Army


“The glorious role that the armed forces played in the reconstitution of the caretaker government saved the country from a one-sided Jan 22 election, full of clashes and confrontations. We thank them for this. Now the nation expects arrests of those who plundered people’s wealth in corruption, and recovery of the lost wealth.”

Abdul Jalil, Awami League General Secretary, January 14, 2007

“Everyone suffers when democracy is under attack. We (political parties) may have different points of view. But everyone will have to be united when the issue is democracy.Whoever they are, they will be identified, they will be brought to justice and they will be handed the maximum punishment.”

Syed Ashraful Islam, Awami League General Secretary, January 19, 2012

May be there soon will be a winner in Narayanganj City Corporation election. But question mounts, will she or he really be a winner eventually or will they represent a victory of their backers?

May be NCC citizens are getting an elected rep, they may be the only winner. But without any clout, control, power, money– in Bangladesh context under current system, a mayor is a talpatar shepai — simply a symbolic city father.

But then rest of it is also a lose lose lose lose game.

If Shamim Osman finally pulls through a victory, fair election or not, the demand for CTG will gain momentum. Sheikh Hasina and her ruling part that backed Shamim Osman will lose by winning.

If Osman loses to Ivy, both Awami League and opposition BNP loses big time. Anti CTG rhetoric will gain traction. Tainted civil society ( We all know who they are- new faces Syed Abul Maqsud, Mizanur Rahman Khan, Rubayat Ferdous with Anams and Motiur Rahmans in the background) will again stat jumping with double vigor. Civil society thinks Ivy is their candidate. Selina Hayat Ivy is civil society’s dream candidate. A hardcore Awami League leader, close to Sheikh Hasina currently at odds with another Awami League candidate not in good terms with the civil society leaders. But by no means civil society’s customized candidates are any good for a long-term healthy grassroots based democracy.

If Taimur wins, BNP also loses. Hasina will say, see we lost election to BNP and we can hold fair elections.

This Taimur Alam Khondokar is a pathetic case. If BNP wants to come back, exactly this sort of candidates BNP must shun. This man is running such a lackluster campaign that even Amar Desh is mentioning him in 3rd sequence after Shamim/ Ivy. He cannot talk, cannot make a point. cannot organize get out the vote, cannot gain on anti Awami League incumbency of Shamim, and capitalize on anti Narayanganj incumbency of Ivy. Only thing he is saying very ineffectively is “EVM mani na”, “EC is bad”. Are vhai he is not running against EC. He is running against Ivy and Shamim. And he must have made this a campaign of a referendum to Awami Leagues misrule.
This man is a failure in all way. He was BRTA chairman. That was shame of a record. I don’t know why BNP can’t find a good new fresh face, young blood. There are so many business leader from N Ganj, so many sports stars. Every time I see him walking along Narayanganj roads, he reminds me of the Zombies at the TV series “the Walking Dead”.

BNP must know that if they keep on relying on these Zombies, whatever misrule Awami League exerts on Bangladesh, they have no chance of winning back Bangladesh.

In CCC election an ex Awami Leagues, soft spoken clean image candidate helped BNP regain CCC mayoral seat.

In that context BNP needed Selina Hayat Ivy as their candidate. An honest, smart and bold young woman. In several debates I watched in TV, she was only one who talked some sense and was found to understand what it means to be a city corporation Mayor.

The latest news from Narayanganj tells us that Government decided to ignore Election Commissions request to deploy Armed forces for election eve / day violence prevention.

What will happen in Narayanganj on the election day — no one except the God and Sheikh Hasina can tell. But this blogger can assume that the election day events will be based on which advisor Sheikh Hasina listened to.

It could be a repeat of Bhola, which will be impeccably hidden under the carpet by a submissive friendly media ( In Bhola style). Shamim Osman will just rob the election by forcefully bagging 99% of rural Narayanganj vote.

Or if Mrs. Hasina this time listens to a different advisor, it could be an “apparent” fair election with Sheikh Hasina niece Ivy winning against Shamim Osman. That means civil society is managed for the time being and for next national election, a good example has just been created — ” FOR HOLDING A FREE AND FAIR ELECTION, NEITHER WE NEED A CARE TAKER GOVERNMENT NOR MILITARY DEPLOYMENT”.

Government today submitted a supplemental chargesheet in August 21st 2004 Grenade attack on the then opposition leader Sheikh Hasina. The attack took 24 lives and injured many including Mrs Hasina herself.

Using the supplemental chargesheet, the mainstream media ( read Prothom Alo and DS) as well as other mainstream yes-media ( Read Amader Shomoy of Naimul Islam Khan etc.) were very glad to remind 21st august events to its readers. Multiple news including gruesome photos of the event on filled todays first pages ( whereas Prothom ALo first page news on the day after 15th amendment was about some irregularities in DMCH) of most print media.

In this supplemental chargesheet, almost the whole state machinery of last government is indicted. However reading the news stories today, one won’t understand the implication and seriousness of the matter.

If it is true, as government submitted in the supplemental chargesheet, that the whole state machinery led by the political leadership, in collusion with Army intelligence chief, the national security chief, the whole police top brass ( three consequetive police chiefs of the country, IG Police/ two other top brass police executives/ police investigating officers in the case), other senior intelligence officer — join hands with an international terrorist outfit like HUJI and try to throw grenade in a public meeting to kill the opposition leader —- then we are in a deep shit. BD has no right to be the 25th most failed state, it should have been at number 1 or two.

And if this is not true, i.e if this is only political persecution/ partisan revenge on the part of the current government— we are still in dire straits, in deeper shit. A citizen of this country has no right to tell that this country is better than 24 most failed dysfunctional states.

And more ominous is when nations’ leading media try to become part of this partisan revenge taking game, become tool of government in pushing forward the heinous design.

While giving the verdict on the legality of the punishment of Colonel Taher, the high-court bench of Justices Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik and Zakir Hossain declared that the whole trial process was illegal and it was in fact a cold blooded murder of Taher by Late president Ziaur Rahman.

What high-court did to come to this conclusion? They interviewed one shoddy journalist character Lawrence lifshultz, who is a political follower of Taher’s communist doctrine. Other interviewed are also 1. Political opponents of Ziaur Rahman’s political platform 2. Supporters of ruling party who took it as their prime job to destroy Zia’s image 3. Political followers of Colonel Taher. Even the judges who delivered the justice, are publicly known nemesis of Ziaur Rahman’s ideology and are former leaders of socialist political platform based on Taher’s doctrine. And this is probably the first court proceeding in Bangladesh history where an witness could simply deliver his opinion via e mail to a third person. There was no ‘balai’ of oath taking, cross examination etc.

Before we go further into what these two judges did and what their judgment means, lets see what Taher in fact did back in early 70s.

1. Taher revolted against the then Awami League government of Sheikh Mijibur Rahman and formed and led an armed force called ” Gonobahinee”. Thousands and thousands of Awami League activists, leaders as well as general people were killed by the armed force. Any literature describing Mujib era Bangladesh will give testimony of the atrocities of Taher’s Gonobahinee.

2. While all other sector commanders were being promoted in the army as Brigadier/ Major General and who in turn helped rebuild the army, Taher was sacked from Bangladesh army by Mujib Government. ( It is unclear what Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik had to say about this cold blooded sacking of ‘war hero’ Taher).

3. Many sources, well informed of the political military dynamics of 1975, say that it was Taher who was more likely to kill Mujib and there was an invisible race among Taher’s group and Faruq Rashids group in who would kill Mujib first. After hearing of the massacre of 15th August, most observers’ first suspicion was on Taher.

4. Taking the advantage of unstable situation of Bangladesh, Taher’s forces ( a select group of armed anti state forces including Taher’s brother Bahar) attacked Indian High Commission in Dhaka in an attempt to kill India’s high commissioner in Dhaka, Mr Samar Sen. Although Samar Sen survived with bullet wounds in his back, Police force guarding India’s high Commission shot and killed four members of Taher forces ( Including Taher brother Bahar).

(more…)

লাশসকল প্রতিশোধ নেবে


ফরহাদ মজহার

(১৯৮৩ সালের ১৪ই ফেব্রুয়ারী সামরিক জান্তা স্বৈরাচারী এরশাদ এর বাহিনীর গুলিতে নিহত জাফর, জয়নাল, কাঞ্চন, দিপালী সাহা সহ সকল নিহতদের স্বরণে লিখিত

এই কবিতা লিখার অপরাধে প্রথমে ফেরার হয়ে পরে গ্রেফতার হন ফরহাদ মজহার )

গুম হয়ে যাওয়া লাশসকল প্রতিশোধ নেবে—
বীভত্স কফিনহীন মৃতদেহ রাস্তায় রাস্তায়
মোড়ে মোড়ে
অলিতে গলিতে
অন্ধিতে সন্ধিতে
তোমাদের শান্তিশৃঙ্খলা স্থিতিশীলতার গালে
থাপ্পড় মেরে
অট্টহাসি হেসে উঠবে।

ভোরবেলা
দাঁতের মাজন হাতে ঢুকবে বাথরুমে—
সেখানে লাশ
তোমাদের প্রাতঃরাশে রুটি-মাখনের মধ্যে লাশের দুর্গন্ধ
তোমাদের ভোর সাড়ে সাতটার ডিমের অমলেটে লাশের দুর্গন্ধ
তোমাদের পানির গ্লাসে লাশের দুর্গন্ধ
তোমাদের চায়ের কাপে গলিত নষ্ট মৃতদেহের রক্ত;
লাশসকল প্রতিশোধ নেবে
লাশসকল হত্যার বদলা চায়।

রিকশায় তোমাদের পাশে যে বসে থাকবে
দেখবে সে একজন লাশ
টেম্পোবাসে তোমাদের গা ঘেঁষে যে বসে পড়বে
দেখবে সে একজন লাশ
ফুটপাতে তোমাদের কাঁধে কাঁধ মিলিয়ে যে হাঁটছে
দেখবে সে একজন লাশ

অলিতে গলিতে
অন্ধিতে সন্ধিতে
চড়াও হয়ে
লাশসকল প্রতিশোধ নেবে।

প্রতিটি লাশের গায়ে ৩৬৫টি গুলির দাগ
(দিনে একবার করে বাংলাদেশকে বছরে ৩৬৫ বার হত্যা করা হয়)
জবাই করে দেওয়ার ফলে অনেক লাশের কণ্ঠনালী ছেঁড়া
অনেকের চোখ হাত পা বাঁধা
অনেককে পিটিয়ে হত্যা করা হয়েছে—
অনেককে হাড়মাংসসুদ্ধ কিমা বানানো হয়েছে প্রথমে
পরে থেঁতলে থেঁতলে পিণ্ডাকার দলা থেকে
তৈরি করা হয়েছে কাতারবদ্ধ সেনাবাহিনী
ওদের মধ্যে অনেককে দেওয়া হয়েছে মেজর জেনারেল পদ
একজনকে নিয়োগ করা হয়েছে
প্রধান সামরিক আইন প্রশাসক হিসেবে
তাদের সবার চেহারাসুরত বরফের মতোই ঠাণ্ডা ও নিষ্পলক
এই হচ্ছে লাশসকলের সুরতহাল রিপোর্ট

তারা সামরিক কায়দায় উঠে দাঁড়ায়
অভিবাদন দেয়
অভিবাদন নেয়
অভিবাদন গ্রহণ করে
এবং সর্বক্ষণ ছাত্র সংগ্রাম পরিষদের
পরবর্তী বিক্ষোভ মিছিলকে
মেশিনগান মেরে উড়িয়ে দেবার পরিকল্পনা আঁটতে থাকে—
তোমরা আতংকিত হলে লাশসকল অট্টহাস্য করে ওঠে
তারা তোমাদের সেনাবাহিনীর মতোই
নিজেদের সেনাবাহিনী গঠন করে নিয়েছে—

কারণ
লাশসকল প্রতিশোধ চায়।

লাশসকল তোমাদের অফিস করিডোরে ফাইলপত্রে
হাজির থাকবে
তারা সংবাদপত্র অফিসে নিখোঁজ সংবাদের রিপোর্টার হয়ে
বসে থাকবে
তারা রেস্তোরাঁয় হোটেলে হোটেলে
মরা মানুষের কঙ্কাল হয়ে ঝুলে থাকবে।

বিকেলে পার্কে সিনেমাহলে ঘরের সামনে
ফুলবাগানে লাশ
লাশসকল অভিনয় জানে
তারা মহিলা সমিতি মঞ্চে অভিনয় করতে চায়
তারা জীবিতদের মতো কথা বলবে
সংলাপ উচ্চারিত হবে নির্ভুল
সর্বত্র
সবখানে
সবজায়গায়
লাশসকল তোমাদের অনুসরণ করবে।

লাশসকল মনে করিয়ে দিতে চায়—
বুট ও খাকির নীচে বাংলাদেশের মৃতদেহ থেকে
পচনের আওয়াজ বেরুচ্ছে
তারা বুঝিয়ে দিতে চায়—
পাছায় রাইফেলের বাঁট মেরে শুয়োরের বাচ্চার মতো
তোমাদের খোঁয়াড়ে রাখা হয়েছে।

রাত্রিবেলা তোমাদের স্ত্রীদের ওপর
তোমাদের মেয়েমানুষদের ওপর
চড়াও হয়ে
লাশসকল ঝুলিয়ে দেবে
তোমরা
নিবীর্য
নপুংসক
লিঙ্গহীন
উত্থানরহিত।

একদিন
জেনারেলদের মাথার খুলি লক্ষ্য করে
সমস্ত লাশ একযোগে
দ্রিম দ্রিম
ক্রাট ক্রাট
সাব-মেশিনগান
৩৬৫ বার
প্রতিদিন একবার করে বাংলাদেশকে হত্যার প্রতিশোধে
লাশসকল অট্টহাস্য করে উঠবে—

লা শ স ক ল প্র তি শো ধ চা য়
গু ম হ য়ে যা ও য়া লা শ স ক ল
প্র তি শো ধ নে বে।

Long time member of Bangladesh parliament Mr Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury has recently been arrested. Although government minister’s were promising his arrest for his alleged involvement in committing atrocities against Bangladeshi freedom fighters during 1971 war of Independence, he was arrested on an accusation of arson in Dhaka during the day of General strike last month. Interestingly,  Mr Chowdhury was not even in Dhaka when the  alleged arson took place in Dhaka. In a breach of routine legal practice, after arrest Mr Chowdhury was not produced before the court. He was taken to an undisclosed location ( Many suspected it to be a police station inside the Military Garrison in Dhaka)  and 12 hours later when he was produced before court, Mr Chowdhury reportedly was bleeding, limping. In court he accused of inhumane torture on hm. After the court approved five days to grill him and when he returned to the court, the court even did not allow to let the accused Mr Chowdhury come before the court. So totally disconnected from family, lawyers, political colleague– there is no was to know how much more  torture Mr Chowdhury endured.  His daughter and wife called a press conference and pointedly asked the government, where the blood, those were seen on Mr Chowdhury’s ears and face, came from.

 

Almost every body ( if not absolutely everybody) remained silent on this torture accusation as the victim of this torture was a bad guy. He is a political leader accused of crimes against humanity against our side during our war of independence.  So as he committed very grave crimes like war crimes, no one should speak out against torture on him. If one does, she/ he is also a rajakar ( Collaborator) if not war criminal. We are against torture. But this guy is an exception.

*************************************************

 

Few years ago, this comment was made on this blog post

[ On inquiry, I came to know that the commenter was Fabia Mim Mamoon, teenage daughter of Gias Uuddin Al Mamun]

 

“out of sight out of mind” – this is so true.
the last post was made on june 20 2007. Ever wonder where the man is now? and in what condition?

All the politicians sent to custody after 1/11 are out. Well most of them. Whatever he is he cannot be the most corrupted person in Bangladesh. There are rapists murderers who are living peacefully in our society among us.

Even for a second if i assume that he was, the way he was tortured ..no one else was ..
he was actually arrested on 30th Jan, 2007 but was shown arrested from 26th March. During this time  he was hidden. No one knew where he was, his family of four passed the most brutal time. He has a wife, two daughters who were 3 and 15 then and a son aged 9. They knew he died. The family was interrogated again and again. The integrators would jump into the premises from all sides of the house at midnight and would wake everyone up and ask the same questions repeatedly. Once it was also seen that one of the interrogators with a gun in his hand had moved the youngest child’s hair from her face when she was asleep. On 26th March night, the family had gone to sleep. There was a knock on the master bedroom door around 3am, one of the house staff said “they are here”. Slowly everyone started coming out of their rooms, the voices of many men had awakened them. Everyone was dumped in to Mamoon’s elder daughter’s room and they began searching the house, all of a sudden a man walked into the room, the man was unknown but when he called out Mamoon’s daughter’s name everyone turned around and looked at him. The face was unknown but the voice was known. He then bursted into tears and his elder daughter ran and hugged him tight while his wife fainted and the other two children could not believe what they were looking at. After sometime Mamoon and his wife were called into their room where the law men have opened the stitches of a couch and put in the gun inside te couch in front of everyone’s eyes and then took it out as an illegal gun was discovered. A case was placed against him.

Slowly the truth started coming out and he started telling his family how he was tortured :-
1. on the very 1st night all his nails were taken with a plus.
2. he was given electric shocks at every part of his body.
3. he was put into mock cross fire.
4. he was tied and pushed into a lake and taken out when they knew he wouldn’t be able to take it anymore.
5. he was placed in a small box were there is hardly any space to move and a high voltage bulb was placed on top.
6. knowing that he had brain hemorrhage in the pat, he was brutally kicked until lather came out of his mouth.
7. they even made him sign on random blank papers.

Maybe he did have “ill gotten money” but always remember television n papers love to spice up things and they add lots of “zeros”.
- The house in gazipur that is said to be his is actually on 5 katha land and really doesn’t belong to him. His wife inherited that from her grandfather.
- He owes huge amount of loans to different banks, he had taken those to set up his factories. There are a total of 5000 workers working in the factories now, all the factories prohibit child labour and each of the workers family consists of 4 members on an average, that makes it 5000*4 = 20 000.
- all of the property values that have been shown are CURRENT values. value of property, fdrs were not shown as they were at the time of purchasing.

His middle child (son) is mentally disturbed. He is not being able to cope up at school ever since …. His academics .. personal behavior ..everything is going down ..

His younger daughter misses her dad so much she regularly draws pictures of him and her together. It’s so sad that she couldn’t even understand the term “dad” properly ..before that he was taken away ..

There are lot more that can be said ..
People please do not believe in whatever people say. Try to look up. there are lot of things we are not aware of. If this is the story of 1 man, imagine how many men and families were harassed.

 

Almost every body ( if not absolutely everybody) remained silent on this torture accusation as the victim of this torture was a bad guy. He is a corrupt man accused of massive corruption.  So as he committed very grave crimes like grand scale theft, no one should speak out against torture on him. If anyone does, she/he is also a corrupt criminal. We are against torture. But this guy is an exception.

 

*********************************************************

 

Then before that there was the Freak Show of Torture. on the son the a former President, decorated General of our war of Independence and whose mother is three times PM and one of the two major political leaders of the country.  That torture was totally endorsed by our leading Dailies who tried their best to undermine the fractured back caused by the torture as ailment of pinched nerve.

 

Almost every body ( if not absolutely everybody) remained silent on this torture accusation as the victim of this torture was a bad guy. Many folks applauded this torture. He is a corrupt man accused of massive corruption and very ruthless bad governance.  So as he committed very grave crimes no one should speak out against torture on him. If anyone does, she/he is also a corrupt criminal. We are against torture. But this guy is an exception.

*********************************************************

 

Recently a newspaper editor dared to become outspoken against the atrocities of the government and published some corruption allegation. Hell broke loose on him. His crime— he dared speak against the government and tried to desecrate the halo around our Prime Minister and the crown prince, her son.

 

Almost every body ( if not absolutely everybody) remained silent on this torture accusation as the victim of this torture was a bad guy. Many folks applauded this torture. He is a bad man accused of inflicting bad things on our beloved prime minister and her son.  So as he committed very grave crimes no one should speak out against torture on him. If anyone does, she/he is also a very bad guy. We are against torture. But this guy is an exception.

 

 

*****************************************

 

Very recently the President of the Garments Workers Unity Forum Moshrefa Mishu was arrested and tortured in police remand in all possible way sort of physical beating. As a result, on her way to a second remand, he fell severely ill, and had to be hospitalized immediately.

 

Almost every body ( with rare exception of two people) remained silent on this torture accusation as the victim of this torture was a bad person. She was conspiring to ruin our Garments industry which is the backbone of our economy.  So as she committed very grave crimes no one should speak out against torture on her. If anyone does, she/he is also part of the conspiracy to destroy our economy. We are against torture. But this person is an exception.

Published in BDnews24.com opinion Section on November 28th.

****************************

Rumi Ahmed

It’s not personal

November 28, 2010

khaleda-cry300pxThe manner in which the leader of the opposition and former prime minister Khaleda Zia was evicted from her cantonment residence was outright shocking to most observers of Bangladesh politics. Not only the physical eviction itself, but the way the opposition leader was literally pushed out of her home of 38 years by an overwhelming government force, speaks volumes of its ‘autocratic’ mentality. The whole chain of events surrounding the eviction process was totally unforeseen in the history of democratic Bangladesh.

Notable in the chain of events were the mind-blowing fast tracking of judiciary, manipulation of hazy legal jargons, and ultimately bypassing of the highest judiciary to push forward with the government’s agenda to remove the opposition leader from her home. The media manipulation of the event was also unprecedented for a democratic government. Advancing on what the previous military-controlled regime did, from the day before the incident, the media was fed with concocted stories of Khaleda Zia leaving her home willingly. And on the day of the event and the day after, the naked dishonesty and partisanship of the defence department’s press wing, ISPR, was simultaneously a painful reminder of the demise of the armed forces as neutral public servants and the last nail in the coffin of an institutional balance of power under present government.

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After the military coup of 1/11/ 2007, the political role that 1/11 military leadership, did irreparable harm to the image of the military in public minds. The latest incident of using ISPR ( MoD’s media wing) to malign the opposition leader acted as the last nail in the coffin of the credibility of the military institution as a nationally respected organization. What the ISPR did regarding the eviction of the opposition leader from her home is reprehensible beyond expression.
In a nutshell what ISPR did is
1. On the day before the eviction, started a campaign of lie that Mrs Zia is vacating her home on her own
2. On the day of eviction, while keeping journalists, family members, political leadership away from her house, kept on lying that Mrs Zia is leaving her house willingly.
3. After Mrs. Zia complained of forceful eviction in a press conference, ISPR kept on their self contradictory lies and gave a tour of the bedroom/ personal items of the opposition leader to the media. Their attempts to hide forceful rentry and breaking of doors did not escape journalists curious eyes. And the most disgraceful thing ISPR did was planting a porn magazine in opposition leader’s bedroom wardrobe,  some alcoholic beverages and inviting journalists to take photos of that. This was so disgusting that even most of Government friendly columnists / news papers bothered not to talk about it.

So when 26 retired army officers belonging to BNP protests the mindless partisan use of ISPR; over 150 retired army officers convenes a press conference and reads a statement supporting the acts of ISPR and repeating all the over-used negative political talking points against the opposition party. In the press conference, the politically divisive and hateful languages of ex Army chief Lt Gen Harun Ur Rashid clearly indicates the partisan agenda of Gen Harun and the sector commander’s forum he now leads. If General Harun sincerely wanted war crimes trials, he could have kept himself out of this dirty petty partisanship and extend his hands to embrace/ motivate BNP supporters to join the war crimes trial campaign of sector commander’s forum.

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SYED ABUL MAQSUD ARTICLE IN TODAY’S PROTHOM ALO

লিখতে বসেছিলাম এক বিষয়ে। সে লেখা সরিয়ে রাখতে হলো। নভেম্বরের প্রথম সাত দিনের ১০টি দৈনিকের ৭০টি সংখ্যা পড়ে মনে হলো, প্রসঙ্গ পাল্টানো দরকার। একটি জাতির সংবাদমাধ্যম যদি ৩৫ বছর পর ভোল পাল্টাতে পারে, রাজনৈতিক নেতারা যদি ভোল পাল্টাতে পারেন, একজন উপসম্পাদকীয় লেখকের পাঁচ মিনিটের মধ্যে প্রসঙ্গ পাল্টাতে অসুবিধা কোথায়?
খুব বড় মিলিটারি রেজিমেন্টেশনের মধ্যে ইতিহাস গায়েব করা হয় অথবা বিকৃত করা হয় এবং সত্য ধামাচাপা দেওয়া হয়। শান্তিপূর্ণ গণতান্ত্রিক পরিবেশে এবং সম্পূর্ণ বিনা প্ররোচনায় ইতিহাসকে ডাস্টবিনে ছুড়ে ফেলার দৃষ্টান্ত শুধু বাংলাদেশেই পাওয়া যাবে। কঠোর সামরিক ও রাজনৈতিক নিয়ন্ত্রিত রাষ্ট্রে সাংবাদিককে সত্য চেপে যেতে হয়। কিন্তু গায়ে পড়ে সত্য গোপন করা অতি নিন্দনীয় কাজ। আজ বাংলার রঙ্গমঞ্চে কুশীলবদের রাজনীতির অভিনয় দেখে ক্ষুধিত পাষাণ-এর পাগলা মেহের আলীর মতো বলতে ইচ্ছা হয়: ‘তফাত যাও! তফাত যাও! সব ঝুট্ হ্যায়! সব ঝুট্ হ্যায়!’ আজ বাংলাদেশে যাঁদের বয়স ৬০-এর ওপরে, তাঁদের অধিকাংশের অবস্থা পাগলা মেহের আলীর মতো।
১৯৭৫-এর নভেম্বরের প্রথম হপ্তায় অ্যাবসার্ড নাটকগুলো অভিনীত হয়েছে এখনকার ৬০ বছরের বেশি বয়স্ক মানুষদের সামনে। তাঁরা সব দেখেছেন, তাঁরা সব জানেন। এখন আর নতুন কিছু যোগ করা যাবে না।
বাঙালি স্বার্থসিদ্ধির জন্য সব সময়ই একজন নন্দ ঘোষ খোঁজে। নিজের দোষ তার ওপর চাপিয়ে দাঁত বের করে হাসতে হাসতে বাঙালি দিব্যি ঘুরে বেড়ায়। আওয়ামী লীগের নেতৃত্বে প্রতিষ্ঠিত মহাজোট সরকারের আমলে জিয়াউর রহমানকে নন্দ ঘোষের ভূমিকায় বসানো হয়েছে। অবশ্য জিয়া ও এরশাদের সময় নন্দ ঘোষ ছিলেন অন্য কেউ।

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Five Army officers have been convicted in Court Martial for attempted murder on Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh, MP. They are: Major Helal, Captain Rezaul Karim, Captain Rajib, Captain Fuad, and Captain Subayel Ibne Rafique. They have each been setenced to five years of jail, stripped of their army rank, and denied any retirement benefits. They will be serving out their sentences in Dhaka Central Jail.

Bangladesh has an unfortunate tendency of either seeing such attacks go uninvestigated or using them for political gain. The investigation and trial of the attackers on Sheikh Taposh could have been an exception to this trend. Court Martial proceedings are much more restricted in nature than civilian trials, that much is understood. However, to hold the entire trial in secret, and only allow it to appear in the media once the sentence has been delivered seems to be much more restrictive than was necessary.

A Daily Star report by Julikar Ali Manik says that the five officers were charged with “Violation of Good Order and Discipline,” under section 55 of the Manual of Bangladesh Army Law. The relevant section states “Any person subject to this Act who is guilty of any act, conduct, disorder or neglect to the prejudice of good order and of military discipline shall, on conviction by court martial, be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years, or with such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.”

Five Army officers, on their own, reach a conclusion that a Member of Parliament and a nephew of the Prime Minister is responsible for one of the worst carnages in our nation’s history. They do so by expressly going against the Prime Minister’s words, who is also their boss because she holds the defence portfolio. They disavow the investigation report compiled by the Army itself. They steal explosives and munitions and attempt to murder a Member of Parliament.

 

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Today, the Obama Administration formally announced that they will be detaining people, through Presidential decree, even after they have been acquitted by American courts.

Somewhere, Moeen U Ahmed is shaking his head and cussing out Dr. Kamal Hossain.

On reading the special editorialwritten by Matiur Rahman, Prothom Alo editor, the day his masterMoeen U. Ahmed retired as Army Chief, a number of questions came up. Actually, what came up first was disgust at the incredible level of smugness that was on display as Matiur Rahman pretended that the change of government that took place on January 11, 2007 did not happen with his direct knowledge and collusion. But eventually, on a second and third reading, some questions did come up.

The intial point that struck me was the sheer disregard of journalistic ethos that Mr. Rahman puts on display here. If any of us bloggers had written this piece, our inboxes would be flooded by now with demands that we either back up what we wrote as facts or admit that they are baseless innuendo. I do not see why the standard should be any different for the editor of Bangladesh’s most widely-circulated Bangla newspaper. In his article, Matiur Rahman states:

  • After last year’s election, a powerful portion of the Army wanted Moeen’s tenure as Army Chief extended by another year.
  • Presumably the same part of the Army wanted Moeen to become either Defense Minister or the “Joint Chief of Staff.”
  • After the Pilkhana massacre, Army officers openly criticized Moeen, inside and outside the Army, for not being able to save the lives of his men.
  • The Government would still like to reward Moeen.
  • Diplomatic sources say that Moeen may be made the Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York.

Let us take these points one by one. After Moeen toppled the caretaker government in 2007 and promoted himself to General, he spent a great deal of time and energy putting his men in as many key army positions as he could, and sending army officers who refused to countenance his authority into forced retirement. Thus, it is probably not a surprise that Moeen still has a constituency left in the Army, even though, ideally, the entire Army should be his constituency.

That there were ever any suggestions of Moeen being made Defense Minister or Joint Chief of Staff is quiet sensational news. If Motiur Rahman knew about this previously but did not inform us, his readers, he has done us a great disservice. As far as I know, Bangladesh has never had a Defense Minister, with the Prime Minister not being able to trust anyone else (unwisely, in my opinion) with this portfolio. For a very brief period of time, Khandoqar Mushtaq’s government did set up a Combined Chief of Staff, but that was more to keep Maj. Gen. Ziaur Rahman, as Army Chief, from having any real power, than anything else. Moeen has already permanently distorted our defense establishment by promoting himself to General rank, giving nations around the world one more reason to titter at us behind our back. Appointing the same man to one of the posts described above would have been a momentous step; one we deserved to hear about ahead of time.

The Pilkhana massacre laid bare the full extent of the damage that Moeen had done to the very institution he was supposed to protect and safeguard: the Bangladesh Army. Barely two years after he had stormed into Bongobhaban, the Presidential Palace, and forced President Iajuddin Ahmed to retire as Chief Advisor, a democratic government barely two months old could scarcely trust him to again lead an operation in the heart of Dhaka. And so it was they fifty-plus of our officers were tortured and killed, while the government sat and dithered before, first allowing enough armour units to enter Dhaka, and then letting them approach Pilkhana. Moeen has undone the work of thousands of honest and dedicated officers who obeyed the constitutional dictate that our armed forces stay subservient to the civilian government, through his coup in 2007 and the torture he inflicted on a broad swathe of politicians from all across the political spectrum the next two years. Going forward, it will take years to mend the damage he has wrought.

Therefore, we do not see how Matiur Rahman can now claim that Army officers have criticized and blamed Moeen for the loss of lives in Pilkhana. Why was Matiur Rahman silent when the government instituted an Army-probe into this massacre under the same person who was blamed for letting it happen? How could such a probe have any credibility with members of our armed forces, let alone the general public?

Even after making these incredible allegations, Matiur Rahman then turns around and claims that even after the Pilkhana massacre, the government would like to still reward Moeen. The question begs to be asked, what is the government rewarding Moeen for? Providing the incompetent leadership that allowed so many of his men to be killed? Indirectly causing the mutiny – by green-lighting the BDR into Operation DalBhaat? Or, as Matiur Rahman hints near the end, because of the election held in 29 December, 2008? Do we really want to become a nation that remains in thrall to its Army Chief for allowing elections to go through?

And do we really want our United Nations representative to be a wannabe military strongman? Asif Ali Zardari and Pervez Musharraf made a far more explicit pact after the Pakistani election. But even Musharraf did not have the gumption of trying to claim diplomatic immunity and representing our country in the world stage.

Of course, if Moeen ever leaves Bangladesh, we can rest assured he will never return again. His underling Brig. Fazlul Bari had the right idea when he decided he liked America too much. One can confidently expect Moeen to follow suit; he has already made his liking for the balmy climate of Florida well-known. Perhaps, once they are united there, advance accommodations could be arranged for Gen. Masud as well.

Fighting the rearguard battle to justify his own support for the overthrow of the CTG in 2007, Matiur Rahman claims that the new regime had “massive support” from the people. Yet, in the very next sentence, he is forced to acknowledge that Awami League only supported this move initially, until the true nature of the regime that followed became clear and Sheikh Hasina was herself thrown into jail after she spoke out against military intervention, through DGFI, in politics. BNP, of course, never supported the regime. Then how does Matiur Rahman find broad support for a regime which is not supported by BNP and AL, which together represent about 260 of the 300 seats in both the current as well as the former parliament?

The job of a newspaper editor is different from that of a gossip columnist. It is really different from that of a sycophant. Unfortunately, Mr. Matiur Rahman seems unclear about both these distinctions. The activities of our last regime left behind enough tar to cover most of its proponents and supporters. With this piece, Matiur Rahman just slapped some more tar firmly on his face.

Nation under a State of Emergency (SOE).

An election of the supreme governing body of the business community (FBCCI) takes place among great fanfare. Two main groups contest the election. One is lead by Vegetable oil tycoon Rouf Chowdhury and the other one is garments businessman Anisul Haq. One is “pro government” and the other is “More pro-Government”. Senior government officials as well as election commissioners visit the polling and pose for the camera in a smiling face.

Same week. Same country. Same city.

Another professional body election is scheduled to take place. This time it is the leading lawyers’ organization, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA). Government sends decree ordering SCBA to postpone the election. The reason? It is unlawful and breach of SOE regulations to hold any election under SOE.
Some unruly lawyers protest and vow to hold the election as scheduled defying the order of the civilian faced military government.
The military government cracks down. Alas! Not in Pakistani style. But in typical Dhakai DGFI style. The current SCBA president ( Who already is in DGFI payroll), two government reps including Attorney general and law advisor, and one of the two leading contenders, the pro AL lawyer’s presidential candidate ( and not so surprisingly missing the Pro BNP candidate) meet with the head of DGFI in the Gulshan office of DGFI. At the end of the meeting, several meek faces come out of the DGFI building and declare victory but also announce that the election is postponed until end of April. While general lawyers belonging to both the contesting group take these meek faces to serious task, the current SCBA president, Barrister Amirul Islam declares that lawyer’s association has nothing to do with national politics and its goal is only to focus on ensuring the well being of members of this profession.

This twin act election drama may shed light to an event of near future. The December 2008 national election. By the above standard, in that election

1. Only friends can do elections. Those who are not that friendly, will not be allowed to do election.
2. if some politician wants to do any ‘ketchal’ ( Insubordination) with all powerful DGFI, very quickly they will be seen coming out a Gulshan residence in a meek face and become the most faithful servant of DGFI.

And the ultimate moral of the story is that it is the military intelligence (DGFI) which is running the country, the catfish faced Fakhruddin is only a trumpeter.

Then (During 80s military rule), we had one senior journalist turned street sweeper: Anwar Zahid. Now we have at least three, Mahfuz Anam, Motiur Rahmna and Naimul Islam Khan. 

Then (during 80s) we had one national clown AKA domesticated opposition leader: ASM Abdur Rab. Now we have at least a dozen. They include Dr Kamal Hossain, Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, Tofael Ahmed, Amir Hossain Amu, Saifur Rahman, Abdur Razzak, Hasanul Haq Inu etc.  

Then the areas sorrounding Dhaka University and Shaheed miner were forbidden zones for ruling and military establishment.  The memory of Ershad’s half naked PM was very fresh. Now, when the military chief goes to Ekushey BioMela, Dhaka University Students wait in line to buy his autographed book.

Then we had strong voices of dissent in Shafik Rehman, Naimul Islam Khan, Minar Mahmud, Mojammel Babu. Now we have Nurul kabir, Farhad Mozhar, Shameran Abed.  

Then we had a poet General’s poetry getting undue prominent coverage in west Bengal’s Ananda Bazaar potrika. Now we have another Shantiniketoni General getting unusually big horses from his taller counter part.  

Then all the good government business deals used to go to all those who had a bracketed “retd” thing.  Now all the good government business deals are going to all those who has a bracketed “retd” thing. 

Then Jamaat was doing politics, unhindered. Now, Jamaat is doing politics, unhindered.

There were at least 3 interesting news in yesterday’s press. Looks like nobody is at all bothered about these new developments. TV chattering class is busy competing to be more pro-government, Op-eds are quite toothless and blogospehere is veeeeeery quiet and content.

News 1.

One high court senior judge resigned of unclear reason and the president accepted the resignation in lightning fast speed. News have been out there for quite a while that some judges will get tea invitation at Bangabhaban and will be forced to resign. It is very possible that Justice Badrul Haq has been forced to resign. What was his fault, weakness or crime? We don’t know.

The problem is in this part. If there is any allegation against any judge, let’s look for the remedy in a proper way. Let’s call supreme judicial council and maintain some transparency in such proceedings of extreme national importance. How would I know that government forced him to resign because he refused to be influenced by the government in his judgments?

It is clear the government is at its wit’s end in legal handling of the cases it is using to keep political leaders behind the bar. One of the government major weapons is the anti corruption Commission (ACC).  Ironically ACC has so far lost all the cases in the high court division of Supreme Court.

Is government trying to seal the fate of Bangladesh by re-forming this top judiciary with some friendly and obedient judges? 

News 2.

UNDP country representative in Bangladesh, Ms. Hua Du, hosted a grand gala party yesterday to celebrate 50% completion of voter list. UNDP or other international and foreign bodies may support the election commission with logistics etc. But who they are to celebrate 50% completion of the voter list while there are rising concern in the country about different voter list and demarcation procedures? And how do they know that the list is 50% completed? That will only be known once the listing would be completed. Lately the UN and different international bodies are involved in mindless and reckless meddling in solely internal matters of Bangladesh politics. The biggest example is the bizarre UN letter dated 1/11/07 which was issued by UN country representative of Bangladesh.  It contained grave warning to Bangladesh armed forces that they would be disbanded from all the UN peacekeeping jobs if Bangladesh armed forces support Bangladesh government in holding 22nd January election!!! It was later learnt that the letter was written at the request of Army chief general Moeen U Ahmed so that he could show the letter to convince  the GOCs and other senior military leadership in supporting his 1/11 coup.  The Army chief was, however, very careful not to mention that the country which has all along been the top contributor to UN peacekeeping forces is none other than military ruled Pakistan. And nobody cared to confront the UN station chief with the fact that it is UN which needs Bangladeshi soldiers more than Bangladesh needs some UN peacekeeping jobs.

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Photo: JaiJaiDin

Very naturally, among the celebrities present in the 50% completion gala dinner was no other than General Moeen U Ahmed, his top three commanders, ATM Shamsul Huda, Shakhawat Hossain and Suhul Hossain. 

News 3

While the news of Mr Jalil’s departure to Singapore, (through a cordoned off airport) was overblown in the media, almost hidden was the news of recent refusal of the authorities to have Sheikh Hasina see her physicians. And missing in the news was authority’s refusal to let Khaleda Zia choose her physician.

I do not understand why Mr. Jalil’s Singapore trip is such big a deal, why media and government is so crazy about it. And why there were thousands of police guarding ZIA when Jalil was flying off. And I still do not have an explanation, several months ago while still imprisoned, how could Jalil give interview to NTV in front of DIG prison or why government will computer compose his political letter and send it to the chief advisor and his wife in a lightning speed? 

And while all these take place, blogosphere remains muted, op-eds keep on gloating how this government has done the greatest ever thing by separating the judiciary and the newly prominent political leaders keep on idolizing General Moeen U Ahmed.

Among all the content voices, at least Frahad Mozhar reminds us what Gen Osmani said about Ershad when Ershad was poking nose in daily country affairs and re-affirming that he had no intention to join politics. This is what Gen Osamni said,

Should any serving officer or servicemen feel he has the acumen or experience or ability to give the country a lead or improve the quality of the country’s government, his correct course is to retire or take release (if on short term engagement) or resign and join politics to serve the country, setting a correct example and not set a bad example by trying to indulge in politics in uniform. – General (Retired) MAG Osmany, Weekly ‘Holiday’ (January 3 and 10 1982)

Ok, the attack is on again.

The generals leading this latest version of BNP hijack attempt are

 1. DGFI Brigediers.

2. Mannan Bhuiyan ( behind the scene)

3. Saifur-Hafiz.

4. Brig Hannan Shah.

5. Goyeshwar Roy/ Nazrul Khan/Shahjahan

The vital moves made so far

1. Delwar, Rizvi,  80′s student leaders including Kh Babul, Asaduzzaman etc are under a a virtual seige.

2. The highcourt case dealing with this issue is being delayed ( By a so called free judiciary) so that DGFI/Govt gets enough time to execute the hijack plan.

3. Election commission is also in a waiting mode to let the hijack be completed first.

4. There has been a gag on the lawyers/ family visiting Khaleda Zia and the media from speaking about Khaleda’s illness that may require hospital visit.

5. Delaying Khaleda case ( By independent judiciary!!!) to prevent her from speaking in public before BNP take over is completed.

6. Releasing of Brig Gen Hannan Shah ( again, by indepedent judiciary !!!. Did any other senior politician else get bail so far in post 1/11 Bangladesh? )

7. Case against Saifur- Manan to keep them committed to their treachery.

The Goal,

1. Ensure a BNP that will be friendly to General Moeen U Ahmed before emergency is lifted and election schedule is announced.  Awami League is already under control of a friendly leadership.

2.  Ensure a predicted election result and a government that will uphold the spirit of 1/11 revolution.

3.  Save the ass of General Moeen and his Brigedier troop.

The Problem,

1. The BNP support base and the grass root.

2. The still untamed AL intelligentsia.

3. Khondokar Delwar Hossain.

4. Chances of a strong BNP performance if they are allowed to participate in Dec 2008 election.

The sign

One day before the previous coup attempt, Election Commissioner Suhul Hossain declared that the letter would go to the person who will be secretary two days later.  One day later DGFI designed a coup to appoint a new BNP secretary. ECs participation in the DGFI hatched conspiracy got exposed.

Just yesterday Maj Hafiz made another similar off guard remark. He predicted that He and Saifur would go with Delwar to the meeing with EC. This statement probably explains what is being planned. Delwar etc may be forced into a “unification” before the dialogue.

The Fear

Can delwar keep holding the fort under the immense pressure he, few of his colleague and his family is facing minute in minute out.  My confidence is also eroding.

Footnote,

In 1975, military killed Bangabandhu and broke in room by room, searched all members of his family including all his sons, daughter in laws, extended family members, killed them execution style. Still it required only four years for a full resurgence of Awami League. It may be easy for the army to design and form a party but hijacking a party against the will of the support base is never possible.

Update 1:

The mouthpiece of DGFI has published the framework of BNP hijack.

Here it is.

Bangladesh is under state of Emergency.


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Bangladesh Constitution 141A (1)
Proclamation of Emergency: If the President is satisfied that a grave emergency exists in which the security or economic life of Bangladesh, or any part thereof, is threatened by war or external aggression or internal disturbance, he may issue a Proclamation of Emergency.
 

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Chief of Bangladesh Army, General Moeen U Ahmed accompanies his wife to a six day trip to neighboring India. On arriving in New Delhi, he receives red carpet welcome. He stays at Taz palace hotel and attends a gala dinner hosted by Indian army chief. The following morning he receives gift of six horses from his Indian counter part. These six horses are supposed to be transported to Dhaka, mate, breed and are planned to be used for equestrian sports by the members of Bangladesh armed forces. Same night he attends another grand gala dinner hosted by Bangladesh high Commission and attended by Indian politicians. General Moeen and his wife then traveled to Ajmeer Sharif and offered prayer at the Majar Sharif.  They also did some sightseeing tour of famous Taz Mahal.  After spiritual treat at Ajmeer and visual treat at Taz Mahal, General and Mrs Moeen were flown to India’s famous Goa beach resort city. There they indulge themselves on the beautiful Arabian sea beach at Panaji, Goa. The General and his wife then flew to West Bengal, Kolkata. In West Bengal General Moeen’s major planned stops were meeting local politicians, visiting Jorashakor Thakur Bari (the home of poet Tagore), Shanti Niketan (an art-literature university established by Tagore), attending dinner hosted by Indian eastern command general and supervise the construction of metal cage along the India-Bangladesh railroad.  

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And all these days, Bangladesh, the country General Moeen is supposed to protect (From both external and internal calamities), remains under a state of emergency.  

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Bangladesh Constitution 141A (1)
Proclamation of Emergency: If the President is satisfied that a grave emergency exists in which the security or economic life of Bangladesh, or any part thereof, is threatened by war or external aggression or internal disturbance, he may issue a Proclamation of Emergency.

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?

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New Age Editorial

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.

These days, on February 14, Valentines Day is celebrated in Bangladesh with great fanfare. The students and teen/ post teen generation as well as the older ones use their energy; ingenuity in doing thing to convince their loved ones.

Exactly 25 years ago on the 14 the February, I was about to finish my high school in Dhaka. I had no clue what Valentine day was. Then during the rest of student life in colleges throughout the 80s, I still did not know or do much with Valentines Day.

However 14th February remained a special day for us, the students and young people in the 80s. When the military establishment illegally captured state power on 24th March 1982, on this day, 14 the February the following year i.e. 1983, students lodged a large scale protest against the military occupation of governance. Five students – Zafar, Dipali Saha, Jainal, Mozammel and Ayub – were killed in the police firing, leading to the formation of Chhatra Sangram Parishad (students’ action council), the first politically organised platform against the military junta. The following year, on the same day during a student procession marking the event, the military rulers ran a truck on the peaceful procession instantly crushing Selim and Delwar to death.

Over the next six years, many more lives were lost. We invoked the names of Dipali Shaha, Mozamel, Selim, Delwar millions of times. Students were followed by trade unions followed by professionals and they gloriously defied the military rule. Politicians joined hands and later the civil service stepped in. Military had no options but to surrender and retreat back to the cantonment.

With restoration of democracy, along with many other things, we also forgot those who shed their lives for the democracy. And we badly mangled up militarycracy with a person Ershad. Ten years after fall of Ershad, he came back with a significantly limited capacity of a small political party leader. This time his power was not the military establishment. Ironically the people of his region were his principle force.

It is not clear whether it was done intentionally or mistakenly; Ershad’s minimal importance in Bangladesh politics was blown out of proportion and was shown as the ultimate failure of the revolution of December 1990 and of democracy. Those cliques, who have been vocal in making the story of Ershad’s joining of different political fronts as the major blunder of Bangladesh democracy and ultimate reversal of 1990 revolution, did intentionally hide the facts that Ershad in 2007 represented regional people power, not the military establishment. And when the ideological difference is minor, changing sides is not so unusual in democracy.

Not too long after media uproar over Ershad drama, stage was set for full blown military takeover and on 1/11/2007, military establishment regained crown they lost on December 1990. In 1982, the facade was Ershad, this time it was Fakhruddin and a bunch of retired bureaucrats and technocrats.

Unlike last military establishment, this new generation of military establishment is much smarter. This time the word martial law has never been pronounced, although the country faced worst kind of steam roller since its inception. This time no single character was allowed to turn into a villain. The main facade Fakhruddin worked hard to keep showing his political and administrative impotence; once a while if some advisor got out of control they have been instantly kicked out. And unlike 1982, this new generation won’t bother shooting at students. They will rather assassinate the mind, not the body. This government has excelled in picking up top tier political leaders, businessmen, intellectuals, teachers, students, journalists—torture them to inflict the worst possible emotional trauma and physical pain.

And during this 14 th February, nobody will recall Zafar, Ayub, Selim and others. Thanks to media promotion, young people and students will wear special dresses, draw graffiti on the face and celebrate beginning of Falgun or Poush or the Valentines Day. Although certain entity in Bangladesh think themselves as the great upholders of our historical accuracy and glory, history of peoples’ war against military establishment in 80s did never gain the elite status like that of 71 or 52 history. And surely some very strong quarter do not want our young generation to know about the sacrifices of these seven or those 24 in Chittagong or Zehad or Nur Hossain or Milon or many more. And probably that’s why Channel I etc will rather observe Pohela Falgun or Valentine day than remember Shahid Selim, delwar, Dipali Shaha, Zafar, Mozammel, Ayub or Joynal.

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.

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[Photo: BDNews24.com/Amardesh]

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”.

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[Photo: BDNews24.com]
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.

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