INTERNATIONAL

Fear of violence in Bangladesh

DHAKA, FEB. 26. Politics in Bangladesh is apparently heading towards a confrontation, with the Bangladesh Nationalist Party-Jamaat-led ruling coalition taking a tough stand against the Opposition's agitation programme and the Awami League remaining firm on its "oust-Government movement".

After the one month-long deadline for meeting the Awami League's 15-point charter of demands expired on February 10, the party led by the former Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, enforced three days of country-wide hartals within a week from February 12.

The hartals, which were marred by violence, gave the indication that a stronger street agitation might follow.

During the hartals, the police resorted to indiscriminate lathi-charge on demonstrators, injuring dozens of senior Opposition leaders and arresting several hundred activists from Dhaka and elsewhere. Women activists of the party were the worst victims of the police excesses.