Sunday, February 13, 2011

Dead Felani a bigger threat to Govt. than to India's BSF

Felani on her death has become a bigger threat to the government and its party apparatus than to the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) who gunned down her in the barbed wire fenced border early last month.
   The perceived threats have come to the public following the imposition of Section 144 at Felani's home village Nageswari and around the locality as some human rights groups from the capital sought to visit her home and hold a public meeting to mourn her death.
   Bir Bikram stopped
   The group led by Sector Commander of Liberation War and retired Wing Commander of Bangladesh Air Force, Hamidullah Khan, Bir Bikram, was taken under security watch on their arrival at Kurigram town and stopped them from moving out of their hotel by police and other security personnel.
   Local administration at the same time imposed ban on holding meeting in the locality justifying that as some local Awami Lague (AL) activists have also called for a meeting at the same venue at the same time, the ban is necessary to avoid any clash.
   The group later tried to visit the local Press Club but police held them back from going there while AL youth front activists staged procession in the street bringing pressure on them to leave the town.
   A section of the press branded the group as an offshoot of BNP which is out to agitate the people on the issue. However, home minister Sahara Khatun had earlier visited the home of the murdered Felani, offered condolences to her father and a token compensation of Taka three lakh to help him overcome the grief.
   Felani issue banned
   But when some other groups sought to visit her home the government appeared to have taken a critical view about it and critics here wonder why the authorities are putting all such ban on speaking about the issue even in her own local community.
   The Indian BSF personnel have committed the horrendous act which is not only a homicide but also a crime against humanity. Not only the people of Bangladesh are mourning the death, national and international media are also taking the issue as a cold-blooded murder demanding legal action on the killing.
   This is more so because Indian BSF soldiers are routinely killing Bangladesh nationals in the border --- one in four days on an average --- which is only visible on Israel-Palestine border and yet they are going with all sort of impunity.
   Critics wonder why the government is critical of taking the Felani issue to the public, why is it giving the impression that they are also sharing the guilt that BSF have perpetrated by way of killing Felani in the barbed wire border fence.
   They say it speaks of the way the government is out to gag the voice of the opposition, and more so the ruling AL does not want to expose the Indian brutalities on Bangladeshi nationals as it has the close ally across the border.
   This is a clear signal of despotic rule in the country. And the gagging of the voice is gradually spreading over the ruling party MPs as well.
   Half a dozen MPs
   Last week, the Prime Minister blocked the way of half a dozen MPs from speaking in the House on an issue centering the communication minister.
   Following it, Moinuddin Khan Badal of JSD which is a partner of the grand coalition government said he saw clouds gathering in the horizon of the House. He said he would not speak on the issue what the Prime Minister has brought to a preemptive end.
   He said the Prime Minister spoke critically of the press for breaking news with a cartoon relating to a letter written by the communication minister to the Prime Minister, but mysteriously signed by the secretary of the ministry.
   The Prime Minister sought to protect the minister, but why she had done it is a big question denying the right of about half a dozen MPs from the ruling elite to speak.
   Badal said, if the press is allowed to speak they can simply bark, but if you deny them to write and treat them as enemy they would bite. The government should decide which one is better, he argued.
   In an oblique reference to the Communication Minister he said if one can not stand straight and speak, the House can hardly move with such 'slaves.'
   Referring to the letter signed by the secretary of the ministry to the Prime Minister, he said it violates the MPs privileges, and if such things get shelter, the House would lose its significance.
   Democracy is thus heading towards an autocratic rule in the country. In a case relating to airport project at Arial Beel in Srinagar where the AL government had sought to build and was later forced to abandon it following public uprising in the area, the government has filed at least three cases involving over 22,000 people as accused.
   The accused include not only BNP Chairperson and Opposition leader Khaleda Zia but also Professor Emeritus Sirajul Islam Choudhury of Dhaka University and such other high profile intellectuals and professionals. People wonder why the government is not acting rationally.