02/11/2015, 00.00
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Bangladesh, political violence affecting 1.4 million students

by Sumon Corraya
Final exams of the 10th grade repeatedly postponed. One Catholic boy: "I'm shocked, it's a huge mental pressure." The total traffic strike imposed by the opposition continues to create problems for the population. Parents: "Our children are innocent victims, the leaders need to resolve the situation."

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - "I am shocked by the violence caused by this hartal. We could be attacked at any time. And the continuous  postponement of the exams is a huge mental pressure", Hridoy Rozario, a 16 year old Catholic tells AsiaNews.  On 6 February  he sat his final exams of the 10th grade (Secondary School Certificate, SSC), with more than 1.4 million children. Because of the violence linked to the nationwide strike (hartal) imposed more than a month ago by the opposition parties, the tests have been postponed several times for security reasons.

The objective of the coalition - led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP, nationalist) and the Jamaat-e-Islam (Islamic fundamentalist) - is to oust the Awami League government and go to new elections.

Beyond the individual episodes of violence that continue to wreak havoc (particularly incendiary bombs), the daily life of the population is being held in check. Farmers and local producers are suffering damage due to the delay in the transit of goods and products; students cannot go to school, or college, on a regular basis.

"Our children are innocent - stress Hridoy's parents - why do they have to be stymied by the squabbles of our political leaders? The parties must resolve this situation." Last month about 76 people died from the strike violence and many victims were children, young people and civilians.

To ensure the smooth conduct of examinations, the government has deployed 326 platoons of Bangladesh Border Guard (Bdb), about 10 thousand units, throughout the country.

In the midst of exams Ssc Khaleda Zia, chairman of BNP, has issued a statement declaring that his party will continue agitation until " its logical conclusion," and that it is ready to face "any consequence."


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