Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Politics and Government: Political Science
Violence has been an integral part of the politics of Bangladesh since after its independence. The government has used the coercive apparatus of the state in order to confront the political opponents and the dissenters. Irrespective of the type of regime and political parties in power, the state always perpetrated violence against its citizens. On the one hand, the government used the law enforcement agencies, and the specialists of violence relied on coercion against the citizens, on the other hand, various groups appeared as the affiliates of the government in perpetrating violence. However, the nature of violence changed over time, and so did the actors, instruments, and the scopes of violence. Besides, the role of the state towards violence also changed. This thesis explains the violence perpetrated by the state in three phases. The first phase is from 1972 to 1990, the second phase is from 1991 to 2011, and the third phase is from 2012 to 2018. The actors of violence are divided into two groups that are the government agent and the government affiliates. Actors in both of these groups changed during these three phases. The instruments of violence were mostly physical and legal in all these three phases. A new type of instrument has been noticed during the third phase, which is the cyber instrument. With the advent of new technology, the state introduced various types of cyber instruments to perpetrate violence against its targets. The scopes of violence were mostly the political opposition, the press, and the dissenters. The incumbent government frequently relied on coercion to confront the political opposition, alternative political ideology, freedom of the press, and any dissent. A new kind of scope is also noticed during the third phase that is
potential dissenters. Unlike the other two phases, the state perpetrated violence against the potential dissenters so that it can silence citizens even before they express their dissension. Therefore, the role of the state towards political violence has also noticeably changed. This thesis explains that the blurring boundary between the state and the government has posed a moral legitimacy crisis to the government. Besides, the opposition political parties have frequently challenged the moral rights of the government to rule the country. The challenges posed at the government were dealt with coercion in every phase. Hence, I argue that the moral legitimacy crisis of the government resulted in the changing role of the state in perpetrating violence against the citizens. The incumbent government has intensified violence through the government agents and government affiliates in order to enforce legitimacy and thus stay in power.
Almamun, Zunaid, "Political Violence in Bangladesh: Explaining the Role of State" (2020). Theses and Dissertations. 1280.