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Bangladesh: Political Party called "Sharvahara" (Sharbahara or Sarbahara), its leaders and its situation in the political spectrum

Publisher Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 8 January 2001
Citation / Document Symbol BGD36213.E
Reference 2
Cite as Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Bangladesh: Political Party called "Sharvahara" (Sharbahara or Sarbahara), its leaders and its situation in the political spectrum, 8 January 2001, BGD36213.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3df4be1028.html [accessed 20 April 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

According to Political Handbook of the World 1999, there is in Bangladesh a party called Purba Bangla Sharbahara Dal (PBSD), or Proleterian Party of East Bangla, described as:

A surviving faction of the Maoist party of the same name – led by Anwar Kabir, and the Revolutionary Front, an alliance of six groups founded in December 1997 and led by Mushrefa Mishu.

A 3 March 2000 Dhaka Courier report states that:

The Purba Bangla Sarbahara Party was formed in 1971 under the leadership of Siraj Sikder, a civil engineer. Later in 1975, the highest revolutionary body or council headed by one Kamal Haider was formed dissolving its temporary body.

Party Chief Siraj Sikder was arrested by police in January, 1975 in Chittagong and was later killed allegedly by police in Dhaka. On November 5, 1983, in a Congress, the party was renamed as Bangladesher Sarbahara Party. On 17 February 1987 the party split into two, Zia group and Kamrul group. But later, the Zia Group changed the name of its faction into Bangladesh Communist Party.

After the divide, their factional feud led to several armed clashes. In August 1990, Kamrul was killed by his rivals in his hideout at a remote village of Barisal district. Police recovered his body from a barren area after two days.

After the killing of Kamrul, the Zia group dominated almost the whole southern part of the country for quite sometime and frequent armed clashes were reported from different areas.

The Kamrul group underwent further split in July 1991. The armed activists of this group were used sometimes by political leaders particularly during election times, local people said. The then government, in 1991, declared general amnesty for a period of one month and asked all underground party members including Sarbaharamen to surrender with their illegal arms and ammunition. In response to the government declaration nearly 150 Sarbaharamen, most of them belonging to Kamrul group, surrendered with their illegal arms and ammunition. With the call of general amnesty the government promised rehabilitation programmes for the surrendered underground party activists including withdrawal of cases lodged against them earlier.

But later the then government almost failed to rehabilitate the surrendered Sarbaharamen, neither could it provide necessary security to them. In separate incidents, at least six surrendered Sarbaharamen were gunned down and eyes of some others were gouged out by their one time arch comrades.

During early nineties reports of misdeeds by Sarbahara Party members in some southern districts made news headlines almost everyday. Later police operations were strengthened and activities of the Sarbaharamen in different areas in the southern region reduced to some extent. But recently, their activities seem to have intensified.

Police administration here, admitting the growing armed activities of so-called outlawed Sarbahara Party members in this region said, "To curb their activities special police operation has already been conducted in some areas of Barisal and Patuakhali districts".

The report also states that the activities of Sarbahara Party members have been increasing in various areas of the Barisal and Patuakhali districts in Bangladesh and that members were extorting tolls and ransoms from the villagers in those areas. Factional confrontations between Sarbahara activists also increased at the end of 1999 and the beginning of 2000. The report also states that:

during the last year's municipal election, activists of Kamrul and Zia groups locked in clashes in different areas of Babuganj, Gournadi, Muladi and Ujirpur thanas of Barisal several times before and after the elections. Different candidates hired these armed activists to lend support to them or disrupt electoral activities of rival candidates.

According to different local sources, after the last municipal elections Sarbaharamen killed at least ten people and expanded their activities upto Galachipa and Dashmina thana areas of Patuakhali, some areas of Swarupkathi and Nazirpur thanas of Pirojpur, Kalkini thana of Madaripur and many other places in greater Faridpur region.

It is alleged that these armed people are divided into more than four factions in the southern region. But two groups, known as Kamrul group and Zia group, dominate the region. Sarbaharamen procured illegal arms and ammunition in various ways. The recent general amnesty declared by the government could not encourage them to surrender although a good number of armed activists of the underground parties in the northwest of the country responded to the amnesty call after the brutal killing of Kazi Aref and other four left leaders in Kushtia February last year. Eight more people were killed in the next month followed by explosion of time-bomb at the Udichi cultural function at Jessore Town Hall ground (3 Mar. 2000).

A 16 October 2000 Daily Star report states that 366 members of the illegal Sarbahara and "other communist cadres" had surrendered to police since 17 April 1999. Out of a total of 300 Sarbahara members who surrendered to police in the Pabna district on 27 March 2000, 250 were put on trial and sent to prison (ibid.). The others had no charges agaisnt them and were released (ibid.).

A 7 July 1999 Daily Star report quotes local police authorities as saying that outlawed party organizations, including the Purba Bangla Sarbahara Party were active in the South-West region of Bangladesh and were involved in acts of banditry such as kidnappings, murders and "dacoities".

A 30 June 1998 Daily Star report states that villagers of Betagi, Dashmina thana, Patuakhali district, caught coastal area Sarbahara leader Abul Bashar, 30, wanted for terrorist activities, and handed him over to the police, after being severely beaten and having both of his eyes gouged out.

A 26 December 1997 Daily Star report states that villagers form Mukundapatti, Kotawali thana, Barisal district have "chopped to death"a Sarbahara leader called "Manik". The report quotes the police authorities in the area as saying that Manik was involved in "terrorist activities" in the area and, despite both of his eyes having been gouged out by local villagers two years earlier, he did not give up his criminal career.

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.

References

The Daily Star [Dhaka]. 16 October 2000. Abdul Wahood. "89,448 Criminals Arrested in 18 Months in 16 Districts." (NEXIS)

_____. 7 July 1999. Atiur Rahman. "Outlaws Active Again in 10 Districts of South-West Region." [Accessed 5 Jan. 2001]

_____. 30 June 1998. "Villagers Gouge Out Eyes of Sarbahara Leader." [Accessed 5 Jan. 2001]

_____. 26 December 1997. "Sarbahara Leader Chopped to Death in Barisal."

[Accessed 5 Jan. 2001]

Dhaka Courier. 3 March 2000. Aroop Talukdar. "Report – Long Arm of the Outlaws."

(NEXIS)

Political Handbook of the World 1999. 1999. Edited by Arthur S. Banks and Thomas C.

Muller. Binghamton, NY: CSA Publications.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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