Monday, January 17, 2011

Power Politics Vs Defending National Interests

By killing hanging Felani, Indian BSF has demonstrated its standard of the ethics maintained by it. My question is - why BSF should not kill Bangladeshi citizens when: 1. Present Bangladesh Govt feels no responsibility for protesting such killings on our citizens. 2. Opposition Party feels no responsibility for protesting such killings. 3. Crores of Awami supporter citizens consider it as a legitimate action by Indain BSF and thereby feel no need of protest. 4. Even few months back, ex BDR DG General Moinul ordered BDR to shoot any smuggler or illegal border crosser...

5. BDR is demolished through Pilkhana massacre and newly formed BGB (BD Border Guard) is unable to counter aggressive BSF due to their lack of leadership, clear instructions, poor organization, inferior armaments, poor motivation, poor morale and some being pro-Awami League i.e. pro-Indians.

Thus we value the lives of our citizens !

Again, what responsibility we perform towards our poor citizens ?

Every year, more than 22000 women and children are trafficked from Bangladesh into India; most of whom are used for prostitution and inhuman slavery. Felani is one of them.

If our govt has no responsibility towards our citizens for ensuring their food, shelter, treatment, employment and survival as human being with dignity and honour, thousands of Felanies will continue to cross the border for hope of survival, suffer miserably in the hands of our friendly neighbours and get shot while returning to Bangladesh.

If we reflect, we will find that even BNP led govt also avoided any fruitful protest or measures in response to BSF's killing of our citizens.

I think, we should hold Opposition Party answerable for its failure to perform responsibility (which, by default, is reposed on any opposition party) regarding national issues.

People have the right to know what responsibility BNP has so far performed in preserving national interests when:

- Sk Hasina signed 50 points MOU with our neighbour surrendering national interests by giving transit, ports etc.

- Awami Govt signed illegal CHT Treaty with foreign agents and terrorists which is threatening our sovereignty and territorial existence.

- 57 Army Officers were brutally murdered at Pilkhana by foreign inspired agents who held secret meetings with Awami leaders such as Nanok, Azam, Barrister Taposh etc before the mutiny.

If the people of Bangladesh continue to allow power-hungry political parties to use their support in crossing the election barrier and then enjoy power & money by forgetting ensuring people's basic rights (food, clothing, shelter, treatment education), security, freedom of speech, justice and democratic rights; fate of our nation will never change whatever claim made by political parties of so called Unnoyoner Joar.

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Felani's Hanginf Body, Connectivity And Our Quite Government

A new year came upon us, so is the 3rd year of the government of Sheikh Hasina- HM Ershad- Hasanul Inu – Maolana Misbah-Ul-Islam- Comrade Moinuddin Khan Badal. Under siege by police and neo-gestapo RAB; the new years eve was fairly uneventful. At least there was no public display of sexual harassment in the form of a torn clothe student at Dhaka University Student center premises.

There were some upheavals though. The long line for the upcoming World Cup Cricket tickets were lead news/ talking point in the news media. The world cup ticket hoopla was duly followed by nearly 24/7 news coverage of the roller coaster ride of the stock market. TV news as well as the talk shows were all filled with footage of angry investors, bleeding from RAB baton Charge, rallying and pelting stones at nearby cars and government offices. The Government took the challenge politically and made sure that the following day the stock index rebound with a two fold vigor.

Other than all these discussable and forgettable stuff, the new year as well as the second year anniversary of Hasina Ershad brother sister Government was supposed to be a happy and holy event. Well… except for the unhappy and ugly scene of a bright red deep blue spot hanging fifteen feet above the ground on our horizon.

It is irony that her name was Felani. Like Kurani, Felani is Generic name in Bangla literature. While Kurani is the name of a little girl living on the street, Felani usually describes an orphan or poor girl who serves her master’s household 24/7 only two get abused and deprived. Felani was a born in a very poor family in Northern Bangladesh. It is that region of Bangladesh where ‘Monga’ — seasonal shortage of work and food is endemic. In quest of the most basic of basic human needs, at least once or twice a day food to meet hunger, five year old Felani, her parents, along with many others like them, crossed international political border and managed the lowest wage job in a far away land, in Southwest India. They would do the hardest and lowest paid jobs which even the locals would pass. At least there was a job for little Felani and her family and that ensured food to eat. While politicians can have political borders, basic need like hunger does not care for any border.

While working as a child laborer carrying and washing brick in a far away land, Felani grew up and reached marriageable age per the standards of rural poor sections of Bangladesh. She was returning home after ten years to get married. All were set up.

Poor folks cross the border for meeting basic living needs. They don’t read newspapers or blogs. They don’t understand India’s growing stature and accompanying security concern. They only heard that there are jobs in this and that far away land. The procession is rather big. Some will stop in nearby Calcutta, some will travel to Delhi, Bombay and half of them will cross another fearsome border to land in Karachi, Pakistan.

Nahari’s mother used to help run errands in my grandmothers rural home in Chittagong. Two of her sons work in Pakistan. I met them during one of my trips. Many of them don’t have passport, visa — some don’t bother spending all the airfare money. For them getting into India costs more money and there are higher chances of getting arrested. Crossing border into Bangladesh costs much less, no chance of getting arrested but there are chances of getting killed.

Indiscriminate killing of Bangladeshis in Indian border started soon after independence. But over the last few years the killings have become a near daily event. In a blog post Rezwan compiles different write ups on this issue and quotes Bangladeshi Human Rights organization Odhikar this way,

Bangladeshi human rights organization Odhikar says in a report that BSF kills one Bangladeshi in every four days. It also says that BSF killed 74 innocent Bangladeshi citizens in 2010, injured seventy-two and kidnapped 43. In the past decade more than 1000 Bangladeshis were killed in the border regions by BSF.

Like 13 year old Parul who was shot by Indian security, Felani was shot as she her traditional clothes got stuck high up in the barbed wire fence. Felani was alive reportedly at least 4 hours after being shot. Local villagers report hearing her screaming and asking for water.

Felani bled to death. In the photos we see, blood could not be distinguished from her bright red and deep blue dress.Local people protested. Bangla blogosphere erupted. Some newspapers ( especially those cunning-smart ones who can read peoples pulse way in advance) published the news.

And yet some folks saw Jamaati conspiracy to hamper “war Crimes trial” in Felani’s hanging dead body. Like the comment on a facebook page where image of Felani’s hanging body was posted. As one soul, in that facebook page, rather getting upset at the photo, questioned the source of the photo, other replies, ” It must be an act of the Jamaatis”.

The Government kept quite quite. Not a single word about Felani could be heard from the mouth of our ever talking prime Minister or her men-women.Felani means disposable. Felani is really disposable to our Government. Felani’s death is not important enough to seek justice for or start a trial process.

We want connectivity. We are enclosed with 15 feet high barbed wire from all sides to prevent connecting, yet we are for connectivity.Our folks are being shot and killed indiscriminately. Shoot at sight if caught in the process of connecting. Hell Yeah. We are for connectivity.

India’s truck, 18 wheeler lorries will drive through Bangladesh via special road built for them with our peoples’ money. But Parul or Felani or many Shafiq, Rafiq, Karim, Habib will be shot to death if seen crossing India-Bangladesh border.

If we talk more connectivity, more regional cooperation, like EU, why can’t we have EU style open border? Let’s open our borders. Let’s real economic cooperation begin. Let our Felani’s and their parents travel fearlessly providing cheap labor to the growing economies in this region.

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Taher A PoliticalL Victim

A BNP policymaker, Moudud Ahmed, pointed at his current party's founder for one of the most controversial trials in Bangladesh's history.

Moudud wrote in his memoirs that former president and military strongman, Ziaur Rahman was behind Col Taher's trial to strengthen his position among army officers.

BNP leader Moudud Ahmed was a member of deposed military dictator Ershad's Jatiya Party when his book 'Democracy and the Challenge of Development' was published in 1995.

'The Trial of Taher' — a revealing chapter in this book, gives account of the trial and Zia's role into the trial.

In the chapter, Moudud said Zia hung Taher with the support of repatriated army officers.

Taher's brother, Anwar Hossain, a professor of Dhaka University, believes interrogating Moudud might elicit many an answer to the Taher's court martial which sentenced the this sector commander of the Independence War to death.

Moudud himself has had a chequered political past. His political career extends to even before the Independence War of 1971. He was involved in organising Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's defence in the Agartala Conspiracy Case of the late 1960's where Mujib was charged with sedition.

After the war, Moudud was made the first Post Master General of the country in 1972.

He joined BNP when it was founded and became a minister and deputy-prime minister in military strongman Ziaur Rahman's cabinet.

During the nine-year tenure of the deposed military dictator Hussein Muhammad Ershad, he served as minister, deputy-prime minister, prime minister and vice-president.

He ran in the seventh parliamentary elections in 1996 from Jatiya Party, but lost, after which he joined the BNP again and ran in the by-elections from a Lakkhipur constituency, which BNP chief Khaleda Zia had carried and later gave up to accommodate the former BNP man's return.

However, Moudud lost the by-elections too. In the eighth parliamentary elections of 2001, he won and served the BNP-led government as law minister.


Seventeen civilians and former military personnel, including Taher, were punished in 1976 and 1977 during Zia's rule in the sedition case.

Taher and M A Jalil were sentenced to death while the others were sentenced to different terms in prison.

Taher was executed on July 21, 1976 and Jalil got life sentence instead of death sentence concerning his role in the Independence War.

Taher's wife Lutfa Taher, his brother Anwar Hossain, incumbent president of Dhaka University Teachers' Association, Fatema Yusuf, wife of Ft Sgt Yusuf Ali Khan, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in the same trial, jointly filed a petition challenging the legality of the court martial on August 23, 2010.

On the same day, the High Court asked the government to produce records of the court martial within three weeks.

The court also directed the government to explain why Martial Law Regulation No.16 of 1976, under which Taher was tried for sedition and executed 34 years ago, should not be declared illegal and unconstitutional.


"In our history there is only one example of such treachery. It was the treachery of Mir Zafar who betrayed the people of Bangladesh and the sub-continent and led us into slavery for a period of 200 years," Moudud wrote.

He said on the night of Nov 23, only two weeks after their release, M A Jalil, A S M A Rab and other leaders of Jatiya Somajtantrik Dal were arrested. On the following day, paramilitary forces surrounded the house of Taher and took him into custody, he added.

It took the government more than six months to prepare the case.

According to Moudud, in May 1976, Taher was brought back from Rajshahi to Dhaka by helicopter and placed in solitary confinement in the Dhaka Central Jail.

Within three weeks, an ordinance creating a special Military Tribunal was issued and soon a tribunal was constituted with Col Yusuf Haider, a repatriated army officer, as chairman.

The trial began inside the jail on Jun 21 1976 "with unprecedented security arrangements". It ended on Jul 17 the same year.

This did not create a political storm in the country, mainly because of the strict secrecy surrounding the trial and press censorship and secondly with all its leaders in jail, the JSD was crushed, claimed Moudud in his book.

In the book, he raised the question why Zia allowed hanging Taher, the person who freed him from captivity and installed him in power.

During the Liberation War, they fought in the same sector and were known to be very close friends for a long time, Moudud claimed.

Moudud answered the question himself, "In the difficult situation after independence, Zia had to strike a balance with the repatriated officers to strengthen his own power within the army."

"The officers who had not taken part in the war, had found a new ally in Zia after the killing of Mujib and removal of Mostaq. They needed each other in order to survive both as class and a force in the civil-military structure of the country," he added.

He also said, "When it came to the sentencing of Taher, the repatriated officers wanted him hanged – out of forty-six senior army officers summoned by Zia to discuss the issue, all were in favour of this ultimate and final form of punishment."

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