Mr. Qayyum Khan was an elected local government representative in Dhaka constituency surrounding the military base in Dhaka. A few politicians have been arrested during the first hours after the military takeover on 11 January 2007. Mr. Qayyum Khan was one of them. Since then for the last 13 months, the authorities have kept Mr Khan in custody without even any charges made, forget about conviction. Although highcourt ruled his detention illegal and he was forced to be released on 10th January 2008, he was immediately arrested at Jail Gate. No specific charges were not made this time also. After being detained in Jail for 13 months without any trial and charges, Mr. Qayyum Khan finally came out last night. As a dead body.
Mr. Khan died under custody. I would say he was killed, directly or indirectly. Both print and electronic media are made to tell that he had a stroke in jail cell and died in hospital. Hospital sources are saying very clearly that by the time his body reached emergency department, Mr. Khan’s body started to show rigor mortis.
Same day, in a very well coordinated move, government arrested BNP ex lawmaker Mr. Alal from his home. As a reason for the arrest the press was told that he was planning to break the laws of emergency rule by meeting with some people in his home! And our grand post 1/11 independent judiciary immediately granted 2 day remand to let the DGFI beat the hell out of him for resisting Mannan Bhuiyan takeover of BNP. This coordinated move is meant to be a clear threat to Delwar and Rizvi, “if you don’t want Mannan, Goyeshwar Roy take over, you will first face Alal’s fate, then face Qayyum’s fate”.
How can people not see the sheer outrageous crimes of the government? The forces are raiding peoples’ homes and arresting them with charges like “they were planning to break the emergency rules”. In this kind of blanket excuse, this government can pick up anybody. No one is safe.
And then lets talk about the remand! Every time people tell me what great things this government did by separating te judiciary, I feel like throwing up. We are told, “What I don’t want from pre 1/11 are the destruction of all of our key democratic institutes by manipulation, the graft, the cadre based mastani, the destruction of the public administration, judiciary…”. How better is it from then? If government already knew Alal was planning something, why remand then? Do anybody want me to believe that the judge is working freely?
I saw TV footage of Qayyum Khan’s home. Another typical middle class Dhaka home in a middle class neighborhood. Very modest, the same kind where I grew up in. No million Taka interior decoration, no hanging Picasso painting, no duplex living room with water fountain-chandeliers, like those we see when some of our civil society leaders and current government advisors give thoughtful interviews to TV. When they were talking to Mr. Alal’s wife, it was again an ordinary Mohammadpur flat. Very modest middle class look. And we have all along been told these people stole whole of the country. Where are the charges? Where is the stolen money? Qayyum Khan spent 13 months in jail waiting to know what his was crime. And government could not even show corruption as a cause of Mr. Alal’s arrest. The reason in his case was so called imaginary violation of rules of State of emergency.
Although Mrs. Qayyum’s Khan’s wailing was very intense in TV, I am pretty sure; her wailing will never reach those who make a living out of human rights issues. There will not be any urgent action alert, no statement, no blog, no facebook group, no burning of conscience. If you are a detained university teacher’s wife, a minority leader, a journalist, you are a human. You will be heard , you will be spoken of. But these Qayyums, Alals, Tareqs are inhumans. Human rights watchdogs don’t talk about inhuman rights. Inhumans don’t have right.