Tagged: politics Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • probirbidhan 18:01 on July 16, 2015 Permalink |
    Tags: , , Hefazat, honeymoon, , politics, Prof Asif Nazrul, Sheila Ahmed   

    ফজলুল বারীঃ আসিফ নজরুলের রাজনৈতিক হানিমুন 

    Asif Nazrul_Sheila Ahmed-marriage-5আমাদের সময়ের একজন পন্ডিত (!) ব্যক্তি। তার আজকের নাম আসিফ নজরুল। আজ প্রথম আলোতে হানিমুন বিষয়ে একটি রচনা লিখেছেন। হানিমুন কী, কত প্রকার ইত্যাদি! তিনি কামেল মানুষ। জ্ঞাতসারে এরমাঝে তিন খানা বিবাহ করেছেন। অজ্ঞাতসার সমূহ সম্পর্কে আমাদের বন্ধুবান্ধবদের যথেষ্ট ধারনা আছে। যেহেতু একাধিক বিবাহ করেছেন, একাধিকবার হানিমুনে যাবার অভিজ্ঞতা আছে, তাই এই বিষয়টি নিয়ে দক্ষতা প্রশ্নাতীত। কিন্তু তিনি তার রচনায় তার ব্যক্তি অভিজ্ঞতা বাদ দিয়ে এক্ষেত্রেও শেখ হাসিনার সরকারকে টার্গেট করাতে যার পর নাই পুলকিত! অবশ্য ইনি এমনই। এসবই উনার সাম্প্রতিক এসাইনমেন্টও বটে।

    ইনার সঙ্গে যখন পরিচয় তখন তিনি খবর গ্রুপের চিত্রবাংলা, ছায়াছন্দ এসব চটি পত্রিকায় খ্যাপ লিখতেন। আমাদের বিচিন্তার আসরে আসার পর তাকে বলা হয়, আপনার নামটি খুব পচা। এরপর তার মো: নজরুল ইসলাম নামটি পাল্টে আসিফ নজরুল করা হয়। এখন তিনি সেই পরিবর্তিত নামেই পরিচিত। হয়তো এফিডেবিট করে পিতামাতার রাখা নামটি পাল্টে থাকতে পারেন। কিন্তু গোলাম আযমের বিচারের গণ আদালত পর্যন্ত তার সার্টিফিকেটে পিতামাতার নামটি মো: নজরুল ইসলামই ছিলো। উল্লেখ্য তখন গণ আদালতে কেউ গোলাম আযমের আইনজীবী হতে কেউ রাজি হচ্ছিলোনা। ইনি কেন রাজি হন তা ওয়াকিফহালরা জানেন। পরবর্তিতে তিনি শহীদ জননী জাহানারা ইমামের সঙ্গে প্রতারনা অথবা স্বরূপে আবির্ভূত হবার পর কি করে পক্ষ ত্যাগ করেন, তা নিয়ে অনেক লেখালেখি হয়েছে। এরপরের একটা ঘটনা বলি। বিএনপি-জামায়াত শিক্ষক কোটায় তিনি ততক্ষনে ঢাকা বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের শিক্ষকতায় ঢুকে গেছেন। শামসুন্নাহার হলের ছাত্রী নির্যাতনের ঘটনার পর ঢাকা বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ে তখন ভিসি আনোয়ারুল্লাহ’র পদত্যাগের দাবিতে তুমুল ছাত্র আন্দোলন চলছে। পদ আঁকড়ে রাখতে ভিসি সকালে এককথা বিকালে আরেককথা বলেন। এসব নিয়ে বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের সাংবাদিকরা ছেঁকে ধরেছেন আনোয়ারুল্লাহকে। তখন আনোয়ারুল্লাহকে রক্ষা করতে ইনি তার পাশে বসেন কামেলের ভূমিকায়! ইনি সাংবাদিকদের বলেন ‘আমি মিথ্যা বলতে পারি, কিন্তু আনোয়ারুল্লাহ স্যার কখনো মিথ্যা বলতে পারেন না।’ আজকের প্রথম আলোর সিনিয়র রিপোর্টার মোশতাক তখন জনকন্ঠের বিশ্ববিদ্যালয় রিপোর্টার। সেখান থেকে বেরিয়ে এসে সে আমাকে বলে, এই লোকটা না আপনাদের সঙ্গে কাজ করতো। এমন দুই নাম্বার কেন এই লোক? আর যে লোক নিজের মুখে বলে সে মিথ্যা বলে, বলতে পারে সে বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের শিক্ষক হয়-থাকে কী করে?

    ২০০১ সালে যখন বিএনপি-জামায়াতের মন্ত্রিসভা গঠন করা হয় ইনি লুকিং ফর শত্রুজ স্বরাষ্ট্র প্রতিমন্ত্রী বাবর ঘনিষ্ঠ বিশেষ খ্যাতিমান হয়ে ওঠেন। তিনি বাবরকে ফোন করলেই তাকে যা খুশি করে দেয়। ১/১১’এ বিএনপি-জামায়াত ক্ষমতাচ্যুত হবার পর ইনার নানা দূর্ভাবনা বিশেষ প্রকাশ পায়। আওয়ামী লীগ ক্ষমতায় ফেরার পর নীতি-নৈতিকতার বিষয়গুলো নিয়ে উনার উদ্বেগ-উৎকন্ঠা বাড়ে! যুদ্ধাপরাধীদের বিচার শুরুর পর সাঈদি যুদ্ধাপরাধী না, তার এক বক্তব্যে তিনি কিছুটা বিপাকে পড়েন। ঢাকা বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ে তার অফিস আক্রান্ত হয়। আমাকে তখন একজন বলেন, ইনি না আপনাদের সঙ্গে কাজ করতেন। আপনাদের পত্রিকায় না প্রথম ছাপা হয়েছিল সাঈদি যুদ্ধাপরাধী। আমি তাকে জবাবে বলেছিলাম, আমাদের পত্রিকায় ছাপা হবার সময় তিনি যেহেতু চিত্রবাংলা, ছায়াছন্দে চটি লিখতেন তাই হয়তো সেই লেখাটি খেয়াল করেননি। আর শহীদ জননী জাহানারা ইমামের সঙ্গে বেঈমানির আগে ইনি কিন্তু সাঈদিকে যুদ্ধাপরাধী জেনে-বলেই মুখে ফেনা তুলতেন। বেঈমানি করার পর মনে করেন না। কারন যখন যে দেবতার পুজা তিনি করেন তাকেই তিনি শুধু ভোগ দেন।

    এমন এক কামেল ব্যক্তি আজ বরাতজোরে দেশের সবচেয়ে জনপ্রিয় পত্রিকা প্রথম আলোর আশ্রয়পুষ্ট। বাংলাদেশের সামাজিক-রাজনৈতিক নানা সমস্যা আছে। এরপরও বিস্ময়কর ইতিবাচক অনেক অর্জন সাফল্য আছে বাংলাদেশের। কিন্তু শুধু প্রথম আলোতে এই ভদ্রলোকের যদি লেখাগুলোর যোগফল দাঁড় করান, তাহলে বলতে হবে বাংলাদেশ বলেতো কিছু নেই আর! অনেক আগে ভেনিস হয়ে গেছে বাংলাদেশ! অথবা এসব ক্রন্দনের মূল কারন একটাই, বিএনপি-জামায়াত ক্ষমতায় কেন নেই, আসেনা কেনো? অথবা আসিবে কী কভু? প্রথম আলোর শুক্রবারের লেখায় ইনি তার গুরু এমাজউদ্দিন থেকে শুরু করে সবাইকে ধুয়ে দিয়েছেন! কারন এরা কেউ তার বিএনপি-জামায়াতকে ক্ষমতায় ফেরত আনতে পারছেনা! তার লেখাটির নিচে এক পাঠক মন্তব্যটি বেশ মজার! ইনি লিখেছেন, “Mr. Asif Nazrul, Have you ever found anything good in AL? Have you ever found anything bad in Jamat or BNP? Who are you? What are you, Mr. Nazrul?”

    Advertisements
     
  • probirbidhan 23:02 on June 5, 2015 Permalink |
    Tags: , petrol bomb, politics   

    জামায়াতকে নিষিদ্ধ করার ঘোষণার কারণে পেট্রলবোমা হামলা 

    সরকার যখন মনে করবে, তখনই জামায়াতে ইসলামীর নিবন্ধন বাতিল করার বিল সংসদে উত্থাপন করা হবে—আইনমন্ত্রীর এমন কথার পরই কুমিল্লায় যাত্রীবাহী বাসে পেট্রলবোমা হামলা চালানো হয়েছে। আজ বৃহস্পতিবার কুমিল্লার জ্যেষ্ঠ বিচারিক হাকিম সাজ্জাদ হোসেনের আদালতে ১৬৪ ধারায় দেওয়া জবানবন্দিতে জামায়াতের কর্মী আবদুর রাজ্জাক (৩৫) এসব কথা বলেন।

    গত মঙ্গলবার রাতে কুমিল্লার চান্দিনা উপজেলার বাংলাদেশ পাট গবেষণা ইনস্টিটিউট সংলগ্ন কাঠেরপুল এলাকায় ঢাকা থেকে রাঙামাটিগামী ইউনিক পরিবহনের একটি বাসে পেট্রলবোমা ছোড়া হয়। এতে সাতজন দগ্ধ হন। এ ঘটনায় ১৫ জনের নাম উল্লেখসহ অজ্ঞাতনামা আরও ১৫ থেকে ২০ জনের নামে মামলা হয়েছে। আবদুর রাজ্জাক ওই মামলার অন্যতম আসামি।
    গতকাল বুধবার রাতে আবদুর রাজ্জাককে চান্দিনার বাগুর বাসস্ট্যান্ড এলাকার একটি ভাড়া বাসা থেকে গ্রেপ্তার করে র‌্যাব, বিজিবি ও পুলিশের সমন্বয়ে গঠিত যৌথ বাহিনী। আবদুর রাজ্জাকের বাড়ি নোয়াখালী জেলার সুধারাম উপজেলার উত্তর শোলাকিয়া গ্রামে। তিনি ওই গ্রামের আবদুল মালেকের ছেলে।

    ১৬৪ ধারায় দেওয়া জবানবন্দিতে আবদুর রাজ্জাক আদালতে জানান, দুই বছর আগে বেসরকারি একটি কোম্পানিতে চাকরির সুবাদে তিনি চান্দিনায় এসে বাগুর বাসস্ট্যান্ড এলাকার একটি মেসে ভাড়ায় ওঠেন। ওই সময়ে তিনি ঋণগ্রস্ত ছিলেন। চান্দিনা এলাকার জামায়াত-শিবিরের কিছু নেতার সঙ্গে তাঁর পরিচয় হয়। তখন তাঁরা রাজ্জাককে জামায়াতের রাজনীতির সঙ্গে জড়িত হতে বলেন। রাজ্জাক তাঁদের বলেন, তিনি ঋণগ্রস্ত। এ মুহূর্তে রাজনীতিতে জড়াবেন না। তখন জামায়াতের কর্মীরা রাজ্জাকের ঋণ পরিশোধ করে দেন। এরপর থেকে তিনি জামায়াতের রাজনীতির সঙ্গে জড়িত হন। তিনি জামায়াতের কর্মী বলেও ১৬৪ ধারার জবানবন্দিতে বলেছেন।
    আদালতে আবদুর রাজ্জাক বলেন, ‘গত ১ জুন সংসদে আইনমন্ত্রী জামায়াতে ইসলামীর নিবন্ধন বাতিল করার বিল সংসদে উত্থাপন করা হবে বলে জানিয়েছেন। সরকার জামায়াত-শিবির নিষিদ্ধ করার পরিকল্পনা করছে। এ কারণে এরপর দিন মঙ্গলবার বেলা ১১টার দিকে চান্দিনা ও দেবীদ্বারের কয়েকজন জামায়াত নেতার সঙ্গে মোবাইলে কথা হয়। তাঁরা আমাকে রাতে এক জায়গায় ডাকেন। এরই পরিপ্রেক্ষিতে ঘটনার দিন মঙ্গলবার রাত ১১টার দিকে সাত থেকে আটজন জামায়াত-শিবিরের কর্মী বাংলাদেশ পাট গবেষণা ইনস্টিটিউটের উত্তরপাশের পুকুরের দক্ষিণ প্রান্তে মিলিত হই। এরপর দলের দুজন সক্রিয় কর্মী বাসের মধ্যে পেট্রলবোমা ছোড়ে। এরপর আমরা দৌড়ে কিছু দুর গিয়ে মানুষের সঙ্গে মিশে যাই। আমাদের দলকে নিষিদ্ধ করার ঘোষণার কারণে ওই পেট্রলবোমা হামলা করা হয়েছে।’
    এ ব্যাপারে জানতে চাইলে জেলা পুলিশ সুপার শাহ মো. আবিদ হোসেন প্রথম আলোকে বলেন, শুরু থেকেই আমরা এ ঘটনার সঙ্গে জামায়াত-শিবিরের সম্পৃক্ততা খুঁজে পেয়েছি। আদালতে দেওয়া আবদুর রাজ্জাকের জবানবন্দিতে সেটি প্রাথমিকভাবে প্রমাণিত হলো। তদন্তের স্বার্থে পেট্রলবোমা ছোড়া দুই ব্যক্তির নাম এ মুহূর্তে বলা যাচ্ছে না।

    জামায়াত নেতাসহ সাতজন গ্রেপ্তার

    কুমিল্লার চান্দিনা উপজেলার কাঠেরপুল এলাকায় যাত্রীবাহী বাসে পেট্রলবোমা হামলার ঘটনায় জামায়াত-শিবিরের সাতজন নেতা-কর্মীকে গ্রেপ্তার করা হয়েছে। হামলার ঘটনায় গত বুধবার রাতে চান্দিনা থানায় ১৫ জনের নাম উল্লেখ করে এবং অজ্ঞাতনামা আরও ১৫ থেকে ২০ জনকে আসামি করে মামলা হয়েছে।
    এই মামলার আসামিরা জামায়াত-শিবিরের রাজনীতির সঙ্গে জড়িত। গ্রেপ্তার হওয়া এক আসামি হামলায় জড়িত থাকার কথা স্বীকার করে আদালতে জবানবন্দি দিয়েছেন বলে জানিয়েছে পুলিশ।
    গত মঙ্গলবার রােত ঢাকা থেকে রাঙামাটিগামী ইউনিক পরিবহনের একটি বাসে ছোড়া পেট্রলবোমায় সাতজন দগ্ধ হন। পাঁচজনকে ঢাকা মেডিকেল কলেজ হাসপাতালের বার্ন ইউনিটে ভর্তি করা হয়।
    চান্দিনা থানার পুলিশ জানায়, গতকাল বৃহস্পতিবার ভোর পর্যন্ত সাতজনকে গ্রেপ্তার করা হয়। তাঁরা হলেন চান্দিনা উপজেলা জামায়াতের আমির আবুল বাশার, দেবীদ্বার উপজেলার বরকামতা ইউনিয়ন জামায়াতের আমির রফিকুল ইসলাম, জামায়াতের কর্মী চান্দিনার করতলা গ্রামের ওবায়দুল্লাহ, তাঁর ভাই মহিবুল্লাহ, একই গ্রামের ওমর ফারুক, নোয়াখালীর সুধারাম উপজেলার উত্তর শোলাকিয়া গ্রামের আবদুর রাজ্জাক ও চান্দিনা উপজেলার জামিরাপাড়া গ্রামের মো. নয়ন।
    চান্দিনা থানার ভারপ্রাপ্ত কর্মকর্তা (ওসি) রসুল আহমদ নিজামী জানান, পেট্রলবোমা হামলার ঘটনায় প্রাথমিক তদন্ত শেষে বুধবার রাত সাড়ে ১১টার দিকে সহকারী উপপরিদর্শক (এএসআই) প্রবীর কুমার রায় মামলা করেন। বৃহস্পতিবার ভোর পর্যন্ত বিভিন্ন এলাকা থেকে গ্রেপ্তার হওয়া সাতজনকে ওই মামলার এজাহারভুক্ত আসামি করা হয়। এজাহারে নাম থাকা অন্য আটজনও জামায়াত-শিবিরের কর্মী। ওসি আরও জানান, গ্রেপ্তার হওয়া সাতজনকে গতকাল আদালতের মাধ্যমে কারাগারে পাঠানো হয়েছে।
    কুমিল্লার পুলিশ সুপার (এসপি) শাহ মো. আবিদ হোসেন গতকাল বিকেলে মুঠোফোনে প্রথম আলোকে বলেন, ‘এ ঘটনার সঙ্গে জামায়াত-শিবির জড়িত। গ্রেপ্তারকৃতদের মধ্যে জামায়াতের তিনজন নেতা আছেন। তদন্তের স্বার্থে এই মুহূর্তে এর বেশি কিছু বলা যাচ্ছে না।’ এসপি জানান, কুমিল্লায় এর আগে পেট্রলবোমা হামলার যেসব ঘটনা ঘটেছে, সেই ঘটনায় করা মামলা পর্যালোচনা করার জন্য তিন সদস্যের একটি কমিটি গঠন করা হয়েছে। কমিটির প্রধান করা হয়েছে কুমিল্লার অতিরিক্ত পুলিশ সুপার (উত্তর) জাহাঙ্গীর হোসেনকে।
    এদিকে কুমিল্লা জেলা প্রশাসক হাসানুজ্জামান কল্লোল বলেন, পেট্রলবোমা হামলার সঙ্গে কারা জড়িত এবং কীভাবে ওই ঘটনা ঘটেছে, তা অনুসন্ধানের জন্য পাঁচ সদস্যের একটি তদন্ত কমিটি গঠন করা হয়েছে। কুমিল্লার অতিরিক্ত জেলা ম্যাজিস্ট্রেট (এডিএম) মুহাম্মদ গোলামুর রহমানকে আহ্বায়ক করে ওই কমিটি গঠন করা হয়।

    ৭ মার্চ একই স্থানে একই পরিবহনের বাসে হামলা হয়: কুমিল্লার কাঠেরপুল এলাকায় চলতি বছরের ৭ মার্চ রাত আনুমানিক ১২টার দিকে ঢাকা থেকে চট্টগ্রামগামী ইউনিক পরিবহনের একটি যাত্রীবাহী বাসে তিনটি পেট্রলবোমা ছোড়ে দুর্বৃত্তরা। ওই ঘটনায় কেউ হতাহত না হলেও বাসটি পুড়ে যায়।
    ওই ঘটনায় করা মামলায় এখনো অভিযোগপত্র দেওয়া হয়নি। চান্দিনা থানার ওসি রসুল আহমদ নিজামী বলেন, ওই মামলার অভিযোগপত্র শিগগিরই দেওয়া হবে।

     
  • probirbidhan 20:05 on July 5, 2012 Permalink |
    Tags: , , , Mahfuz Anam, Padma Multi-purpose Bridge Project, politics, , , ,   

    Public interest sacrificed to save Syed Abul Hossain over Padma Bridge scandal 

    Commentary: ‘Public interest sacrificed to protect one man’

    Mahfuz Anam, Editor & Publisher, The Daily Star

    July 5, 2012

    After sifting through the government’s letters to the World Bank (WB) concerning the Padma Bridge, made public the other day, we cannot but conclude that it was all done to save one man. The correspondence shows that all these negotiations, trips by our officials to the WB headquarters in Washington DC and meetings in Dhaka had helped us to cross all hurdles, but ultimately the deal fell through because the government would not agree to let one minister go “on leave”.

    Below we give an explanation as to how we reach such a conclusion.

    At the end of the long and tortuous negotiation process, it was the last three conditions of the WB upon which final agreement or non-agreement depended. These conditions, as mentioned in the WB’s press statement of June 29, 2012, were “(1) place all public officials suspected of involvement in the corruption scheme on leave from Government employment until the investigation is completed; (ii) appoint a special inquiry team within the ACC to handle the investigation, and (iii) agree to provide full and adequate access to all investigative information to a panel appointed by the World Bank comprised of internationally recognised experts so that the panel can give guidance to the lenders on the progress, adequacy, and fairness of the investigation.”

    Let us examine the finance minister’s statement in parliament on Monday on these “conditions”. About the second, he termed it “redundant” (in paragraph 16 of the official English text). About the third, he claimed it was “in contradiction with the existing laws of the ACC ….” But later he said in the same paragraph that given the practice that prior approval of development partners is obtained in all matters of foreign aided projects “the ACC, giving due regard to this reality, worked out a mechanism in consultation with the expert group of the World bank. They agreed to send a letter to the WB detailing the manner in which they would circulate information, consider/act on advice and ensure the involvement of the development partners.”

    It is obvious from the above text that both parties, our government and the WB, were able to thrash out an agreement on the second and the third conditions. That leaves us with the first, in which the WB demands that suspected “public officials” be sent on leave till the investigation is over. This is where, as we understand, the negotiations broke down.

    A letter written by senior secretary Iqbal Mahmood is very revealing on this score.

    The letter addressed to Isabel Guerrero, WB vice president for South Asia, dated June 26, 2012, said, and we quote, “The government of Bangladesh is fully committed to taking actions against all officials and ministers on the recommendation of the BACC (Bangladesh Anti-Corruption Commission). In deference to your request for immediate action against the ‘officials’ for the duration of inquiry, the Government of Bangladesh agreed to take immediate actions against the ‘officials’ named in your referral.

    “However, there appears to have been a genuine miscommunication. Your letter of June 05, 2012 referred clearly to ‘officials’ and not ‘ministers’. Our reading of the letter was confirmed by the advice we got from our colleagues in Washington DC and therefore agreed to the actions only against the ‘officials’. The actions against the ‘ministers’ would essentially await preliminary findings of the BACC,” unquote.

    From the above we get the impression that all the while our government thought the WB was only talking about some government officials and not any minister, and that the government was taken aback now that the WB was also referring to a minister.

    Is this “miscommunication” argument genuine? It is interesting to note that the WB press statement dated June 30 (we have not been given copies of the WB letters to the government) uses the term “public officials”, whereas the government letters to the WB uses “officials”, which was also the term used by the finance minister in his speech to parliament.

    Did the WB use the term “public officials” in its letters? Only copies of their letters can prove it, which we do not possess at the moment. But if they did, then why did our government keep on using the term “officials” and not “public officials”? This one word now becomes important to understand if there were any genuine grounds for the “miscommunication”.

    The government’s position becomes quite untenable if we consider another letter by the same correspondent dated June 28. In it he says and we quote, “In early October, the Vice President South Asia (VPSA) and Vice President INT visited Dhaka and provided a verbal report (but no evidence) of “pay to play” in the consultancy prequalification. The VPSA suggested in a private conversation with the Honorable Finance Minister, that if the two officers and the ministers in charge were moved out, the Bank would resume the project,” unquote. (Emphasis ours).

    At this stage, only three individuals stood between our dream of a bridge over the Padma and the national humiliation that we are now suffering under. Out of these three, the government later agrees about the two. And then we are stuck with the third as we see below.

    In his last letter, dated June 29, Iqbal Mahmood writes, among other things, and we quote, “One officer mentioned in your referral will proceed on leave, while the other one has already been retired from Government Service. Action against the remaining person will take more time as explained in the previous letter,” unquote. (Emphasis ours)

    It is amply clear from the above letters by the government that it had agreed to all the latest three conditions of the WB except removing one minister. The argument that to remove the minister was to admit guilt is facile at best. There are numerous cases where a person accused of wrongdoing is temporarily removed to facilitate investigation, and reinstated with honour if exonerated. Wasn’t that what the WB was asking for? Recently, the German president, when accused of wrongdoing immediately resigned, saying he was doing it for the sake of proper investigation. Nobody took it for admission of guilt.

    Was it worth jeopardising the Padma bridge project that the government itself describes as one “on which hangs the prosperity and wellbeing of 60 million people of Bangladesh?” How could an elected government choose to protect one individual against the interest of 60 million people? Can a people’s government, in its wildest of errors, make such a choice? But ours did — consciously, deliberately and over a long period.

    The finance minister said that the WB statement has “humiliated the whole country.” Yes, it did, and we all feel humiliated and outraged. And we also feel that the government chose to insult us only to protect a minister.

    Throughout our piece and the accompanying reports, we have chosen to keep the minister unnamed. We do so to underscore the point that we hold the government far more guilty for protecting him against the interest of the whole nation than we hold the minister guilty for bringing us all to such disrepute.

    I have wondered about the minister in question. When he saw how a major national project was being jeopardised because of him, how the very government of which he was a part was moving towards a head-on clash with the WB, how his country would face international stigma of corruption and how the 60 million people would feel let down, why didn’t he have the simple decency to remove himself from the scene by resigning? Would it have meant admission of guilt? Isn’t the public holding him guilty now? If he had left with an appeal to the PM, whom he claims to respect, saying “I am resigning to spare the government any embarrassment, and in the greater interest of the country and the people and I demand an independent inquiry in my absence to prove my innocence”, his stature would have been heightened tenfold than it is now. Recently, he called a few media outlets and wrote to a few saying how honest, pious and innocent he was. All his piety did not give him the moral courage to spare his country, his party and especially his Prime Minister this shameful predicament.

     

     

     
  • probirbidhan 22:47 on June 13, 2012 Permalink |
    Tags: , , , Nepal, politics,   

    40 years of Bangladesh-Nepal bonding 

    Barrister Harun Ur Rashid The Daily Star June 13, 2012
    This year marks the 40th Anniversary of diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and Nepal, and the relations have been excellent. There have been exchanges of visits at the highest political level between the two countries in strengthening bilateral relations.

    Nepal has gone through a rapid and unprecedented transformation in its political history. For the first time, the Himalayan nation turned into a Republic from the monarchy since 1768. For the first time, a re-ordering of society seems to be in the offing, dismantling hierarchical society in which feudal lords and caste discrimination have been dominant.

    Nepal is separated from Bangladesh by only 22 kilometres of Indian territory between them. The interactions between the people of Bangladesh and Nepal go back to thousands of years.

    Nepal’s attitude during Bangladesh’s War of Liberation in 1971 was cautious. Although it did not wish to publicly offend Pakistan, the Nepalese government supported the cause of freedom of Bengalis in discreet ways. When a Bengali diplomat left the Pakistan Mission in Kathmandu in 1971, the government allowed the person to stay in Nepal and work unofficially for Bangladesh. The people of Nepal, including Nepali Congress leader B.P. Koirala expressed support and sympathy for the people of Bangladesh during the difficult period.

    The late King Birendra visited Bangladesh in 1978. Bangladesh and Nepal set up a Joint Economic Commission and signed an Agreement on cultural, educational and scientific exchange between the two countries in 1978 following the King’s visit.

    Nepal is a land-locked country situated between two of Asia’s giants — India and China. It is a $20 billion economy with 29 million people. Trade and joint collaboration in economic fields are growing. During 2010-11, two way trade was around Tk 500 crore (Bangladesh’s exports were worth Tk 350 crore and Nepal’s were Tk 150 crore).

    On May 28, 2009, a four-member delegation from Nepal visited Bangladesh and had talks on increasing trade and other relations. The meeting considered the movement of goods between the two countries in trucks transiting through India’s territory. It also discussed the use of Mongla port in Bangladesh for transporting goods to and from Nepal at a concession rate. To promote tourism, travel agents and tour operators of both countries would jointly coordinate necessary steps.

    Bangladesh transport experts note that following the visit of Bangladesh prime minister to India in January 2010, India agreed to provide transit facilities to Nepal by road and rail. Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Railway is working to find the most convenient route for rail transit to Nepal after India’s positive response, according to Bangladesh Railway officials

    People-to-people contact has increased. Cultural and technological co-operation have developed between the two countries. A few bilateral co-operation agreements have been concluded. Both countries have proposed bus service between Dhaka and Kathmandu to facilitate trade, tourism and contacts among people. The official and institutional ties are endless and grow as time passes.

    Nepal has a huge hydropower potential. In fact, the perennial nature of Nepali rivers and the steep gradient of the country’s topography provide ideal conditions for the development of some of the world’s largest hydroelectric projects. Current estimates are that Nepal has approximately 42,000MW of economically feasible hydropower potential.

    Bangladesh and Nepal may cooperate to harness the hydropower, a part of which may be sold to Bangladesh. Some energy experts say a South Asian energy grid could be established with hydropower from Nepal and Bhutan (about 23,000MW potential hydropower) in cooperation with India and Bangladesh.

    Bangladesh is the home of the Royal Bengal tiger and both countries co-operate in the preservation of tigers under the Tiger Project. Bangladesh-Nepal co-operation is needed to curb the smuggling of cannabis and to monitor terrorism in the region.

    Bangladesh seeks Nepal’s co-operation in the management of environment and waters resources in the region. What Nepal does with respect to environment and water management has an impact on Bangladesh. There is a saying that if “Nepal sneezes, Bangladesh is sure to get flu.”

    Nepal and Bangladesh are members of Saarc, BIMSTEC, and NAM and co-operate closely on international and regional issues. The armed forces of Nepal and Bangladesh participate in peace-keeping exercise under the auspices of the UN. Furthermore, both countries are LDCs and are working together to design a new international strategy for the LDCs to come out of the group.

    Economic globalisation is a reality in a competitive world and both countries have been adjusting themselves to the new de-regulated economic environment. Trade liberalisation has been both an opportunity and a threat to them because of competition. At the Saarc level, both countries try to take a common approach on issues of mutual interests.

    China has been building a rail link between Tibet and Nepal since 2008, and it is reported that a railway line from Tibet’s capital Lhasa to the border town of Khasa (80 kilometres of Kathmandu) will be built. During the visit of the Chinese prime minister in January of this year, Nepal requested China to extend the railway line to Kathmandu and also up to Lumbini. The Chinese premier reportedly said such an extension was highly possible. If the railroad reaches Kathmandu from Lhasa, Bangladesh may find another route to send its products to China.

    Both countries have common approaches to many political issues. Both nations want a peaceful South Asia for economic growth and wish for diplomatic settlement of disputes between India and Pakistan.

    The relation between Bangladesh and Nepal is based on mutual trust and respect. They are bound to grow as both countries have similar goals, which could be achieved by cooperative efforts. There appears to be a solid basis on which to build on a wide range of relationship for benefit to both countries. Both countries need to reflect on the direction which their great potentials will take in the 21st century.

    The writer is a former Bangladesh Ambassador to the UN, Geneva.
     
  • probirbidhan 08:54 on May 26, 2012 Permalink |
    Tags: , , , crossfire, , , Ilias, Ilias Ali, , journalists Sagar-Runi murder, , Mohammad Yunus, , Nobel Peace Prize, , politics, , Saudi ambassador, , The Economist on Bangladesh, , trade-union activist Aminul Islam   

    ‘Hard, tense time ahead’ for Bangladesh: The Economist 

    The Economist has published two articles on current political situation in Bangladesh. Titled “Bangladesh’s toxic politics: Hello, Delhi” and “Politics in Bangladesh: Banged about”, the articles — dated May 26, 2012 — are now on the British news magazine’s website. The Daily Star reprints them here.

    BANGLADESH’S TOXIC POLITICS: HELLO, DELHI
    It is up to India to try to stop Sheikh Hasina ruining Bangladesh


    The Punch-and-Judy show of Bangladeshi politics, in which the ruling party –run by the daughter of a former president — bashes the opposition–run by the widow of a former president–before swapping places with it, has been running for decades. The outside world rarely pays attention because nothing seems to change.

    Recently, though, the squabbling has turned into a crisis, which threatens to make life still worse for the 170m poor Muslims who suffer under one of the world’s worst governments. Since Bangladesh’s political leaders show no interest in their fate, outsiders need to do so.

    When Sheikh Hasina, leader of the Awami League and current prime minister, and Khaleda Zia, leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), alternated in power in the 1990s, things were pretty bad, but in the past decade they have got worse. The administration Mrs Zia headed from 2001 to 2006 was a brutal kleptocracy. It was followed by army-backed unelected technocrats. Then in 2008 the Awami League swept to power in a landslide victory. The League has 229 of 300 parliamentary seats compared with 31 for Mrs Zia’s BNP. Sheikh Hasina has used this mandate to consolidate power and hound her enemies, real and imagined.

    There has been a spate of mysterious disappearances. This month 33 senior members of the opposition were arrested on charges of vandalism and arson. A war-crimes tribunal to investigate the atrocities in Bangladesh’s war of independence in 1971some of the bloodiest in modern history now looks like an attempt to discredit the BNP and its Islamist allies. And the hounding of Mohammad Yunus, a pioneer of microfinance, creator of the Grameen Bank and a Nobel laureate, is seen as payback for his temerity in 2007 in trying to launch a “third force” in politics. Meanwhile, journalists and activists face intimidation and worse, and the vibrant NGOs that keep the spirit of democracy alive worry that proposed legislation would leave them at the mercy of government whims.

    Last year the League did away with the provision that caretaker administrations should oversee elections. The arrangement was not ideal. In January 2007 protests led by the League, convinced that the BNP would rig an election, led to a coup. But without some assurance of fair play the BNP will boycott the next election, due in 2014. So there is the prospect of yet more protests, which in Bangladesh often take the form of crippling strikes. There is also the real prospect of utter political paralysis, risking even worse turmoil on the streets.

    THE ONLY VOICE IN DHAKA
    The outside world is trying to do its bit. The World Bank has scrapped a deal to pay for a big bridge because of its suspicions of corruption. EU ambassadors have denounced the treatment of Mr Yunus and the harassment of activists. Hillary Clinton flew to Dhaka this month to stand by Mr Yunus.

    But the government seems unmoved. In a snub to Mrs Clinton, it announced a review into ownership of Grameen, a move to take over (and probably destroy) the bank. The only country to have much influence in Dhaka is India. Until recently the regional superpower tolerated Sheikh Hasina’s excesses, in part because Bangladesh has cracked down on Islamists. India now seems to be hedging its bets between the two parties. But if it still wants to have a functioning democracy next door, it needs to speak out far louder in favour of it.

    POLITICS IN BANGLADESH: BANGED ABOUT
    The prime minister sets the country on a dangerous path

    Inching through the crowded streets of Bangladesh’s capital brings both exhilaration and frustration. Dhaka’s garishly painted tricycle rickshaws, battered buses, occasional goats and luxury cars somehow all manage to creep onward. Drivers skilled at furious honking are also masters of compromise and smiles.

    If only the bitter politicians could prove so deft. Some 18 months before a general election, Bangladesh suffers street protests. Opposition leaders are sent to jail, and disappearances and murders are widely blamed on an old rivalry for power. A confrontation over the next poll who should oversee it, and whether it will be fair is already so strident that some observers doubt a contested one will be held at all. Meanwhile, Bangladeshis fret over prices of food and fuel, chronic power cuts and broken promises of new roads.

    As the leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Khaleda Zia, tells it, all ills lie at the government’s door. She ticks off a list of wicked acts she blames on her antagonist in an ancient rivalry, the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina. A young BNP politician abducted a month ago and very probably murdered. Two others killed earlier. Some 33 opposition figures, including senior MPs, dumped in jail this month over a trumped-up case of arson. In all, she says, 3,000 BNP members have been arrested. “It is to intimidate, to create a sense of fear.”

    There is plenty more darkness about. In recent months Bangladesh has endured a spate of other mysterious killings a Saudi diplomat shot dead; a trade-union activist tortured and murdered; a pair of journalists butchered after investigating corruption. This correspondent was trailed in Dhaka by a pair of secret-service men on a motorbike. A rumour of a bizarre coup attempt, in January, was used by the government to get closer political control over the army.

    One of the country’s best known figures, Muhammad Yunus of Grameen Bank, has been harassed for some time. An increasingly paranoid Mrs Hasina sees him as a political threat. This month in Dhaka Hillary Clinton, America’s secretary of state, met the Nobel laureate and assured him of her support. It brought no relief. Ministers snipe at him, and the government has just ordered yet another official review of his bank.

    “We are very worried that the commission has been formed and terms of reference include ownership,” says Mr Yunus. In effect, the government is seeking ways to grab Grameen, which is 97%-owned by its poor members, many of them women. Officials are also bent on settling scores with Mr Yunus, who oversees an ungainly charitable empire that includes a telecoms company as well as the bank. Over a lavish dinner, a group of government spies brags of having a thick file of allegations ready against the “money-monger”.

    ENGINE TROUBLE
    The list of gripes against the government is long. Corruption is pervasive enough for donors to be alarmed. The World Bank has scrapped funding for a bridge over the Padma river. Japan, the largest single giver of aid, has just sent its deputy prime minister to Dhaka to demand a clean-up. In a case of recent graft, a railway minister, who quit after police found sacks of cash in his aide’s car, was suddenly cleared by an internal inquiry of any corruption and reinstated to the cabinet. Meanwhile, strong doubts persist about the fairness of democracy. The United States’s ambassador in Dhaka this week repeated Mrs Clinton’s warning that the next election must be “participatory”, ie, run fairly so the opposition will take part.

    Most telling would be a shift in India’s attitude. Long a close ally of Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League cheering her crackdown on Islamic extremists and insurgents from India’s north-east, and being open to more trade India’s ruling Congress party may now, sensibly, be hedging its bets. Pranab Mukherjee, India’s finance minister, called on Mrs Zia recently, inviting her back to Delhi. Mrs Zia chuckles that she will go after Delhi’s summer heat is past. She also calls the neighbour a “friend”, a possible hint of change in a party that often seeks popularity by bashing India.

    As Sheikh Hasina looks ever more strident, people may start tiptoeing away from her. Not every ill in Bangladesh can be laid at the prime minister’s door. Although she did mess with the constitution, scrapping arrangements she had previously insisted on in opposition for a neutral caretaker to run the government for three months before election day, she now appears to want to keep her options open, possibly in order to be better able to skew the outcome of the next election. Meanwhile, Mrs Zia’s party orders street protests and hunger strikes, and threatens angry mass rallies in June. The sad result is that politics grows more polarised and confrontational.

    Still, Mrs Hasina is not quite the all-powerful bogey woman her bitterest opponents suggest. Certainly she seems set on cracking down on civil groups, for example with a new bill to put non-government organisations more firmly under political control. But it is hard to see how the murders and attacks on activists and journalists help her government, other than to spread a general sense of intimidation.

    The opposition, too, has a reputation for thuggery, corruption and intimidation, and does not bother much to hide it. A veteran leader of the BNP says that, should his party boycott the next election, 20 days of street protests by BNP supporters would then be followed by violent attacks by his party workers on their rivals.

    The shame of it all is how little heed the squabbling politicians pay to what should matter more: keeping the economy growing and reducing poverty further. In the face of electricity shortages, blocked roads and land disputes, the Bangladesh economy has been doing remarkably well. Its clothing industry has the potential to generate over $40 billion a year from exports, according to McKinsey, a consultancy.

    Indicators of well-being have been improving. If annual economic growth of over 6% is sustained, a country that not long ago was a byword for poverty can contemplate reaching middle-income levels in barely a decade. But that needs single-minded focus by the government on dealing with the country’s economic bottlenecks and social needs. Instead, like Dhaka’s wretched roads, politics looks jammed. Uncertainty leading up to the next election, and growing anxiety among diplomats and foreign observers of Bangladesh, suggest a hard, tense time ahead. More than anyone, blame the driver.

    The RAW activity in Bangladesh

    The Satkhira frustration

    ইউনুসের ‘শান্তিতে নোবেল’ প্রাপ্তি, প্রতিহিংসা ও পদক-কালচার

    দুর্নীতি, অনিয়মের খবর প্রকাশের কারনে আক্রান্ত সাংবাদিক

    সুরঞ্জিতের গদিপ্রীতি; রাষ্ট্রীয়ভাবে দুর্নীতি’র পালন

     
  • probirbidhan 18:44 on May 21, 2012 Permalink |
    Tags: , enclaves, India-Bangladesh relation, , , politics,   

    Bangladesh’s democracy and India 

    New Delhi, Tue, 17 Jun 2008 NI Wire

    No doubt the recent time has brought some kind of positive outlook in Indo-Bangladesh relations, as the Muslim nation is moving towards democracy and India as a concerned neighbour taking it as a new step to mutual cooperation. However, New Delhi’s handling of foreign relations with neighbouring countries, especially with Pakistan, Myanmar (Burma) and Bangladesh in the past did not arise much hope; however it can be taken as a sign of improving affairs in the subcontinent despite some hard issues that never seems to die down.

    With much concern of militancy in the north-eastern part of the country and the increasing economic migrants, the recent high-level visits from both countries in the month of March, including Bangladesh’s Army Chief of Staff Gen. Moeen U Ahmed, can be seen as the positive most since Bangladesh’s independence in 1971. The train service from Kolkata to Dhaka is just the visible result of improved cooperation.

    No matter how lenient the caretaker military government is but its presence has been a worrying factor for India. There has been some encouraging development in Bangladesh in terms of initiatives for a dialogue process between political parties and the interim government. The release of ex-Premier and Awami League party president Sheikh Hasina Wajed for medical treatment abroad is a part of the same. The process of release of another premier political leader Begum Khaleda Zia, the supremo of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) is also on the card, who is also serving imprisonment with corruption charges.

    Again with these developments spawning around, India has shown some signs that it favours a friendly, stable democratic Bangladesh. India has uttered nothing concrete yet for the release of political prisoners including the top two leaders: Hasina and Khaleda Zia; it is just that the caretaker administration seems relatively friendly towards India taking note of India’s security concern and economic cooperation.

    The caretaker administration has freed the Judiciary from Executive control in its corruption clean up drive, but a large piece still remains on the objective of conducting a free-fair election at the scheduled time. However, India needs to be bit more proactive without turning back to the developments in Bangladesh if, keeping finger crossed, the result would be no different to Pakistan and Myanmar where people have had enough military rule.

    India’s overall ‘attitude of appeasement’ can be very well understood with its North-east concern where insurgency by fundamentalists is a daily affair and if India continues the same policy with the army-backed caretaker government in Dhaka then result would be no different. There is a greater role for India to play in the subcontinent both politically and economically.

     
  • probirbidhan 20:54 on May 14, 2012 Permalink |
    Tags: 14-party alliance led by AL, AL General Secretary and LGRD Minister Syed Ashraful Islam, , Bangladesher Samyabadi Dal (M.L.), Dilip Barua, , industries minister, politics, popularity test, security deposit forfeited, , Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, technocrat minister,   

    News Analysis: Popularity? Ask Barua 

    Tuesday, May 15, 2012 

    Shakhawat Liton, Senior Correspondent, The Daily Star 

    It was none but technocrat Minister Dilip Barua who has urged Prof Muhammad Yunus and Sir Fazle Hasan Abed to join politics to test their popularity before speaking about the country’s politics.

    He might have forgotten his own popularity, public support behind him and tried to please the prime minister by blasting the two iconic characters for their suggestions for restoration of caretaker government for peaceful parliamentary polls at a meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Dhaka.

    It is usual that Barua will remain grateful to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as she made him a fortunate man. In his long political career, Barua was never elected an MP and even could not contest the December 29 parliamentary polls in 2009 as Awami League had picked its own leader to contest the battle of ballots from the constituency from where Barua sought to contest.

    Hasina inducted him as a minister in her cabinet and gave portfolio of the industries ministry, giving much priority over Rashed Khan Menon and Hasanul Haque Inu, chiefs of Workers Party and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, two components of the AL-led alliance.

    He does not face any difficulties to continue as a technocrat minister thanks to destruction of the spirit of the original constitution of 1972 which would compel a technocrat minister to get elected as an MP within six months of being sworn in.

    In return of the favour he got, Barua, chief of Bangladesher Samyabadi Dal (M.L.), apparently tried to please the premier by blasting Yunus and Abed in line with the ruling AL’s stance against the caretaker government system which was abolished last year.

    Barua on Friday just joined the chorus as before him Finance Minister AMA Muhith and AL General Secretary and LGRD Minister Syed Ashraful Islam bitterly criticised Yunus and Abed. And Muhith and Ashraf spoke in line with the stance of Sheikh Hasina who earlier on several times criticised Yunus.

    But the way the industries minister castigated Yunus and Abed and urged them to join politics first to speak about politics looks indecent. Barua might have forgotten his own popularity when he was throwing a challenge to Yunus and Abed to test their popularity by stepping in politics.

    Since restoration of democracy in the country in 1990 through a mass upsurge against autocratic ruler HM Ershad, Barua contested three parliamentary elections. The Election Commission’s reports on previous polls speak the reality of his polls performances.

    He contested from Chittagong-1 parliamentary constituency on ticket of Bangladesher Samyabadi Dal and bagged only 1,552 votes out of 129,105 votes cast in 1991 parliamentary polls. The result? Barua’s security deposit was forfeited.

    He contested the 1996 parliamentary polls and obtained only 511 votes, one-third of the votes he obtained in 1991. His security deposit was again lost. He however did not feel frustrated with his performance. He contested the 2001 polls from the same parliamentary constituency and bagged 307 votes, almost half he got in 1996.

    The results show how Barua’s popularity declined in over two decades. But he was fortunate as AL needed name of his party in its strategy to politically isolate past BNP-Jamaat-led alliance and to wage street agitations against the then regime.

    His life sketch posted on the industries ministry website proudly claims he was one of the architects of the 14-party alliance led by AL. He was one of the frontline leaders to launch movement against Khaleda Zia and Matiur Rahman Nizami’s government. The life sketch contains detailed information about Barua’s long political career since his student life. But it did not cite any single information about his participation in the three parliamentary polls and his performance in those battles of ballots.

    He might have felt embarrassed to cite the information in his life sketch on his popularity test.

     
  • probirbidhan 14:57 on May 11, 2012 Permalink |
    Tags: Bangladesh Chhatra League, , politics, Students' movement, , Zubair Ahmed   

    The 48-hour Story 

    The Daily Star May 11, 2012

    Even though the movement against its beleaguered Vice Chancellor seems to have cooled down, Jahangirnagar University might soon erupt into violence again

    Shahtub Siddique Anik

    Those who know Jahangirnagar University, always admire its cultural scene. Over the last few decades, the campus has been turned into a vibrant place for the country’s culture and the credit goes to creative and hardworking activists of the cultural organisations, thousands of passionate audiences and the amazing Mukta Mancha, the amphitheatre.

    In such a beautiful campus, some ugly incidents have recently sent shockwaves through the nation that’s already disgusted with political chaos, load shedding, traffic jam, extra-judicial killings and shutdowns.


    Jahangirnagar has a history of resistance against rapists, fascists and fanatics and a history of
    cultural activism. Photo: Mir Ahsan Habib Riyadhe

    On April 28, a group of Chhatra League activists beat up at least 15 cultural activists. Teachers and journalists were not spared. The proctor, the person entrusted with ensuring security of students, was standing nearby. The victims’ cries for help failed to move him.

    Chhatra League over the past three years hogged the headlines several times, but not for any good reason. But the case of its JU unit is a bit different and difficult to understand. The faction that dominates the campus is widely known as VC League. On January 8, some VC League members beat up Zubair, a student of the English department of the university and a rival faction member. Profusely bleeding, he died the next day.

    For the Jahangirnagar community, Zubair’s killing was not easy to accept. A platform of teachers, Shikkhak Samaj, started agitating against the administration, the Vice-Chancellor Shariff Enamul Kabir to be precise. They demanded that among many issues, an investigation into the role of the administration before and during Zubair’s murder and an end to teacher recruitment irregularities.

    Students under the banner Santraser Biruddhe Jahangirnagar also forged a massive movement. Prof Shariff could not care less. The teachers called strike and laid siege to the VC office, demanding his removal. On April 25, the VC, widely criticised for violating the rules of this public university, allowed the police to arrest two teachers from the campus on charges of beating another teacher. Angered, the Shikkhak Samaj announced sit-ins in front of Shariff’s residence. They vowed to continue the agitation until the vice-chancellor steps down.

    Poster designs: Moin Uddin Pathan

    The day before the cultural activists were attacked, Chhatra League cadres vandalised the stage set up for the teachers’ protest programme. They also burned the banner. The media paid attention. Journalists gathered at the two gates of the VC’s residence. One gate was swarmed with anti-VC teachers and the other by their rivals.

    On April 27, the JU Syndicate announced summer vacation from May 5 and banned demonstrations near the VC residence and office.

    Opposing all these decisions, Jahangirnagar Sangskritik Jote, a forum of cultural organisations, took to the street. On April 28 around noon, the Jote brought out a procession.

    In the afternoon, while the Shikkhak Samaj was addressing a press conference, some Chhatra League men were clubbing Mahmud Koli, president of the Jote, with rods and iron pipes. Nearby, some others were beating theatre activist Sudeep. Those who went to save the two were also attacked.

    The same day, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was receiving a crest from Prof Zillur Rahman Siddique, a former VC of JU, for her “maritime row victory” against Myanmar.

    Around 9:00pm, Chhatra League again swooped on agitating students and teachers. Right before the attack, nobody knows if this is a coincidence, darkness descended over JU; power was shut dawn. Police were withdrawn.

    The next day hundreds of students joined a procession led by the Jote; around 11:00am at TSC, which marched through the campus to end at the VC’s residence. They demanded the removal of Prof Shariff and justice for the attack on cultural activists.

    Shariff Enamul Kabir should have seen this coming. Shariff, a Gopalganj League candidate, got his appointment as vice-chancellor on February 24, 2009. His actions capped all the major graft scams of JU. He also came down hard on cultural organisations. It was his cadres who torched the rehearsal room of cultural organisation Dhwani. Documented the all history of last the 15 years, were burned to ashes. And during a theatre fest, Chhatra League attacked Mukta Mancha when the audience was enjoying a show presented by a troupe from Dhaka. Armed cadres ran riots and smashed drama sets.

    Sharif also started felling trees. He chopped down all the beautiful trees from Dairy Gate to the arts faculty, saying the trees obstructed the view of the Shaheed Minar from Dhaka-Arica highway. This is the first time in the history of Jahangirnagar University that very few migratory birds came to the campus. Cleaning of lakes, fish farming and use of pesticide are to be blamed.

    He has set a new record. Only a little over three years ago, he appointed around 200 teachers. Some teachers did not even take a written test; viva was enough for them. Many were average students. They were guarding the west gate of VC residence on April 27. Some of these teachers were assigned as hall provosts. Their main duty was to take care of VC League members.

    Jahangirnagar has a history of resistance against rapists, fascists and fanatics and a history of cultural activism. Students and teachers started a fast. Former students, intellectuals, artists, singers, bloggers expressed solidarity. The movement got extensive coverage in the mainstream media, Facebook and blogs.

    The national politics was not quiet either. The government was grappling with the railwaygate scandal, the disappearance of Ilias and the resignation of Sohel Taj.

    Finally, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stepped into the JU crisis. On May 3, the Shikkhak Samaj postponed their demonstration on assurance from Hasina that she would look into the matter. She talked separately to both factions of JU teachers. Two days later, agitating students at Jahangirnagar University called off their hunger strike. Already many of them have been hospitalised.

    A protester writes on her Facebook status: “Struggle continues…my campus is not for killers, criminals and thugs. …we haven’t left the movement. If we don’t get a solution shortly, we know what to do. We know how to fight for our rights. So, the ball is in the PM’s court. What will she do? Will it again be a promise not kept? Will it be like the government statement following Sagar-Runi murders, that within 48 hours the killers will be brought to justice? We hope not. Let’s hope for the best.

     
  • probirbidhan 15:40 on May 5, 2012 Permalink |
    Tags: crimes, , , politics,   

    Journalists being killed at ‘astonishing pace’ 

    The Associated Press May 4, 2012, 10:05AM ET

    UNITED NATIONS

    On World Press Freedom Day, Reporters Without Borders condemned the “astonishing pace” at which journalists are being attacked and murdered — 67 killed in 2011 and 22 more deaths since the beginning of the year.

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the attacks “outrageous” and urged all countries to prevent and prosecute violence against the media and take action to ensure the safety of journalists and freedom of the press.

    At Thursday’s U.N. commemoration of Press Freedom Day, Ban asked the assembled diplomats, members of the media and civil society representatives to observe a minute of silence “in honor of the journalists who were killed in the line of duty last year.”

    According to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, 179 journalists were detained in 2011, a 20 percent increase over 2010 and the highest level since 1990, Ban said.

    “Countless others face intimidation, harassment and censorship at the hands of governments, corporations and powerful individuals seeking to preserve their power or hide wrongdoings and misdeeds,” the secretary-general said.

    Ireland’s President Michael Higgins, a former broadcaster, told the commemoration the deaths demonstrate the risks that journalists and media workers face and “their vulnerability to intimidation, violence and persecution.”

    “Many were victims of targeted killings, while the circumstances of other killings may never be fully explained,” he said.

    Reporters Without Borders updated its list of “predators of the freedom to inform” to 41 individuals and group. It said the first quarter of 2012 clearly showed that the world’s predators led by Syria’s President Bashar Assad and Somalia’s Islamist militias “are capable of behaving like outrageous butchers.”

    The media advocacy organization, based in France, decried the increase in attacks and killings of news providers — up from 57 murders in 2010 to 67 in 2011, and 22 so far this year including five journalists killings in Somalia, four in Syria, and two each in Bangladesh, Brazil and India.

    In Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, dozens of Somali journalists met Thursday in somber silence to celebrate World Press Freedom Day, a meeting that took place only hours after the killing of the fifth Somali journalist this year. Two armed men shadowed Somali radio journalist Farhan Abdulle after he left his station late Wednesday, then shot him dead.

    The killings also continued in Mexico, which has become one of the world’s most dangerous places for journalists amid a raging drug war. The bodies of two news photographers were found dismembered in the eastern Mexican state of Veracruz on Thursday, less than a week after the killing in the state of a reporter for an investigative newsmagazine.

    The Reporters Without Borders predators list was updated this week to include Vasif Talibov, leader of the Nakhchivan region in Azerbaijan, in addition to the country’s president, Ilham Aliev.

    Azerbaijan’s U.N. Ambassador Agshin Mehdiyev, the current Security Council president, denied any repression of the media, telling a news conference Thursday that “we have a free press. … We don’t have any people imprisoned because of their professional activities or political views.”

    In Tunisia’s capital, hundreds of journalists from around the world gathered for special World Press Freedom Day events held in a country where reporters long faced repression before protesters brought down the country’s dictator last year and sparked uprisings across the Arab world.

    UNESCO’s director-general, Irina Bokova, and Tunisia’s President Moncef Marzouki, a former human rights activist, were among those taking part in events that included a conference on improving security for journalists and improving access to information.

    “The days of control of the media are over,” said Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali.

    On Thursday, a Tunisian court convicted the head of a private TV station for disrupting public order and violating moral values by airing an animated film that some religious leaders say insults Islam.

    The court in Tunis ordered Nabil Karoui to pay a 2,400-dinar ((EURO)1,200, $1,575) fine because his station, Nessma TV, aired the animated film “Persepolis” in October.

    Secretary-General Ban told the U.N. commemoration that the world has seen over the past year and a half across the Middle East and North Africa “the central role played by social media, mobile telephones and satellite television in generating an extraordinary ripple effect: from a vegetable seller’s simple cry for human dignity, to the fall of autocratic regimes.”

    “As the use of those tools expands, the world is likely to see more historic changes — and other applications that can advance human well-being,” he said.

    Ireland’s Higgins stressed that billions of people are still unable to access the Internet and while the “digital divide” has shrunk somewhat due to the proliferation of mobile phones, greater efforts are required to ensure that the poor, elderly, disabled and those living in rural areas become connected and don’t become victims of greater inequality.

     
  • probirbidhan 10:02 on April 20, 2012 Permalink |
    Tags: Aniruddha, journalism, poet, politics, Santosh Gupta   

    Journalist Santosh Gupta: An Idol 

    Memories of Santosh Gupta: Syed Badrul Ahsan

    Santosh Gupta. Photo: Star File

    Santosh Gupta was, from every perspective, a man steeped in modernity. And that is what made him different from other men. He was unlike any other journalist in that he believed journalism had a larger role to play than being a mere presentation of news as it was shaped around the journalist. A journalist, in Gupta’s view, was a good deal more than one upholding his profession. He was indeed an individual with a deep sense of commitment to all those causes which touched the lives of citizens. Those who came forth with news, a packaging of it, were for him people who through their world view made a difference in the way society transformed itself at varied points of time.

    That was when Santosh Gupta became Aniruddha. It was a column he lived with, identified with, indeed became it over time. It was within its parameters that he held forth on the ills that afflicted society and offered thoughts that could in the end produce a solution. Aniruddha’s was a clinical foray into the dense wood of socio-political deadwood. Gupta saw the thick bushes, the dark undergrowth and then chose to hack away at the mess. He took on arrogant men with politeness but with razor-sharp sarcasm. Never abrasive, he nevertheless knew he owed it to his country to reveal the hollowness that the seemingly great appeared to thrive in. Through his column, Aniruddha gave readers a clear sense of what journalism ought to be. It was never the journalist who was in the limelight. It was always the journalism that mattered.

    There was much that was self-effacing in Santosh Gupta. He carefully steered clear of the temptation of turning into a celebrity. That is what cerebral men generally do. They come up with great thoughts and incisive writing and gentle demeanour, all encompassed in humility. Gupta was a cerebral individual. He was a poet who believed rhymes and verses must reflect the worries of contemporary times. A revolutionary spirit underscored his commitment to national causes, through his poetry:

    Mrityu’r janaza mora kichhu-tei koribo na path / koborer ghum bhange jiboner daabi aaj ato-i biraat.

    Life, in Gupta’s comprehension of the meaning, was but a constant struggle for the uplift of the collective human spirit. And the struggle was to be waged through the relentless march of socialism. For Gupta, socialism or for that matter communism was the modality that would give men with sliding hope a coruscating new meaning to their lives. That was modernity, again, at work in Gupta. He never gave up hope in the ability of socialism to make people take care of their own world. It was a belief he never let go of, even if it meant a march to prison in the dark days of Pakistan.

    The journalist-poet-socialist, beyond and above all that, was also a Bengali who would not abandon his cultural heritage. He watched a rainbow take shape for Bengalis through the gathering momentum of rising nationalism in the 1960s. As part of that nationalistic wave, he became part of the war in 1971, in order to be part of the generation that was to cause wonders in this land. Santosh Gupta was made of stern patriotic stuff. He was one of the soldiers who came home on a winter’s day and let us in on the truth that Bangladesh was free.

    It is this courageous man we celebrate today, eight years after death put an end to the vibrancy and vigour penned through his ceaseless writing. Santosh Gupta never made light of life. There were the convictions he held on to, despite the weakening men around him. There was seriousness of purpose in him. He believed in the ability of the masses to uphold their larger interests. Democracy in Bangladesh, he was willing to agree, was frail and flawed. But he was never in any doubt about its digging deeper roots in the Bengali soil in the flow of time. It was the thinker in him that spotted the light at the end of the tunnel.

    (Santosh Gupta — journalist, poet, political commentator — died on 6 August, 2004).

    The writer is Executive Editor, The Daily Star

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel