Friday, April 27, 2012

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.