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Concern over Bangladesh Army tackling political stir

Security analysts have flayed the use of armed forces to quell a political stir saying this will complicate the run up to the elections.

india Updated: Dec 22, 2006 15:14 IST

Former administrators and security analysts in Bangladesh have flayed the use of armed forces to quell a political stir, saying this will complicate the run up to the general elections next month.

Over 100 political workers were injured on Thursday during the day-long strike called by the Awami League-led alliance, led by former prime minister Sheikh Hasina, that has not filed a single nomination for the elections to press for a number of political demands, including postponement of polling day.

For the first time since 1990, when the arrangement of a caretaker government conducting the polls came into vogue, the administration employed the army to tackle political demonstrations in Dhaka and elsewhere.

Deployed Dec 9 following a unilateral decision of President and Chief Adviser Iajuddin Ahmed, the armed forces swung into action to disperse the pickets in Dhaka.

The troops chased off supporters of the 14-party combine and its allies as the latter clashed with the police, damaged a couple of vehicles and set fire to a car.

Save these incidents, the countrywide stir called the largest political alliance called immobilised all other activity though it was peaceful, media reports said on Friday.

Besides the political parties, the critics included M Hafizuddin Khan and ASM Shahjehan, retired officials who were advisors, enjoying ministerial rank and status in earlier interim administrations.

The advisors in the current interim government first claimed to be unaware of the armed forces' deployment but justified it after seeing it on TV, The Daily Star reported.

"If soldiers have to run around on a simple hartal day, then what will happen in more difficult days which are invariably coming?" asked Major General (retd) Syed Mohammed Ibrahim, now a security analyst.

"The jobs of the soldiers and police must not be mixed. If it is mixed, then there will be bad repercussions," he said.