The treatment of members of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) by members of the Awami League (AL) and police since 1 October 2001 [BGD39024.E]

Few reports detailing the treatment of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) by members of the Awami League (AL) since the 1 October 2001 elections, in which the BNP came to power, could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

Several articles reporting on a nationwide strike called by the Awami League to protest the "repressive measures of the BNP-led government" stated that members of the BNP and the AL clashed, resulting in 50 injuries (Hindustan Times 6 Apr. 2002; Inter Press Service 6 Apr. 2002; PTI 7 Apr. 2002). A 2 March 2002 article reported that 10 people had been injured in a clash between BNP and AL activists in Nandalapur in Sadar upazila (The Daily Star).

As well, a 13 March 2002 article reported that leaders of the BNP and AL had been "engaged in trading vitriolic words" (Dawn). The AL leader, Sheikh Hasina, had requested that her supporters retaliate against any attack on them by BNP members, reportedly calling on them to "torch the houses of those that might torch theirs and retaliate against those who could be attempting to attack the Leaguers" (ibid.).

A 2 May 2002 article reported that a BNP worker was critically injured in an attack by AL activists, leading to several retaliatory acts by BNP members who set fire to AL residences and attacked a hospital where AL members were being treated (United News of Bangladesh). The article also reported that police had arrested three AL and two BNP supporters for the incidents, but that one of the BNP workers was subsequently released into BNP custody (ibid.).

Following the AL's loss of power during the October 2001 elections, the new BNP government, led by Khaleda Zia, reportedly removed the national and Dhaka police chiefs, as well as the chairs of several nationalized banks, and investment organizations who had been appointed by the previous AL-led government (AFP 13 Nov. 2001).

Several sources report on the arrest of AL members (AP 8 Feb. 2002; The Independent 3 May 2002; AFP 2 Jan. 2002; ibid. 16 Mar. 2002). An 8 February 2002 article reported that, in an attempt to control the increasing political violence, Bangladesh police had arrested 60 AL members in police raids on homes (AP). According to the article, the 60 were jailed for a month under a 1974 Special Powers Act that enables police to make arrests without laying any charges or giving a reason (ibid.). As a result of the arrests, many opposition leaders were reported to have gone into hiding (ibid.). Sources also report the arrest and alleged torture of Bahauddin Nasim, a private secretary of the former prime minister Sheikh Hasina (AFP 19 Apr. 2002; OMCT 21 Mar. 2002; AI 26 Mar. 2002) and Dr. Mohiuddin Alamgir (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Agence France Presse (AFP). 19 April 2002. "Amnesty Concerned Over Alleged Torture of Bangladeshi Aide." (NEXIS)

_____. 16 March 2002. "Former Bangladesh Government Minister Detained by Police." (FBIS-NES-2002-0316 16 Mar. 2002/WNC)

_____. 2 January 2002. "Dhaka Police Arrest Former Awami League Legislator." (NEXIS)

_____. 13 November 2001. "Bangladeshi Students Storm Dormitory Amid Campus Unrest." (NEXIS)

Amnesty International (AI). 26 March 2002. "Urgent Action: Bangladesh." AI Index: ASA 13/003/2002. [Accessed 7 May 2002]

Associated Press (AP). 8 February 2002. "Bangladesh Police Arrest 60 Opposition Members." (NEXIS)

The Daily Star [Dhaka]. "AL-BNP Clash Leaves 10 Hurt in Magura." [Accessed 4 Mar. 2002]

Dawn [Karachi]. 13 March 2002. Sayed Kamaluddin. "Crime, Lawlessness Again Grip Bangladesh." [Accessed 9 May 2002]

The Hindustan Times. 6 April 2002. "Nationwide Strike in Bangladesh After Clashes, Arrests." [Accessed 9 May 2002]

The Independent [Dhaka]. 3 May 2002. Samad Azad. "AL Won't Join JS Unless Congenial Atmosphere Created." (NEXIS)

Inter Press Service. 6 April 2002. "Bangladesh: Strike Disrupts Public Life, 1000 Injured." [Accessed 9 May 2002]

World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). 21 March 2002. "Bangladesh: Arbitrary Arrested and Torture of Mr. Bahauddin Nasim." [Accessed 7 May 2002]

The Press Trust of India (PTI). 7 April 2002. "Strike Disrupts Life in Bangladesh; 100 Injured, 1100 Arrested." (NEXIS)

United News of Bangladesh. 2 May 2002. "Arrest-Violence." (NEXIS)

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB databases

Jane's Geopolitical Library (CD-ROM)


Internet sites including:


The Daily Star


The Independent

News from Bangladesh


The Tribune

World News Connection

Search engines: