meaning as the loss of sovereignty and independence of the entire nation. The BNP has presented the hartal call as a protest against the undignified and hasty dispossession of a former Prime Minister of her home of 40 years but the party should have found more courage to openly and directly challenge the real grievance of the nationalist forces in Bangladesh which is the Indian hold and domination over the country's future. The objective simply put, is to implement the India doctrine of hegemony and control over Bangladesh (as described in the book The India Doctrine (1947-2007) and to give permanency to the Awami League as the governing party representing Indian interests in the country. None of this can be achieved, however, without the elimination of the political opposition. Once the opposition seizes to be a threat to the Awami League the agreements on transit, deep sea port and defense cooperation will be put into effect. For now everything is under suspension so as not to gift an issue to the BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami. Already one important piece in the nationalist and patriotic armour of Bangladesh has been broken and that is the army. The Peelkhana massacre was merely the last stage in the disintegration of the armed forces. The army had become rotten from within a decade ago when it decided to make peace keeping its primary mission and the defense of the nation a mere secondary concern. The primary actors in the 1/11 changeover, for example, were a mercenary and incompetent bunch but they represented the highest echelons of the armed forces. If the opposition were to also disintegrate or become obsolete due to government repression and violence then the gains of 1971 will eventually become erased and the country rendered a mere vassal State of India.
University College London