|photo: Farjana K Godhuly, AFP|
The Bangladesh military, which took power in a coup on January 11th this year, today in a pre-dawn raid arrested former Prime Minister and the leader of one of the two major political parties (the Awami League) in Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, on unspecified "corruption" charges. Hasina is the daughter of Bangladesh’s founding president and independence leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Thirty-two years ago Sheikh Mujib and most of his family were gunned down by members of the Bangladesh military in a bloody coup that plunged the country into 16 years of military rule. Hasina and her younger sister were the only members of the family who survived the massacre because they were out of the country at the time. Three decades later it is the daughter that is now in the military’s hands.
Since taking power on January 11th, the military has been steadily consolidating its control over the country by locking up senior leaders of the two major political parties in Bangladesh on charges of "corruption". Today they have gone for the jugular by trying to decapitate the Awami League by arresting its leader. Sheikh Hasina had been increasingly vocal in recent weeks in her criticism of the military. The Bangladesh military does not take criticism well.
The situation in Bangladesh is fluid. Reports are still sketchy. There are reports of rioting in parts of the country. It is likely to get bloody from here.
Blogs covering the story:
Update (7/16/2007 2:53am): There are unconfirmed reports that Khaleda Zia, the immediate past Prime Minister and leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, the other major political party in Bangladesh, either has been arrested or will be arrested in the very near future. There has been violence in Dhaka University where protesters have clashed with police. Police have reportedly fired rubber bullets and there are reports of people being taken to the hospital.