by Omer Selim Sher in Ottawa
Debate and vandalism over the making of a sculpture of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is the national focus now and it is apparently a conspiracy against the government with some Islamic fundamentalist groups at the fore.
Some leaders of Hefazat-e-Islam are allegedly behind the move, but unfortunately even after discussions Bangabandhu’s sculpture under construction in Kushtia has been vandalised by madrassa students and again the sculpture of Bagha Jotin in the same town.
The heinous acts have been condemned widely by all sections of the society. The ruling Awami League is out on the streets to stop such acts of vandalism.
Political analysts said Bangabandhu’s Bengali nationalism has been proved once again and apparently a mass uprising has started in the Awami League following the two incidents.
Sculpture exists not only in Bangladesh but in many countries of the world. There are many sculptures, especially in Muslim countries, but there is no debate, no protest.
Political analysts believe that some fundamentalists in Bangladesh are trying to use the iassue to provoke anti-government actions.
Political analysts say that opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its ally the fundamentalist –Jamaat-Islami are behind this move as they failed to find any issue to provoke an anti-government campaign.
The other side of the development is that the Awami League and its allies have been inactive for a long time. In particular, former health minister Mohammad Nasim was in charge of coordinating the 14 parties. After his death, the alliance lost momentum in its organizational activities. In this situation, the issue has given a boost to the Awami League and its allies for reorganizing themselves.
On the whole, the ground situation is that instead of losing support the Awami League has gained with all the parties behind it on the sculpture issue except the BNP and its allies.
Starting from the Awami League’s central office, the party workers’ presence in various activities is noticeable. The lack of coordination between the Awami League and the 14 parties on the sculpture issue provided an opportunity to reorganize. These fiascos with sculpture issues have revived the Awami League and its allies.
I hope this will further cement ties between Awami League and the 14 party alliance by taking this opportunity and be united to defeat the forces behind the conspiracy.
Omer Selim Sher is a retired Professor of Economics at Algonquin College, Ottawa, Canada, and a researcher on South Asian politics.