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Bangladesh President Deploys Army
BNP welcomes move, Awamy League urges caution
Golam Mustofa Sarowar (Golam)     Print Article 
Published 2006-12-10 17:28 (KST)   
The president and chief adviser to the caretaker government of Bangladesh, Iajuddin Ahmed, ordered the deployment of the Armed Forces Saturday night to enforce law and order and "support the civil administration."

The president, who is in charge of all major ministries including defense and home affairs, asked the home secretary to issue a directive to the deputy commissioners.

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A home affair ministry official said that "two separate circulars have already been issued to the deputy commissioners and the Armed Forces division."

"None of the advisers wanted the deployment of troops at that time, but the chief adviser insisted on it," one of the advisers of the 11-member interim cabinet told this reporter Saturday evening.

The president deployed troops under the relevant sections of the act, "in aid of the civilian administration to operate under the directives of the deputy commissioners -- not in the exercise of presidential authority stipulated in article 61 of the constitution," said another adviser.

However, some of the advisers argued that it was not an appropriate moment to call out the Armed Forces.

Notably, the then home secretary, Zahrul Islam, issued a similar instruction on Nov. 12, reportedly on Iajuddin's order, to field-level administrations to "get prepared for army troops to be deployed to prevent a deterioration in law and order." The home ministry directed deputy commissioners to maintain a sufficient number of magistrates. That order was eventually withdrawn in the face of stiff resistance from the advisers of the government on Nov. 16.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Secretary General Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan welcomed the presidential move, saying "the president is entitled to deploy troops for recovery of illegal arms and maintain law and order." In this regard, Bhuiyan also asked the leaders and activists of the party to cooperate with the army.

General Secretary of the Awamy League, Abdul Jalil, on the other hand, said that his party "will welcome the army deployment if it takes steps to hunt down criminals and take care of the corrupt people before the election."

He cautioned that the "deployment might create panic among the common people; while a positive response would depend on the attitude of the army personnel."
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Golam Mustofa Sarowar

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