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  • probirbidhan 06:42 on June 10, 2012 Permalink |
    Tags: anti-drug Shikor, , Chittagong, , Doberman dog, drugs peddling, Farhad Mansion, former chairman of Bangladesh Reconditioned Vehicles' Importers and Dealers Association (BARVIDA), Himadri Majumdar Himu killing, Junaid Ahmed Riad, , Shah selim Tipu, Summerfield School   

    The brutal killing of Himadri 

    Elusive Justice

    Tamanna Khan and Minhaj Uddin/ The Daily Star June 8, 2012


    Snapshots of Himadri Majumdar Himu’s life that ended abruptly at 18. Photo: Courtesy

    The five-storied ‘Farhad Mansion’ resembles any other well-maintained house in an affluent neighbourhood of Chittagong city. Yet no gatekeeper guards any of the two steel gates that lead to the small front yard and the stairway of the building. With the summer holidays, it is not surprising that the ground and fourth floors that house an English medium school are deserted. But even the residential second and third floors show no signs of life. Climbing to the top, the locked grilled-gate to the roof is reached. Standing there, one cannot help but shudder, imagining what had happened there on April 27, 2012.

    It was a usual Friday for eighteen- year-old, Himadri Majumdar Himu, a mild-mannered A’ level student. With his friends from Shikor, a social organisation based in Panchlaish, Chittagong, Himu was supposed to attend a ‘Mejban’, held on occasion of the death of the father of another Shikor member. While his Muslim friends went to say the Friday prayers, he waited for them in front of Summerfield School at Panchlaish. Little did he know then, that this wait would be such a fatal mistake.

    “Tipu (Shah Selim Tipu, one of the main suspects of Himu murder case) saw him standing there and ordered his son (Riad) and his cronies Shaju, Danny, and Shaon to abduct Himu and lock him up in his building (Tipu’s house),” says Jawed Ali Chowdhury, General Secretary of Shikor, who was one of the last people to hear the account of a grievously injured Himu at the Chittagong Medical College Hospital (CMCH) later that day.

    ‘Farhad Mansion’ stands witness to medieval barbarism. Photo: Prabir Das

    Some members of Shikor recorded Himu’s account of the incident on a mobile phone: “They took me there. On the way, they broke my mobile phone. Then they took me to the roof and let five or six dogs out….. Then they beat me; no, not with anything; they beat me with their bare hands. I was taken there forcefully. There was Danny bhai, Shaon bhai, the one who plays with the medical team and there was another fair complexioned man. He told me, ‘Do you know who you have (insulted)? He is my father.’ I implored, ‘I have never insulted anyone bhaiya, I never did anything wrong.’ He was Tipu Uncle’s son. Then they pushed me off. They pushed me off from the roof. They let the dogs out….” The brutality of the barbaric incident is evident in Himu’s strained voice as he fought with the excruciating pain that gripped his body.

    One of the three Dobermans that
    were let out to attack Himu.

    Himu had also mentioned Shahadat Hossain Shaju and Shah Selim Tipu’s son Junaid Ahmed Riad as his assailants at other times while he was still conscious, informs Jawed. Gopa Majumdar, Himu’s mother, confirms the claim. “They were standing near the gate to the stairs and were laughing at him. To save himself, he then crossed the roof railing and stood on the sun-shade, so that the dogs could not reach him. At one point, Selim’s son Riad ran towards him and pushed him off,” says a grief-stricken Gopa recounting what her son had told her while fighting with death at the hospital.

    A hushed silence hangs in the living room of Himu’s parents’ rented apartment in Grindlays colony, where he had grown up. Gopa and Prabir Kanti Majumdar are found sitting like two stone statues; defeated in the battle of trying to save their eldest son’s life. “The bones of Himu’s left hand were broken and mutilated, the left leg and the waist was badly hurt; he had serious injury at the back of his head and his lung was totally crushed,” says Prabir Kanti Majumdar, Himu’s father. Ironically, Prabir received the news about Himu’s condition from one of the suspects.

    Mohammad Raihan Hossain, site supervisor of a construction work, adjacent to Farhad Mansion and another unidentified man came to Himu’s rescue initially. Later, he was taken to CMCH by the suspects, who claimed to be Himu’s friends, says Raihan. Though Himu’s family and Shikor members deny any friendship between Himu and the suspected murderers, they weren’t strangers to the teenager. “His school is situated there (the neighbourhood where all of the accused reside) and he also used to take tuition there,” says Gopa, “He was a member of the organisation Shikor. Though he was very young, perhaps he was inspired to join Shikor by a friend at the coaching centre. Shikor’s theme was to protest and prevent drug abuse in that area. They knew that the accused were involved in it (the drug trade).”

    Had it not been for his interest in social activism, Himu today would have been enjoying the study break before university admission. “We had planned to get him admitted to North South University, after his A-Levels,” informs Himu’s mother, who like all mothers had big dreams for her son. But fate had something else up its sleeve for the teenager, who loved basketball and tried to play guitar, despite his friends’ irritation. As members of a minority, Gopa always advised Himu to keep a low profile, but he would not listen. Almost two years ago, he joined Shikor and soon became an active member.

    Besides campaigning against drug addiction and abuse, Shikor also started a neighbourhood vigil of the Panchlaish area where all the suspects of the Himu murder case reside. “Since Road-5, near Tipu’s house is a quiet spot, people use to take drug, yaba, phensedyl and alcohol there. Yaba peddlers used to come in cars and sell the drugs quickly and leave. We resisted those,” Jawed asserts. He alleges that Shah Selim Tipu provides shelter to the drug peddlers in that area. He says that once, during a confrontation with drug peddlers, they warned Shikor members not to interfere in their business, because they receive Tipu’s support.

    Shah Selim Tipu, former chairman of Bangladesh Reconditioned Vehicles’ Importers and Dealers Association (BARVIDA) is the son of Engineer Amin, and his family has been living in Panchlaish for two generations. Father of three children, one son and two daughters, Tipu and another of his three brothers live in the inherited property, Farhad Mansion. Tipu’s son Riad, his eldest daughter and wife live in London. Riad is said to be studying there and often comes to visit his father and sister. Tipu is also the motowalli (leader) of the neighbourhood mosque, Mokki Masjid.

    Md Shaheen, a resident of Panchlaish area alleges that Tipu uses his position as the mosque’s motowalli to have influence over the neighbourhood. “I inherited an eighteen katha land beside the Mokki Masjid which my father leased from the Public Works Department (PWD) in 1962. When I started to build a house at the plot in 2008, Tipu demanded a shop space in front of my house for free. When I refused, he demanded an extortion of Tk 10 lakh,” claims Shaheen. When that did not happen, Tipu obtained a stay order from PWD and stopped construction, says Shaheen. Later when Shikor set up a temporary office on that land with Shaheen’s permission, they also came under Tipu’s ire. “Tipu is a goon-like man at the Panchlaish area and almost all the locals fear him,” states Shaheen.

    One evening in October, 2011, Shikor members including Himu confronted a few drug addicts near Road -5; Shaju and Danny were present there too. “Shaju called Tipu. He came and scolded us and told us to leave the area by bringing out a knife,” Jawed says. Describing the event Shikor members filed a general diary with Panchlaish Police station on October 20, 2011.

    Himu’s bedroom — bereft of its occupant. Photo: Prabir Das

    Jawed believes that Tipu and his cohorts targeted Himu, because on the day of the direct confrontation with Tipu, Himu was the one who retorted back at Tipu’s threat. Shamim Yusuf, Principal of Summerfield, informs that Himu had once planned to organise an anti-drug seminar with Shikor at Summerfield. However, it did not happen for some reason. According to Jawed, Tipu had threatened Himu over telephone not to carry out any anti-drug activity. “Whereas for all these years nobody dared protested against him (Tipu), my son did,” says Gopa. The pride that should have echoed in the mother’s voice is subdued by grief.

    Till the time of writing this story, only one of the five accused, Shahadat Hossain Shaju, of the Himu murder case had been arrested by police. Although Himu’s father filed a general diary a day after the incident took place, the family claims that police started investigation only after the case was filed on May 24, 2012. According to police, Himu’s family has not been cooperative enough about the investigation. Refuting police’s accusation, Prabir says that right after the incident they were more concerned about saving Himu’s life than dealing with legal matters.

    Unfortunately, Himu did not receive much help at CMCH, because of the absence of doctors on a Friday. He was later taken to Surgiscope Clinic, from where he was shifted to Dhaka’s Square Hospital, Sunday night, April 29, 2012. Almost a month later, Himu succumbed to his injuries on May 23, 2012. Ironically, Tipu accompanied the family from Chittagong Medical to Dhaka and according to Jawed he provided for Himu’s medical expenses at the Square Hospital.

    Prabir argues that Tipu followed them everywhere to prevent them from taking any legal actions against the accused. “He made all arrangements to be out of reach while Himu was still alive. He did all the necessary lobbying wherever needed to keep himself safe,” insists Gopa. Himu’s dead body was released from the Square Hospital without an autopsy. While Mohammad Alamgir Hossain, Officer in Charge, Panchlaish Police Station claims that police had to convince the family to send the dead body for autopsy, by filing a case, Shikor members, on the other hand, say that they are the ones who insisted on the autopsy. The case was finally filed by Awami League leader Sri Prakash Das Asit, a cousin of Himu’s mother, who had to take the responsibility as the family was too shocked by the death to take any legal action then.

    A reliable source, preferring to be anonymous says that Chittagong City Corporation ward councillor Giasuddin tried to prevent the autopsy and later provided shelter to the absconding Tipu. However, Giasuddin refuted both claims when contacted by The Daily Star. Relatives of Himu and residents of Panchlaish area are in doubt whether the main accused of the murder case Shah Selim Tipu and his son Riad would ever be arrested and be brought to the book. Requesting not to be named, a relative of Himu says, “Tipu has both money and influence. As he is involved with the political party in power, some leaders are trying to influence the administration to save Shah Selim Tipu and his son.” With a deep sigh he adds, “Perhaps Tipu and his son will slip away through the loopholes of the law and administration by using their money and influence.”

    It is difficult to differentiate the Himadri Majumdar Himu murder case from the thousand other cases where the accused are identified but for some strange reason remain out of the reach of the law enforcement agencies. While the families of the accused sleep in peace, the victim’s family live in fear. Himu’s close friends now pretend not to know him well; fear of repercussion are evident in their teenage eyes. Hardly a soul can be found in the Panchlaish neighbourhood near Farhad Mansion, who admits knowing Tipu well. It is more likely that Himu’s murder will just become another X-file among the million others that awaits justice in the police departments across the country. Power and money will yet again, stand in the way of justice.

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  • probirbidhan 01:50 on June 2, 2012 Permalink |
    Tags: , Chittagong, , , military base, , , , security concern, , US Navy in Bangladesh   

    Exclusive: America eyes Bangladesh for Navy Base 

    ঢাকা, জুন ০১ (বিডিনিউজ টোয়েন্টিফোর ডটকম)- যুক্তরাষ্ট্র বঙ্গোপসাগরে তার নৌবাহিনীর শক্তিশালী উপস্থিতি নিশ্চিত করতে মরিয়া হয়ে উঠেছে বলে দাবি করেছে ভারতের টাইমস গ্রুপের টিভি চ্যানেল টাইমস নাউ।

    সংবাদভিত্তিক এই চ্যানেলে এক অনুষ্ঠানে বলা হয়েছে, এ অঞ্চলে ক্রমবর্ধমান চীনা প্রভাব মোকাবেলা করতেই বঙ্গোপসাগরে মার্কিন নৌবহরের ঘাটি চাইছে যুক্তরাষ্ট্র, যা ভারতের জন্য উদ্বেগজনক।

    শুক্রবার ‘আমেরিকা আইস বে অব বেঙ্গল’ শীর্ষক আলোচনায় যুক্তরাষ্ট্র তার সপ্তম নৌবহরের একটি বড় অংশের ঘাটি হিসেবে চট্টগ্রামকে ব্যবহার করতে চায় বলে আলোচকরা উল্লেখ করেন।

    অনুষ্ঠানের সঞ্চালক টাইমস নাউয়ের এডিটর ইন চিফ অর্নব গোস্বামী আলোচনার সূচনায় বলেন, ১৯৭১ সালে মুক্তিযুদ্ধের সময় পাকিস্তানকে সহায়তা করার জন্য যুক্তরাষ্ট্র বঙ্গোপসাগরে সপ্তম নৌবহর পাঠাতে চেয়েছিল। এখন ৪১ বছর পর এই যুক্তরাষ্ট্রই চট্টগ্রামে সপ্তম নৌবহরের ঘাটি বানাতে চাচ্ছে।

    কোনো সূত্র উল্লেখ না করে তিনি দাবি করেন, টাইমস নাউ নিজস্ব অনুসন্ধানে জেনেছে, যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের পররাষ্ট্রমন্ত্রী হিলারি ক্লিনটন বাংলাদেশে তার সাম্প্রতিক সফরে এ নিয়ে বাংলাদেশের কর্মকর্তাদের সঙ্গে আলোচনাও করেছেন।

    ভিডিও কনফারেন্সের মাধ্যমে অনুষ্ঠানে আলোচক হিসেবে ছিলেন ওয়াশিংটনের হেরিটেজ ফাউন্ডেশনের সিনিয়র রিসার্চ ফেলো লিসা কার্টিস, বাংলাদেশে ভারতের সাবেক হাই কমিশনার বীণা সিক্রি, বিজেপির জাতীয় নির্বাহী কমিটির সদস্য শেশাদ্রি চারি, স্ট্যাটেজিক অ্যাফেয়ার্স বিশ্লেষক মাহরুফ রাজা, টাইমস নাওয়ের উপদেষ্টা সম্পাদক ওয়াসবির হুসেইন এবং হংকংভিত্তিক সেন্টার ফর স্ট্র্যাটেজিক রিসার্চ অ্যান্ড অ্যানালাইসিসের চীনের প্রতিনিধি অ্যান্টনি উ।

    টাইমস নাও দাবি করে, দক্ষিন চীন সাগরে অনেক চীনা ঘাটি ছড়িয়ে রয়েছে যার মাধ্যমে যুক্তরাষ্ট্রকে পেছনে ফেলে এশিয়ায় চীনা নৌ বাহিনী প্রভাব বিস্তার করছে। এর মোকাবেলায় চট্টগ্রামে নৌঘাটি চায় যুক্তরাষ্ট্র।

    বর্তমানে জাপান, গুয়াম ও সিঙ্গাপুরে মার্কিন সপ্তম নৌবহরের ঘাটি রয়েছে।

    তবে অনুষ্ঠানে ভিডিও কনফারেন্সের মাধ্যমে অংশ নেওয়া মার্কিন পররাষ্ট দপ্তরের মুখপাত্র ভিক্টোরিয়া নুল্যান্ড দাবি করেন, হিলারির বাংলাদেশ সফরে এ নিয়ে কোনো আলোচনাই হয়নি।

    কিন্তু টাইমস নাওয়ের ওয়াশিংটন প্রতিনিধি প্রিসিলা হাফ দাবি করেন, “যুক্তরাষ্ট্রে পররাষ্ট্র দপ্তর নিশ্চিত করেছে যে হিলারি সপ্তম নৌবহরের ভবিষ্যৎ ঘাটি নিয়ে আলোচনা করে এসেছেন।”

    টাইমস নাউয়ের উপদেষ্টা সম্পাদক ওয়াসবির হুসেন বলেন, তার কাছে বাংলাদেশ থেকে তথ্য এসেছে যে, ২০০৮ সাল থেকেই চট্টগ্রামে নৌঘাটি করা নিয়ে বাংলাদেশের সঙ্গে যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের আলোচনা হচ্ছে। যুক্তরাষ্ট্র বাংলাদেশের বিমান ঘাটিগুলো নিয়ে জরিপ চালানোর প্রস্তাব দিয়েছে। যুক্তরাষ্ট্র চায় যে তার নৌযান নারায়ণগঞ্জ পর্যন্ত পৌঁছাক।

    তিনি বাংলাদেশের কয়েকজন সংসদ সদস্য এবং সেনা কমান্ডো বাহিনীর সঙ্গে কথা বলে এ তথ্য জেনেছেন বলে দাবি করেন।

    অনুষ্ঠানে বলা হয়, বাংলাদেশ সরকার কঠোর সমালোচনার ভয়ে যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের সঙ্গে এই আলোচনা পুরোপুরি অস্বীকার করছে। তবে আগামী নির্বাচনের আগে আওয়ামী লীগ সরকার এ ধরণের কোনো সিদ্ধান্ত নেওয়ার ঝুকি নেবে কিনা তা নিয়ে আলোচকেরা সন্দেহ প্রকাশ করেন।

     

     

    Excl: America eyes Bangladesh

    31 May 2012, 2031 hrs IST

    America’s threat to send its seventh fleet to stop liberation of Bangladesh in 1971 is a known fact. Now, 41 years later – it is America again – which wants to park its seventh fleet in the country – for its strategic interests. Worried by increasing presence of Chinese naval bases in the South China Sea – America now eyes a counter strategy – as it wants an overall presence in Asia – right from Japan to its Diego Garicia base in the Indian Ocean.

    This by parking its seventh fleet in a base in Chittagong giving it both an eye on taking on China and a strategic post in Asia as it pulls out of Afghanisthan. The US State Department denying on the record that Hillary Clinton’s visits had anything to do with military co-operation.

    Victoria Nuland: Please, in the back.

    Question: Two questions.

    Victoria Nuland: Yeah.

    Question: The first one is about Bangladesh when Secretary Clinton was there. Can you confirm that she discussed the future of the seventh fleet with Bangladeshi officials? And does the State Department have a position on the future of the – home of the seventh fleet?

    Victoria Nuland: That sounds like a question for the Pentagon. I will take it in terms of whether it came up in her consultations, but I don’t believe it did

    Off the record, confirmation of key strategic meetings between Bangladesh and America and the recent visit of US Secretary of State Clinton. America’s concerns clearly documented in the Pentagon report as they increasingly worried over the string of pearls of Chinese bases across the South China Sea and their naval might spreading all across Asia – putting the America behind. The Bangladeshi Government remaining extremely tightlipped over the recent developments – as they have internally decided to deny it on record – fearing backlash from their own hardliners.

    Reporter: Recently Hillary Clinton visited your country. She has demanded for stronger relations between Bangladesh and US. Are you exploring the options?

    Ambassador: I don’t know what she has discussed and in any case this is not the fora to discuss political issues.

    Reporter: US had asked to allow Chittagong port to be used as their naval base? Will you allow them?

    Ambassador: I am not aware of any such requests to the best of my knowledge.

    This move by America could put India on the back foot if the American fleet moves to Bangladesh, all of India’s security installations will come under the American scanner. Bangladesh is not willing to comment on record even offering explanation to deny the developments. This Clinton visit a more strategic one than just a friendly one- the Indian establishment caught unawares–as this base could cast a shadow on India’s own strategic interests.

    Following this, online newspaper bdnews24.com reports:

    US plans naval base in Ctg: Indian TV

    Fri, Jun 1st, 2012 11:41 pm BdST

    The Indian media says the United States is desperate to build a naval presence in Bangladesh as a strategy to counter growing Chinese influence in the region.

    The Times Now ran an investigative report titled “U.S. eyes Bangladesh” on May 31 saying the Americans want to use Chittagong port to park a large part of its Seventh Fleet. The report was followed a debate organised by the TV channel styled “America eyes Bay of Bengal “.

    It suggested the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recent visit to Bangladesh “was much more than a friendly gesture’ and she discussed military co-operation with Bangladeshi officials last month.

    “America… wants to park its seventh fleet in the country – for its strategic interests. Worried by increasing presence of Chinese naval bases in the South China Sea – America now eyes a counter strategy – as it wants an overall presence in Asia – right from Japan to its Diego Garcia base in the Indian Ocean,” said the report by the 24-hour English news channel.

    Times Now’s Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami moderated the debate titled “America Eyes Bay of Bengal” based on its own investigation.

    The discussants were The Heritage Foundation’s Senior Research Fellow Lisa Curtis, Former Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Veena Sikri, Member, National Executive Committee, BJP Sheshadri Chari, Strategic Affairs Analyst Mahroof Raza, Times Now’s Consulting Editor Wasbir Hussain and Centre for Strategic Research & Analysis (CESRAN) Representative Antony Ou China.

    The report said the Americans were increasingly worried over the string of pearls of Chinese bases across the South China Sea and their naval might spreading all across Asia – putting America behind.

    Spokesperson for the United States Department of State Victoria Nuland was quoted by the Times of India as saying, during the Bangladesh visit of Hillary Clinton no talks took place regarding the issue.

    But Priscilla Huff, Washington Correspondent of Times Now, said: “The US State Department is confirming the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did discuss a future home for the Seventh Fleet when she was in Bangladesh.”

    The Seventh Fleet currently has homes in Japan, Guam and Singapore, she added.

    “The Bangladeshi Government remaining extremely tightlipped over the recent developments – as they have internally decided to deny it on record – fearing backlash from their own hardliners,” said the Times Now report.

    But Bangladesh’s High Commissioner to India told Time Now that he was “not I aware of any such requests to the best of my knowledge”, when he was asked by TV reporter whether the US had asked to allow Chittagong port to be used as their naval base and whether Bangladesh will allow it.

    “Bangladesh is not willing to comment on record even offering explanation to deny the developments. This Clinton visit is a more strategic one than just a friendly one- the Indian establishment caught unawares–as this base could cast a shadow on India’s own strategic interests,” the report concluded.

    Lisa Curtis in the debate said she did not see any reason for US to go for any deal in Asia without consulting with India beforehand.

    The debate claimed Bangladesh’s Ministry of Home Affairs held secret meeting with the US representatives on issues like containing militancy, extremism, terrorism and even guarding the border with India.

    Consulting editor of the television Wasbir Hussain said he had information from Bangladesh that the talks between Bangladesh and US were going on since 2008. US proposed to survey Bangladesh’s airfield and also wanted to have its marine fleet reach till inland river port Narayanganj.

    He claimed to have talked with Bangladeshi commandos in the military and members of parliament.

    The discussants questioned whether the Awami League government would risk such a decision with the next national election so close to come.

    Some of them claimed the discussion was being held unofficially under the pretexts of different occasions.

    চট্টগ্রামে ঘাঁটি গাঁড়ছে আমেরিকান ৭ম নৌ বহর

    Friday, 01 June, 2012 12:14:23 PM

    বার্তা২৪ ডেস্ক

    নয়া দিল্লি, ১ জুন: আমেরিকার ৭ম নৌবহর চট্টগ্রামে ঘাঁটি গাঁড়ছে বলে দাবি করেছে টাইমস অব ইন্ডিয়া (অনলাইন)। বৃহস্পতিবার টাইমস অব ইন্ডিয়ার একটি এক্সক্লুসিভ ভিডিও চিত্রে এই দাবি করা হয়। বাংলাদেশে আমেরিকান রণতরীর ঘাঁটি গাড়ার পেছনে কারণ হিসেবে উল্লেখ করা হয়েছে চীনকে।

    ভিডিও ফুটেজে বলা হয়, গত মাসে আমেরিকান পররাষ্ট্রমন্ত্রী হিলারি ক্লিনটনের বাংলাদেশ সফরের সময় উভয় পক্ষ এই বিষয়ে কৌশলগত বিভিন্ন কথাবার্তা সেরে রেখেছিল।

    কারণ দক্ষিণ চীন সাগরে চীনের নৌঘাঁটি গঠনসংক্রান্ত খবরে পেন্টাগণের ওই অঞ্চলে কর্তৃত্ব হারানোর উদ্বেগ বাড়ছে। তাই তারা চীনকে রুখতে কাছাকাছি অঞ্চলে নিজেদের সামরিক শক্তি মজুদ রাখতে চায়। এছাড়া আফগানিস্তান থেকে আমেরিকান সেনা প্রত্যাহার শুরু হলে তারা দক্ষিণ এশিয়ায় কর্তৃত্ব ধরে রাখতে চাইবে। তাই এই শক্তি মজুদের জন্য বঙ্গোপসাগরই উপযুক্ত স্থান।

    রিপোর্টে বলা হয়েছে, যদিও হিলারির সফরের সময় ৭ম নৌ বহর বা সামরিক কোনো বিষয়ে বাংলাদেশের সঙ্গে আলোচনার বিষয়টি অস্বীকার করেছে আমেরিকান প্রশাসন। তবে এ বিষয়ে তারা পরিষ্কার করে কিছু জানায়ওনি। এমনকি বাংলাদেশ সরকারও এই বিষয়টিতে মুখ বন্ধ রেখেছে।

    সম্প্রতি বাংলাদেশে ভারতের রাষ্ট্রদূতকে এ বিষয়ে একটি প্রশ্ন করা হয়। প্রশ্নটি হলো-যদি আমেরিকা চট্টগ্রামে তাদের নৌ ঘাঁটি স্থাপনের অনুমতি চায়, আপনি কি তাতে মত দেবেন? উত্তরে তিনি বলেন, ‘আমি জানি না এমন কোনো অনুরোধ এসেছে কিনা।’

    এছাড়া এই বিষয়ে একটি চীনা মিলিটারি ওয়েবসাইট জানায়, টাইমস অব ইন্ডিয়ার রিপোর্টটিতে বাংলাদেশে হিলারির সফরকে যতটানা বন্ধুত্বের তার চেয়ে বেশি কৌশলগত বলে ইঙ্গিত করা হয়েছে। কারণ চট্টগ্রামে আমেরিকান নৌবহর ঘাঁটি গাঁড়লে ভারতও ক্ষতিগ্রস্ত হবে বলে তাদের ধারণা। কারণ তখন ভারতের সকল নিরাপত্তা স্থাপনা আমেরিকার নজরদারির আওতায় থাকবে। তাছাড়া নতুন এই ঘটনায় ভারতও বিস্মিত হয়েছে, কারণ চট্টগ্রামের প্রতি ভারতেরও কৌশলগত আগ্রহ রয়েছে বলে ওয়েবসাইটটি দাবি করে।

    টাইমস অব ইন্ডিয়ার রিপোর্ট সত্য হলে তা হবে গত ৪১ বছরের মধ্যে বঙ্গোপসাগরে আমেরিকার নৌবহরের প্রথম প্রবেশ।

    উল্লেখ্য, বাংলাদেশের স্বাধীনতা যুদ্ধের সময় পাকিস্তানকে সাহায্য করার জন্য আমেরিকান ৭ম নৌবহর বঙ্গোপসাগরের উদ্দেশ্যে রওয়ানা দিয়েছিল। তখন সোভিয়েত ইউনিয়নের পাল্টা হুমকির মুখে তা ফিরে যেতে বাধ্য হয়।

    America eyes Bangladesh

    shash2k2, Yesterday at 12:24 PM

    Myanmar And Bangladesh In US’ China-Containment Strategy

    United States foreign policy formulations are marked by a significant quintessential characteristic in that its drivers are predominantly strategic in nature and superseding any idealistic political fixations. This once again gets eminently reflected in the new American openings to Myanmar and Bangladesh in recent months.

    Myanmar and Bangladesh rose to the fore in United States strategic calculus coincidently with US President Obama’s ‘strategic pivot to Asia’ and to Asia Pacific more specifically.

    United States ‘strategic pivot’ to Asia Pacific stood underpinned by an American awakening after a decade of strategic neglect that China’s military rise and new aggressiveness now needed to be met by putting into place a China Containment Strategy. American policies of engagement and congagement with China had not worked.

    United States policy planners on surveying the security architecture of their China Containment Strategy on their operational maps would have been struck by the stark fact that while East Asia and South East Asia to a limited extent served its strategic imperatives, it was the Eastern Flank of Asia Pacific that stood bare without any significant strategic presence or a strategic partnership.

    The Eastern Flank of the Asia Pacific rested on three countries—Myanmar, Bangladesh and India. While the United States had a Strategic Partnership with India of sorts, there was no such linkage with Myanmar and Bangladesh. Notably, Myanmar in American military perceptions was a military-client state of China and Bangladesh too was indebted to China as countervailing power to India.

    Strategically, it would be a strong American policy imperative to unloosen Myanmar and Bangladesh from their strategic linkages with China. Further, for successful implementation of the US strategic pivot to Asia and its corollary of China Containment Strategy, the American security architecture had to incorporate Myanmar and Bangladesh in that architecture.

    Of the two, Myanmar has overwhelming military significance for US strategy as Myanmar has physical geographical contiguity with China in its northern and north-eastern confines. Furthermore China has made heavy strategic, military and political investments on Myanmar as part of its counter-containment strategies aimed at the United States.

    United States strategic interests on Myanmar are for the very opposite reasons that drove China to woo and invest so heavily and win over Myanmar to its strategic fold.

    The United States in a strategic partnership or in a strategically cooperative relationship with Myanmar would be able to deny China a land access to the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. US would be able to neutralise the carefully crafted overland oil pipelines grid from the Myanmar coast to South China. This was a Chinese military aim to outflank and avoid dependence on the Straits of Malacca for its oil supplies which could be blocked by the United States.

    More significantly, the full consummation of a Myanmar-United States strategic relationship would facilitate eventually a second land foothold on continental Asia in addition to Vietnam which is similarly being wooed. Militarily at some time in the future, Myanmar’s Navy and Air Force bases could open up for use by United States as part of China Containment Strategy.

    Bangladesh while not enjoying any geographical contiguity with China has what one could call strategic contiguity with China as countervailing power against India and also in the process having a Bangladesh-China Defence Cooperation Agreement.

    Bangladesh figures in the strategic calculus of the United States militarily in the Navy and Air Force domains. In the United States China Containment Strategy, with Bangladesh strongly in its fold eventuality exists where the US Navy and US Air Force could use Bangladeshi bases.

    Politically, our policy planners view offshore oil-blocks only in economic perspectives. But United States policy planners view these in strategic and military terms. The United States strategic formulations would be to deny to China access to and use of respective offshore oil-blocks of Myanmar and Bangladesh in the Bay of Bengal. It must be remembered that an important component of US China Containment Strategy would be the ‘energy strangulation’ of China.

    Concluding, it needs to be highlighted that United States recent political moves towards Myanmar and Bangladesh were not motivated by Myanmar’s release of Aung San Syuu Kyi and democratic reforms or in Bangladesh the stamping down on Islamist terrorist organisations. These were political moves, more as political fig-leaves, to provide suitable cover for the U-turn in US policies especially in the case of Myanmar.

    United States recent openings to Myanmar and Bangladesh have to be viewed in the long-term perspective as driven by US strategic imperatives to draw-in Myanmar and Bangladesh into the over-arching US China Containment Strategy as both Myanmar and Bangladesh were the missing dots on the Eastern Flank of the Asia Pacific security architecture of the United States.

    India has to note that the United States has for years has militarily activated the Arabian Sea; the United States is now in the process of militarily activating the Bay of Bengal hitherto fore viewed by Indian policy establishment as exclusive military backwaters of India. The military connotations of such moves whether in complementary role to US strategies or even in terms of India’s independent strategic postures need to be seriously contemplated by India’s policy planners.

    About the author:

        SAAG

    [IMG]SAAG is the South Asia Analysis Group, a non-profit, non-commercial think tank. The objective of SAAG is to advance strategic analysis and contribute to the expansion of knowledge of Indian and International security and promote public understanding. http://www.eurasiareview.com/210520…sh-in-us-china-containment-strategy-analysis/

     
  • probirbidhan 03:19 on May 28, 2012 Permalink |
    Tags: 3.4 lakh litres, Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation's (BPC), Chittagong, furnace oil, investigation, Padma Oil Company Ltd, seize   

    Furnace Oil Scam: BPC finds some irregularities 

    Dwaipayan Barua and Md Fazlur Rahman, from Ctg

    The committee for sale of furnace oil of state-run Padma Oil Company Ltd has been flouting its parent company Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation’s (BPC) instructions regarding approval for delivering the fuel to different companies, said a BPC official yesterday.

    The committee’s non-adherence to the guidelines gave rise to a nexus of corruption in Padma Oil centring sale of furnace oil, said the official on condition of anonymity.

    The comment of the BPC official came a week after Rapid Action Battalion in Chittagong seized 3.4 lakh litres of furnace oil that was heading for the black market on May 20.

    Following the incident, BPC formed a three-member probe committee headed by its Marketing Director Muhammad Nurul Alam to investigate the haul. The committee was directed to submit its report within seven working days.

    The probe committee visited the premises of Padma Oil in Sadarghat of the port city yesterday.

    “During the probe committee’s visit, the members of the sales committee could not properly answer the queries of the probe committee,” said the official, who has knowledge about the probe.

    Padma Oil officials were asked by the probe committee whether they take permission from the company’s managing director or the general manager (sales) before allowing delivery of furnace oil to a company. In reply the Padma Oil officials said they do not take such permission.

    Shaheed Hosne Rabbee, assistant general manager of Padma Oil, is the convener of the three-member sales committee, while Abu Hasnath Shahid, manager (direct business), and Asif Malek, deputy manager (marketing), are member and member secretary of the committee respectively.

    The three were appointed on November 23 last year.

    The BPC official said one of the members of the sales committee has been given place in another committee of Padma Oil as well, which indicates that he is favoured by the top management.

    He said the sales committee was instructed to physically visit the premises of furnace oil seeking companies to find out whether the companies really need the fuel and the amount they need.

    The members of the sales committee told the probe body that they never visited any company premises before approving furnace oil supply, said the BPC official adding, “Had they made the visits then there would not have been so many fake companies that bought furnace oil with fake addresses.”

    The probe committee will submit its report this week, he said.

    Another BPC official said illegal sale of furnace oil to ships has been going on for a while as much as legal sale. “But nobody ever said anything about the practice,” he added.

    The official said ship operators prefer to buy furnace oil from the black market to avoid bureaucratic hassle, and because to buy the fuel from authorised dealers they have to pay in dollars but on the black market they can buy it with the local currency.

    The energy ministry also formed a one-member probe committee comprising Joint Secretary AK Mohiuddin Ahmed on Thursday to investigate corruption in Padma Oil, said a source in the ministry.

    BSRM shocked

    State oil for stealing

     
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