Accepted paper:

Pre-electoral violence in Bangladesh: the case of the January 2014 Parliamentary elections

Author:

Afroja Khanam (University of Lapland)

Paper short abstract:

Focusing on the parliamentary elections in January 2014 in Bangladesh, this paper analyses different pre-election dynamics, particularly the causes and triggers, the actors, and the manifestations and consequences.

Paper long abstract:

Bangladesh came into existence through a violent war in 1971. Since then, ten National Parliamentary Elections held, Bangladesh has experienced a shift of single party rule, two military backed governments. It has been found that each and every election was marred by violence. Among these violent elections the January 2014 election was more violent. In this backdrop, this paper gives an overview why and how pre-election violence occurs in Bangladesh. Focusing on the parliamentary elections in January 2014, this paper analyses different pre-election dynamics, particularly the causes and triggers, the actors, and the manifestations and consequences. The paper shows that violence is closely associated with elections in Bangladesh. Political leaders, activists, contestant candidates use violence as a strategy in pre-election days. We have found that the intensity of violence increases when the Election Day gets closer. Pre-election violence occurs both in urban and rural areas. Activists, political leaders in local and nation levels, mastans, police, etc. are involved as perpetrators. Hartal violence, arson, vandalism, looting, killing, beating etc. are important manifestations of pre-electoral violence. The paper further investigates the targeted arrests, political killings, counter-campaign, etc. as crucial triggers in pre-election violence. The massive pre-election violence has resulted in low voter turnout.

panel P27
Understanding poltical violence in South Asia