Ex-Ministers and BNP leader Smamsul Islam, Ex-BNP leader Mannan Bhuiyan and Jamaat Amir Motiur Rahman Nizami have been arrested yesterday. They were all accused in the so called GATCO corruption case and ex-PM and one of her sons are already in jail in the same case. We will discuss the absurdity of this case in detail in a later post, lets talk about the arrests today.

While there were hardly any resistance to the arrests of Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina, except for some half-hearted protests here and there, the immediate reaction or anger at those arrests were also very muted.

Compared to those arrests, an active opponent of our war of liberations, Mr Motiur Rahman Nizami’s arrest was much more glorious, if the word glorious can be applied to an arrest on corruption charges. Police was smart enough to pick up a time to arrest Nizami when the chances of spontenious resistance would be least. It was late night and Dhaka was under torrential monsoon rain. Despite all these, within minutes after arrival of police, thousand Jamaat activists gathered and totally blocked the roads. Also present were all the senior leadership of jamaat. It was clear from TV footage that senior Jamaat leadership were working hard to pave the way for the police leave the scene uneventfully. I am sure, if jamaat decided to get into confrontation, it would have been a long bloody night. I know very well Mogbazaar Bepari goli where Nizami lives. Most of jamaat senior leadership including Golam Azam lives in that Mogbazaar area, jamaat office is also there. Over the last 32 years, jamaat systematically took control of the neighborhood either by ownership of the properties or by renting properties by Jamaat activists in that area. Now almost all residents in that area are jamaat member, so are the small store owners, the laundry shop workers, the tea stall men etc. Jamaat also has proved its strategic pwoess in street battle to control Paltan-baitul Mukarram area. 10/28/06 is still visid in our memory. I have see the same tactic in Chittagong college area, rajshahi university are and continued effort to control Dhaka University adjacent katabon area.

Our mainstream politicians must take lesson from Nizami’s arrest. They must ask themselves, if Nizami with <10% national vote, can stage such an organized show of forces and they can’t, there must be some lapse in their leadership of the parties controlling 40% support each.

Shamsul Islam’s arrest was most uneventful but it proved the eagerness of BNP grassroots to embrace anybody who did not blatantly sided against BNP mainstream or Khaleda family. Shamsul Islam remained nutral yet he was greeted at the court and sorrounded all along by these activists.

But the most painful event of the day was watching Manan Bhuiyan’s arrest. He had to bring minivan full of his local area men as his bodyguards. But althrough his journey through the courts, verbal abuses and reportedly sandals were hurled at him. At one point he tripped and fell onthe gound. Even his lawyer, feeling like sheep in a wolf herd, had to invoke Khaleda Zia’s innocence in this case several times before he talked about Mannan Bhuiyan. And most interestingly, before the arrest, Mr Bhuiyan released a statement announcing that there is no longer any need to reform the party and party must united under the ‘great leader Khaleda Zia’. reform can be done later in party coucil under Khaleda Zia’s leadership. Looks like as Mr. Bhuiyan is being arrested now, the need for reform has evaporated.