Thursday, January 31, 2013

4 Islamic activists martyred in Bangladesh

I am shocked beyond words. 4 innocent lives have been lost today (31st of January) in Bangladesh. One policeman also died while on duty.

It all started on the 29th of January with, "Scores hurt as Islamists take to Bangladesh streets over tribunal". In an alarming response, Benazir Ahmed, DMP police commissioner called on police to shoot Shibir on sight saying," From now open fire as soon as Shibir is visible "

"If Jamaat brings out any procession, the respective ward and thana unit of Awami League will be held responsible organisationally for that," said Awami League Dhaka city unit general secretary Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya on January 30th, while addressing a special extended meeting of Awami League Dhaka city unit at its Bangabandhu Avenue office in the city. Addressing the meeting, Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir said, "Those who are involved in anti-state activities, the government is pledge-bound to prevent them. It's our moral duty to resist Jamaat."

In the same meeting, Awami League joint general secretary Mahbub-ul-Alam Hanif observed that the trial of the war criminals cannot be stopped by carrying out sniper attacks. "The activists and leaders of Awami League will have to resist Jamaat in every ward unitedly."

Did these orders result in what happened on the 31st of December?

Jamaat called hartal for the 31st of January to protest the repressive actions of the government on its activities, among them not allowing it to hold a predeclared procession on the 30th of January.

In the wee hours of the 31st of January, police constable Jahurul died at Manirampur, Jessore, Bangladesh due to a heart attack. This was reported to be while police obstruction was in progress of a procession brought out by Jamaat and Shibir in support of hartal/general strike called by Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami.

In Bogra, Shibir activist and sociology honours student, Abu Ruhani, was martyred at around 12:00 pm when armed Awami League cadres attacked a procession at Fulbari area in front of Mujibur Rahman Women's College, severely injuring a total 4. They were rushed to Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Medical College Hospital where Ruhani died around 2:30pm. Abu Ruhani, 22, was the president of Azizul Haque College, Old Bhaban unit of Shibir. The others were Shamin Miah, Adnan Rafique, and Shabbir Pramanik

At around 1:30 pm, an armed group of Chatroloeague attacked Mizanur Rahman, a Jamaat activist, at his establishment, Bhai-Bon hatchery, hacking him fatally while he was working there at Satgram, on the outskirts of the town at Bogra. Doctors pronounced him dead on arrival at Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Medical College Hospital.

A procession by aggrieved activists at the town around 4:15 protesting these heinous acts of violence was obstructed by police, which lead to clashes. Police indiscriminately fired tear shells and rubber bullets to contain the situation where more than 100 were wounded and 8 activists bullet ridden. In the evening, a Chatroleague controlled mess was put on fire at Sheujgari area. A Shibir activist was martyred by police firing at Jamilnagar area. Another Shibir activist was shot and killed members of the Rapid Action Battalion(RAB). At the end of the day, Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) was called in to calm the situation.The two Shibir activists were identified as Abdullah and Sharif. Unconfirmed reports speak of fatal shootings when security raided residences of Shibir activists. Some even say that one activist was in the sijdah position amidst his prayers (namaaz)when security opened fire.

Think not of those who are slain in Allah's way as dead. Nay, they live, finding their sustenance in the presence of their Lord. (Qur'an,Al-i-Imran, Ayat 169)
إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ

Strong condemnation on publishing fabricated news by The Daily Star

A policeman died at Manirampur, Jessore, Bangladesh. This was reported while police obstruction was in progress of a procession brought out by Jamaat and Shibir in support of hartal/general strike called by Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami. Various TV stations, including ATN News, Ekattor TV and Independent, have independently confirmed that the death of the police constable Jahurul was of illness (either of a stroke or heart attack) on his way to the hospital.

However, the Daily Star, in a blitzkrieg of an article, has claimed otherwise,"Policeman killed in clash with Shibir in Jessore". In a dubious take on the incident, "At one stage, the Shibir men started to hurl brick chips on the law enforcers, compelling the police to retaliate with blank shots.The law enforcers also charged batons on them to bring the situation under control. Nine policemen including Zohurul got hurt by the brick chips hurled by the Shibir men.Zohurul was rushed to Monirumpur Upazila Health Complex. He was later shifted to Jessore Sadar Hospital where doctors declared him dead around 8:00am. Police rounded up four Shibir men from the spot." also published a similarly vengeful article "Cop killed in Shibir attack in Monirumpur", saying, "A police member was killed and 10 others including police men were injured when a group of Shibir activists attacked them during hartal hour at Monirumpur upazila of the district Thursday morning." , although giving an incriminating headline,"Shibir-cop clash kills constable in Jessore", admitted to the fact that, "During the clash Jahurul fall sick, Banglanews Correspondent reports.The injured were rushed to upazila health complex where duty doctor declared Jahurul dead.Injured police officials are Sub-Inspector Shankar, SI Ziaul, constables Nawab Ali and Moslem Uuddin. Monirampur police station SI Imran told banglanews, “Constable Jahurul fell sick during clash with Jamaat-Shibir. He was rushed to upazila health complex. Later, he died on the way to Jessore Medical College Hospital around 9:00am.”"

Such fabrication of facts by a respected daily such as Daily Star is to be condemned.I protest this yellow journalism.

Update:  Daily star has changed its report to reflect first hand accounts and refuted fact that hartal protesters were responsible for the death of  the policeman with a modified report "Policeman dies during hartal duty in Jessore" 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Daily Star hides another truth

Pieces of misinformation are like potholes, until they cover an entire road. That is when that road becomes unusable. The Daily Star strives (again) to ingrain another piece of misinformation about Shibir in the mind of readers in its ultimate goal to taint the organization. In its report published today entitled "Jamaat-Shibir men hold brisk procession in city" it has chosen to hide another small bombshell, another bit of the truth. All seems well in the report which gives a routine roundup of a procession brought out by Shibir where " The law enforcers had to fire around six blank shots to disperse the Jamaat-Shibir men". All is well and fine and everyone goes home happy while 'evil' Shibir were sent scurrying away, right? Wrong. 

This report was found wanting in depth due to lack of information, which I found with such ease that I felt stupid. came up with a concise version of events in Bangla entitled, "পান্থপথে লাঠিসোটা নিয়ে শিবিরের মিছিল/Shibir procession at Pathapath with sticks". That little bit of detail left out was " বুধবার বেলা সাড়ে ৩টার দিকে বের হওয়া মিছিলটি পান্থপথ থেকে কারওয়ান বাজারের দিকে যাওয়ার পথে পুলিশ ও ছাত্রলীগের কর্মীরা এতে ধাওয়া দেয়। / On Wednesday, at half past 3 pm, the procession, on going from Panthapath to Kawran Bazaar, was chased by police and Chatra League members " 

Chatra League is the student unit of the Awami League, which is the ruling party in Bangladesh. Put it down to poor reporting skills or intentional omission, The Daily Star has successfully fed you another bit of misinformation

Here's the picture published in the report of of Chatra League cadres supposedly chasing down Shibir. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Media Analysis of "Rampage" of Jamaat and Shibir on 28.01.13

News headlines in Bangladesh for 28.12.2013 recounted horrifying stories of clashes of Jamaat and Shibir with the security forces in Dhaka and 3 other districts in Bangladesh. 

The Daily Star labelled it "Jamaat Shibir strike terror", claiming as many as 50 policemen were injured. Its naked hatred towards Jamaat-Shibir was exposed with the following words embedded in the report "Surprisingly, law enforcers did not use newly introduced pepper sprays on the attackers." along with a slice of misinformation,"A policeman and an auto-rickshaw driver in Chittagong suffered bullet wounds as Shibir activists opened fire.", while blandly stating "
Anwar Hossain, deputy commissioner (Motijheel) of police, said they fired more than 250 rubber bullets and 100 teargas canisters. Police also arrested 48 activists with bottles of petrol.Police also fired over a hundred rounds from Chinese rifles and shotguns."

Online news portal labelled the incident as " Shibir sabotage in 4 districts,50 held", starting with "Leaders and activists of Islami Chhatra Shibir went on rampage in four districts including the capital on Monday.." while giving less importance to " Shibir men claimed that they tried to bring a procession in protest against allegation of torturing its publicity secretary at DB office but police obstructed them.Following the obstruction, Shibir men launched attack on police in Zero point area around 10:15am." 

Another online news portal,, chipped in with an aggressive "Jamaat is a terrorist group: FBCCI", spelling out its analysis with strong words, "Activists of the Jamaat-e-Islami and its student front Islami Chhatra Shibir once again pounced on law enforcers at Motijheel following a demonstration in the morning demanding release of their top leaders facing trials on war crimes charges.The Jamaat supporters went berserk in the capital’s Motijheel, smashing nearly 100 vehicles. They set fire to five vehicles including a police van. At least 21 policemen were injuring when they tried to prevent the mayhem.They also carried out similar arson attacks across the country."

The Daily Star inflames the situation further when it adds the PM's statement on the incident, with an appropriate heading"Go tough:PM spurs law enforcers on Jamaat-Shibir violence". drops a bomb in the form of "Benazir for shooting Shibir activists", reporting "Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner Benazir Ahmed on Monday asked police personnel to open fire targeting Shibir activists as soon as they (Shibir) are visible.

However, a differently worded story emerged from other sources such as Reuters which focused more on the causes than the 'rampage' with a report headlined, "Scores hurt as Islamists take to Bangladesh streets over tribunal", where it provided its first impression analysis as "At least 50 people including policemen were injured in Bangladesh on Monday as Islamist activists protested against the prosecution of their leaders on charges stemming from a war of independence 40 years ago, police and witnesses said." , incorporating a backdrop explanation of the circumstances leading to the incident with, "Human Rights Watch has said the law under which the accused were being tried fell short of international standards of due process. It cited defence lawyers, witnesses and investigators as saying they had been threatened during the trial."

Finally, the Daily Naya Diganta, in its take on the proceedings, refuted the claim of the Daily Star which had said, "Neither Jamaat nor its student wing had called a programme for yesterday." with the following, "মিছিলটি পূর্বঘোষিত থাকায় পুলিশও আগে থেকেই রাজধানীর বিভিন্ন পয়েন্টে অবস্থান নেয়। / Since the  procession was declared beforehand, police were stationed in various points in Dhaka in advance." 

Later, another bombshell was dropped by the Daily Naya Diganta later on the 29th of January in its report entitled, "পুলিশের হাতে পেট্রলের বোতল ও ম্যাচ!/ Petrol bottle and matches in hand of police", clearly inkling at a treacherous part of police in inflammation of the the violence, saying, "রাজধানীতে গতকাল শিবিরকর্মী ও আইনশৃঙ্খলা বাহিনীর মধ্যে সংঘর্ষ চলাকালে পুলিশের হাতে পেট্রলের বোতল ও ম্যাচ দেখা গেছে। শিবিরকর্মীদের আটকের পর পুলিশকে পেট্রলের বোতল ও ম্যাচ শিবিরকর্মীদের হাতে ধরিয়ে দিতে দেখা গেছে। এমনকি ছদ্মবেশধারী পুলিশ শিবিরের মিছিলে যোগ দিয়ে গাড়িতে অগ্নিসংযোগ করে। গতকাল মতিঝিল এলাকায় সংঘর্ষ চলাকালে পুলিশের ছিল এমন রহস্যজনক ভূমিকা। / Yesterday while clashes between police and Shibir activists were ongoing, it was observed that police were in possession of matches and petrol bottles. These items were put forcefully into hands of detained Shibir activists. It was even observed that plain clothed police blended into processions of Shibir and initiated arson upon vehicles. Such questionable role of police was observed at Motijheel yesterday" 

The photo evidence is pretty damning and brings into question the role of police on the proceedings at Motijheel on that fateful day.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Why the Economist and Dr. Ghamdi had a point: A response to Bhaskar Roy and Pritom Das

Recently, humungous articles have been published relating to conspiracy against the International War crimes tribunal in Bangladesh by international personalities and media, namely Dr. Ali Al Ghamdi, Turkish President Abdullah Al Gul, the Economist and Human Rights Watch. Pritom Das, in dissecting article published at, penned "Dr. Ali A-Ghamdi:Luxury of Lies", on January 8th, 2013 in response to an article of Dr. Ali Al Ghamdi on December 19, 2012 in the Saudi Gazette which he titled “A trial to Deny Justice”. Another notable article is the recently published, "Bangladesh: External Efforts To Scuttle Genocide Trials - Analysis" published on January 9,2013, Eurasia Review and penned by Bhaskar Roy of the South Asia Analysis Group. It all started when the Economist published a howler of an article, "Trying war crimes in Bangladesh: The trial of the birth of a nation", on the 15th of December 2012. It is quite a war of words comparing the four elaborately penned articles, in which the Economist admittedly has the upper hand due to its historic and worldwide reputation. 

On to dissecting the article of Pritom Das from When Pritom Das corrects Dr. Ali Al Ghamdi saying,
"Lie number one, the number of laws were not one, but two. First one was the Collaborators Act of 1972 which was applicable to the people who collaborated with the Pakistani Army in committing genocide and other crimes. The second one, International Crimes (Tribunals) Act of 1973 was issued for trying any person responsible for committing international crimes in the territory of Bangladesh including those 195 Pakistani prisoners of war.",

he is but reinstating Dr. Ghamdi's more factual but earthly words,
"The Pakistan army was accused of committing war crimes, including murder and rape, during the civil war. The first government of Bangladesh, headed by the father of the nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, issued a law to try war crimes, and accordingly a list of suspected war criminals was prepared. The list contained 195 Pakistani soldiers and there were no civilians among those accused of war crimes. Another law was issued to try Bangladeshis who collaborated with the Pakistan army. Under this law, more than 100,000 people were arrested but were later released due to a public amnesty announced by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman."
     In short Dr. Ghamdi simply stated what had happened on the ground while Pritom Das goes on to dictate the laws, word by word. It is a practical observation that laws are theoretical jargon applied as per need practically on the ground. This is proved by Pritom Das himself when further, he goes on to explain that the 195 Pakistani war criminals were not forgiven but transferred to the custody of the Pakistani government,
"Lie number two, the 195 Pakistani war criminals were not forgiven or released. They were just transferred to the custody of Pakistan while Pakistan was responsible for bringing them to justice as part of their obligation under international law. Due to serious diplomatic clash among Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India concerning those Pakistani prisoners of war, a tri-partite agreement was signed by those three countries. According to this agreement, the government of Pakistan took the responsibility of arranging the trial of the 195 war criminals." 
The wording makes it clear that Bangladesh had no choice in the matter then and the transfer of 195 Pakistani prisoners of war/war criminals amounted to releasing them under the pressure of India. In retrospective, Dr, Ghamdi was right in stating that "With this, the trials of war crimes suspects seemed to come to an end.
Das further goes on to state, " Dr. Al-Ghamdi lies as he says that the collaborators were released. More than 20 collaborators were sentenced to death; many were sentenced to imprisonment for different durations.  Dr. Al-Ghamdi speaks of political leaders; in the following we present a number of news headlines regarding their trials and imprisonments:
“PDP leader Nurul Amin sentenced for collaboration” (Dainik Bangla, July 5, 1972)
“Jasimuddin, minister of aggressor’s reign, sentenced to life” (Ittefaq, November 26, 1972)
“Jamaat-e-Islami leader Maolana Yousuf sentenced to life” (Ittefaq, December 5, 1972)
“Solayman sentenced to life in Khulna” (Ittefaq, December 23, 1972)  "

My simple but loaded question is, do we hear any names of Nizami, Sayedee, Kamruzzaman or  Abdul Kader Mollah, or even Gholam Azam?
Das further goes on to refute Dr. Ghamdi's logic of involvement of the Economist and its "archaic" arguments. He goes on to prove, through rhetoric, how innocuous it is for two law experts to discuss about government's involvement in speeding up the trial process (ultimately hampering it?), using the blackmailing logic of emotion of the people of a country who "will inevitably" want to see all the defendants hanged.

On to the article of Bhaskar Roy in the Eurasia Review, a classical example of misinformation interwoven with a web of lies, all the while speaking from an Indian perspective. Roy begins with a background setting up the current political scenario of Bangladesh as being right wing Islamist vs secular and liberal forces by stating, " The main conflict is between right wing elements who continue to strive for Sharia law, discrimination against women and minorities and spiritual regression on the one side, and the progressive and liberal section of the population especially the educated youth who want jobs, progress and development.",painting a picture which is so far from the truth that it is ridiculous. Wikipedia explains the political situation in Bangladesh after 2008 elections here.

Roy continues with another ridiculous claim of Awami League government as the starting point for development of Bangladesh by saying,"After 2008, there has been some forward movement. Social indicators have improved. Economic growth reached 7%. International stature moved from ‘near a state sponsor of terrorism’ in early 2002 to “a frontline state against terrorism” in the last two years. Bangladesh began to be cited internationally as an example among developing countries. Women’s emancipation in Bangladesh under the present government is the highest in the region despite opposition from right wing political parties and groups." I hope Roy doesn't think Bangladesh was part of Afghanistan before 2008.

Roy goes on to explain the Economist report as an "ingenious downplay", changing the abbreviation of 'BJI' to 'JEI' and relabeling Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami to Bangladesh Jamaet-e-Islami International. Back into the ICT trials of Bangladesh, Roy starts by giving his own verdicts,"The first accused in this trial is Dilwar Hossain Sayeedi, a top leader in the JEI, and one of the cruellest activists in 1971. Sayeedi is the dominant ideologue of the JEI who openly supports the extreme Wahabi ideology of the Al Qaeda and Taliban and has two options for minorities, that is, either convert to Islam or be prepared to be eliminated." May I remind you dear sir on a recent order your beloved war crimes tribunal gave in connection to publishing statements that may prejudice trials, in this case of Sayedee himself.

I would further like to ask Mr. Roy to give examples how Islamists have been responsible for decreasing the Hindu population in Bangladesh as he claims, "Those who emphasize “injustice in Bangladesh” should take a short break and examine how the minorities in Bangladesh especially the Hindus, have suffered at the hands of the Islamists they are trying to defend, and how the minority population has declined from 18 percent in 1970 to barely 10 per cent today."

 Roy betrays his true intentions when he states, "The bigger concern is that the India led economic development and social stability in South Asia may be the bigger target. This writer would like to be corrected if he is wrong."  Fat chance of you being right, considering reports such as this, this, this, this, this, this, this and the blighted list goes on and on and we don't need the Economist to point that out. Further pointing outs of this baseless article are not required but needed to expose how the writer practically drools and raves on about international involvement in the war crimes trials in Bangladesh, spitting propaganda right, middle and left, stating, " What made President Gul intervene in Bangladesh? Is the AKP trying to save the JEI who want Sharia law to be introduced in Bangladesh and put women behind burkhas and within the confines of the house? Does the AKP have such a plan for Turkey? Or is there a much larger conspiracy to demolish the development of the region. Both The Economist and the Turkish government seem to have conveniently avoided any consideration of the sudden spurt of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism led by groups such a Jamatul Mujahidin Bangladesh (JMB), Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami (HUJI), Ahle Hadis, Hizbut Tehrir and others between 2001 and 2006. There are over 120 such fundamentalist terrorist groups in Bangladesh. Funding came to them from Islamic NGOs in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Pakistan and some other countries. A group of Al Qaida cadres were spotted in the jungles of Chittagong Hill Tracts in December 2006, hosted by the JEI. They fled after the BNP-JEI government fell." (An op-ed was published in the Journal of Turkish Weekly entitled "The Saga of Naive Dealings in Dhaka: Who wants this Kangaroo Tribunal?", which may help the reader in understanding the Turkish connection.)

I have already lost respect for the Eurasia Review for publishing such a blatant piece of propaganda which ends with,
"It is well known that in some capitals of the world Sk. Hasina is seen as an obstructionist to influence mongering. India is perceived as the large neighbour which is promoting Sk. Hasina and her government to a trans-Asia development connectivity.
This is not a case of a simple regime change in Bangladesh. A very serious risk is being taken by the powers and forces that be, to convert the country into a puppet of a new great game without even thinking that the strategy might blow up in their faces.
As in Alice in Wonderland, the situation is getting “curiouser and curiouser”."
Talk about an unbiased Delhi based Indian strategist knowing what's best for the people of Bangladesh. Thank you Bhaskar Roy for opening our eyes!!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hey Microsoft Word, I want 'u' back.

The thought came to me out of the blue. It simply occurred to me how miserable my life had become without 'u'. When I was a kid, the word 'colour' seemed so much more beautiful, so full of life. Similar was the case with 'flavour','neighbour','honour' and a countless other expressions. But all that changed once I had come in to face a world without 'u'. The words 'color','flavor','neighbor' and 'honor' simply seemed to have lost their magical flavour (or should I say, have lesser 'flavor')". But why should that happen? After some hard thinking and quiet retrospection, I found the answer staring at me right from the screen. The words with 'u' were highlighted with a red underline. That is, they were either misspelled, ambiguous or from a different culture. It hit me right then that inside me was just another fighting spirit. And what was it fighting ? Nothing other than the great American English Tsunami.

It had all started rather innocuously enough, with a platform called Windows developed by Microsoft. The program was called Microsoft Word and it simply took 'u' out of your English. The Americans in their endeavour (o_O.....stop showing that nonsensical 'endeavor') to dominate the world, were cunning enough to know that all they had to do was vanquish the 'u' from the World Wide Web. And now they have conquered your desktop with their latest polished version of Microsoft Word. Most of you may have never noticed it, many of you won't bother about it, and almost all of you will laugh at it, but I view my statement as a war. The war to rid the world of American colonialism. The war to reclaim a corruption free English. The war to get the 'u' and 're' back. A war to kick out the 'er' of this specter called American English. Just start by writing color with the 'u'. Doesn't it look so colourful ?          

Monday, January 7, 2013

7th January: Justice beckons in Bangladesh

Today is the 7th of January. Two years into the day when an innocent girl named Felani was murdered inhumanly at the hands of forces kept in place to enforce humanity. The BSF, or the Border Security Forces, represents the eyes, ears and hands of the largest democracy of the world, the mighty country called India. But the mightiness of its democratic ideals came crashing on that day when Felani was murdered at the hands of the BSF. They claimed she was crossing the border illegally, climbing the fences, posing a threat to the sovereignty of their mighty country, forcing them to shoot her in self defence. A nation believed them.

And another nation cried. Felani’s dead body was allowed to hang from the fence for 5 hours after which the BSF pulled her down, strapped her legs and hands to a bamboo pole and carried her dead body away proudly. They had murdered for their Motherland. They were the Guardians of a nation.

But the reality could not be further from the truth. Seeing humanity on barbed wire, emotion overwhelmed all. Denizens on both sides of the border shed their tears, irrespective of cast, creed or nationality. The picture of a dead Felani hanging on the barbed wire made a nation enraged, and the nation demanded justice. Following up on the events and flow of emotions, the worls demanded that India stop killing innocent civilians on the border in name of self defense. The interior minister of India, P.Chidambaram, came to Dhaka and promised that the BSF would never again under any circumstance ‘kill’ any unarmed civilian. 

Apparently, breaking promises is what successive Indian governments excel at. Human rights organization, Ain and Shaleesh Kendro, has reported that 76 Bangladeshis have been killed by the BSF in 2011 and 2012 while at least 474 have been victims of BSF torture. How long will the Bangladesh Government keep quiet and endure these criminals who can only laugh at its meek indecisiveness?