South Asia and Beyond

India’s Support For Hasina Wrong: SC Lawyer

M Sarwar Hossain is convinced that neither Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina, who returned as Prime Minister for the 4th consecutive term in the January 9 parliamentary elections, nor her main opponent Khaleda Zia of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, (which boycotted the elections) are fit to rule country. A Lincoln’s Inn Barrister and practicing lawyer in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, Hossain served in the Bangladesh Army for 20 years before taking voluntary retirement as a Major and taking up the legal profession. According to him, “eight of the 12 elections in Bangladesh so far were held under the party in power, while four were held under a caretaker government.” Each time it was held under the ruling party’s writ, it came back to power, while in the four that were held under a caretaker government the opposition returned. “Therefore, people in Bangladesh don’t believe that there can be a free or fair election under the ruling party’s administration.” He said the BNP –which has launched an “India Out” campaign on the lines of a similar campaign which brought President Mohamed Muizzu to power in the Maldives last year– was riding on the anti-India sentiment in the country, which was growing due to several reasons. Apart from the Teesta waters issue, India had taken money for vaccinations during the Covid pandemic, and had neither delivered the vaccines nor returned the money, he claimed. Similarly, India’s clear support for Hasina and her Awami League was alienating many Bangladeshis. Also, in return for Indian support, Sheikh Hasina was allowing Indians on tourist visas to take away jobs in Bangladesh, despite rising unemployment in the country. Insisting that neither the Awami League nor the BNP had been able to deliver good governance, he said “No good politics is going on in Bangladesh.” Watch the full interview to understand why he believes Bangladesh, once the poster-child for good governance and development in the region, has reached this sorry state.

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