This New Age Editorial sums up the major concerns very well. Although I understand New Age’s concern and feeling of humiliation at this governments spineless giving in to all the Indian conditions before a train communication can start, I do not share the humiliation much. I feel the benefits are worth this tiny bit of humiliation. India’s BSF is killing Bangladeshi citizens day in day out. Nobody is too much bothered or humiliated about it. Have BDR shoot a BSF jawan or Indian citizen, you will see how the hell ( AKA Indian press) break lose on us.
I, however, feel more humiliated at the arrogance and blatant disregard of the public by a bunch of military officials belonging to Bangladesh armed forces. Just go pick up the top leaders of the country, each enjoying the respect and recognition as the leader of almost 50% of the population; throw them in the jail and keep them behind bar for an indefinite period without any charges! Total impunity, total lack of accountability, total recklessness!! How a bunch of paid professional soldiers, who are fed, clothed, accomodated, educated, armed, rested by the peoples’ money, can torture the leaders of the people so inhumanly? Who gives them the right or the courage or the guts to torture the son of one such leaderby hanging him from the celing?
The following editorial discusses the questions raised the Army Chief’s India visit. Lets not be redundant. But I want to take this opportunity to remind the readers about what India did after the gruesome killings of 15th August and Jail killing of 3rd November. They did nothing ( Not asking for a rebuke/invasion, what about a condemnation or concern at all the killings?). They simply remained silent about the unfolding of events and was eager to extend their cooperation to the successive new regimes, starting with that of Mustaque/Faruq gong. While they remained totally silent after 1/11 suspension of democracy, recently India’s high commissioner to Bangladesh is acting like the ” Master Moshai” to all the Bangladeshis! Once a while I wonder whether India really wants a progressive, secular, economically strong and stable democracy on its east border or they want another rogue failing Islamic state with a strong branding as a hub of terrorism. Who does not want to be the only good kid in the block?
Moeen’s extraordinary India visit and govt’s approval of security cage on border
The unelected government of Fakhruddin Ahmed has visibly swallowed the Indian proposal of constructing a ‘security cage’ on both sides of the border to resume direct passenger train service between Dhaka and Kolkata – a humiliating proposal that the previous government had refused to accept. The people of Bangladesh have always been in favour of maintaining close contact with the people of India, with whom they share common history and culture in many areas, and therefore welcome the perceived train services. The people of Bangladesh, however, rightly felt uncomfortable with the Indian idea of passing the trains through a ‘box-type’ cage to be constructed on the ‘no man’s land, which, the Indian negotiators believe, would deter illegal immigration, if there is any. Bangladesh had, therefore, rightly been refusing to entertain the humiliating proposal. Subsequently, the agreement of the direct train service, initiated in July 2001 and almost finalised in July 2007, did not materialise. Suddenly, Fakhruddin’s cabinet approved the Indian proposal on Monday! Notably, India has direct train services with its arch rival Pakistan, but the trains do not pass through any cages.
What, however, is especially noteworthy is that the cabinet approval of the Indian proposal came the day General Moeen U Ahmed, chief of our armed forces, which propelled Fakhruddin to power, began his extraordinary visit to New Delhi, the capital of India. The visit appears extraordinary because the general, who is believed to have been the prime backer of the otherwise unpopular government of Fakhruddin Ahmed, is scheduled to hold talks with a couple of Indian cabinet members including foreign minister Pranab Mukharjee, and also the chief minister of the Indian state of West Bengal, Buddhadev Bhattacharya. This is alarming. In ordinary visits, our general is not supposed to have official talks with foreign politicians, particularly when the two countries involved have quite a good number of disputed issues to be resolved through political negotiations. That the visit is an extraordinary one is also reflected in the political enthusiasm of the Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka, who had reportedly visited prior to the general’s departure for Delhi, Khandaker Delwar Hossain, the secretary general of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Zillur Rahman, the acting president of the Awami League. None of the parties involved clearly told our people as to what transpired in those meetings, creating a lot of concerns in the public mind as regards what issues would come up during general Moeen’s discussions with Indian policy makers. The concern has further deepened after our government’s approval of the Indian proposal to construct the controversial security cage on no man’s land immediately before the visit. Are the unelected incumbents passing any message to the Indian political establishment? We do not know.
However, what we know is that the hegemonic powers, regional or global, usually like weak governments in the neighbourhood as the hegemon finds it easy to settle disputed issues with the weak to the former’s advantage. And the weakest government is the one which is not elected by the people, as is the case in Bangladesh today. The weak governments, if ambitious to cling to power without people’s mandate for long, usually seek cooperation of the hegemonic powers, and at times they succeed in it, albeit at the cost of national interests. We only hope that general Moeen’s extraordinary visit to Delhi would not cost us very dearly, and expect that he upon his return would apprise us all, at the least, of what issues he discussed with Indian leaders, and what are the possible implications of those discussions for our people.