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Dhaka Tribune

Are people really free after 50 years of independence?

A virtual lecture titled “50 Years of Bangladesh Politics: Nature and Trends” was arranged by Nazmul Karim Study Center (NKSC) on Monday

Update : 12 Apr 2021, 08:44 PM

Bangladesh has stepped into the 50th year of its emergence this year, but it has had to face many struggles during these five decades. 

Ali Riaz, a Bangladeshi-American academic has remarked that the lives of citizens are now in danger despite their being in the 50th year of their country’s independence.

He also questioned the extent of the sovereignty enjoyed by the people of the country.

Ali, a distinguished professor of the Department of Politics and Government at Illinois State University, was speaking at a virtual lecture programme, “50 Years of Bangladesh Politics: Nature and Trends”, arranged by Nazmul Karim Study Center (NKSC) of Dhaka University (DU) on Monday.

He said: “In the Bangladeshi context prime ministers have enjoyed extra powers during their tenure, which has become a political culture now. The government has to practice power to an extent that is allowed by the people of the country. Accountability should also be ensured.”

While talking about religious issues relating to the majority population of the country, he said: “A pre-planned identity conflict has been created about whether a citizen is Bangali or Muslim. They should rather be Bangladeshis.”

Replying to a query from an academic of Dhaka University (DU), referring to writer Mushtaq’s death, Ali said: “No medical report can prove that an act has killed one, but he was sued by that act and later died facing torture in custody.”

Freedom of expression is being obstructed by setting laws in place, Ali Riaz remarked.

Riaz emphasized ensuring a democratic environment in every sector, especially during elections.

Professor Imtiaz Ahmed of the International Relations department of DU, said every government has wanted to manipulate elections; but people have to be given their right to vote.

Ziaur Rahman, professor of the Criminology department of DU, noted that the people of the country were being deprived of their rights as the political parties differ in their political goals.

Khondoker Bazlul Hoque, president of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolan (Bapa), claimed that the term non-communal was more appropriate than the use of secular in the constitution adopted in 1972. 

“The Awami League might have stepped on to the wrong path, but I think the anti-liberation forces could not dominate us only because of the existence of the Awami League,” he added. 

The renowned historian, Professor Syed Anwar Husain, expressed his concern over the loss of lives during a series of political crises. He stressed the need for the political environment to be sound and healthy.

NKSC Director and Sociology department Professor AKM Jamal Uddin conducted the lecture session.

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