Sunday, April 29, 2012

Shah Alif Prince was tortured in an unknown location for 44 days

On February 25, 2012 at around 7.30 in the evening, Shah Alif Prince (24), son of Mohammad Shahjahan Ali and Fahima Khatun Jotsna living in Building 1, Road 13 of Nobinagar Housing under Mohammadpur Police Station, Dhaka was allegedly picked up by plainclothes members of RAB-2 (Rapid Action Battalion) and CPC (Crime Prevention Company) from the Shyamoli Shahi Mosque area. According to his family, his whereabouts were unknown for 44 days.

During the fact finding mission, it was found that Shah Alif Prince is a 3rd year Honours student of the Physics Department at the Titumir College. On February 25, 2012 RAB members arrested Alif, took him into custody and tortured him. After 44 days, on April 10, 2012 the members of RAB-5 of Railway Colony Camp of Rajshahi handed Alif to the police of Boalia Model Police Station in Rajshahi. On April 16, 2012 Alif was released on receiving bail from the CMM (Chief Metropolitan Magistrate) Court of Rajshahi.

Odhikar conducted a fact-finding mission into the incident. During the fact-finding mission, Odhikar interviewed:

• Shah Alif Prince (Alif)

• Relatives of Alif

• Eye Witnesses and

• Members of the law enforcement agencies

Shah Alif Prince (24), the victim:

Shah Alif Prince told Odhikar that on February 25, 2012 at around 6.30 in the evening he was returning home from Shyamoli Shahi Mosque Area. On his way, a few men surrounded him. One of them informed him that they were members of RAB but they were not in uniform. They arrested Alif and put handcuffs on him telling him that there was a case against him under the Anti Terrorism Act 2009. The RAB members took him to RAB-2, CPC-3 and Special Company Mohammadpur Shia Mosque Camp. A RAB member took away his cell phone and began questioning him about the activities and leaders of the recently banned political party Hizbut Tahrir. He then told the RAB member that he had no connection with Hizbut Tahrir. Then the RAB members blindfolded him with a black cloth and beat him with a cane all night. At around dawn, his blindfold was removed. He requested them to inform his family that he is under RAB’s custody. However, this made the RAB members even more furious and they increased the level of torture on him.

Alif told Odhikar that there he was tortured in different ways. The RAB members warned him that if he told anyone about the torture, they would make him physically disabled just like Limon of Jhalokathi district. So he refused to give the details to Odhikar.

Shah Alif Prince informed Odhikar that on February 26, 2012 at around 7.00 in the morning, the RAB members blindfolded him and put him in a car and after a while the car stopped. The RAB members took him to a place and removed his blindfold. He could see a dingy and dark room- a toilet. He assumed that it was another RAB camp. The RAB members would take him to another room sometimes during the day and sometimes during the night and interrogate him about the activities of Hizbut Tahrir. When he said that he knew nothing, he was beaten. Days went by like this and he fell sick several times during that period. On April 9, 2012 at around 12 p.m. a RAB member came to him and blindfolded him again. He asked one of the RAB members, where he was being taken. The RAB member told him that he had nothing to fear and then he was put into a car and driven to an unknown location. They made him stand outside and took photos of him. Later he was put into another car that was on the road for quite a few hours. The car stopped in the evening. He was brought out of the car, made to climb a few stairs and taken into a room of a building.

After 44 days, on April 10, 2012 at around 3.00 in the early morning, a plainclothes RAB member came to him and asked him “Prince, do you want to stay like this for the rest of your life or do you want to go back to a free life? If you want to be free, you have to do what we say. You will be released through a legal process. Think about it and let me know.” He agreed to all the conditions placed by RAB. At around 4.00 in the morning, a few plainclothes RAB members blindfolded him again and put him into a car. After a while the car stopped and his blindfold was removed. A bag filled with some papers was slung around his shoulder and he was dropped off. A RAB member told him not to go anywhere far and to roam around in this area. While he was roaming around he saw a signboard that said the area was in Talaimari under Motihar Police Station, Rajshahi District. After some time, two RAB members came and asked him some questions, searched his bag and took out few papers of HizbutTahrir. The RAB members began searching for people all around. After a while they brought two people as witnesses to support their claim that he was a member of HizbutTahrir.

From there he was taken to RAB-5 office where he was made to stand in front of a table and his photo was taken, then he was taken to Motihar Police Station. On April 10, 2012 at around 8.00 in the morning, he was taken from Motihar Police Station to Boalia Model Police Station. The officials of Boalia Model Police Station refused to take him in custody. Then the RAB members filed a case against him in the police station and he was handed over to the police. The police officers kept him in police custody. When he was in custody a police officer told him that the DAD (Deputy Assistant Director) of Railway Colony Camp, RAB-5 AKM Mizanur Rahman filed a case against him. Boalia Model Police Station case number-21; date: 10/4/2012, Section: 9(3) under the Anti Terrorism Act of 2009. At around 4 pm the police officers sent him to the court and appealed for 7 days remand. The CMM (Chief Metropolitan Magistrate) Court of Rajshahi rejected the remand petition and sent him to Rajshahi Central Jail. On April 16, 2012, Shah Alif Prince was released on bail from the CMM (Chief Metropolitan Magistrate) Court of Rajshahi.

Omar Sharif (21), Shah Alif’s friend:

Omar Sharif informed Odhikar that on February 25, 2012, at around 7.00 in the evening he was walking by the Shyamoli Shahi Mosque. He noticed a crowd. He approached the gathering and saw that two men had arrested Alif and put handcuffs on him. At that time the people who were present there surrounded the men and wanted to know who they were and why they put handcuffs on Alif. Then those two men showed them their ID cards and identified themselves as members of RAB-2. One of the RAB members addressed Alif and said that he will be taken to the RAB office and beaten, furthermore they said that Alif had been arrested for distributing leaflets of the banned organisation. Not too long after this the RAB members took Alif away on their motorcycle.

Mohammad Shahjahan Ali (56), Alif’s Father:

Mohammad Shahjahan Ali told Odhikar that he is a freedom fighter. He worked under Sector 9 during the war of independence in 1971.His muktibarta number is 0406010060, gazette number-147, welfare trust number-5034. His family consists of his wife and two sons. His elder son Shah Alif Prince used to work at the customer service of the Elephant Road branch of Airtel, a Cell Phone Company. On February 25, 2012 he was out on business related work. At around 11.00 in the night his younger son Mohammad Shah Yeah called him on his cell phone and informed him that Shah Alif Prince did not return home from work. Then he called Alif’s mobile and found it switched off. At that time he informed his relatives and Alif’s friends about his son being missing.

On February 25, 2012 at around 5.00 in the afternoon, he went to file a General Diary (GD) regarding Alif’s disappearance at Mohammadpur Police Station. The duty officer at Mohammadpur Police Station told him that as Elephant road is under the New Market Police Station area, he has to file the GD at New Market Police Station.

On February 26, 2012 at around 5 p.m. his wife Fahima Khatun Jotsna received a call from Alif on her cell phone from an unknown number. Alif informed them that members of RAB-2 have arrested him. Right after that the mobile phone got disconnected.

On February 26, 2012 he, along with his wife Fahima Khatun Jotsna, went to the New Market Police Station and filed a GD mentioning that his son has disappeared. The GD number is 938. Date: 26/02/2012. The duty officer at the New Market Police station advised them to file another GD at Mohammadpur Police Station as Nobinagar Housing area was under Mohammadpur Police Station.

On February 27, 2012 he and his wife again went to the Mohammadpur Police Station and filed a GD regarding Alif’s disappearance. The number of this GD is 1851. Date: 27/02/2012. On February 29, 2012 at around 11.35 am he went to the Shia Mosque Camp of RAB-2. He said that he asked the RAB members on duty at the gate about his son being missing and that he wanted to contact the higher officials. However, one of the RAB members on duty at the gate did not let him in and told him to lodge a complaint at the complaint box. So he wrote a complaint about his missing son, put it in the complaint box and left. He further informed Odhikar that it is mentioned in the RAB website that ‘on the basis of secret information, an operation team of RAB-2, Dhaka carried out an operation at the Shyamoli Shahi Masjid area, Mohammadpur on February 25, 2012. During the mission they arrested an active member of HizbutTahrir, Mohammad Shahjahan Ali, Father- Taltola, Thana and District- Chuadanga, with 50 leaflets and a mobile phone set.’ Upon seeing this news, he became certain that Alif was under RAB custody. He also understood that the RAB members deliberately put his name in the place of Alif’s name and put the name of the village in place of the father’s name to create confusion. He also mentioned that along with studying, Alif used to help out his family by working in Airtel’s customer service, located in Elephant Road area of the Dhaka city.

On April 10, 2012, at around 10 a.m. he read a report published in The Daily Janakantha that members of RAB-5 have arrested Alif and handed him over to Boalia Model Police Station in Rajshahi. He confirmed the news of Alif being arrested by contacting the police station via a relative. On April 16, 2012, Alif was released upon receiving bail from the Court. He said that RAB members tortured Alif for 44 days.

Sub-Inspector (SI) Abdul Halim Khan, New Market Police Station, Dhaka Metropolitan Police, Dhaka:

SI Abdul Halim Khan informed Odhikar that on Ferbruary 26, 2012 a woman named Fahima Khatun Jotsna from Nabinagar Housing came to the police station and filed a GD, numbered 938, date: 26/02/2012. In the GD, Fahima Khatun mentioned that on February 25, 2012 her son Shah Alif Prince went out for work and did not return home. Fahima Khatun Jotsna also mentioned that they looked for Alif in many places but he was nowhere to be found. SI Abdul Halim further told Odhikar that as he was the investigation officer of the GD, he sent the news of Alif being missing to all the police stations after Jotsna Begum filed the case. In the news he said to notify New Market Police station if they found any information about Alif’s whereabouts.

Sub-Inspector (SI) Shah Alam, Mohammadpur Police Station, Dhaka Metropolitan Police, Dhaka:

SI (Sub-Inspector) Shah Alam told Odhikar that on February 27, 2012 a woman named Fahima Khatun Jotsna from Nobinagar Housing came to the police station and filed a GD, numbered is 1851, date: 27/02/2012. In the GD, Fahima Khatun Jotsna mentioned that on February 25, 2012, her son Shah Alif Prince went out for work and did not return home. Fahima Khatun also mentioned that after looking for Alif in many places and finding no trace of him they filed a GD at the New Market Police Station on February 26, 2012. As SI Shah Alam was the investigating officer of the GD, he searched for Alif but could not find any information regarding his whereabouts.

Senior Warrant Officer Mohammad Mostofa, Senior DAD (Deputy Assistant Director), RAB-2, CPC-3, Mohammadpur Shia Mosque Camp, Dhaka:

Senior Warrant Officer Mohammad Mostofa told Odhikar that RAB members did not arrest anyone named Alif from Mohammadpur Nobinagar Housing area. However, he notified that he will look into the matter of Alif being missing.

Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Shofiul Sarwar, Quarter Master, RAB-2, Sher-e Bangla Nagar Community Center, Agargaon, Dhaka:

ASP Shofiul Sarwar informed Odhikar that RAB members did not arrest anyone named Alif from Nobinagar. When he was told that there was a news on the RAB website that a criminal was arrested with Alif’s father’s name, he asked Odhikar to contact the people who control the RAB website.

Flight Lieutenant Salahuddin, Media Wing, RAB-5, Rajshahi:

Flight Lieutenant Salahuddin told Odhikar on April 9, 2012 on the basis of secret news, the members of the search team of Railway Colony Camp of Rajshahi, RAB-5 carried out a mission at dawn in the Talaimari intersection of Motihar Police Station of Rajshahi city. During the mission they arrested Shah Alif (24), an active member of the banned organisation Hizbut Tahrir. Alif identified himself as a 3rd year Honours student of the Physics Department at the Titumir College. They found 150 leaflets of the organisation on him. Alif is the son of Shahjahan Ali of Taltola village, Shodor Thana, Chuadanga district. Alif had come to Rajshahi from Dhaka on a bus for some organisation work and to recruit new members. DAD Mizanur Rahman filed a case as the complainant and handed Alif over to Boalia Model Police Station.

Sub-Inspector (SI) Mahbub Alam, Boalia Model Police Station, Rajshahi Metropolitan Police, Rajshahi:

SI Mahbub Alam told Odhikar that on April 10, 2012 at around 8 a.m., the DAD of the Railway Camp of RAB-5, AKM Mizanur Rahman came to the police station and filed a case as the complainant under section 9(3) of the Anti Terrorism Act of 2009 . Number-21; date: 10/4/2012. At the same time he handed over the accused of the case, a person named Shah Alif Prince. As the investigation officer of the case, he prayed for 7 days remand by showing Alif as arrested under the case. The court refused the prayer for remand and sent him to Rajshahi Central Jail. He was informed that Alif was detained by members of RAB-2 from Dhaka, 44 days ago. He mentioned that the case was under investigation and refused to speak any further about it.

Odhikar’s Observation:

At a time when the Bangladesh Government is announcing its stance against extra judicial killings, torture and impunity at the United Nations Human Rights Council, they are also letting freedom fighter Shahjahan Ali’s son Shah Alif Prince be held illegally and tortured for 44 days by the law enforcement agencies. A freedom fighter did not get any assistance or cooperation from the government regarding his son being disappeared and tortured for 44 days.

Odhikar demands that the government carry out a fair investigation and take stern legal action against the persons responsible regarding Shah Alif Prince’s disappearance and torture. Odhikar is also worried about the personal security of Shah Alif Prince and urges the government to ensure that he is free from further harassment and ill treatment.

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Who else could shun greed for power?

One can imagine how abysmally the political environment of our country has been polluted, how nasty the insatiable greed of our leaders has begun to turn, how corruption has been rampant in every sphere of our life and how rule of law is being trampled over by the empowered that the only son of our first prime minister who is supposed to carry forward the standard his father was upholding has at long last decided he can no more afford to engage himself in active politics in Bangladesh. What a shame! What a tragedy!

One of the rare statesmen we find in the political history of Bangladesh who was never greedy for power, whose clarion calls and diplomatic maneuvers had moved many nations of the world to lend their supports for our freedom movement, who by nature always shunned publicity, whose only dream during and after our liberation war was our salvation through safeguarding our liberty and sovereignty, whose extraordinary academic background was a cause of heartburn to many of our shallow-hearted politicians, whose command of both Bangla and English languages was so profound, who was ever ready to sacrifice his life for the welfare of our nation, and without whose Himalayan contributions in those days of our liberation struggles our victory on the 16th of December 1971 would have been next to impossible was the first and the founding prime minister of Bangladesh: Tajuddin Ahmad. People, who care even a little about the future of our nation, must have visualized the divine face of Tajuddin Ahmed as they were reading a news report that Tanjim Ahmad Sohel Taj, son of the country's first Prime Minister Tajuddin Ahmad, resigned as a lawmaker and declared that he would no longer be involved in active politics. Who else could do so? Who else has been so well groomed to shun greed for power?

One can imagine how abysmally the political environment of our country has been polluted, how nasty the insatiable greed of our leaders has begun to turn, how corruption has been rampant in every sphere of our life and how rule of law is being trampled over by the empowered that the only son of our first prime minister who is supposed to carry forward the standard his father was upholding has at long last decided he can no more afford to engage himself in active politics in Bangladesh. What a shame! What a tragedy!

On May 31, 2009, Tanjim Ahmad Sohel Taj had stepped down as state minister for home following what he told his close aides was a row with someone very close to a very important leader of the present government. Taj had demanded that the government issued a gazette notification on his resignation as state minister, as he thinks his dignity and the image of the government were getting tarnished for not doing so. He also said the government must take back around Tk 40 lakh deposited in his account as remuneration and allowances for the ministerial post. Then he felt impelled to quit from his post also as a law maker. The resignation of this young politician, who was elected as a member of parliament from Gazipur-4 constituency in 2001 and 2008 national polls, has come as a sudden shock to the whole nation at a time when the greed of some of our politicians has come as a terrible shame to the whole world.

Will we find a leader like Tajuddin Ahmed, our first prime minister, or at least like his son Tanjim Ahmad Sohel Taj who could navigate us in this juncture of the leadership crisis in Bangladesh? The probability for such a prospect, when politics means commercial trading, seems thin.

I was also wondering out of frustrations whether any of the daughters of Tajuddin Ahmed would ever come forward to fill the gap left by their brother as I was reading an excellent booklet titled “Biplober Desh Mishorey” written by Sharmin Ahmad Reepi, the eldest daughter of Tajuddin Ahmed.

While narrating in the booklet her vivid experiences on the recent movement of Egyptian liberation from dictatorship Sharmin Ahmad Reepi had mentioned she was overwhelmed when she was invited by her husband, Amr Khairy Abdalla, an Egyptian who is now Vice Rector of the University for Peace (UPEACE) in Costa Rica, to visit Tahrir Square in Egypt on the first anniversary of Egyptian Revolution. The invitation was a pleasant surprise from her husband as a Valentine Day gift.

Sharmin Ahmad Reepi in her booklet “Biplober Desh Mishorey” wrote: “In the past, Amr gave me many gifts with pleasant surprises on many of our special occasions. But, this gift on the Valentine Day is unique indeed. This gift entwines merriment with respect. This gift was a window for me to see liberty of people. As I was relishing Amr’s Valentine Day gift, my soul was lost in ecstasy. I probed into the album of my memories where I could vividly read what my father Tajuddin Ahmad firmly believed in about liberty and wrote in a manuscript: ‘Slavery of a nation casts a dark shadow of subjugation for the whole humanity and liberty of a nation unleashes a dazzling floodlight of freedom for the whole mankind.’ ”

Friday, April 27, 2012

Suranjit drama: Victory of corruption?

In the case concerning the Minister for Railways, many miscalculated the outcome. Analysts of political events have spoken and written that Suranjit Sen Gupta would retain his post and the hue and cry over the Taka 7 million found in the car of his APS when he was coming to his residence close to midnight, would die down like similar incidents in the past. They based their prediction on the assumption that the Prime Minister would not sack the Minister, the allegations against him notwithstanding, because that would give political victory to the Opposition.

Unanswered mystery 
When the Minister resigned, everybody thought that he was not just out of the Ministry of Railways but out of the Cabinet as well. There was of course no reason to believe to the contrary. The fact that the Minister Sen Gupta was later retained in the Cabinet was a mystery yet to be answered. 
A section of the civil society members were the first to be fooled into believing that the Minister was out of the Cabinet and ended embarrassing themselves. What is more, they went ahead and congratulated the Prime Minister for forcing the Minister out and felicitated the Minister for his courage and his commitment for democracy for deciding to resign.
Even the Chairman of the Human Rights Commission also did not waste time to welcome the Prime Minister’s decision to encourage the Minister to resign and the Minister for listening to the Prime Minister as a victory for democracy. One just wonders what human rights issue was involved in the resignation to have encouraged him to come to the media and give the statement he gave. The Ministers of the Government warmly felicitated their leader for her courage, her wisdom and political vision in the service of democracy and called the Minister’s resignation a “historic” event!
The decision of the Prime Minister to keep the Minister in the Cabinet after raising the optimism that he was in fact sacked, showed in bad light those in the civil society who had hurriedly gone ahead to congratulate the Prime Minister and the Minister. In fact, the Prime Minister did nothing unpredictable for she was not prepared to let it appear that she had given in to the demand of the Opposition. She just removed the Minister from his post as she had done with the former Minister for Communications; only this time she reacted quickly to give the impression  that she was sacking the Minister.
Nevertheless, if it was just the fact that she was retaining Suranjit in the Cabinet so as not to give in to the demand of the Opposition, she ended giving the impression  that her claim of zero tolerance on corruption was a mere lip service to the issue. The tall claims made by her Ministers and members of the civil society that the resignation was a victory for democracy was made laughable when the Minister was retained in the cabinet as a Minister without portfolio. In particular, those Ministers who had hailed Suranjit’s resignation as “historical” should now know what historical stupidity they made by their hurried claim.
In retrospect, Suranjit (SSG) committed more blunders than other Ministers against whom charges of corruption were brought in the past.   He intervened with the Border Guards and the Police on behalf of his APS and senior officials of his Ministry after they were apprehended with Taka 7 million in their car. The fact that they were coming with it to his residence at close to midnight after picking the money from a suburb in the city made the case look more suspicious. If he knew that there was that amount of money in the car when he intervened with the authorities, he made a serious error of judgment. For a politician who took such immense pleasure to rub his self-acclaimed expertise in legal and constitutional issues on the opposition, that act, even unintentional, was unpardonable.
Unfortunately for SSG, other facts suggested that he was not really unaware of what he was doing. If indeed there was any need to intervene with the authorities on behalf of the Ministry’s officials on questions of identity, a Minister would normally leave such a matter to his Private Secretary or someone else in his Ministry. By intervening himself, the Minister showed a personal interest in the case. Further, in a Ministry’s staff, an APS of the Minister is one who is closest to the Minister. A Minister has the right and all Ministers use it to appoint someone who looks after his personal affairs to such a post. In fact, one appointed to the post of an APS need not even be a serving civil servant at the point of being named to the post.
Whistle blower 
The Minister’s first acts proved his knowledge of what those apprehended were up to. The driver of the car as the whistle blower gave the public the reason to doubt the Minister’s innocence. The presence of Yusuf Ali Mridha in the car was another very serious incriminating evidence of corruption. He has since been accused by the employees’ association of the Railway Ministry as being the leader of money for job  racket in the Ministry that has so far netted huge amounts of money from the 7,000 plus posts on offer in the Ministry. 
Additional facts emerged from family sources that did not help the Minister in fighting the quicksand into which he fell. Suranjit’s son, just couple of days before the incident [later named in the media as Railway Gate], had paid Taka 5 crore as  fee for a telecommunications license he was granted by the Bangladesh Telecommunications Board. The Minister’s son was working in an internet service provider Agni Systems for a monthly salary of Taka 50,000 till only recently. 
At the same time, the Minister was scheduled to open his own mall, the Sen Mall in Sunamganj town that was built at costs running into huge sums of money. The circumstantial evidence, both connected and unconnected to Railway Gate,  all piled up to leave the people convinced that the Minister was far from being the epitome of honesty and integrity that he tried to project about himself and his politics. 
The Minister’s 50 years of politics did not prepare him for dealing with the situation that confronted him. He made a series of other silly mistakes to complicate his predicament. He formed two committees, one under his Private Secretary and another under a Joint Secretary in his Ministry for clearing the allegations. He then suspended his APS and then sacked him not knowing what was correct or what would be acceptable to the public. He sent the Ministry’s officials on leave at first and then suspended them. Later he formed a committee to investigate into the whole incident at a senior level.
Judicial inquiry ridiculed
In the midst of these series of confused behaviour, he ridiculed a BNP lady MP who had asked for a judicial inquiry, calling her a novice who was unaware about the serious business of governance. In hindsight he ended being the novice himself for if he had accepted her demand and asked for a judicial inquiry instead of trying to clear himself by forming committees under officials controlled by him, he would have given an impression of honest intent to the public.
At the height of crisis, he once hinted that if the allegations against him were proven he would resign. He then somersaulted and declined to do so, loudly claiming that none of the charges were against him and therefore he was under no compulsions, under issues of democracy or ministerial responsibility or otherwise, to resign. 
During the crisis, the opposition made him nervous by loudly demanding his resignation and for probe in to the allegations of corruption. He could perhaps have faced those demands of the opposition if he had any support forthcoming from his own party. 
Senior members of his party led by former Home Minister Mohammad Nasim joined voice with the Opposition and asked him to take responsibility for his actions, in other words asked him to resign. In fact Mohammad Nasim’s comment that the ‘Railway Bhavan’ would not be allowed to become the ‘Hawa Bhavan’ hurled at the Minister much more serious accusation of corruption than what the opposition could articulate.
When the Prime Minister returned from Turkey and consulted her close aides on the incident, the Minister’s goose was cooked. The Minister was given the post only recently after he was by-passed three years ago because he had annoyed the Prime Minister as a reformist during the period of the last caretaker government. He was included eventually after he had become an embarrassment for the Prime Minister and the ruling party with his criticisms aimed at just not the government but also at the Prime Minister and her family. The Minister, by what he did or failed to do with Railway Gate, gave the Prime Minister the opportunity to snub a colleague for whom she had no reason for compassion.
Therefore there was no service done to democracy nor was it intended as the members of the ruling party projected initially.  The Minister, by his actions gave the Prime Minister the opportunity for which she was waiting and she did not miss that opportunity. She did not go to the full extent of humiliating the Minister because she did not want to give the opposition any opportunity to feel that she had acted under pressure from them.  
The whole nation heaved a sigh of relief that the Prime Minister had held a colleague responsible for corruption and moved him from his post quicker than she did with the former Minister of Communications. However, they welcomed it more because they felt that the Minister more than deserved it.  Their only pleasure was that the Prime Minister sealed the mouth of a politician who irked not just the opposition but many right thinking people by his self-righteousness and the manner in which he ridiculed his opponents on issues of corruption by placing himself on a pedestal of honesty and integrity.
The Prime Minister will richly deserve the nation’s congratulations only when she completed the process of allegations against the Minister, his Ministry, his wealth and his son Soumen Sengupta’s Taka 50 million, not forgetting from where the Taka 7 million came from and why were the culprits headed for the Minister’s house. Otherwise, her action to force the Minister to resign from his post would be a victory not for democracy but for corruption. Her decision to keep him in the Cabinet as a Minister without portfolio hinted that corruption still had a head start over democracy in winning the Railway Gate case.
SSG resurrected
The Railway Gate had pulled down the ruling party to a new low politically given the fact that it was its promise to fight corruption with zero tolerance that had helped it win a thumping majority in the last elections. When the Prime Minister had appeared to have sacked SSG on that zero tolerance, the ruling party managed to undo a lot of the potential damage that Railway gate had done to it. With SSG now resurrected as a Minister where there was no support for him even from his party and the Prime Minister not entirely unhappy with his predicament, India is being mentioned as the power that intervened on his behalf. 
The emergence of the India factor has created more serious liabilities for the ruling party Awami League. By keeping the Minister in the cabinet, it failed to convince the people of its zero tolerance on corruption. Now with the India factor to deal with; the ruling party has a very dangerous combination at hand looking ahead into the next general elections. India’s standing in Bangladesh’s politics because of its failure to deliver on many promises it made to it is now at an all time low.
BY :  M. Serajul Islam. 

Covert external interventions in Bangladesh polity

The political scenario of Bangladesh is in deep turmoil. More than the principal actors at home, Bangladesh watchers from abroad are being profusely quoted in the vernacular media of the country about their detection of a geo-strategic hand of foreign agents entering the game. The purpose is hinted to be a “destabilisation agenda” being pursued by the neighbourly regional power, which may be finding the very existence and development potential of independent Bangladesh a threat by example, in effect encouraging the separatists in Indian northeast.
A pen-picture of such foreign geo-strategic interests fanning up troubles in peaceable Bangladesh has been painted (and reproduced in Bangla papers) on diverse grounds by various international reporters. The Sydney Morning Herald of Australia, for instance, saw in the border management policy of India with regard to its boundaries with innocuous Bangladesh inexplicably “aggressive”. Its correspondent Ben Doherty reported on April 21 (abridged): 
“The Border Security Force soldiers are unfailingly polite and hospitable, but conspicuously armed and resolute. We go no further. ‘Why do you need to go to the border? There is nothing there,’ we are told over endless cups of chai (tea) with progressively more senior officers, all of whom refuse us permission to travel beyond their cantonment, or photograph ‘the fence’ a few hundred metres away.
‘Berlin wall of Asia’
The border these men patrol is not India’s antagonistic front with Pakistan, nor its contested line with China. This is India’s quiet boundary with Bangladesh, a frontier that doesn’t attract the attention of its querulous colleagues, but one that, in recent times, is proving equally fractious. The fence they are so reticent to reveal is a rampart known in these parts as the ‘Berlin Wall of Asia’.
Over 25 years, India has been building, and reinforcing, a massive fence along its 4053-kilometre border with Bangladesh, each renovation pushing the barrier higher, an ever-escalating posture of aggression. It is due to be finished this year. But more than the simple fact of building a border fence, at issue has been India’s manner of policing it. ‘India and Bangladesh are friendly countries, they are not enemies,’ Kirity Roy, the secretary of the Indian human rights group Mausam, tells the Herald. ‘But the Indian government’s paramilitary organisation, the Border Security Force, they are … trigger happy, they are killing Indians and Bangladeshis without discrimination. And they are killing with impunity because they are never charged or given any punishment.’
A Human Rights Watch investigation found killings on both sides of the fence, as well as beatings, torture, kidnappings and rampant corruption. ‘The abusive methods used by the BSF are disproportionate to the problems that the Indian government faces on its eastern border. Numerous ordinary Indian and Bangladeshi citizens resident in the border area end up as victims of abuses, which range from verbal abuse and intimidation to torture, beatings and killings.’
In January the BSF director, Utthan K. Bansal, said soldiers should exercise restraint, but warned they would shoot if they felt threatened. As if to belie the director’s emphasis on restraint, just days later a brutal video was posted on YouTube showing uniformed BSF soldiers stripping naked a suspected Bangladeshi cattle smuggler, tying his arms to a pole and beating him with bamboo sticks for more than 10 minutes as he writhed on the ground and screamed for his mother.
India sees this imposing barrier as a panacea against the evils it believes lurk across the border, from the very real problem of people smuggling, to the less-likely threat of Islamist terrorists. But the fence’s fundamental purpose is far simpler: to keep out Bangladeshis. The xenophobe card plays strongly in Indian politics, and senior officials, like the Home Minister, P. Chidambaram, have lost no support lecturing that Bangladeshis ‘have no business to come to India’.
Yet, for all the cost of building the fence - upwards of a billion dollars so far - and the violence along it, both sides of the border know it is no border at all. Dozens of villages act as unofficial, illegal transit posts. At each, a “lineman”, handsomely remunerated, pays off the guards from both notoriously corrupt countries, and directs the illegal traffic, which can run into scores of people at a time, across the border.
In December last year, Suman says, he was walking just after dark near the Indian side of the border. ‘My family has a house there, and I go there often, it was not unusual. Suddenly, they flashed a torch on me and then they shot.’ Suman survived, dragged to hospital by family who heard the firing. He has lost all sight in his right eye.
Others do not survive, like 15-year-old Felani Khatun who was trying to cross into Bangladesh to be married. She was shot when her salwar kameez became caught in the wire. Her screams alerted the guards, who shot her as she struggled. Her body was left hanging on the fence for five hours before it was cut down.”
More pungent story
A more pungent story of interventionist operations by the Indian security establishment in Bangladesh was circulated by Jessica Fox, presumably from London, on April 22 in the on-line ‘Free Press Release’ news service. The press release (abridged) said: 
“Strictly scrutinized 100 armed cadres of the ruling Awami League in Bangladesh, who received 6-month long extensive commando training at Dehradun in India under the direct supervision of Indian espionage agency RAW are continuing various types of activities, including secret killing, abduction etcetera since June of 2010 with the mission of ‘clearing’ a large number of politicians, media personnel and members of the civil society in Bangladesh. The team codenamed ‘Crusader-100’ went to India during end September 2009 and stayed there till mid June 2010.
On return, the members of the ‘Crusader-100’ team from India were provided a hit list comprising names of opposition politicians, members of Bangladeshi media and some members of the civil society. According to information, the list contains names of more than 83 people, who are planned to be ‘cleared’ by the members of the ‘Crusader-100’ gang.”
A follow-up story was contributed by the same reporter in Sri Lanka Guardian, April 23 issue, as reproduced hereunder (abridged): 
“Enforced disappearance in Bangladesh went on for past three and half years since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formed the government. The issue has now drawn attention of the global community, when recently a former MP and prominent leader of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, M Ilias Ali disappeared along with his chauffer. The Prime Minister was cool, making jokes about the disappearance. Sheikh Hasina and her government has somehow become comfortably confident of being assured by New Delhi on remaining in power at least up to 2019. It is a substantial period for the ruling party in establishing much stronger grip over country’s civil and military administration, as well as the judiciary, thus bringing Bangladesh under one-party rule, which was the brain-child of Hasina’s father Sheikh Mujibur Rehman.
One party rule
Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, who is the founding-father of Bangladesh, introduced the one-party rule system named BKSAL, which he conceived from former Soviet Union. The era of Sheikh Mujibur Rehman came to a tragic end, when he was assassinated along with members of his family on 15th August 1975 in a military coup. 
After 20 years of the tragic assassination of the founding father, the people of Bangladesh voted Mujib’s eldest daughter Sheikh Hasina into power in 1996, but her government had to finally face a huge defeat just after five years, because of its massive corruption, nepotism, state-patronized crime and bad governance. Prior to this election, Sheikh Hasina sought apology to the people for all wrong-doings of her father. 
In 2008 again, Sheikh Hasina made fresh pledges to the people with renewed apology for the ‘mistakes’ during her tenure of 1996-2001, and promised ‘a better Bangladesh’ with the implementation of her Vision 2021 and establishment of ‘Digital Bangladesh’. It was already known in the political and media circles in India that, the pre-election propaganda strategy and the election manifesto of Awami League were drafted by a team of seasoned politicians and media personnel from India. Dr. Manmohan Singh and Mr. Pranab Mukherjee contributed in the election manifesto of Bangladesh Awami League by their inputs.
Awami League got a huge victory in the election and since it formed government in January-2009, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her cabinet are seen totally committed in implementing all of its commitments and pledges, made to India, without considering their impacts on Bangladesh or its people. For the people of Bangladesh, this is possibly one of their worst-ever period of national catastrophe of letting Awami League still being in power for another one plus year. No doubt the ruling party and its elites are fully aware of people’s grievance and anger. Sensing this as well as foreseeing possible revolt of the people either before or during the election, the ruling party is carrying out its well-planned agenda of political secret killings as well as forced disappearances, with the goal of eliminating most of the potential political opponents as well as leaders of the opposition parties, especially BNP and Jamaat. The case of forced disappearance became prominent when BNP leader and ex Member of Parliament (from Sylhet) M Ilias Ali went missing along with his chauffer few days back. 
While Bangladeshi Sylheti community in London are very active and protesting the forced disappearance of M Ilias Ali, few pro-Awami League palls such as writer Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury and some of the business associates of Sheikh Rehana are trying to organize people to counter the protests of angered Sylhetis in London and the United Kingdom.”
The Guardian, London
The violence on the ground in Bangladesh ahead of the dawn-to-dusk general strike called by the main opposition in Bangladesh was portrayed by a despatch in The Guardian of U.K. (abridged as follows): 
“Police in Bangladesh used baton charges, live bullets and teargas on Sunday (22 April) in clashes with demonstrators protesting against the alleged abduction of a senior politician. The violence was the most acute for many months in the unstable state.
In Dhaka, the capital, dozens of small devices were reported to have exploded and 20 arrests were made. In the north-eastern city of Sylhet, 12 people were reported to have been injured and more than 50 detained in running battles. On Sunday night a tense calm had been established, although tens of thousands of security personnel remained deployed across the country in anticipation of further clashes on Monday.
The crisis was sparked by the disappearance last Tuesday of Ilias Ali, a key organiser with the Bangladesh Nationalist party (BNP). Ali was the latest in a series of political activists who have apparently been abducted, raising fears of a concerted campaign of intimidation aimed at opposition politicians. At least 22 people have gone missing so far this year. In 2011, the number was 51. Many local and international campaigners have blamed security forces, accusing the paramilitary Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) and local police of eliminating opposition figures to benefit the administration of Sheikh Hasina, the prime minister. Spokesmen from the Rab have denied the charge.
In its 2012 annual report Human Rights Watch said ministers have denied that such incidents occur, even when the government’s own investigations found evidence of wrongdoing.”
Wall Street Journal
The finale of this phase of hartals has been described in a report published by The Wall Street Journal of U.S.A. as follows: 
“At least five people have been killed and scores of protesters and security officials injured in Sylhet and Dhaka, the capital, over the past week as tens of thousands joined demonstrations. Dhaka ground to a halt as people stayed in their homes Tuesday. Shops remained closed and thousands of security personnel fanned out across the city of 12 million.
The clouded economic picture, coupled with the return of violence, shows that Bangladesh may be slipping back toward instability.
Bangladesh for decades has been unhinged by political vendettas, largely stemming from deep animosity between the supporters of Ms. Hasina’s Awami League and the Khaleda Zia-led BNP.
On a visit in February, Robert Blake, U.S. assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, raised concerns, though, about media freedom and a draft law that would impose restrictions on nongovernmental organizations. More recently, the government has been hit by a number of corruption scandals. Earlier this month, railways minister Suranjit Sengupta resigned on allegations he took bribes from applicants seeking jobs. He denies wrongdoing. Ordinary people remain hit by high inflation and daily power outages that have dented the government’s popularity since its landslide victory in 2009.
Now, the BNP is threatening to call for strikes until the return of Mr. Ali.
‘The government has pushed us to the wall,’ said Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, a BNP spokesman.”
BY : Sadeq Khan. 

Jackfruit and the jackals in Bangladesh

In the bubbling economy and extremely unstable prices of essentials Jackfruit possibly continued to remain as the cheapest available fruit in Bangladesh. Many dislike this fruit because of its offensive odor and unique taste. But this is the only fruit, which always attracts the jackals, as this fruit remains at the lowest height of the trees, where this jackals have easy access. Now this fruit has become the headline story in most of the newspapers in the country, when the case of millions of Taka bribery scandal was attempted to be buried under the funny story of the officer carrying jackfruit from Chittagong [eastern divisional headquarter in Bangladesh] to Dhaka. The driver of the general manager of Bangladesh Railway told Anti Corruption Commission that his boss carried a huge jute sack filled with jackfruit from Chittagong to Dhaka, though it [Chittagong] is not the place, where jackfruit is either available or produced in plenty. The fairytale of railway's official carrying a huge jute sack filled with jackfruit was created with the ulterior motive of hiding the fact of the corrupt officer carrying the jute sack filled with bundles of local currency destined to be delivered at the residence of the then railway minister Suranjit Sen Gupta. The Taka 7 million bribery scandal was busted in an incident on April 9, 2012, when the driver of minister's assistant personal secretary revolted and brought the vehicle inside the headquarters of Border Guards Bangladesh, where the members of the paramilitary forces unearthed the rocking case of the bribery.

The briber scandal:

Extremely corrupt minister in charge of the railway ministry in Bangladesh, brief-less lawyer Suranjit Sen Gupta was finally axed from the post of the railway minister following the huge bribery scandal, where his Assistant Personal Secretary [APS] Omar Faruk was caught with some corrupt senior officials of Bangladesh Railway with large sum of bribe money, during the late hours of April 9. The APS and the senior officials were en-route to the minister's residence to deliver the bribe money packed in a jute sack. Suranjit Sen Gupta, who enjoyed the status of a "veteran parliamentarian", had finally landed into the status of a corrupt political jackal in the eyes of the people at home and abroad. Many said, "At this age of the last tail of his life, greed for money and wealth had put Suranjit into trash, which had the habit of passing objectionable and bad-taste comments on his political rivals as well as his party insiders, including the current Prime Minister, in his own style of ape-like sarcastic body language. On April 15, 2012, Suranjit Sen Gupta was summoned at the official residence of the Prime Minister, where he was asked to give explanations of the incident of April 9, 2012 night, where his staffers were caught with stacks of money en-route to the his residence. Suranjit tried to defend himself with numerous stories, similar to those of what he told the media since the scandal broke, while the Prime Minister did not buy such lies of the railway minister and asked him to quit the post. Suranjit played all of his cards in not being axed from the railway ministry, while the Prime Minister reportedly told him that his [Suranjit] corruption as well as corruption of his son and inner-circle cadres of him was already within the radars of various intelligence agencies.

It was later reported in Bangladeshi and international media that Suranjit's only son Soumen Sengupta turned into a neo-millionaire within the span of three odd months, since his father became the railway minister. Soumen Sen Gupta paid TK. 50 million cash as license fees for obtaining a telecom gait wait license from the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission [BTRC]. Neither Suranjit nor his son could give any satisfactory reply as to how Soumen suddenly turned into a multi-millionaire, months after his father became the railway minister. Though Suranjit Sen Gupta was forced to resign from the railway ministry, in an unprecedented manner, he was reinstalled in the cabinet within 24-hours as minister without portfolio, which many believe to have been done at the strong lobbying of some influential politicians of a neighboring nation. Some even say that the corrupt minister was reloaded in the cabinet to save him from any investigations of Anti Corruption Commission or intelligence agencies, as under the existing law of the land, no investigation can be conducted against a sitting minister without the approval of the President. In this case, there is no room or space of any doubt that the head of the government in Bangladesh, by playing the role of savior of a corrupt minister has surely put itself into the role of an abettor of crime and corruption, which in no definition can be either applauded or accepted either by sensible communities in Bangladesh or the world. With the busted corruption scandal of Minister Suranjit Sen Gupta, stories of similar high-profile corruptions by many other members of the current cabinet are becoming public, which definitely opens the scope for anyone to term the ruling elites in Bangladesh as nefariously corrupt.

Failures unlimited:

List of failures of the ruling party in Bangladesh in addressing key national issues such as resolving the existing power crisis as well as ensuring law and order situation etc are not only unlimited but unending as well. The government has evidently failed to ensure good governance in the country, while it has wrongly engaged into series of notorious crimes including state-sponsored terror, enforced disappearance, secret killings, political intimidations, repression of press, oppression of religious minorities and gross violation of the constitutional provisions with drastic ignorance of the democratic values. Such tendencies are only seen in countries under authoritarian regimes, which face undeterred criticism and even punishable actions by the international agencies and communities. The latest case of enforced disappearance of opposition politician and ex Member of the Parliament, M Ilias Ali has already generated huge wave of media criticism at home and abroad. Blood-chilling news and commentaries centering the ongoing enforced disappearances and secret killings as well as state-sponsored terror by the current ruling party in Bangladesh are now hitting the major segments of national and international media, thus placing the rulers in Bangladesh into the status of violators of civic rights and committers of crime against humanity. Since M Ilias Ali went missing more than a week back, there is no trace of his current status, though a vernacular daily reported quoting a police officer that he was forcibly "abducted" by a sensitive intelligence agency in the country. The case of M Ilias Ali is amongst hundreds of such enforced disappearances, which is reaching very alarming level. Reading between the lines of statements of responsible figures of the ruling party evidently show that the opposition leader is surely under the captivity of any of the agencies, though it is still foggy enough to assess the last episode of this extremely critical case of enforced disappearance. Many believe the chance of his returning alive along with his driver is slim enough, while some even are unsure if his trace will ever be known in near future. United States, United Kingdom and other governments have already expressed serious concern over the disappearance of M Ilias Ali, while Amnesty International and other rights group are pressing protests condemning such nefarious notoriety of the ruling party in Bangladesh.

Where is M Ilias Ali really:

This is truly a million dollar question in the minds of every citizen of Bangladesh, who are already traumatized at the density of extreme terror created by the ruling party especially after the recent case of disappearance of M Ilias Ali and his driver. Speculative reports, articles, commentaries and even editorials are filling Bangladesh media though the government has warned the members of Bangladeshi media to refrain from making "wild speculations" centering the disappearance of this popular politician. Currently there are numerous opinions circulating in Bangladeshi and even a segment of the international media, which say M Ilias Ali and his driver might have already been murdered in solitaire confinement and buried secretly in some unknown place. Others think the 'abductors' might have kept him along with his driver in any of the well-guarded places, wherefrom he might be dramatically released with the imaginary story of being abducted by his political or business rivals or "some unknown crime gang". Some even say the chance of his returning alive is really slim, as a released Ilias Ali will certainly start telling his party colleagues and members of the media about the entire story of his abduction and subsequent disappearance, which may put additional black spot on the ruling party.

Saudi diplomat murder mystery untraced:

More than one month has already passed since the brutal murder of the Saudi diplomat Khalaf bin Mohammed Salem-al Ali [45], who was found dead following gun shoots in his chest in Dhaka's upmarket diplomatic district of Gulshan. The murder took place at a time, when the Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia have had a strained relationship recently, though Saudi Arabia is a major donor in Bangladesh. At the same time, Saudi Arabia currently employs more than two million Bangladeshis in that country. It may be mentioned here that, the tragic murder of Khalaf Al Ali took place just on the next day of an officer of the intelligence wing of India's Border Security Forces [BSF] were arrested by Bangladeshi border forces with arms. It was immediately learnt that the captured BSF secret agent confessed to the Bangladeshi interrogators that a number of his colleagues have earlier entered Bangladesh, most of whom possess weapons. Though the government did not utter any further information on the captured BSF secret agent, it is learnt from various sources that he might be silently handed over to Indian authorities within a couple of days, while the government is reluctant in investigating the case of those BSF men, who already entered Bangladeshi territory. Since independence of Bangladesh in 1971, Khalaf Al Ali is the first diplomat who has been murdered in the capital city's posh diplomatic enclave, which was already believed to be the most protected areas in the country. This murder has not only tarnished the image of the nation, but has also left wrong signals with the foreign nations, especially the Arab world. It may be mentioned here that, Saudi Arabia is considered to be one of the nations in the Arab world, where terrorism and Jihadism never got any minimum chance to grow. Saudi authorities are always extremely vigilant in combating any type of religious extremism and wrong interpretation of Islam. At the same time, Saudi Arabia is at the forefront of the Muslim nations, which has always been extremely generous towards the developing and under-developed Muslim nations in the world. Khalaf Al Ali's murder on the street took place weeks after the Bangladeshi Prime Minister told in a public meeting that her government cannot give security and protection to its citizen at their homes. This murder has surely put the home minister and her junior minister as well as members of Bangladeshi police administration at stake. This clearly and very unfortunately shows the failure of the ministry and the police administration. Observers feel that the police administration in Bangladesh, which enjoyed high esteem for its skill and efficiency has been made some how crippled, as the ruling party has been continuously trying to use them as mere political cadres.

Valley of death and fear:

Starting from the brutal murder of journo-couple Sagor Sarwar and Meherun Runi to the murder of the Saudi diplomat Khalaf bin Mohammed Salem-al Ali to latest episode of enforced disappearance of Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader M Ilias Ali along with his driver has put the entire nation into extreme fear and insecurity of life. Some even say that the Nazi-styled fascism of the ruling Bangladesh Awami League is gradually pushing Bangladesh towards a valley of death and fear, which surely is no good news for democracy or democratic institutions.

Hillary Clinton's visit:

The secretary of state of the United States of America, Hillary Rodham Clinton is scheduled to visit China, India and Bangladesh during the first week of May, where she has excluded Pakistan from her itinerary due to understandable reason. Hillary's visit to China, which has already turned into the major economic partner of United States, has valid reasons, and such trip will further strengthen the existing bilateral relations between Washington and Beijing. On the other hand, the US secretary of states' visit to India is taking place at a crucial timing when the ruling party and its political elites are facing numerous charges of high-profile corruption, where even the name of the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has been indicted. But the first-ever visit by the United States' secretary of state to Bangladesh is taking place at the time of extreme political turmoil, where the ruling party is accused of documented corruption, violation of human rights and constitutional provisions as well as liable of state-sponsored terror. Political critics believe Hillary's visit to Bangladesh may be translated as Washington's fresh vow to the ruling Bangladesh Awami League, which would even leave negative impact in the upcoming US Presidential election, where Barack Obama will fight for reassuming in the White House. Rejecting such forecasts some critics say, Hillary's visit will not give any legitimacy to the ongoing wrongdoings of the ruling party in Bangladesh, though they also doubt the US secretary of state may ultimately call off her trip to Dhaka if the ruling party will fail proving its any involvement in enforced disappearance and secret killings in particular. In case the trip is called-off, the odor of "jackfruit governance" and mischievous politics of the ruling party may become much prominent both at home and abroad. 


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Alien invasion of Bangladesh

Over the last few years, mysterious things started happening in Bangladesh. In absence of any earthly explanation of those incidents, informed people of Bangladesh are seriously concerned that the country is at the receiving end of an alien invasion.

The description of the following events will prove, beyond an iota of doubt in anybody’s mind, that a barrage of attack has been unleashed on the people of Bangladesh.

It first started with a kidnapping by aliens. The first notable victim of such kidnap was an elected official of Dhaka city local government Mr. Chowdhury Alam. Ever since he went missing from Dhaka nearly two years ago, he has never been seen again.

A closer look revealed that Mr. Alam was not the only one who has been kidnapped by aliens. Many young men, opposition activists, students from Sylhet and other areas also went missing. Except for one, none came back. The only lucky one, who could come back alive, sans all the memory of the time of confinement, was the son of a fiery religious figure Mr. Fazlul Haque Amini. It was not clear why the aliens let Mr. 

Hasnath, son of Maulana Amini let go. However, this event may make a strong case in support of the theory that aliens worship the same God and they had some soft corner for the pastor Mr. Amini.

Very soon, along with kidnappings, killings started to take place. This time another local government level leader of Dhaka city from the opposite political spectrum got killed very mysteriously. The aliens were so intrusive and invasive that they could easily penetrate inside the sport utility vehicle (SUV) of a powerful ruling party MP within the compound of Bangladesh’s national parliament building and kill one Mr. Ibrahim in point blank range.

Not only known faces like Ibrahim or Chowdhury Alam were being killed/ kidnapped in high profile places, mysterious killing started taking place in remote corners of Bangladesh like the Bay near Borguna, Joydevpur, Bhanga region of Faridpur district, Dhaleshwari River near Munshiganj district, Ashulia/ Kuril, Pabna etc.

However one of the most daring actions of the alien commando forces was that of Sanaullah Babu killing. Sanaullah Babu was another elected local government leader in a northern district called Natore. In this attack the aliens showed Hollywood’s Terminator 2 famed ‘T – 1000 the Nanomorph’ like ability to take other peoples’ shapes and looks. During this event, which was widely recorded by multiple video cameras, the aliens took the shape and look of many ruling party members of that district. Specifically, the lead killer took the shape of a popular local Awami League leader Zakir.

Similarly got killed another local government leader, again this time from the opposite political base, Mr. Lokman Hossain.

The aliens did not stop at killing political activists and local government leaders only. An influential couple — a senior TV news editor and the other a TV journalist — was stabbed to death inside their apartment bedroom. The government could not give any earthly explanation of this gruesome murder – making it one of the highest profile cases of the series of mindless alien assassinations taking place in Bangladesh.

Within a very short interval, the aliens, without any known reason, abducted a diplomat of Saudi Arabia stationed in Dhaka, Bangladesh and killed him in a highly professional manner. This specific killing heralds a new front of attack unleashed by the aliens. The clever war planners of the alien empire knew it very well that killing of a Saudi diplomat in Bangladesh may seriously weaken the position of Bangladeshi migrant labours in Saudi Arabia and harm Bangladesh economically. So it seems the aliens are hell-bent on destroying Bangladesh economically as well.

Another recent incident involving the invading alien force in Bangladesh resembles robbery of Fort Knox. This time the aliens looted a big chunk of money (70 lakh taka to be precise) from within the car heading to the home of a powerful minister of Bangladesh. And this brazen loot took place within the highly fortified compound of a paramilitary force of Bangladesh. This specific operation suggests two things, first, the growing confidence of the aliens in hitting anyone at any place anytime in Bangladesh and, secondly, their need for cash. The money has not been located ever since.

And while this piece was being processed for press, the aliens striked again. In a blood chilling raid at the middle of busy upscale business and residential district of Dhaka, the aliens abducted a senior political figure, the organising secretary of main opposition political party and an ex-member of parliament from north eastern Sylhet district, Mr. Ilias Ali. The raid was so sophisticated and technically advanced that Mr. Ilias Ali and his driver, simply vanished. Their empty car was found abandoned roadside. Hundreds of witness living in nearby apartments, CC TV of government security agencies could not provide any clue of the abduction.

Ever since this abduction, the whole nation is living in intense fear. Everybody has the same question in mind, what will be the next mode of alien attack and who is the next victim.

BY :  Rumi Ahmed.

Sohel Taj leaving Bangladesh Awami League

Former state minister for home Tanjim Ahmad Sohel Taj, who tendered his resignation in May 2009 from the post of State Minister [Junior Minister] for Home Affairs, is now actively considering resigning from Bangladesh Awami League after he relinquished his membership in Bangladesh Parliament on April 23, 2012. Abu Kawsar, additional personal assistant of Tanjim Ahmad Sohel Taj, submitted the resignation letter to the speaker's office around 10.25 in the morning. Md Shamim, an official of the speaker's office, received the letter from the APS.

In the letter, Tanjim Ahmad Sohel Taj said, "My constituency is Gazipur-4 [Kapasia]. I am submitting my resignation letter to you [speaker] under section 67 [2] of Bangladesh Constitution."

His resignation came almost three years after he resigned from the post of state minister for home. Sohel Taj told reporters that he stood down as the state minister for home affairs on May 31, 2009 so that his dignity and principles could survive intact.

Tanjim Ahmad Sohel Taj, the only son of country's first Prime Minister and celebrated politician, Tajuddin Ahmed resigned from the cabinet five months after the ruling Bangladesh Awami League-led grand alliance government assumed office. He sent his resignation letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on June 1, 2009 according to the Constitution. But no gazette notification was issued on his resignation. But, despite his resignation from the post of State Minister, the government continued to send monthly honorarium and other financial benefits to his account, which clearly annoyed the young leader and now former member of the parliament. So far more than TK 4 million has been sent to his account by the government. Expressing highest dissatisfaction, Sohel Taj questioned as to why such a huge amount of money was sent to his account after two and a half years and why no gazette notification on his resignation was issued. He also demanded that the government issue a gazette notification in this regard, as he thinks his dignity and image of the government as well as the prime minister have been tarnished for not doing so.

"I want to know why an embarrassing situation has been created by not issuing a gazette notification. Why mysteriously huge amount of money was deposited to my account after two and a half years when I did not get a single coin as remuneration and allowances as a lawmaker since my resignation? I want answers from the cabinet secretary," commented Sohel Taj.

Commenting on the resignation of Sohel Taj, Cabinet Secretary M Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said he was unable to take decision on a matter related to the rank of a state minister. "I need the prime minister's guidelines in this regard," he said, adding that it is the duty of the Cabinet Division to give salary and wages to every minister and state minister if they officially belong to the government.

He added, a state minister does not have to sign his/her cheque in receiving salary and wages as it goes automatically to their accounts. A state minister gets TK 120,800 [US$1491] per month including different allowances including house rent and fuel allowance.

Sohel Taj told reporters, there is no provision in the Constitution that resignation of a state minister would not be accepted by the prime minister. He said he has been kept as state minister on the government's list forcibly and given remuneration and allowances against the position forcibly.

"These are clear human rights violation and I'm being disregarded intentionally. I'm no longer a state minister."
He claimed his passport has not been allowed to change by the government and he has to face embarrassment every time he travels. "Enough has happened so far and it has to end now," he urged the government.

Asked why he chose to resign, he said, "I can't tell you why. All I can say is things did not work out the way I wanted. Now I don't want to embarrass anyone. I would rather wish everyone best of luck.

"I tried to work sincerely to implement our charter for change even though it required me to stay away from my family in the US. But I couldn't continue as I didn't want to compromise my principles, dignity and family values."

Sohel Taj was also under pressure from influential party leaders to serve their interests. His nerves began to fray with lobbying for posts, promotions and undue privileges for police officials getting intense.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Adviser HT Imam said the prime minister did not accept the resignation. Instead, she asked him to go on leave for as long as it should take to resolve whatever problems he had.

Bangladesh Awami League insiders said Hasina wanted him to take leave of absence as she sought to avoid a controversy like the one during the rule of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Tajuddin was dropped from Mujib's cabinet, causing uproar. Afsar Uddin Ahmad Khan, Tajuddin's younger brother who was state minister for housing and public works in the previous Bangladesh Awami League government, too left his position after a short stint.

Commenting on the resignation of Tanjim Ahmad Sohel Taj from the parliament, political analysts in Dhaka said, "He inherits the honesty, sincerity and leadership qualities of his father, who also never comprised with his dignity. By leaving such position, Sohel Taj certainly proved that he is a righteous individual."

Meanwhile is it learnt from a number of sources that, Tanjim Ahmad Sohel Taj is actively considering resigning from Bangladesh Awami League as it is continuing repressive actions on the people as well as the political opponents, thus exposing a fascist nature at home and abroad. 

The Destiny 2000 Limited fraud

What ever is taking place in the country is either destiny or fait accompli. We are destined to be cheated by all kinds of ways and means while the government stands by and looks on until it is too late. The painful saga of the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) continues and appear multi-level marketing firms on the scene. It looks as though here too people are bound to suffer just as millions did due to the scam of the stock market. To be fair, it looks as though there is more to Destiny than the stock exchange market. The entire process that led to the start of the operations is not only murky but also full of suspicion. From whatever one could decipher from newspaper reports, it is only the tip of the iceberg.

It is interesting to note that most questionable operations involving big money do not rule out involvement of the establishment. Only time shall tell whether the 'mistakes" made in this instant were wilful or otherwise. Like in previous instances here too a high powered committee would be set up or has already been set up to probe into the irregularities. In time to come, a report would be submitted; only some features of which will be published under pressures from the media, followed by talk-shows in some private TV channels, thereafter all will be forgotten. Nobody would ever come to know as to who did what to who? One might say that these are mere speculations and conjectures but tell us if things have been any different over the years. People should be told right now as to what would happen to their investments should the operations of Destiny come to a close or aborted.

Destiny was first unveiled in some details by a leading Bangla national daily. Apparently Destiny had been operating outside the scope of approval.

Destiny was first registered by the Department of Cooperatives as Destiny 2000 Ltd as a multi-level marketing [MLM] company. Since governmental authorities were well aware of, yet for some reasons they decided to keep quiet. As reported the outfit has already collected about Taka. Two billion [200 crore] from the public as of March 31, 2000. Besides since then a number of letters have crossed between concerned ministries and department, informing of possible irregularities committed by Destiny; yet no one agency made a move to either verify or take punitive measures. In 2004, Bangladesh Bank [BB] issued a letter to the ministry of finance, indicating Destiny's acts being fraudulent. It was followed by yet another ministry -- the ministry of home - and the Development of Cooperatives [DOC] to take necessary actions against Destiny. Nothing has happened so far. Furthermore, it is reported that no independent audit of its operations has been undertaken until now.

The illegal operation of MLM companies in Bangladesh is nothing new. In recent times, two other companies have defrauded public by billions - Unipay-2 and Jubok.

Not only money laundering but also cheating and indulging in fraudulent acts have become commonplace in Bangladesh. The three wheelers are cheating by charging astronomical fares. The retailers in the kitchen markets are asking prices for essentials as they please. The business 'syndicate' is sucking our blood day and night. The toll collectors have made the whole country their operating fields. The truth is there are many other "thieves" who are emptying our pockets in multiple ways. Like extra judicial killings, charges and fees are imposed at random outside the purview of budgetary provisions. While the MLM companies are fleecing us in a criminal way, the government is doing it in the garb of increasing internal revenue collection.

Who are the sufferers; people belonging to the middle class and the fixed income groups? 


Enforced Disappearance & Fascists in Bangladesh

Democracy in one of the South Asian nations visibly is at the most vulnerable state now, when the ruling party, Bangladesh Awami League is applying nefarious tactics of secret killings, abduction, forced disappearance and massive corruption at the blessings and patronization of the ruling elites. The case of enforced disappearance though started in Bangladesh for past three and half years since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formed the government, the issue has now drawn attention of the global community, when recently a former MP and prominent leader of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, M Ilias Ali disappeared along with his chauffer, while the Prime Minister were seen making jokes centering this issue of grave concern. Sheikh Hasina and her government has some how become comfortably confident of being assured by New Delhi on remaining in power at least up to 2019, which is again a substantial period for the ruling party and its elites in establishing much stronger grip over country’s civil and military administration, as well as the judiciary, thus bringing Bangladesh under one-party rule, which was the brain-child of Hasina’s father Sheikh Mujibur Rehman.

Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, who is the founding-father of Bangladesh, introduced the one-party rule system named BKSAL, which he conceived from former Soviet Union. A lot of Mujib followers and sycophants were seen worshipping the new-god in Bangladeshi political sky, thus attempting of portray an image of Mujibur Rehman as the political prophet of Bengal. Right after the independence of the country, Mujib though made numerous pledges of ensuring rights of the citizen and freedom of press and expression, on formation of his one-party rule, the first offensive came on country’s media, thus banning all the newspapers but two thus introducing repressive laws such as Special Powers Act, pushing opposition activists inside prison while encouraging forced disappearance and secret killings. At least ten to twelve thousand opposition activists were brutally murdered by the private militia of Mujib, just within two years. Country’s image was greatly tarnished internationally, while fellow-members of the Mujib cabinet as well as his family and friends got completely indulged into huge corruption, which made Bangladesh as “bottomless basket case”, with acute famine in 1974 and series of agonies and sufferings of the masses.

The era of Sheikh Mujibur Rehman came to a tragic end, when he was assassinated along with members of his family on 15th August 1975 in a military coup. At such tragic end of the founding father of the nation, no one – not even the members and activists of ruling Awami League felt sorry or left tears, while majority of the people were expressing joyful remarks. Such fates to Awami League were the result of its experiment of imposing Stalinist prototype dictatorial administration on the people, thus snatching their minimum rights. Following the assassination of Mujibur Rehman, the very existence of Awami League became totally uncertain, while many of the Mujib colleagues happily joined the successive government thus branding Mujib as the “Pharaoh” of Bengal. One of Mujibur Rehman’s closest aides and cabinet colleagues, Abdul Malek Ukil, when asked in London to comment on the assassination of the founding father of the country said, “The nation has got rid of the pharaoh! Mujib wanted to establish dynastic rule in Bangladesh to let him and his ancestors remain in power for ever. But such wrongdoings have been rightly punished by the divine forces.”

After 20 years of the tragic assassination of the founding father, the people of Bangladesh voted Mujib’s eldest daughter Sheikh Hasina into power in 1996 and her government had to finally face a huge defeat just after five years, simply because of its massive corruption, nepotism, state-patronized crime and bad governance. Prior to this election, Sheikh Hasina sought apology to the people for all wrong-doings of her father and promised good governance if voted into power. During the election campaign, she even put on Islamic hijab (veil) surely with the idea of getting sympathy from the majority of the Muslim voters in the country. Anyway her strategy clicked and her party won the election, though it faced a huge defeat just in five years, simply because of extreme misrule and bad governance.

In 2008 again, Sheikh Hasina made fresh pledges to the people with renewed apology for the “mistakes”during her during of 1996-2001, and promised “a better Bangladesh” with the implementation of her Vision 2021 and establishment of “Digital Bangladesh”. It was already known in the political and media circles in India that, the pre-election propaganda strategy and the election manifesto of Awami League were drafted by a team of seasoned politicians and media personnel from India, while Dr. Manmohan Singh and Mr. Pranab Mukherjee contributed in the election manifesto of Bangladesh Awami League by incorporating their important inputs. The economic plans of the manifesto were consulted with famous economists, which include Nobel laureate Amartya Sen and Dr. Mohammed Yunus, while defense policies were drafted by New Delhi’s South-Block. The initial concept of Indian policymakers extreme involvement behind Awami League election manifesto as well as campaign strategy were aimed at getting series of issues and treaties signed and decided by the Bangladeshi government under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina in order to ensure India’s un-protested supremacy over Bangladesh forever. When New Delhi policymakers sensed the voters in Bangladesh were still in confusion in putting their mandate in favor of Awami League, Dr. Manmohan Singh and some key figures in Indian politics sought help from the Western governments in influencing the caretaker government in Bangladesh in extending total support towards Awami League and ensure its victory. Though the general election took place in December-2008, Sheikh Hasina’s special envoys secretly visited India in November-2008 to finalize the list of the next cabinet. New Delhi was already given assurance by the Bangladeshi caretaker government of letting Awami League win the election under “any circumstance”.

On 17thNovember 2008, RAW’s deputy assistant director Manoj Pillai in a “Top Secret” message (Ref No: Makr.sabd.poll08.4716) addressed to the its Chief wrote, “A senior officer of DGFI-Bangladesh has informed over phone at 02:40pm that Bangladesh Nationalist Party is still undecided on joining in the election run, though some of the mid-level policymakers of that party are pursuing Mrs. Khaleda Zia in getting her consent in joining the poll. The officer also informed that it has successfully convinced the top-policymakers of Jamat-e-Islami in putting pressure on Bangladesh Nationalist Party in joining the election run. He emphasized on putting our contacts within Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Jamat-e-Islami fully activated in continuing strong persuasion and pressure on Mrs. Zia, as it is feared that she might have been adversely influenced by the Chinese block and Saudi block from in refraining from joining the election. Without participation of BNP, the election will not get international acceptance. For the sake of our national interest, necessary steps should be initiated urgently on this matter.”

From the content of the above letter, it is clear that Indian government and its agencies were desperately working in favor of holding the election in 2009, as it was confident about Awami League’s victory.

As expected, Awami League got a huge victory in the election and since it formed government in January-2009, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her cabinet are seen totally committed in implementing all of its commitments and pledges, made to India, without arguing or questioning its impacts on Bangladesh or its people. This is for the first time; New Delhi has been very successful in putting a party in power, which never betrayed with Indian policymakers, even after facing substantial protests domestically for its expressive and exposed inclination towards New Delhi. On the other hand, for the people of Bangladesh, this is possibly one of their worst-ever period of national catastrophe of letting Awami League still being in power for another one plus year. No doubt the ruling party and its elites are fully aware of people’s grievance and anger at it due to its pro-India policy, which directly goes against the interest of Bangladesh. Sensing this as well the possible revolt of the people either before the election or during the election, thus throwing Awami League once again into trash, the ruling party is carrying out its well-planned agenda of political secret killings as well as forced disappearances, with the goal of eliminating most of the potential political opponents as well as leaders of the opposition parties, especially BNP and Jamaat. The case of forced disappearance became prominent when BNP leader and ex Member of Parliament M Ilias Ali went into missing along with his chauffer few days back. As he hails from Bangladesh’s eastern province named Sylhet, hundreds and thousands of Sylhetis in London have started protesting this particular incident, while they also are putting pressure on the British government in asking Bangladesh in releasing M Ilias Ali, while the British media may also start writing on this issue soon. This particular case of forced disappearance of M Ilias Ali will surely cause maximum damage to the remaining image of the ruling party in Bangladesh and it may even erect the road to mass revolt or even freezing of the democracy.

While Bangladeshi Sylheti community in London are very active and protesting the forced disappearance of M Ilias Ali, few pro-Awami League palls such as write Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury or some of the business associates of Sheikh Rehana, including retired Maj. Gen. Tarique Ahmed Siddique, Lt. Gen. Harun Ar Rashid and Mohd. Rafiqul Amin is trying to organize people to counter the protests of angered Sylhetis in London and the United Kingdom. Lt. Gen. Harun Ar Rashid and Mohd. Rafiqul Amin run multi-million GBP businesses in United Kingdom while he also has forcefully occupied a number of businesses in Bangladesh, with the direct assistance of Maj. Gen. Tarique Ahmed Siddique and his sister-in-law Sheikh Rehana (the younger sister of Bangladeshi PM). According to Times of Assam, this racket has smuggled millions of GBP to United Kingdom and turned into multi-millionaires from being a small fries in Bangladeshi society, just within months of Awami League’s forming the government. Sheikh Rehana and Maj. Gen. Tarique Ahmed Siddique are having direct hands behind Lt. Gen. Harun Ar Rashid and Mohd. Rafiqul Amin in series of illegal activities including land grabbing, extortion, blackmailing and looting of public wealth. It is rumored in Dhaka that Maj. Gen. Tarique Ahmed Siddique is controlling the forces intelligence as well as National Security Intelligence, while he also uses Rapid Action Battalion for the sake of his personal interests.

It said the man behind secret killings and forced disappearances is Maj. Gen. Tarique Ahmed Siddique, who is directly commanding DGFI and RAB in executing the murder and abduction plans of Awami League. Many term Maj. Gen. Tarique Ahmed Siddique as the “General of the fascists in Bangladesh”.