August 2011


Former Deputy Attorney General M U Ahmed died today under police custody in a city hospital. On August 11, 2011, at the order of high court judges Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik and Gobinda Thakur, he was arrested and tortured by police until he suffered from a massive myocardial Infarction.

It is evident that everybody living in side Bangladesh is afraid of calling a spade a spade. An environment of fear, extreme fear has been created by these two thuggish judges in Bangladesh. Last in their list of atrocities in the murder of ex Deputy Attorney General Advocate M U Ahmed. This is plain simple muder commited at the beheast of two blindly partisan judges by a brutal murderous police force of Awami League government.

How is it that Syed Abul Hossain has not resigned, asks the widow of late Mishuk Munier. I think we know the answer.

Source: Daily Star.

PM stymies Abul’s critics
Takes a swipe at media
February 8, 2011

The prime minister yesterday saved the communications minister from censure of ruling alliance lawmakers over the minister’s letter to the premier against Tofail Ahmed for his recent criticism of the ministry’s performance.

During yesterday’s parliamentary session, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina suddenly took the floor and spoke on the issue in an apparent effort to rein in the attack. While doing so, she also criticised a section of newspapers for, what she claimed, publishing “fake” reports to “malign” dignitaries.

She said she had never seen MPs criticising the press for such reporting. “You should also look for the remedy to this practice,” she said.

Deputy Speaker Col (retd) Shawkat Ali, who was presiding over the sitting, contributed to the premier’s effort by preventing lawmakers from speaking on the content of the letter which annoyed many MPs.

Rashed Khan Menon, chief of Workers Party, a component of AL-led ruling alliance, raised the letter issue and launched a blistering criticism against Communications Minister Syed Abul Hossain accusing him of breaching MPs’ constitutional privileges and immunities by sending the complaint to the premier.

The communications ministry had sent the letter to the premier in response to AL lawmaker Tofail Ahmed’s speech in the House last Thursday on the sorry state of roads across the country and delay in some major projects. Lawmakers appreciated Tofail’s speech on that day by thumping desks.

The communications minister later sent the letter to the prime minister highlighting the activities of the ministry and also criticised Tofail for his remarks.

Citing the content of the letter, Menon said it maligned Tofail saying that he (Tofail) made the remarks on the performance of the ministry out of rage and jealously.

Sheikh Hasina, also the leader of the House, then took floor and made a brief statement defending the communications minister.

She said the minister, not the secretary, had sent her the letter. In there the minister gave a synopsis of the ministry’s activities.

“Now the question is how the letter had reached the press before it reached me?” she asked.

After the premier, Tofail Ahmed, Suranjit Sengupta, Abdul Matin Khasru, Hasanul Haq Inu, Mayenuddin Khan Badal, Fazle Rabbi Mia, Abdul Mannan took floor and tried to speak on the issue raised by Menon.

But the deputy speaker did not allow them to do so saying, “The matter has been disposed of after the premier’s speech and I also gave a ruling on it. Please don’t speak further on it.”

Suddenly ‘Bangali’ and ‘Bangla’ have become high demand hot objects.

Some people and some leaders of the Bangalis living on west part of the Bangali inhabited land, which is currently known as Indian state of west Bengal, do not want the west qualification before the name Bengal. This article describes the phenomenon objectively while this article clearly protrays the childlish shenanigan related to the name change campaign. Athough one main reason for the name change is West Bengal citizens wishes to see their state name mentioned early in the alphabetical list of Indian states instead of being at the fag end because of the unholy ‘W’ at the top of the state’s name — there was no lack of patrons behind this move. Starting from newly elected CM Mamata Banerjee to ‘Times of India’ newspaper empire; there has been great enthusiasm regarding this campaign.

However, with rising tide of Indian nationalistic fervour and ever increasing clout of Hindi in West Bengal, the Banglis belonging to east side of Bangali inhabited land, now called Bangla Desh, a sovereign state, may legitimately ask what kind of Bangla would flourish in the Indian state of Bangla. Will that be the Bangla narrated in Amar Shonar Bangla or like this one “Ami vi Bangali achhe”.

On the other hand in the east side of Bangla land, Bangladesh, Bangali is again the hot item. A recent constitutional amendment mandates everyone in the nation to be identified as Bangalis. Although it may not be the problem with nations majority ethnic group, the Bangalis, the indigenous people living in diferent corners of the country find the 15th amendment constitution stripping them of their ethnic identity.

In this video clip, Mr Shantu larma, an ethnic Chakma and a leader of Chittagong Hill Tract indigenous people, asks prime Minister how she would feel if someone forces her to be identified as an ethnic Chakma.

However, by this newly enacted amendment, one cannot even criticize this sort of constitutional provision. Thanks to this 15th amendment, PM hasina, with the help of partisan thuggish high court Judges Manik and Gabinda Thakur et el, can hand down capital punishment anyone objecting to any clause in the constitution.

A more interesting phenomenon regarding the Bangali nationalism debate is sudden change of heart of our left leaning progressive intellectuals about ‘Bangladeshi’ nationalism. These folks has always found it a religious ritual to come down hard upon late President Ziaur Rahman for replacing “bangali” nationalism of heavenly 72
constitution wth “Bangladeshi” nationalism. But now these folks are all for inclusion of ethic groups in our constitutional identity, which is only possible with Bangladeshi nationalism.

Updated: Meanwhile, over at The Economist, the party continues.

The poisonous politics of Bangladesh: Reversion to type

Banyan: In the name of the father

Favorite sub-heading: The Sheikh of things to come. Wish I had thought of that myself.

The storm created by the article in the Economist and some of its allegations have, by now, reverberated through Bangladesh’s blogosphere. A question that keeps arising is the motivation behind this article. A close scrutiny of the Economist article makes clear that this article marks a clear break in continuity from previous Economist articles, as well as the general editorial line that the Economist has adopted towards the successive anti-BNP governments that have in power in Bangladesh since 2007. This article has cast doubts on the general fairness of the 2008 election (“bags of Indian cash and advice”) and the entirely positive predictions made about granting transit to India (”Indian security corridor”). It has hinted that Hasina’s shenanigans are not going entirely unnoticed in the outside world (“Sheikh Hasina, who is becoming increasingly autocratic”). It has emphatically burst Hasina’s favorite claim about, in general, being more honest than the previous government (“Corruption flourishes at levels astonishing even by South Asian standards”), as well as her boasts that her dynasty is better than the Zia dynasty (“Mrs Zia’s family dynasty, also corrupt”). And certainly most gratingly for Hasina, the article comes right out and points out that her obsession with her father is starting to border on the abnormal (“Hasina is building a personality cult around her murdered father”).

What could lead to such a dramatic u-turn? Not just some well-placed leads or a momentary whim. This article is the forerunner of large things to come.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is visiting Bangladesh next month. The questions has been asked: why does he need to come to Bangladesh all of a sudden? Part of the answer may be that we are in one of those rare moments when an Indian Prime Minister needs his Bangladeshi counterpart’s help, and not the other way round.

2010 was a magical year for India, and for Singh. India set a record of sorts by hosting the heads of state of all five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, BJP continued its in-fighting and slide to irrelevance, and there were no clear challenges on the horizon. 2011 has seen a dramatic reversal of events. The 2G spectrum has seen the former telecom minister sent to jail. He has, in turn, implicated both Singh and Home Minister Chidambaram in the conspiracy. This scandal, its inept handling by the PMO, and the subsequent demands that the PMO be kept out of the ambit of the Lokpal bill, has irreversibly stained Singh’s image as a clean politician. The Supreme Court has finally instructed the police to inquire into vote-buying allegations regarding the no-confidence motion brought after the nuclear deal with the US. All of these present potent challenges to the government.

Singh has also been weakened by a coterie of senior ministers who have been leading the charge to bring Rahul Gandhi to the forefront. While the young Gandhi has been an abject failure in his mission of reviving his party in the Hindu heartland of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Bihar, the full scope of the perils facing his party and his leadership will only be apparent when (not if) Congress loses the next election. However, Congress is now a reflexively dynastic party, and Singh has proved to be ineffective in keeping his council of ministers under control and prevent factionalism by those using Rahul’s name.

In this circumstance, Singh’s upcoming trip to Bangladesh represents the equivalent of the Indian cricket team making a tour of Holland. The Bangladeshi government will be fawning and servile, all demands will be met, photo opportunities will abound, and Singh can bask in the glow of taming a country where one in four individualis an ISI stooge.

It is hard to escape the conclusion that this article in the Economist is an effort by the anti-Singh faction in the UPA government to pre-emptively tarnish any of the gains that may accrue to him from the Bangladesh visit and further solidify his status as lame-duck prime minister. If we hypothetically assume for a second that bags of cash did change hands prior to the 2008 election, the receiver, Sheikh Hasina, would probably not divulge too many details. But the person giving the cash could. Coincidentally, in the absence of Sonia Gandhi for her mystery surgery, the four-person team which is in charge has not included Pranab Mukherjee, the senior-most Congress minister in the cabinet. It has included A. K. Anthony, the second-most senior Congress minister.

India has never handled dynastic transitions particularly well. The upcoming one promises to have enough drama to rival Mughal-e-Azam. But unlike past instances, Bengal will hopefully be spared direct involvement this time around. However, collateral damage, as evinced by the Economist article, may be unavoidable.