Monday, March 14, 2011

Militants and Their Bases in Bangladesh

Although Bangladesh's current government has gone on the offense against militants, according to country's local laws,criticizing Islamists or militants as well writing anything about existence of Jihadists inside Madrassas is still considered to be a "serious crime," and the Bangladeshi government continues prosecuting journalists for anti-Jihadist writings.
Although ecurity experts in Bangladesh all endorse the fact that the country has turned into a huge junction point of people interested in militancy, none of the mainstream political parties ever came to any unanimous agenda of combating militancy. Rather, most of these parties joined hands with Islamists, militants and radicals for the sake of mere political benefit.
Under active patronizage of the Pakistani intelligence agency Inter Service Intelligence [ISI], the terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba [LeT] has been able to build a solid foundation in Bangladesh. The existence and spread of LeT activities in Bangladesh has been continuing for several years; two of its members even said that they had been in Bangladesh for the last 15 years, with the mission of recruiting "members" for this group.
Captured members of LeT told interrogators in Bangladesh that they were provided fake passports by the ISI, and were given training inside hidden bases within the Frontier provinces as well as in Pakistan's occupied portion of Kashmir. The ISI gave specific instructions to the members of LeT, who were sent back to various bases inside Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, to stage offensives on India. The Pakistani ISI intelligence allegedly spends millions of dollars in recruitment, training and the continuation of activities of LeT and other militant groups.
Although Pakistan has always denied any connection with the LeT, in January 2009, US prosecutors accused Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed, a Pakistani colonel who retired in 2007, of assisting David Headley, the American LeT operative who had provided surveillance for the Mumbai attacks and planned to attack the offices of a newspaper in Denmark. After the Mumbai attacks, Pakistan detained five military officers, including two serving lieutenants for having been in contact with David Headley.
In November 2009, Bangladeshi intelligence agencies planned a raid on a madrassa located on the hilltop in the Chittagong district. This madrassa is known to be one of the most notorious, breeding Jihadists as well hosting frequent visits by suspicious foreign nationals. When members of intelligence agencies communicated the raid information to local police, however, the police refused to join, stating that such raid would only hurt the religious sensibilities of the locals.
Bangladeshi intelligence were convinced by intelligence communications that a number of militants were hiding inside this madrassa and planning to attack the American embassy, the Indian High Commission and the British High Commission in Dhaka. Five suspected people were arrested from the madrassa, who later disclosed to interrogators its huge international connections as well as expansionist aims. All of the suspects were identified as active members of LeT.
It was a huge accomplishment for Bangladeshi intelligence to understand the very existence and expansion of activities of LeT, as well as other Islamist militancy groups in the country. Any "successful" offensive by these groups would only tarnish image of Bangladesh, the third largest Muslim nation in the world.
During the past year, Bangladeshi law enforcement agencies have arrested more than 18 members of LeT, including 4 Pakistanis and 6 Indians. Later, the arrested members of LeT told Bangladeshi interrogators that hundreds of LeT men are hiding inside the country. During the interrogations, one of the arrested militants was identified as an affiliate of Joish-e-Mohammed, a Pakistan based Islamist terror outfit, founded by Pakistani national Moulana Masood Azar, and believed to be behind murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002.
During a recent hearing in the US Senate, Admiral Robert Willard, head of US Navy's Pacific Command, said, "Right now our concern is the movement of Lashkar-e-Taiba … and specifically their positioning in Bangladesh and Nepal, the Maldives, and Sri Lanka."
As an example of how he mainstream political parties in Bangladesh have always been shaking hands with either extremist or radical Islamist groups:
During anti government movement in 1996, the Bangladesh Awami League, a party which played important role during country's war of independence, joined hands with Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh [JIB]. Later, during election of 2001, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party [BNP] formed alliance with Jamaat-e-Islami to win the election.
Before the general election of 2006 [which was postponed due to severe political clashes], the Bangladesh Awami League signed a treaty with an Islamist group, Khelafat Majlish, to establish Sharia Law if elected to power.
Although the Bangladesh Awami League claims to be a party believing in secularism and socialism, its coalition partner Jatiyo Party has a specific agenda in its electoral manifesto, as well as a party constitution dictating strict blasphemy laws to punish critics of Islam.
On the other hand, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, which claims to believe in democracy and Bangladeshi nationalism, joined hands with Islamic Oikya Jote [Islamic Unity Alliance] as its partner when it formed government in 2001. Mufti Fazlul Huq Amini, one of the prominent players of Islamic Oikya Jote is an open supporter of Jihad and Jihadists. He also expresses open solidarity towards various Islamist terror and militancy outfit, including Hamas, Hezbollah, Kashmiri militants and others.
After the election, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina officially met a delegation of a Bangladeshi Islamist party led by Mufti Shahidul Islam, arrested on charge of being the mastermind behind bomb attack at Ahmadiya mosque in Khulna in 1999. Mufti Shahidul Islam runs an Islamic NGO, Markajul Islam, which has connections with, and funding from, dubious Afro-Arab sources. Mufti Islam is also known to be a cohort of Osama Bin Laden's. During 1998, he established a madrassa inside the United States with unknown funding from Arab donors with the goal of preaching Islam there.
Since August 2005, Bangladeshi law enforcement agencies are continue to battle Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh [JMB], believed to be under patronage of some people from Saudi Arabia, Iran and African nations. The mastermind of this notorious group, Shaikh Abdur Rahman, was hanged in 2008 for his involvement in militancy, had studied at Medina University in Saudi Arabia; but during his days at Medina University, he had come in contact with various militancy groups and some of the Al Qaeda men, including Ayman Jawahiri and Osama Bin Laden.
According to reports published in Bangladeshi and theinternational media, an Al Qaeda affiliate, Fazlur Rahman Khalil, has been quietly building up terrorist bases in the jungles of Bangladesh. He was continuing such actions under the protection of the military regime in Dhaka, led by General Moeen U Ahmed. The founding leader of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami in Bangladesh, Fazlur Rehman Khalil, was one of the six signatories of Osama Bin Laden's first declaration of holy war against the United States; a US State Department study reports that Harkat "maintains contact with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan."
It is also alleged that one of the high ranking officials with military intelligence was continuing to patronize various Islamist outfits, including Hizbut Tahrir, Harkatul Jihad and Hizbut Towhid.

Hizb ut-Tahrir Target Bangladesh

THE HATE-INCITING Islamist sect Hizb ut Tahrir has three clear goals: to establish a community of like-minded Hizb ut Tahrir members in host states, to sway public opinion in one or more host states to facilitate change of government, and, finally, to install a new government that implements Islam generally and comprehensively, carrying (its particular brand of) Islamic thought to people throughout the world.

Hizb ut Tahrir’s constitution is a typical, dark, Islamist, totalitarian, freedom-removing, theocratic and extremist formula for an Islamic Caliphate. Hizb ut Tahrir has distributed leaflets inciting the murder of lesbians and gay men. It has referred to suicide bombings as “legitimate” acts of “martyrdom”. One Hizb ut Tahrir member recently expressed his regret to the religious freedom organization Forum 18 that Hitler had not succeeded in eliminating all Jews. Hizb ut Tahrir is proscribed in Russia, Germany and many Muslim countries.

Embarrassingly, Britain is now Hizb ut Tahrir’s de facto headquarters, from where it fundraises and recruits, whilst supporting its extremist brothers and sisters across the globe. A ban on its activities is currently being reviewed by the British Government following the delivery of two dossiers of information on the sect’s activities by the anti terrorist group VIGIL in November 2006 and March this year.

The main spokesman for Hizb ut Tahrir, Dr Imran Waheed, who led a rally of 8,000 people in London in December 2005, is recorded as saying that there can be “no possibility of harmonious co-existence between Islam and the West. Ultimately one has to prevail.” Hizb ut Tahrir is – and has been for years - a systematic dissemination of venom and poison through duplicity; cloaked in a flawed and blatantly apostate interpretation of Taqiyya.

Hizb ut Tahrir – like most extreme Islamist groups (Al Qaeda, the Algerian Islamic Salvation Front, the Taliban and Hezbollah) – seek that elusive state from which they think they will be able to launch their religious and political ideologies and thus grow an Islamic empire. An empire – Hizb ut Tahrir refers to a caliphate - which, according to an archived webpage of the Hizb ut Tahrir website, would "wrest the reins of initiative away from other states and nations" and become the dominant hegemony before Islam ultimately takes over the world.

Since its inception in Jerusalem in 1953, Hizb ut Tahrir’s attempts at winning over a state – like almost all extreme Islamist parties’ attempts – have failed pitifully. In 1968 then 1969 Hizb ut Tahrir was allegedly involved in two failed coup attempts in Jordan and Syria. In 1974 Hizb ut Tahrir failed in a coup attempt in Egypt. Upset that they’d overestimated the number of nuts in their target states, in 1978 Hizb ut Tahrir begrudgingly acknowledged “that the Muslim Ummah had reached a state of total surrender and despair and was not responding to anything”.

After twenty years of banging its head against the wall (virtual silence punctuated by the occasional arrest of a member), in 1998 – incidentally the year of the Tanzanian and Kenyan US embassy bombings by Al Qaeda, and a year of marked Internet take-up – Hizb ut Tahrir suddenly decided once again that the world should know that “the Caliphate is the wish of all Muslims” and thus busily set about making as many people as possible believe in their parallel universe, hanging onto the coat-tails of 911 and consequent “victimization” of Muslims. Hizb ut Tahrir began a two level recruitment strategy – recruiting students who, when they found work, would keep the sect financially buoyant and uneducated “footsoldiers” who would eventually do their dirty work, when called upon to rise up and seize power.

Hizb ut Tahrir’s failures to get hold of a state rankle it most in Central Asia where it has large followings in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, as well as in China's traditionally Muslim Xinjiang Province. Its expansion into Central Asia coincided with the breakup of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s but it came across unexpectedly tough national leaders where it tried to grow – one of whom is alleged to have got so fed up with Hizb ut Tahrir that he boiled some of its members alive - and consequently Hizb ut Tahrir huffed and puffed but failed to make the breakthroughs it was banking on.

Now Hizb ut Tahrir has set its sights on weak, impoverished Bangladesh, where President Dr Iajuddin Ahmed declared a state of emergency in January this year. Hizb ut Tahrir has developed a considerable support base in Bangladesh and in the Bangladeshi community in the UK, describing the last 16 years of government in Bangladesh as ”a failure of the so-called democratic system run according to the dictates of foreign imperialists”. Hizb ut Tahrir Bangladesh has recently published its “Islamic Manifesto” for the country demanding a Khilafah (caliphate), widespread implementation of Shariah law and – perhaps most worrying for the impoverished Bangladeshi economy - for such measures as no foreign ownership of any of the country’s resources.

Yet Hizb ut Tahrir refuses to enter democratic elections wherever it is in the world, claiming elections contrary to Shariah law thus null and void – instead, in Bangladesh, according to its chief in Bangladesh, Mohiuddin Ahmed, wishing to establish Bangladesh as an Islamic state through “systematic movement”.

So what is this “systematic movement” Ahmed refers to, and does Hizb ut Tahrir really have a chance of gaining the keys to the unstable Bangladeshi state?

Hizb ut Tahrir denies sending death threats to politicians, journalists and intellectuals in Bangladesh, though this extremist sect has a record of sending death threats to try to get its own way. (Notably, the gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell received numerous death threats from Hizb ut Tahrir representatives in the 1990’s). Through infiltrating government positions, Hizb ut Tahrir has brought pressure to bear on politicians through fear and finance.

Hizb ut Tahrir is recruiting followers at Bangladesh’s universities and several of its student activists have recently been arrested in the country for distributing inflammatory leaflets. It uses the old excuses of Palestine, Iraq and Western colonialism as the grounds for opportunistic recruiting – saying that its own policies will bring Bangladesh into a “Golden Age”, as once Islam (they allege) experienced. Any opportunity - whether it be cartoon protests or Papal utterances - presents the grounds for a Hizb ut Tahrir protest and recruitment drive.

Subsequent to a massive bombing attack on cities in Bangladesh on August 17th, 2005, Hizb ut Tahrir responded by accusing India of initiating a campaign to destabilize Bangladesh. Investigation later revealed the terrorist attack was carried out by another extremist Islamist faction in Bangladesh, Jama'atul Mujahideen. (Hizb ut Tahrir habitually accuses India, along with "Western colonial powers" of 'conspiracy' against the Bangladeshi populace, using speechifying not dissimilar to that used against the United States or Britain in the Middle East)

Certainly, Bangladesh is ripe for political change. And students – unlike in many other democracies – play an important part in Bangladeshi government. Student politics is particularly strong in Bangladesh, a hangover from the liberation movement era of the early 1970’s. Almost all parties have highly active student wings, and students have been elected to the Bangladeshi Parliament while still students.

The two major parties in Bangladesh are the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Bangladesh Awami League. BNP finds its allies among Islamist parties like Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh and Islami Oikya Jot, while Awami League teams up with leftist and secularist parties. Another important player is the Jatiya Party, headed by former military ruler Ershad. The Awami League-BNP rivalry has been bitter and punctuated by protests, violence and murder – the three environments Hizb ut Tahrir thrives in.

Hizb ut Tahrir garners support and funds for its Bangladeshi designs in Bangladesh and in the UK.

One investigator from the anti terrorist organization VIGIL has been spending a considerable amount of time in the Tower Hamlets area of London – an area synonymous with Bangladeshi immigration and (in world-famous Brick Lane) Bangladeshi restaurants. 33 percent of the Tower Hamlet’s inhabitants are of Bangladeshi origins. It’s a deprived area with high levels of unemployment (like South Croydon, the kind of void area Hizb ut Tahrir look to expand their “footsoldier” recruitment in) .

From her investigations of the area, it has become clear that Hizb ut Tahrir (1) are spending considerable sums of money recruiting Bangladeshi Muslims in the area (2) taking out whole-page, cash-paid Hizb ut Tahrir recruitment ads in Bangladeshi newspapers (which keep some of the papers going according to one editor) (3) inviting Bangladeshis to Hizb ut Tahrir study circles and events (4) telling Bangladeshis not to vote in local or national elections as this is against the principles of Islam (5) distributing inflammatory propaganda leaflets in the area daily, which aim to attract the youth (6) at meetings declaring the West and, in particular, British life as deviant and corrupt – declaring even the Brick Lane festival as an event which Muslims should not be seen at because of the free mixing and alcohol present (7) underlying the “great work” Hizb ut Tahrir is doing in Bangladesh – how their work there is a portent of the Hizb ut Tahrir sponsored caliphate to come there (8) taking considerable funds off Bangladeshi recruits (9) apologizing for their failure in the past to recognize Bangladeshi Muslims as equals (Hizb ut Tahrir Britain consists predominantly of Pakistani Muslims who, as a group, have a well-documented superiority complex over Bangladeshi Muslims) and are actively looking to elect a British, Bengali-speaking Bangladeshi to their visible British leadership (10) are aggressively engineering takeovers of cash-cow Bangladeshi mosques in the Tower Hamlets area (11) are fishing the Tower Hamlets Bangladeshi community for useful, particularly Bangladesh Nationalist Party, political connections and routes for infiltration (12) are openly rejecting integration into British society, underlying the superiority of “Muslim identity” and the irrelevance of British “kuffar” laws (13) are privately distributing radical Islamist literature amongst members of the Bangladeshi Diaspora in Tower Hamlets (14) are particularly “providing structures of support” (radicalizing) Bangladeshi Muslims from the community in or recently out of jail and (15) are discreetly attending study circles and seminars in well-known private premises, who have been made aware (16) reports are coming through UK Bangladeshis that terror training camps are now springing up in Bangladesh to which British Bangladeshis are being sent.

More worrying is the evidence uncovered on the area’s East London Youth Forum, which is operating as a front organization for Hizb ut Tahrir. The Youth Forum engages Muslim youths in activities ranging from hiking to paint-balling – activities, which on the face of it, their (often 18 hour working day) parents are happy to see them partake in. Only, when these youths are away, then Hizb ut Tahrir starts the brainwashing. Undercover Sunday Times journalists accompanied members of the group to one paint-balling session last September in Zulu wood, Manchester, where an imam present described Osama Bin Laden as a "Muslim brother" and said it was the "responsibility" of every Muslim to bring back the caliphate. Kasim Shafiq, 28, a senior member of Hizb ut Tahrir who was present, declared that Muslims should not vote in British elections. "Our own shahadah [creed] tells us that the authority and law do not belong to the non-Muslims, so why are we going to vote for non-Muslims?" According to the Sunday Times, “The Asian group paid no attention to the 300 or so other players at the six-acre site, although they kept their voices down when, at the end of a game, the winning team called "Allahu Akbar [God is great]". During one game, a player said: "I’ve been shot." His team-mate replied: "Don’t worry, the shahid [martyr] never dies."

Hizb ut Tahrir’s focus in search of its “elusive state” has swung away from the Central European states like Uzbekistan – for now. It is focused primarily on a takeover of Bangladesh, from within Bangladesh and using the financial and political muscle of the Bangladeshi population living abroad. Or as one Bangladeshi Tower Hamlets resident put it to VIGIL’s investigator, “Bangladesh is home to corruption and political violence – in that chaos, any vaguely ordered Islamist group with cash and influence coming from abroad could seem like the solution.”

What are the odds of Hizb ut Tahrir succeeding in taking over Bangladesh, when they’ve failed in the past in all their coup attempts?

On the one hand, they have a chance. If the Jamaat e Islami party can be sufficiently infiltrated, bought out and threatened by Hizb ut Tahrir, they are already the largest partner of the largest political party in Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

On the other hand, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has already banned two radical Islamist parties in Bangladesh –the JMJB and the JMB – so a likely deal with a group which is clearly in the pockets of Hizb ut Tahrir seems unlikely, unless Hizb ut Tahrir have sufficiently infiltrated the BNP (which, according to a BNP source, they have not).

Moreover, other factors play against Hizb ut Tahrir. For one, Bangladesh has instituted a unique system of transfer of power; at the end of the tenure of the government, power is handed over to members of a civil society for three months, who run the general elections and transfer the power to elected representatives – it is unlikely, even in the current political crisis, that Hizb ut Tahrir would not be revealed during these three months as the force behind a government looking to come to power. As a party seeking the caliphate, and therefore an end to democracy in Bangladesh, the three months would reveal their illegal attempt, by deception, at ending Bangladesh’s popular parliamentary representative democratic republic.

Moreover, Bangladesh is surrounded by India on all sides except for a small border with Myanmar to the far southeast and the Bay of Bengal to the south. Bangladesh is heavily dependent on India for direct foreign investment and much trade. India will not sit idly by while an extremist sect (of any kind) attempts a state takeover – nor will the wider international community.

There are several reasons why extreme Islamists will find assuming power in Bangladesh like pushing water uphill. But the key reason is that Bangladesh just isn’t a very religious place, particularly amongst the upper, ruling classes. A very traditional group of mullahs have a monopoly over religious institutions and their staid, unimaginative, conservative approach has made religion rather passé. This dullness was encapsulated in the award-winning Bangladeshi film Matir Moina – homeopathy and prayers instead of antibiotics, punishments for using one’s left hand to write and grim sermons on the conviction needed for Islam all commonplace.

Hizb ut Tahrir is – according to one BNP (Bangladesh) source – more likely to face a ban in Bangladesh than get even the slightest grip on the reins of power. Once again, it seems, the people are just not ready (or unwise?) enough to want to return to the Middle Ages and embrace Hizb ut Tahrir’s idea of a Caliphate.

Perhaps the people can remember what it was like in Afghanistan under the Taliban. Perhaps they can remember the Islamist factions’ attempts at taking control in Algeria in the 1990’s – where, in a Monty Pythonesque series of events which shocked even Al Zawahiri – Islamist sects began declaring that only they held the absolute truth and so set about slaughtering anyone who didn’t believe in their particular version of Islam (to the point where one Islamist sect leader, who also happened to be an illiterate chicken farmer, gathered his six disciples and went around murdering everyone else because they were, so he said, the only seven people in the world who held the truth, so all others, according to the Qu’ran he couldn’t even read, must die). Or maybe they just see through a sham when they are faced by one. (At the last time of counting the population of Bangladesh was 147,365,352. That’s an awful lot of people for Hizb ut Tahrir to con – an awful lot of paint-balling trips).

Hizb ut Tahrir’s actions are once again a worry for states across the world. The conveyor belt to terrorism, which they are part of, is still rolling and remains active in far too many countries. While Hizb ut Tahrir is an ever-present danger in that it radicalizes youths who may well go onto more extreme things, in relation to this extreme sect taking over a state perhaps we should worry less – for Muslims the world over think they are unbearably ugly and understand exactly why they have to wear a mask.

Even Muslim extremists warn about Hizb ut Tahrir. In a website “HT exposed” set up to warn fellow Muslims about the group’s dangers, an extremist Muslim group warns:

In reaction to this loss of the Khilafa in 1924 there arose many Islamic groups who claim to be fulfilling the obligation of working for the return of the Islamic State. Amongst these groups is one known as the "Hizb-ut-Tahrir." This group has been the cause of many of the youth being led astray, indoctrinated in false Islamic beliefs and fooled by false methodology. By this, they fall into those who maybe included in those astray sects who will be punished in the Fire of Jahannam, as made clear from the following aayah and hadeeth. "And whoever contends with and contradicts the Messenger after guidance has been clearly conveyed to him, and chooses a path other than that of the faithful believers (the companions and those that follow them in faith), We shall leave him in the Path he has chosen and land him in Hell, what an evil refuge" [Surah An-Nisa 4:115] "And this Ummah will divide into seventy-three sects, all of which except one will go to Hell and they (i.e. the saved sect) are those who follow what I and My Companions are upon." [Hasan Hadeeth, At Tirmidhee]. In particular they take a opinion on aahad narrations which is in opposition to the understanding of the scholars of the salaf, and they seek to confuse the youth by playing with words and their meanings, as will be made clear insha'Allah. We sincerely advise our brethren that maybe confused by these people to not let their eloquent speech confuse you. To the callers who call to misguidance after having the truth made clear, we remind you that the Fire of Jahannam is no joke.”

But let the last word go to Hanif Qadir, a moderate Muslim leader in East London who confirmed that Hizb ut Tahrir targeted “vulnerable young teenagers”, adding, “They can’t see the damage they cause to the Muslim community. If you want Sharia, then go and ask for it in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.”

US asks govt not to harass Yunus

US officials have told Sheikh Hasina that there will be no further high-level diplomatic interaction between the United States and Bangladesh until the harassment of Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank, ends.(The New Age BD)

that her government must not force Yunus out of the Grameen bank and that he should be allowed to leave the bank gracefully and be given reasonable time to find a successor.

Mohammed Yunus, Bangladesh’s first Nobel Peace laureate, has been under sustained attack from the Bangladesh government and sections of the country’s media since the broadcast of a Norwegian documentary in December 2010 alleging that Yunus had ‘quietly tapped’ the Grameen Bank for $48 million of Norwegian aid money.

Although the Norwegian government found that this allegation was false, the Bangladesh prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, described Yunus as a ‘blood sucker’ and set up a wide-ranging inquiry into the bank.

Three criminal cases involving defamation, fraud and food adulteration have also been filed against him although the High court in the past week stayed the adulteration case for six months.

Hasina was told directly by US officials that a possible visit to Bangladesh early April by the US secretary of state, Hilary Clinton, following her trip to Delhi, was contingent on a resolution of this high-profile crisis.

Hasina, who is planning to visit Washington in April to take part in the World Islamic Forum, has also been informed that she will not be given a meeting with the US president, Barack Obama, unless Yunus is personally agreeable to the terms of any compromise.

The prime minister’s press secretary Abul Kalam Azad said that he could not comment since he was unaware that these conversations had taken place. He added that he did not know that there was a possibility that Hilary Clinton might come to Bangladesh.

While many countries share US concerns about the Bangladesh government’s handling of the Grameen bank, no other country is known to have come close to the US in imposing these kinds of sanctions in support of Muhammad Yunus.

The government’s attack on Yunus has already resulted in the loss of some US financial support.

The US Millennium Challenge Corporation, an independent US foreign aid agency funded by the US congress, decided in January against putting Bangladesh on its ‘threshold’ programme where countries must ‘demonstrate a commitment to just and democratic governance, investments in the people of a country, and economic freedom.’

Humayun Kabir, who until 2009 was the ambassador to the United States, told New Age, ‘Maintaining high-level contacts is important for both the countries as these are building blocks to the relationship which is a very important one for Bangladesh. United States is one of the country’s most important trading partner and a partner in security.’

Although Hasina has shown no signs of relenting, it is understood that discussions between Muhammad Yunus, the finance minister, Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, and former Grameen Bank chairperson Rehman Sobhan, took place in Delhi over the last few days where they all attended the same conference.

‘Muhith has been told what the Grameen Bank wants. It is now in the minister’s hands,’ said a person privy to the conversations.

Even if Hasina gives Yunus time to leave the organisation, a likely stumbling block to any agreement, however, concerns the position of Muzammel Huq, the new chairperson of the Grameen Bank, appointed in January by the Bangladesh government.

Formerly, the general manager of the bank, Muzammel was fired by Yunus more than 10 years ago. The New York Times recently reported that he said that Yunus had a ‘small heart’ and could not ‘give credit to anyone but himself.’

Another contentious issue is whether Yunus will be allowed to continue at the bank in some advisory or honorary role

On Monday, the Grameen Bank will hold its first board meeting under Muzammel’s new chairmanship. The board comprises three government appointees – including the chairperson - and nine others elected by the borrower-shareholders.

The western diplomat told New Age that the finance ministry was going to use the board meeting as an opportunity to send a dismissal letter to Yunus on the basis that his previous extension to his employment had not been sanctioned by the Bangladesh Bank.

However, it is understood that the government, under pressure, decided not to do this.

The government may have to come to a quick decision on whether to change tack

Yunus is due to go to the United States in early March where he is likely to meet Hilary Clinton. The western diplomat told New Age that what Yunus tells Clintion about any change in the government stance towards him and the bank will influence any plans Clinton may have about coming to Bangladesh.

The Bangladesh government is also likely to be aware that the argument over Yunus is impacting badly on the US Congress which has recently awarded Yunus a Congressional Gold Medal.

The Congress decides, each year, the level of money that the United States Agency for International Development will provide to Bangladesh. It will also ultimately consider whether Bangladesh’s apparel sector should be included in the Generalised System of Preferences that would reduce the tax on imported Bangladesh garments – a long standing demand of the country’s apparel sector.

While in the weeks after the initial press reports, civil society actors in Bangladesh showed little support for Yunus, in recent days this has changed, with increasing number of people signing statements against the government’s ‘harassment’ of Yunus.

His greatest high-level support however comes from outside Bangladesh, with Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland, recently setting up a Friends of Grameen, which includes the former president of the World Bank James Wolfensohn.

Robinson alleged that Yunus and the Grameen Bank were the victims of a ‘campaign of misinfor

International arms intervention in >Burma is most crucial and inevitable

The Panglong Conference held on 12th February 1947, was an historic meeting that took place at Panglong in the Shan States in Burma between the Shan, Kachin and Chin ethnic minority leaders and general Aung San, head of the interim Burmese government. On the agenda was the united struggle for independence from Britain and the future of Burma after independence as a unified republic. The agreement accepted “ Full autonomy in internal administration for the frontier area”.

Burma obtained independence on 4th, January, 1948. But the independent hero of Burma, general Aung San was assassinated by his military colleagues in 1947 just one year before the Independence. After the Independence the Democratic government of Burma was under pressure of ethnic minorities because they wanted the government to take measures to implement Panglong agreement. According to the agreement they deserved for autonomy. The U Nu government already discussed with the ethnic minorities including the Rohingya in Arakan and took positive steps to implement the Panglong agreement. Mayu Frontier in Arakan was declared for exclusively Rohingyas. But unfortunately General Ne Win leaded military seized power from him in 1962 and declined the PangLong agreement and as well as Mayu frontier. Since then the ethnic groups such as Karen, Shan, Kachin, etc., have been decided to accelerate their arms movement against military dictatorship, Ne Win and carrying on for about 50 years and the junta offending and retarding them inhumanely. Recently the ethnic Alliance vowed to strive for Federal Union ( Irrawaddy News ).

The junta burnt many villages of ethnic minorities during wars. To evade persecution of junta thousands of Karen, Shan, Kachin, Rakhine, Rohingya , even Burman fled to near by countries to shelter as refugees. The ethnic minorities including Rohingyas are being faced racial and religious discrimination and junta introduced “divide and rule” policy in such areas. Junta rejected citizenship of Rohingyas by introducing citizenship Act-1982. Many times the military executed massacre across the country. Silent killing is a routine work of barbaric SPDC. Junta killed hundreds of ethnic people such as Karen, Shan etc were on way to nearby countries. The main opposition party NLD won the 1990 election. But junta denied to accept the result. Rather the elected parliamentary members including NLD chief Nobel laureate Daw Aung San Suukyi were put in jails for several years without proper allegations. The only political party ( NDPH ) of Rohingya Muslims which won 4 seats in 1990-election was banned and its chief Master Anowar (a ) Kyaw Man and his family members were imprisoned without judicial proceeding.

As a Democratic reform amid international pressure, Junta trickfully held a general election in November,2010 in which the main opposition party, NLD was not allowed to contest and the symbolic opposition leader Daw Aung Suu Kyi was kept under house arrest. This election is only an eye wash. Junta was successful to organize some ethnic groups to vote SPDC by alluring in various ways. For example, in Arakan junta successfully organized the Rohingyas by alluring that they will be recognized as citizens of Burma and red cards ( National Cards) will be provided them and all the restrictions imposed on Rohingyas earlier will be lifted after election. That's why the Rohingyas worked attentively for SPDC during the period of election campaign and voted in favour of SPDC. But after the election, no commitment of hypocrate junta is met, rather persecution on Rohingyas is intensifying more than ever caused the leaving of Rohingya youth for Malaysia by risky sea route is increasing more than ever. They are victims of inequality and in-justice. But they are compelled to shut mouth.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was released after election. But she becomes like a boat without engine because her party, NLD is inactive and unable to revive due to imposing severe restriction on its activities. After the election persecution in the areas of revolutionary groups is significantly increased. That’s why the vulnerable 84,000 Karen people are going to summit a signed petition to the world leaders including Ban Ki Moon ( Irrawaddy News 28th February,2011) to take steps to protect them from the brutality of junta. The other ethnic minorities expressed their solidarity with this petition.The current popular uprising of Egypt impacted in other countries where the dictatorships have been sucking blood of general public for decades caused erupting war between the general public and the dictatorship in Libya and other nearby Arab countries. It is learnt that some western country are examining the need of arms intervention in Libya to protect the revolutionary people. International pressure on Muammar Qaddafi to end his crackdown on opponents escalated Monday as his loyalists closed in on rebel-held cities nearest the capital. The US moved naval and air forces closer to Libya and said all options were open, including the use of warplanes to patrol the North African nation’s skies and protect citizens threatened by their leader ( Arab News Feb.01.2011 ).

However, Human Rights violation in Burma reached out of tolerance and the people of Burma are passing their life like prisoners and they have no guarantee of life. To erupt an uprising like the in-fructuous uprising1988 without international cooperation will never achieve the political goal. That's why I believe that the only international arms intervention in Burma can de-root the tyrant military dictatorship and the political issue of Burma will be solved for ever. So, international arms intervention in Burma is most crucial and inevitable.

Arundhati Roy – Mumbai Was Not Our 9/11

We’ve forfeited the rights to our own tragedies. As the carnage in Mumbai raged on, day after horrible day, our 24-hour news channels informed us that we were watching “India’s 9/11″. Like actors in a Bollywood rip-off of an old Hollywood film, we’re expected to play our parts and say our lines, even though we know it’s all been said and done before.
As tension in the region builds, US Senator John McCain has warned Pakistan that if it didn’t act fast to arrest the “Bad Guys” he had personal information that India would launch air strikes on “terrorist camps” in Pakistan and that Washington could do nothing because Mumbai was India’s 9/11.
But November isn’t September, 2008 isn’t 2001, Pakistan isn’t Afghanistan and India isn’t America. So perhaps we should reclaim our tragedy and pick through the debris with our own brains and our own broken hearts so that we can arrive at our own conclusions.
It’s odd how in the last week of November thousands of people in Kashmir supervised by thousands of Indian troops lined up to cast their vote, while the richest quarters of India’s richest city ended up looking like war-torn Kupwara – one of Kashmir’s most ravaged districts.
The Mumbai attacks are only the most recent of a spate of terrorist attacks on Indian towns and cities this year. Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Delhi, Guwahati, Jaipur and Malegaon have all seen serial bomb blasts in which hundreds of ordinary people have been killed and wounded. If the police are right about the people they have arrested as suspects, both Hindu and Muslim, all Indian nationals, it obviously indicates that something’s going very badly wrong in this country.
If you were watching television you may not have heard that ordinary people too died in Mumbai. They were mowed down in a busy railway station and a public hospital. The terrorists did not distinguish between poor and rich. They killed both with equal cold-bloodedness. The Indian media, however, was transfixed by the rising tide of horror that breached the glittering barricades of India Shining and spread its stench in the marbled lobbies and crystal ballrooms of two incredibly luxurious hotels and a small Jewish centre.
We’re told one of these hotels is an icon of the city of Mumbai. That’s absolutely true. It’s an icon of the easy, obscene injustice that ordinary Indians endure every day. On a day when the newspapers were full of moving obituaries by beautiful people about the hotel rooms they had stayed in, the gourmet restaurants they loved (ironically one was called Kandahar), and the staff who served them, a small box on the top left-hand corner in the inner pages of a national newspaper (sponsored by a pizza company I think) said “Hungry, kya?” (Hungry eh?). It then, with the best of intentions I’m sure, informed its readers that on the international hunger index, India ranked below Sudan and Somalia. But of course this isn’t that war. That one’s still being fought in the Dalit bastis of our villages, on the banks of the Narmada and the Koel Karo rivers; in the rubber estate in Chengara; in the villages of Nandigram, Singur, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Lalgarh in West Bengal and the slums and shantytowns of our gigantic cities.
That war isn’t on TV. Yet. So maybe, like everyone else, we should deal with the one that is.
There is a fierce, unforgiving fault-line that runs through the contemporary discourse on terrorism. On one side (let’s call it Side A) are those who see terrorism, especially “Islamist” terrorism, as a hateful, insane scourge that spins on its own axis, in its own orbit and has nothing to do with the world around it, nothing to do with history, geography or economics. Therefore, Side A says, to try and place it in a political context, or even try to understand it, amounts to justifying it and is a crime in itself.
Side B believes that though nothing can ever excuse or justify terrorism, it exists in a particular time, place and political context, and to refuse to see that will only aggravate the problem and put more and more people in harm’s way. Which is a crime in itself.
The sayings of Hafiz Saeed, who founded the Lashkar-e-Taiba (Army of the Pure) in 1990 and who belongs to the hardline Salafi tradition of Islam, certainly bolsters the case of Side A. Hafiz Saeed approves of suicide bombing, hates Jews, Shias and Democracy and believes that jihad should be waged until Islam, his Islam, rules the world. Among the things he said are: “There cannot be any peace while India remains intact. Cut them, cut them so much that they kneel before you and ask for mercy.”
And: “India has shown us this path. We would like to give India a tit-for-tat response and reciprocate in the same way by killing the Hindus, just like it is killing the Muslims in Kashmir.”
But where would Side A accommodate the sayings of Babu Bajrangi of Ahmedabad, India, who sees himself as a democrat, not a terrorist? He was one of the major lynchpins of the 2002 Gujarat genocide and has said (on camera): “We didn’t spare a single Muslim shop, we set everything on fire … we hacked, burned, set on fire … we believe in setting them on fire because these bastards don’t want to be cremated, they’re afraid of it … I have just one last wish … let me be sentenced to death … I don’t care if I’m hanged … just give me two days before my hanging and I will go and have a field day in Juhapura where seven or eight lakhs [seven or eight hundred thousand] of these people stay … I will finish them off … let a few more of them die … at least 25,000 to 50,000 should die.”
And where, in Side A’s scheme of things, would we place the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh bible, We, or, Our Nationhood Defined by MS Golwalkar, who became head of the RSS in 1944. It says: “Ever since that evil day, when Moslems first landed in Hindustan, right up to the present moment, the Hindu Nation has been gallantly fighting on to take on these despoilers. The Race Spirit has been awakening.”
Or: “To keep up the purity of its race and culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races – the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here … a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by.”
(Of course Muslims are not the only people in the gun sights of the Hindu right. Dalits have been consistently targeted. Recently in Kandhamal in Orissa, Christians were the target of two and a half months of violence which left more than 40 dead. Forty thousand people have been driven from their homes, half of who now live in refugee camps.)
All these years Hafiz Saeed has lived the life of a respectable man in Lahore as the head of the Jamaat-ud Daawa, which many believe is a front organization for the Lashkar-e-Taiba. He continues to recruit young boys for his own bigoted jehad with his twisted, fiery sermons. On December 11 the UN imposed sanctions on the Jammat-ud-Daawa. The Pakistani government succumbed to international pressure and put Hafiz Saeed under house arrest. Babu Bajrangi, however, is out on bail and lives the life of a respectable man in Gujarat. A couple of years after the genocide he left the VHP to join the Shiv Sena. Narendra Modi, Bajrangi’s former mentor, is still the chief minister of Gujarat. So the man who presided over the Gujarat genocide was re-elected twice, and is deeply respected by India’s biggest corporate houses, Reliance and Tata.
Suhel Seth, a TV impresario and corporate spokesperson, recently said: “Modi is God.” The policemen who supervised and sometimes even assisted the rampaging Hindu mobs in Gujarat have been rewarded and promoted. The RSS has 45,000 branches, its own range of charities and 7 million volunteers preaching its doctrine of hate across India. They include Narendra Modi, but also former prime minister AB Vajpayee, current leader of the opposition LK Advani, and a host of other senior politicians, bureaucrats and police and intelligence officers.
If that’s not enough to complicate our picture of secular democracy, we should place on record that there are plenty of Muslim organisations within India preaching their own narrow bigotry.
So, on balance, if I had to choose between Side A and Side B, I’d pick Side B. We need context. Always.
In this nuclear subcontinent that context is partition. The Radcliffe Line, which separated India and Pakistan and tore through states, districts, villages, fields, communities, water systems, homes and families, was drawn virtually overnight. It was Britain’s final, parting kick to us. Partition triggered the massacre of more than a million people and the largest migration of a human population in contemporary history. Eight million people, Hindus fleeing the new Pakistan, Muslims fleeing the new kind of India left their homes with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
Each of those people carries and passes down a story of unimaginable pain, hate, horror but yearning too. That wound, those torn but still unsevered muscles, that blood and those splintered bones still lock us together in a close embrace of hatred, terrifying familiarity but also love. It has left Kashmir trapped in a nightmare from which it can’t seem to emerge, a nightmare that has claimed more than 60,000 lives. Pakistan, the Land of the Pure, became an Islamic Republic, and then, very quickly a corrupt, violent military state, openly intolerant of other faiths. India on the other hand declared herself an inclusive, secular democracy. It was a magnificent undertaking, but Babu Bajrangi’s predecessors had been hard at work since the 1920s, dripping poison into India’s bloodstream, undermining that idea of India even before it was born.
By 1990 they were ready to make a bid for power. In 1992 Hindu mobs exhorted by LK Advani stormed the Babri Masjid and demolished it. By 1998 the BJP was in power at the centre. The US war on terror put the wind in their sails. It allowed them to do exactly as they pleased, even to commit genocide and then present their fascism as a legitimate form of chaotic democracy. This happened at a time when India had opened its huge market to international finance and it was in the interests of international corporations and the media houses they owned to project it as a country that could do no wrong. That gave Hindu nationalists all the impetus and the impunity they needed.
This, then, is the larger historical context of terrorism in the subcontinent and of the Mumbai attacks. It shouldn’t surprise us that Hafiz Saeed of the Lashkar-e-Taiba is from Shimla (India) and LK Advani of the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh is from Sindh (Pakistan).
In much the same way as it did after the 2001 parliament attack, the 2002 burning of the Sabarmati Express and the 2007 bombing of the Samjhauta Express, the government of India announced that it has “incontrovertible” evidence that the Lashkar-e-Taiba backed by Pakistan’s ISI was behind the Mumbai strikes. The Lashkar has denied involvement, but remains the prime accused. According to the police and intelligence agencies the Lashkar operates in India through an organisation called the Indian Mujahideen. Two Indian nationals, Sheikh Mukhtar Ahmed, a Special Police Officer working for the Jammu and Kashmir police, and Tausif Rehman, a resident of Kolkata in West Bengal, have been arrested in connection with the Mumbai attacks.
So already the neat accusation against Pakistan is getting a little messy. Almost always, when these stories unspool, they reveal a complicated global network of foot soldiers, trainers, recruiters, middlemen and undercover intelligence and counter-intelligence operatives working not just on both sides of the India-Pakistan border, but in several countries simultaneously. In today’s world, trying to pin down the provenance of a terrorist strike and isolate it within the borders of a single nation state is very much like trying to pin down the provenance of corporate money. It’s almost impossible.
In circumstances like these, air strikes to “take out” terrorist camps may take out the camps, but certainly will not “take out” the terrorists. Neither will war. (Also, in our bid for the moral high ground, let’s try not to forget that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the LTTE of neighbouring Sri Lanka, one of the world’s most deadly terrorist groups, were trained by the Indian army.)
Thanks largely to the part it was forced to play as America’s ally first in its war in support of the Afghan Islamists and then in its war against them, Pakistan, whose territory is reeling under these contradictions, is careening towards civil war. As recruiting agents for America’s jihad against the Soviet Union, it was the job of the Pakistan army and the ISI to nurture and channel funds to Islamic fundamentalist organizations. Having wired up these Frankensteins and released them into the world, the US expected it could rein them in like pet mastiffs whenever it wanted to.
Certainly it did not expect them to come calling in heart of the Homeland on September 11. So once again, Afghanistan had to be violently remade. Now the debris of a re-ravaged Afghanistan has washed up on Pakistan’s borders. Nobody, least of all the Pakistan government, denies that it is presiding over a country that is threatening to implode. The terrorist training camps, the fire-breathing mullahs and the maniacs who believe that Islam will, or should, rule the world is mostly the detritus of two Afghan wars. Their ire rains down on the Pakistan government and Pakistani civilians as much, if not more than it does on India.
If at this point India decides to go to war perhaps the descent of the whole region into chaos will be complete. The debris of a bankrupt, destroyed Pakistan will wash up on India’s shores, endangering us as never before. If Pakistan collapses, we can look forward to having millions of “non-state actors” with an arsenal of nuclear weapons at their disposal as neighbours. It’s hard to understand why those who steer India’s ship are so keen to replicate Pakistan’s mistakes and call damnation upon this country by inviting the United States to further meddle clumsily and dangerously in our extremely complicated affairs. A superpower never has allies. It only has agents.
On the plus side, the advantage of going to war is that it’s the best way for India to avoid facing up to the serious trouble building on our home front. The Mumbai attacks were broadcast live (and exclusive!) on all or most of our 67 24-hour news channels and god knows how many international ones. TV anchors in their studios and journalists at “ground zero” kept up an endless stream of excited commentary. Over three days and three nights we watched in disbelief as a small group of very young men armed with guns and gadgets exposed the powerlessness of the police, the elite National Security Guard and the marine commandos of this supposedly mighty, nuclear-powered nation.
While they did this they indiscriminately massacred unarmed people, in railway stations, hospitals and luxury hotels, unmindful of their class, caste, religion or nationality. (Part of the helplessness of the security forces had to do with having to worry about hostages. In other situations, in Kashmir for example, their tactics are not so sensitive. Whole buildings are blown up. Human shields are used. The U.S and Israeli armies don’t hesitate to send cruise missiles into buildings and drop daisy cutters on wedding parties in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan.) But this was different. And it was on TV.
The boy-terrorists’ nonchalant willingness to kill – and be killed – mesmerised their international audience. They delivered something different from the usual diet of suicide bombings and missile attacks that people have grown inured to on the news. Here was something new. Die Hard 25. The gruesome performance went on and on. TV ratings soared. Ask any television magnate or corporate advertiser who measures broadcast time in seconds, not minutes, what that’s worth.
Eventually the killers died and died hard, all but one. (Perhaps, in the chaos, some escaped. We may never know.) Throughout the standoff the terrorists made no demands and expressed no desire to negotiate. Their purpose was to kill people and inflict as much damage as they could before they were killed themselves. They left us completely bewildered. When we say “nothing can justify terrorism”, what most of us mean is that nothing can justify the taking of human life. We say this because we respect life, because we think it’s precious. So what are we to make of those who care nothing for life, not even their own? The truth is that we have no idea what to make of them, because we can sense that even before they’ve died, they’ve journeyed to another world where we cannot reach them.
One TV channel (India TV) broadcast a phone conversation with one of the attackers, who called himself Imran Babar. I cannot vouch for the veracity of the conversation, but the things he talked about were the things contained in the “terror emails” that were sent out before several other bomb attacks in India. Things we don’t want to talk about any more: the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992, the genocidal slaughter of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002, the brutal repression in Kashmir. “You’re surrounded,” the anchor told him. “You are definitely going to die. Why don’t you surrender?”
“We die every day,” he replied in a strange, mechanical way. “It’s better to live one day as a lion and then die this way.” He didn’t seem to want to change the world. He just seemed to want to take it down with him.
If the men were indeed members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, why didn’t it matter to them that a large number of their victims were Muslim, or that their action was likely to result in a severe backlash against the Muslim community in India whose rights they claim to be fighting for? Terrorism is a heartless ideology, and like most ideologies that have their eye on the Big Picture, individuals don’t figure in their calculations except as collateral damage. It has always been a part of and often even the aim of terrorist strategy to exacerbate a bad situation in order to expose hidden faultlines. The blood of “martyrs” irrigates terrorism. Hindu terrorists need dead Hindus, Communist terrorists need dead proletarians, Islamist terrorists need dead Muslims. The dead become the demonstration, the proof of victimhood, which is central to the project. A single act of terrorism is not in itself meant to achieve military victory; at best it is meant to be a catalyst that triggers something else, something much larger than itself, a tectonic shift, a realignment. The act itself is theatre, spectacle and symbolism, and today, the stage on which it pirouettes and performs its acts of bestiality is Live TV. Even as the attack was being condemned by TV anchors, the effectiveness of the terror strikes were being magnified a thousandfold by TV broadcasts.
Through the endless hours of analysis and the endless op-ed essays, in India at least there has been very little mention of the elephants in the room: Kashmir, Gujarat and the demolition of the Babri Masjid. Instead we had retired diplomats and strategic experts debate the pros and cons of a war against Pakistan. We had the rich threatening not to pay their taxes unless their security was guaranteed (is it alright for the poor to remain unprotected?). We had people suggest that the government step down and each state in India be handed over to a separate corporation. We had the death of former prime minster VP Singh, the hero of Dalits and lower castes and villain of Upper caste Hindus pass without a mention.
We had Suketu Mehta, author of Maximum City and co-writer of the Bollywood film Mission Kashmir, give us his version of George Bush’s famous “Why they hate us” speech. His analysis of why religious bigots, both Hindu and Muslim hate Mumbai: “Perhaps because Mumbai stands for lucre, profane dreams and an indiscriminate openness.” His prescription: “The best answer to the terrorists is to dream bigger, make even more money, and visit Mumbai more than ever.” Didn’t George Bush ask Americans to go out and shop after 9/11? Ah yes. 9/11, the day we can’t seem to get away from.
Though one chapter of horror in Mumbai has ended, another might have just begun. Day after day, a powerful, vociferous section of the Indian elite, goaded by marauding TV anchors who make Fox News look almost radical and leftwing, have taken to mindlessly attacking politicians, all politicians, glorifying the police and the army and virtually asking for a police state. It isn’t surprising that those who have grown plump on the pickings of democracy (such as it is) should now be calling for a police state. The era of “pickings” is long gone. We’re now in the era of Grabbing by Force, and democracy has a terrible habit of getting in the way.
Dangerous, stupid television flashcards like the Police are Good Politicians are Bad/Chief Executives are Good Chief Ministers are Bad/Army is Good Government is Bad/ India is Good Pakistan is Bad are being bandied about by TV channels that have already whipped their viewers into a state of almost uncontrollable hysteria.
Tragically, this regression into intellectual infancy comes at a time when people in India were beginning to see that in the business of terrorism, victims and perpetrators sometimes exchange roles. It’s an understanding that the people of Kashmir, given their dreadful experiences of the last 20 years, have honed to an exquisite art. On the mainland we’re still learning. (If Kashmir won’t willingly integrate into India, it’s beginning to look as though India will integrate/disintegrate into Kashmir.)
It was after the 2001 parliament attack that the first serious questions began to be raised. A campaign by a group of lawyers and activists exposed how innocent people had been framed by the police and the press, how evidence was fabricated, how witnesses lied, how due process had been criminally violated at every stage of the investigation. Eventually the courts acquitted two out of the four accused, including SAR Geelani, the man whom the police claimed was the mastermind of the operation. A third, Showkat Guru, was acquitted of all the charges brought against him but was then convicted for a fresh, comparatively minor offence. The supreme court upheld the death sentence of another of the accused, Mohammad Afzal. In its judgment the court acknowledged there was no proof that Mohammed Afzal belonged to any terrorist group, but went on to say, quite shockingly, “The collective conscience of the society will only be satisfied if capital punishment is awarded to the offender.” Even today we don’t really know who the terrorists that attacked the Indian parliament were and who they worked for.
More recently, on September 19 this year, we had the controversial “encounter” at Batla House in Jamia Nagar, Delhi, where the Special Cell of the Delhi police gunned down two Muslim students in their rented flat under seriously questionable circumstances, claiming that they were responsible for serial bombings in Delhi, Jaipur and Ahmedabad in 2008. An assistant commissioner of Police, Mohan Chand Sharma, who played a key role in the parliament attack investigation, lost his life as well. He was one of India’s many “encounter specialists” known and rewarded for having summarily executed several “terrorists”. There was an outcry against the Special Cell from a spectrum of people, ranging from eyewitnesses in the local community to senior Congress Party leaders, students, journalists, lawyers, academics and activists all of whom demanded a judicial inquiry into the incident. In response, the BJP and LK Advani lauded Mohan Chand Sharma as a “Braveheart” and launched a concerted campaign in which they targeted those who had dared to question the integrity of the police, saying it was “suicidal” and calling them “anti-national”. Of course there has been no inquiry.
Only days after the Batla House event, another story about “terrorists” surfaced in the news. In a report submitted to a sessions court, the CBI said that a team from Delhi’s Special Cell (the same team that led the Batla House encounter, including Mohan Chand Sharma) had abducted two innocent men, Irshad Ali and Moarif Qamar, in December 2005, planted 2kg of RDX and two pistols on them and then arrested them as “terrorists” who belonged to Al Badr (which operates out of Kashmir). Ali and Qamar who have spent years in jail, are only two examples out of hundreds of Muslims who have been similarly jailed, tortured and even killed on false charges.
This pattern changed in October 2008 when Maharashtra’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) that was investigating the September 2008 Malegaon blasts arrested a Hindu preacher Sadhvi Pragya, a self-styled God man Swami Dayanand Pande and Lt Col Purohit, a serving officer of the Indian Army. All the arrested belong to Hindu Nationalist organizations including a Hindu Supremacist group called Abhinav Bharat. The Shiv Sena, the BJP and the RSS condemned the Maharashtra ATS, and vilified its chief, Hemant Karkare, claiming he was part of a political conspiracy and declaring that “Hindus could not be terrorists”. LK Advani changed his mind about his policy on the police and made rabble rousing speeches to huge gatherings in which he denounced the ATS for daring to cast aspersions on holy men and women.
On the November 25 newspapers reported that the ATS was investigating the high profile VHP Chief Pravin Togadia’s possible role in the Malegaon blasts. The next day, in an extraordinary twist of fate, Hemant Karkare was killed in the Mumbai Attacks. The chances are that the new chief whoever he is, will find it hard to withstand the political pressure that is bound to be brought on him over the Malegaon investigation.
While the Sangh Parivar does not seem to have come to a final decision over whether or not it is anti-national and suicidal to question the police, Arnab Goswami, anchorperson of Times Now television, has stepped up to the plate. He has taken to naming, demonising and openly heckling people who have dared to question the integrity of the police and armed forces. My name and the name of the well-known lawyer Prashant Bhushan have come up several times. At one point, while interviewing a former police officer, Arnab Goswami turned to camera: “Arundhati Roy and Prashant Bhushan,” he said, “I hope you are watching this. We think you are disgusting.” For a TV anchor to do this in an atmosphere as charged and as frenzied as the one that prevails today, amounts to incitement as well as threat, and would probably in different circumstances have cost a journalist his or her job.
So according to a man aspiring to be the next prime minister of India, and another who is the public face of a mainstream TV channel, citizens have no right to raise questions about the police. This in a country with a shadowy history of suspicious terror attacks, murky investigations, and fake “encounters”. This in a country that boasts of the highest number of custodial deaths in the world and yet refuses to ratify the International Covenant on Torture. A country where the ones who make it to torture chambers are the lucky ones because at least they’ve escaped being “encountered” by our Encounter Specialists. A country where the line between the Underworld and the Encounter Specialists virtually does not exist.
How should those of us whose hearts have been sickened by the knowledge of all of this view the Mumbai attacks, and what are we to do about them? There are those who point out that US strategy has been successful inasmuch as the United States has not suffered a major attack on its home ground since 9/11. However, some would say that what America is suffering now is far worse. If the idea behind the 9/11 terror attacks was to goad America into showing its true colors, what greater success could the terrorists have asked for? The US army is bogged down in two unwinnable wars, which have made the United States the most hated country in the world. Those wars have contributed greatly to the unraveling of the American economy and who knows, perhaps eventually the American empire. (Could it be that battered, bombed Afghanistan, the graveyard of the Soviet Union, will be the undoing of this one too?) Hundreds of thousands people including thousands of American soldiers have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. The frequency of terrorist strikes on U.S allies/agents (including India) and U.S interests in the rest of the world has increased dramatically since 9/11. George Bush, the man who led the US response to 9/11 is a despised figure not just internationally, but also by his own people. Who can possibly claim that the United States is winning the war on terror?
Homeland Security has cost the US government billions of dollars. Few countries, certainly not India, can afford that sort of price tag. But even if we could, the fact is that this vast homeland of ours cannot be secured or policed in the way the United States has been. It’s not that kind of homeland. We have a hostile nuclear weapons state that is slowly spinning out of control as a neighbour, we have a military occupation in Kashmir and a shamefully persecuted, impoverished minority of more than 150 million Muslims who are being targeted as a community and pushed to the wall, whose young see no justice on the horizon, and who, were they to totally lose hope and radicalise, end up as a threat not just to India, but to the whole world. If ten men can hold off the NSG commandos, and the police for three days, and if it takes half a million soldiers to hold down the Kashmir valley, do the math. What kind of Homeland Security can secure India?
Nor for that matter will any other quick fix. Anti-terrorism laws are not meant for terrorists; they’re for people that governments don’t like. That’s why they have a conviction rate of less than 2%. They’re just a means of putting inconvenient people away without bail for a long time and eventually letting them go. Terrorists like those who attacked Mumbai are hardly likely to be deterred by the prospect of being refused bail or being sentenced to death. It’s what they want.
What we’re experiencing now is blowback, the cumulative result of decades of quick fixes and dirty deeds. The carpet’s squelching under our feet.
The only way to contain (it would be naïve to say end) terrorism is to look at the monster in the mirror. We’re standing at a fork in the road. One sign says Justice, the other Civil War. There’s no third sign and there’s no going back. Choose.


What lies behind the sudden spate of bad press for the Grameen Bank founder? The start of a very few bad months for Muhammad Yunus, the managing director of Grameen Bank, began in November, with the broadcast of a documentary on Norwegian Television. It was not so much the film’s criticism of micro- credit that was worrying for Grameen – microcredit has been under some sustained critical assessment for quite some time. Rather, the film made allegations directed at Yunus personally, as well as claims that the bank misused millions of dollars of donor money. The programme claimed that 15 years ago, Grameen’s Noble Peace Prize-winning founder had ‘quietly tapped Grameen Bank’ for USD 48 million of aid money. This money, it alleged, had been transferred from Grameen Bank to a separate company, Grameen Kalyan, and some money was said to have been diverted to fund Grameen Telecom, a separate company.    Made for Norwegian TV, the programme might have aroused little international interest had it not been for the English-language online Bangladesh news portal, bdnews24. com . The Dhaka-based agency quickly took up the story, publishing a long report in English, using documents given to it by the Danish filmmaker. Its editors gave the story the headline, ‘Yunus “ siphoned Tk 7 bn aid for poor”’. The following day, the allegation was republished in most of Bangladesh’s newspapers, and soon it was an international story, with The Times in London suggesting that Yunus’s ‘reputation was under threat’.   Fourteen years ago, during the current prime minister’s first term in office, Sheikh Hasina was appointed co-chair of the Micro Credit Summit Council of Heads of State and Government, held in Washington, DC. At that time, she had nothing but praise for Mohammed Yunus. ‘We in Bangladesh are proud of the outstanding work done by Professor Mohammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank he founded,’ she said in her remarks. ‘He has demonstrated to the world that the poor have the capacity to productively use even a small credit and change their fate. The success of the Grameen Bank has created optimism about the viability of banks engaged in extending micro-credit to the poor. ’   In the aftermath of the bdnews24. com story, however, Prime Minister Hasina’s attitude has been starkly different. ‘Bangladesh has set many examples,’ she told journalists in December. ‘Deceiving people by siphoning off their money is another such example. This is nothing but sucking out money from the people after giving them loans.’    Prime Minister Hasina was known to be resentful of Yunus when he received the Nobel Peace Prize, in October 2006 – Hasina is said to believe that the prize was rightfully hers. In her first term of government, between 1996 and 2001 , following the signing of a peace treaty in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Hasina had sent emissaries around the world to lobby international statesmen, including Nelson Mandela, to nominate her for the prize. When, five years after she left power, it was Yunus who received the prize, she apparently did not take it well.    Five months later, an event took place for which Hasina evidently never forgave Yunus. In February 2007 , a month after a military- backed ‘caretaker’ government took over power, he announced the formation of a new political party. At that time, the military-backed government was reported to be trying to remove her – along with Khaleda Zia, the leader of the other main political party – from active politics. Yunus said he wanted a ‘complete emasculation of the established political parties’ in order ‘to cleanse the polity of massive corruption’. This did not go down well with Hasina, who reportedly thought Yunus was behind the strategy of removing the two leaders of the established parties from power – even though, after making these comments, he abandoned his idea of becoming active in party politics.   Time for old scores Less than a week after the film was broadcast, the Norwegian government – whose funds were the ones said to have been stolen and misused – issued a report on the allegations. Erik Solheim, the Norwegian minister of the environment and international development, stated that, according to the report, ‘there is no indication that Norwegian funds have been used for unintended purposes, or that Grameen Bank has engaged in corrupt practices or embezzled funds.’   Subsequent inquiries by a local newspaper, New Age , identified that the documentary had failed to recognise that the movement of money from Grameen Bank to Grameen Kalyan was a mere ‘ paper exercise’, and did actually not leave Grameen’s account. There was therefore no question that the money has been misused. Further, the money used to buy shares in Grameen Telecom was not donor money, but came from a bank-created fund to support welfare activities of its members and staff.    One might have thought that at least the Norwegian government response would bring an end to the allegations. But not at all. Toufique Khalidi, the chief editor of bdnews24. com , was having none of it. The official report ‘neither contradicts the Norwegian TV documentary, nor does it refute anything in our report. It rather corroborates what we have reported,’ he said. (Khalidi appears to have been going by the old anti- journalistic adage, ‘Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.’) He refused to respond to the New Age article.   More importantly, Prime Minister Hasina appears to have read the situation as an opportunity for the government to make a sustained attack on Yunus. In the weeks after the documentary was broadcast, a slew of allegations against Yunus have been leaked to Bangladeshi newspapers. These included claims that Grameen Bank has created companies unlawfully, was acting outside the law by serving as managing director (as he was past the mandatory retirement age of 60 years), and that the bank was in fact ‘an organ of the state’. The bank has denied all illegality, including noting that the law does not apply to age limits for non- commercial banks such as Grameen.    Throughout all this, bdnews24. com has acted as a cheerleader. Intriguingly, the site’s executive editor, Khalidi, has another full- time job – as chief editor of Independent Television, a company owned by Prime Minister Hasina’s private-sector investment adviser, Beximco’s Salman Rahman. Rahman is also rumoured to be on the verge of buying a large amount of shares in the online company.    At any rate, in early January, the site published another high-profile, and highly critical, story on Yunus. This claimed that a two-decade-old contract between Grameen Bank and Yunus’s family’s printing company gave the ‘poor borrowers’ a job having nothing to do with its core business.’ It further suggested that the family company had gained financially by the arrangement, alleging, for example, that the use of Grameen staff in the printing company was ‘ to boost dividends for the family business’.   However, beyond the question that it was clearly unwise for Yunus to have entered into any contract with his family, bdnews24. com ’s two central claims in the story were patently untrue. The printing work undertaken by the Yunus family’s company assists the running of the core business of Grameen Bank – its only function is to print material for the bank. In addition, the arrangement has not, in the last 20 years, resulted in any family member receiving dividends or profits.    Whatever the truth of the matter, such coverage has helped to create a climate that has ostensibly legitimised a government decision to establish a wide-ranging enquiry into Grameen Bank, beginning in mid-January. Committee Chair Monwar Uddin Ahmed said that his committee will now look into the ‘ Overall functioning of Grameen Bank, and suggest how to improve functions of the bank in the future, and in that context look at all legal economic social dimensions of the bank. There is also provision for a special audit of Grameen Bank by the Bangladesh Bank.’ Ahmed also noted that the committee would be looking at all Grameen ‘sister organisations’ and reviewing all recent news ‘particularly about the Norwegian programme’.   Yunus has also become subject to legal harassment over three criminal cases. In January 2007 , a member of the Jatiya Somajtantrik Dal (JSD), a small left-wing party, filed a criminal defamation case against Yunus for alleging, in an interview, that Bangladeshi politics was simply about ‘the power to make money’. The JSD politician alleged that he had been defamed by this remark. For the past three years, the case had sat with a magistrate who had apparently taken no action, presumably because he realised there was no case to answer. But shortly after the new bdnews24. com report appeared, the magistrate issued a summons for Yunus to appear in court.    Some of the legal harassment seems to be clutching at straws. The other was a new case filed by a food inspector accusing Yunus of food adulteration, through a joint venture between four Grameen companies and the French food giant Danone. A food inspector is alleging that yogurt manufactured by the company was adulterated and is prosecuting a number of people, including Yunus as chairman of Grameen Danone. The legal basis for prosecution against a board member for such a matter is dubious.    Banking on…? How this battle between Yunus and Hasina will end is far from certain. Despite commitments that the government inquiry will be objective and fair, it is clear that the intentions of the government towards Yunus are far from neutral. Prime Minister Hasina is reported to have told one visiting foreign dignitary that Yunus would not be allowed to remain as head of Grameen Bank, and that ‘he should leave now.’ Friends of Yunus are convinced that the prime minister intends to do whatever it takes to destroy his good name, and to remove him from the institution he founded. There seem to be indications that the government wants to take over Grameen Bank, though Grameen has stated that the government only owns 3.4 percent of the institution. Prime Minister Hasina might be betting that both Yunus and Grameen Bank are vulnerable due to the former’s weak links with Bangladesh’s civil society. Yunus does not come from Bangladesh’s elite, and has never ingratiated himself to it; further, many question whether he deserved the Nobel Peace Prize. Yet against this, Yunus remains an international statesman, and has support not only at the highest reaches of the US government, for one, but also among civil-society elites throughout much of the world.    ‘You have to realise that, on a scale of one to ten, if Yunus is close to ten in the eyes of international statesmen, the prime minister of Bangladesh is about one and a half,’ says one former Bangladesh diplomat on condition of anonymity. ‘Yunus can get meetings with anyone; the prime minister can’t.’ This both helps to explain Hasina’s continuing resentment of Yunus, but also the difficulty the prime minister faces in her battle with the ‘banker to the poor’. It remains unclear whether Hasina is really willing to risk the inevitable international backlash that would occur if her government ends up taking anything that is perceived as spiteful action against Yunus.   --  David Bergman is the Editor, Special Reports of New Age  newspaper in Bangladesh. He also happens to be the husband of Sara Hossain who is part of Muhammad Yunus's legal team.

Dr. Yunus : Global Lighthouse : Hasina Tries To Destroy

Bangladesh Government Site Introduction: Dr. Mohammad Yunus is again the headline news of the World media with great honor. He drew the global attention for his visionary movement of supporting the poorest and most fragile class of the world through micro-credit, and gave millions of women all over the globe self respect and confidence. Again he has become the global news headlines of late as the Head of government of his own country spearheaded a vicious campaign to dislodge him from the very institution that he created and nurtured over the past 28 years, that brought immense fame and glory to our motherland unlike anyone else ever did. After calling Prof. Yunus in derogatory names, and when the government could not pin any blame for corruption or mismanagement of funds on him, the Prime Minister Mrs. Sheikh Hasina directed the Bangladesh Bank to relieve Prof. Yunus of his position of Managing Director of the Grameen Bank on age issue, required for mandatory retirement of Government officials. Gramen Bank is not government owned bank!! The board of directors of the Grameen Bank and Dr. Yunus have separately challenged the government action in the high court, and a judgment is expected this coming Sunday. It is a well known fact and we have seen this in the past two years how politicized the Judiciary has become, and there will be no surprise if the High Court verdict is coerced to support the the government decision. In the current situation, numerous countries including the US, EU, China, Islamic and other third world countries and various global leaders have expressed their dismay and deep concern for the mistreatment of the sole Bangladeshi noble laureate. It is interesting to note that we are yet to see any immediate reaction of the Indian Government!! US Secretary of states Hilary Clinton has invited Dr.Yunus to meet with her in Washington DC on 8 th March. There were discussions about World Bank and several other countries forming micro- credit Bank, and Professor Yunus' name was mentioned as possible Head of it's management or the Board. We have seen from the media report the reaction of the US ambassador Jim Moriarty after his meeting with the Finance Minister Mr. Muhit that the US Government is very much concerned with this development, and we understand it was also conveyed to the government in no uncertain terms all the support given to the Awami League enabling them to come to power during the last election. Yet our Foreign Minister, Ms. Dipu Moni tells the media the next day that she does not expect this incident to have any bearing in the US-Bangladesh relationship according to Daily Ittefaq. There were plan to have a significant partnership with General Electric and Grameen in the healthcare area, and it was expected that Mrs. Clinton was planning to attend the signing event along with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Now with this new development, it is unlikely that Mrs. Clinton will travel to Dhaka, and we will not be surprised if the entire deal unravels. Opinion with little analysis: Grameen Bank and Dr. Yunus is a regular news headline since March 2 nd, 2011 in Bangladesh and abroad. Reports are based on the facts of the government's action and the legal affairs of the Grameen Bank. I am of the same opinion with the analysts who focus the entire operation of Sheikh Hasina as absolute political and her personal interest based on sheer bias and hatred. That politics has both a national and international overtone. Hasina loves to enjoy the unchallenged and safe kingdom where she will remain in permanent premiership with none to question her authority, and her son Sajib to follow her after her passing. She is the sole agent of Indian power in Wajed Joy Bangladesh where United States of America, EU, Muslim states and China-Russia will keep continue the relation with her through Delhi government. No one should desire the independent relation with Bangladesh. India needs Bangladesh under absolute domination as their buffer state and in future as it`s part in Indian map as it was before 1947. Hasina acts as if she prefers that Indian blueprint. Sheikh Hasina has been ignoring to implement her commitment with the United States and playing as a political film gangster with the State department of U.S. She has been enjoying American support but serving Indian government interest far more then their expectations, as confirmed by the New Delhi sources. All her fake faces and games have now been exposed to the US Administration. Her blackmailing and dirty gambling are also well known to China and the Muslim Countries long time ago. Let`s go for short points of Circumstances: (1) Dr. Yunus contributed to tie up the close relation of Sheikh Hasina with the US government and their main policy makers, and arranged the US blessings for her and played vital role to elect her as premier with absolute majority in the national election in 2008. (2) For the growing economy in Asia-Pacific region Bangladesh deserves strategic priority for its geo-political location. In that perspective United States decided to pick Hasina to serve their interests in Bangladesh. But she has been serving absolutely Indian interests, black mailing the US supports and confronting Bangladeshi interests of military security and economic interests in inside and abroad nakedly. That gradually has turned their relationship cold and growing far apart. (3) Hasina is desperate to continue her loyalty with family and party followers to Indians as she believes RAW has brought her in   power and guides her in political and administrative designs. RAW for the first time manipulated the national election process of Bangladesh successfully and presented her a glorious victory. (4) RAW already set up base network with payroll agents 260000 and 6326 are from so called educated group, out of total agents 64970. These operatives are active from capital city to Upazillas across the country. (5) United States of America might support Dr. Mohammad Yunus as their next choice in Bangladeshi government or set him up as a staring adviser to future government as Hasina doubt lingers. Whereas she is dreaming to see her son S W Joy to follow her in premiership after her retirement or passage. Because of this plan, she has already ousted the heavyweight leaders from Awami league leadership and has brought RAW listed operatives in key position of the government, like Dipu Moni. et al. (6) Dr. Yunus might be the next alternative who proved himself as the model of honesty and an all rounder leadership and highly respected throughout the world. BNP is painted as loyalist party to the Muslims and Fanatic Islamic group and Zia family lost maximum of credibility in leadership for many reasons. The architect Army officers of one / eleven in Bangladesh might dramatically sell their support as they did in the past though still their position is in the same as it was with India after a dramatic monetary deal of almost $11 million US dollars as Delhi sourced. (7) Prime Minister and her son have been planning to grab Grameen Bank`s ownership where as Dr. Mohammad Yunus is the major obstacle for them with his managing capacity and global reputation. (8) Mr. Joy was found masked in Indian Airlines where he was disguised with the dress of Shikh before he got down from in Dhaka International Airport during Sheikh Hasina`s premiership that was witnessed by two European diplomats. Two faces of one VIP passenger who appeared as mafia and special protocol that was provided by the Indian security Marshalls caused embarrassment to the diplomats. However, such suspicious movement of Youngman Joy who has been privileged from the highest authorities of both India and Bangladesh that was enough to frustrate them, undoubtedly. (9) Mr. Joi also attended an IT conference in Bangalore last year, and made an under the table deal to enable Bharti Airtel to come to Bangladesh, and currently acting as their local Agent and has pocketed handsome amount paving their way to Bangladesh. He is now involved with them in the second undersea fiber optic line, and also making sure they do not need to participate in the 2 G auction with Grameen Phone and other operators. (10) In the recently held Telecom conference in Barcelona, Mr. Joi met privately with the CEO's of several Bangladesh Telecom Operators "privately" to negotiate the upcoming 2 G auction, and how they might leverage his " Consulting Services." (11) Mr. Joi, as the so-called self declared IT expert and IT Advisor to the Bangladesh Prime Minister is also very proactive to find a partner, who can refine the requirement for a Satellite and develop and sell it to Bangladesh, by making him "Happy." He has a front man, named Mr. Rick Rahim from Virginia, USA, who acts on his behalf in all such deals!! (12) Mr. Joi also joined Mummy Prime Minister during her trip to China in 2010 ,but was busy meeting privately with clients who later submitted bids for the Padma bridge and other Ministry of Communications and the Ministry of Energy Tenders. He made sure all Chinese clients understood, that they make him Happy, if they wish to win any tender bids in Bangladesh while AL in power. (13) Mr. Joi was also instrumental in facilitating the sale of military hardware to Bangladesh Defense forces from Ukraine and Russia, and in return they made him a Happy Man for his highly successful Consulting Services!! However, India, as it aims to be a growing super power and it is greedy to bring the weak neighbor Bangladesh under her dominion. They have selected the moment to conflict US interests in Bangladesh as US is engaged in the Middle- East and African turmoil. Interesting fact is that China-USA- Muslim world and European Union don`t accept Indian control over Bangladesh, and India wants an absolute control over Bangladesh for the need of the Deep Sea Port and transit through Bangladesh to its Eastern Provinces. As done with the BDR shortly after her ascension to power, this latest episode with Dr. Yunus is part of a deliberate attempt on the AL Government to ensure there will be no one of world stature available to critique its eveil design in Bangladesh. All Military officials who had questioned the Prime Minister after the BDR massacre, were quietly removed from the Services and put to Jail and they are still in solitary confinement. Conclusion: Professor Mohammad Yunus was awarded the Noble prize for Peace as Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr. He is not a follower to any political leader. Prime Minister of Bangladesh and her political party have been campaigning for long time against Prof. Yunus. Dr. Yunus was targeted by the Marxist political groups, then after the Muslim fundamentalists for his micro-credit concept to give emancipation to the women and to the poor. Now finally our Sheikh Hasina is after him, because she felt that she should be the rightful candidate to win the Peace prize after her work in the Tribal area. There should be a limit to political vendetta and personal animosity, and this should not be hatched at the expense of the country. Had Dr. Yunus wanted, he could be the Prime Minister of Bangladesh today, with full local and international support. But he simply wanted to serve his country and help the poor people of the world so they could live a dignity and self respect.