Mohammad Zainal Abedin, from NY
One of the major techniques of our government is to vehemently condemn political foes for committing such activities what its members did in the past and even does at present. It is known to all that its members are the prophets of terror and violence in Bangladesh. During the first term of Begum Khaleda Zia (1992-1996) as prime minister of Bangladesh, it was they who for the first time in Bangladesh imposed blockade, introduced gunpowder to arson vehicles and cocktails to terrorise people that led to the death of many innocent passengers and pedestrians. They used their cadres to dismantle railway slippers in order to disconnect and disrupt rail communication, set fire to mills and factories and government establishments, including power distribution and water supply centers and what not.
The government leaders now speak in such a pretended and innocent way, as if, they never experience such heinous deeds and violence in Bangladesh, and all these barbarities are new and unknown to them.But the most disturbing and (abishshasa incredible) unbelievable reports, according to the non-partisan knowledgeable sources, are that the government and its associates, in fact, use their party cadres, even law-enforcing agencies, to launch petrol bomb attacks on vehicles and trains and then propagate through diplomatic channels, state machineries, personal contacts and media to brand BNP (Bangladesh Nationalist Party) activists and its supporters, particularly members of the Jatiyatbadi Chhatra Dal (JCD), Jatiyatbadi Jubo Dal (JCD), and its alliance partner Jammat-e-Islami and its (Jamaat) student front Islami Chhatra Shibir as terrorists. Leaders of the government even threatened to try and punish Begum Khaleda Zia as the mastermind and cases have been filed against her accusing her for all the violence that Bangladesh now experiences.
But the independent and competent sources confirmed that the allegation doesn’t tally with the reality. Their propaganda is their trick to conceal their involvement in the current terror acts in Bangladesh and ascribe those on their political rivals. Sources point to the fact that Begum Khaleda Zia, the former Prime Minister of Bangladesh, handed over some videos to the EP (European Parliamentary) delegation who called on her during their recent visit to Bangladesh. It is confirmed that those videos clearly showed how the law enforcing agencies and pro-government elements eliminate the opposition activists applying inhuman and unlawful techniques. She explained how the 20-party alliance was denied democratic rights since AL took over immediately after 2008, held the most controversial election in 2014 and now refuses to hold acceptable fresh election that they pledged prior to the fake election. Khaleda claimed all these factors compelled the alliance to impose blockade. She also narrated how the government uses law-enforcers and her party cadres to create terror situation by throwing petrol bombs and setting fire on the buses, trucks and trains and ascribes (chapiya deya) the responsibility on the opposition activists in order to (1) create anti-blockade sentiment and antagonise the common people against the 20-party leaders and activists; (2) brand them as militants and terrorists at home and abroad to create public opinion in their favour; (3) nab and kill the opposition activists to solidify their power; (4) eliminate the patriotic and democratic forces of Bangladesh; and above all, (5) create Bangladesh a hub of the pro-India elements.
One should keep it in mind that in Bangladesh presently media is not independent. It is totally under the strict surveillance of the government. Most of the reports are either censored or the concerned dailies are verbally asked not to print the true reports that can create anti-government sentiment due to its atrocities. It needs to be mentioned that most of the dailies either enjoy official blessings or face pressure and intimidation. These dailies, in most cases, avoid critical stories apprehending government retaliation. Journalists and owners of media outlets always remain scared of arrest or harassment and suffer from insecurity. As a result, dailies cannot entirely ventilate the atrocities of the ruling party cadres or the law enforcing agencies most of whose personnel were once the ruling party activists. Only those major incidents of atrocities occasionally get space in media which can’t be concealed.
Still the scant reports that ooze out of undeclared, but strict, undeclared censorship and surveillance are enough to calculate and justify the extent of the involvement of the Bangladesh Awami League (AL) cadres in creating inhuman and horrific situation that is blamed on the opposition parties to brand them as militant and terrorist. Let me mention some of such reports that were available in the online edition of some dailies of Dhaka, to justify that government is behind the criminal atrocities of throwing bombs on or arson the vehicles.
On January 19, 2015 at the rail station of Comilla, two BCL activists were caught red-handed while hurling crude bombs at the platform. The arrested activists were Nasir and Shipon. Both of them are involved with the BCL of Comilla Victoria College.
On January 25, 2015 police detained local AL leader’s nephew Azimuddin (27) with seven petrol bombs, one cocktail bomb and local-made arms kept in his house close to Feni telephone exchange. Arrested Azim, is the nephew of Feni AL Secretary General Abdul Karim.
44 cocktail bombs were recovered from AL district leader Mohammad Yousuf Ali’s home on January 27, 2015. Moinul Islam OC of Shibgonj Police Station confirmed the recovery of the weapons after the explosions of several bombs. Police searched the house of Yousuf Ali and found the cocktail bombs in a bag. However, he wasn’t detained or arrested (as he belongs to AL politics)
(http://www.dinkalonline.net/front/news/142236466616735 http://newagebd.net/90235/al-leaders-son-arrested-with-petrol-bombs/#.dpuf )
On January 28, 2015 the detective branch of police arrested the son of an Awami Muktijodhdha League leader at Sonar Bangla market of Madhabdi municipality in Narsingdi and recovered five petrol bombs from him. The arrestee was identified as Md. Masum (22), son of Nuralapur union Awami Muktijoddha League vice-president Zehar Ali. Police, said Masum is a miscreant.
On February 4 at about 12am, in the facebook of Rajshahi branch of BCL it was posted in a status how the BCL activists themselves launched bomb attack and shifted its responsibility to the opposition party activists. The status, obviously created hue and cry what was deleted just after 40 minutes.
On February 4, 2015, police arrested two AJL leaders from Jagannath Dighi Union of Chauddagram, Comilla. At the time of arrest both of them were in possession of petrol bombs. They were identified as Bulbul and Manik. However, Chauddogram police OC, Uttam Kumar Chakrabarti denied arrest of anyone, as they were AL activists.
On February 04, 2015 four activists of BCL, of Sonab area, Rupganj Upazila (sub- district) were injured while making bombs. They were Rahmut Ullah, Shahin Mia, Kabir and Rasel. The injured cadres were admitted to Dhaka Pongu Hospital and other local clinics. The incident occurred at the house of local AJL leader Lokman Hossain of Bhulta Union. Police broke into a room where the blast had occurred and confiscated the evidence, including 10 machetes, multiple knives and various local and foreign arms. The locals and other witnesses complained that right after the incident, several Awami league and Chatra league cadres had gone and cleared the evidence from the spot.
Two BCL leaders, named Uzzal and Zubayer, were caught red-handed in Dinajpur while throwing petrol bomb on a truck on Dinajpur-Dhaka Highway at about 12pm on the night of February 13. But police released them due to pressure exerted by the local AL leaders. (Daily Sangram, February 1 5, 2015)
On February 7, 2015 four AJL activists were burnt in Feni while they were making petrol bombs. Earlier another Jubo League activist Jahid died in explosion while making bombs in the same town. Ripon, the AJL activist, was injured from explosion of his own bomb.
On February 7, 2015 members of the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested five BCL activists from a students’ mess in Barisal City and seized a shooter gun, two cartridges and eight sharp weapons and a stolen motorcycle from their possession. The arrestees are Kamruzzaman Linkhon, Palash Chandra, Sushanta Biswas, Shimul Bepari, Rajib Hossain, and Sohel.
Rab handed over them to Barisal Airport Police Station. They were later produced before Barisal Metropolitan Magistrate’s court that sent them to jail.
According to the available information four BCL cadres were injured while preparing bombs at a godown of BCL leader Shahid Miah situated at Chunar area of Rupganj, under Narayanganj (part of greater Dhaka) district. Rajshahi Unit of BCL posted a status in its official facebook confessing the responsibility of throwing petrol bombs. Police arrested two BCL cadres from Jagannath Digi Union under Choddogram of Comilla (District). On February 2, BGB (Bangladesh Border Guard) arrested six AL workers who were armed with petrol bombs, cocktails and local-made weapons. The AL leaders however influenced the BGB personnel to release their cadres.
10/12 activists of BCL and AJL were nabbed in Lakshmipur (part of former Noakhali) district on February 1 for their involvement in throwing petrol bombs at CNG auto-rickshaws and pick-up vans. Police released them defying the protest of the local people.
On February 8, 10 petrol bombs were found inside AL office in Chittagong. On several occasions, some AL or pro-AL activists were even caught red-handed along with bombs from inside several buses.
One Bappi who was wounded inside a house of Old Dhaka while preparing petrol bomb and later died in the hospital was initially branded in the media as a leader of JCD, the student wing of BNP. But later it was proved that Bappi was an AL activist. An investigaton report says that Bappi received Tk. two lakhs (equivalent to about $2,600) from the local Pro-AL (Independent) MP Haji Selim to prepare bombs. Scores of AL, AJL and BCL cadres were nabbed from different parts of the country since the BNP-led blockade declared on January 5, 2015.
Daily Inqilab, on February 9 (2015), reported that the wrist of the right hand of AL leader Shohag (32) hailing from Bogra was segregated while he was making cocktails. (http://www.dailyinqilab.com/2015/02/10/239270.php)
Daily Sangram on the same day printed a detailed report, which was also published on February 6 in other dailies of Dhaka involving the cadres of Bangladesh Chattra League (BCL), the student front of AL, and AJL (Awami Jubo League) youth front of AL in terrorist activities. According to these reports huge numbers of BCL cadres were injured while preparing bombs or throwing them at vehicles. Some of them were also arrested by the police, but later released as they belong to the ruling party.
A daily of Dhaka ‘Amader Shomoy, on February 12, 2015 quoting National Intelligence Agency (NSI) mentioned the names of the AL leaders and cadres alongside the BNP-Jammat activists who prepare, sell or buy petrol bombs. The report identified 90 AL leaders and activists who assist sabotage or ‘disruptive’ activities.
An AJL cadre named Najmul (27) was wounded on February 13 while he was preparing bombs on the rooftop of his house at Akhandbaria village under the Begumpur Union of Chuadanga (a part of former Kushtia) district. He is also an accused of several cases; Police arrested him (Daily Amader Shomoy, February 17, 2014).
One AJL activist Washim (25) of Lakshimpur district was nabbed by local people along with a foreign pistol on the night of February 16 while he, to scare the local people, went Kolshama village under Ramganj Upazill. Local people manhandled him. Police rescued him from the wrath of the mob and hospitalised him for treatment.
On the same night of February 16 at about 11pm the officer In-charge (OC) of Daganbhuyan Upazilla under Feni (part of former Noakhali) district detained Kawsar, a worker of BCL, along with a foreign-made pistol, including a bullet. (http://www.dailyinqilab.com/2015/02/17/240855.php )
According to Daily Inqilab (February 18, 2015) since January 5 (2015) 269 persons were crippled due to bullet or other injuries. Those who became crippled due to so-called encounters include businessmen, students, grocers, even pedestrians. Some of them were the victims of political violence or they had past animosity with the police. None – relatives or friends – come to visit or take care of them in the hospital apprehending police and RAB harassment. The hospitalised victims are guarded by jail police and some others jointly guarded by police and RAB.
Daily Manabzamin on 22 February wrote, one Nur Hossen, the Joint Secretary of Jinjira (situated on the outskirts of Dhaka City) Union BCL and his elder brother Kamal Hossen were arrested by police on Saturday night, February 21, along with four petrol bombs and five cocktails.
Government involvement is justified if one minutely examines the statement of Former Parliament Member Major Akhtarruzzaman who in a TV talk-show raised some sensitive questions on throwing petrol bombs on a passenger bus plying along Dhaka-Chittagong Highway. He said, “According to the statement of the police superintendent aired, by TV channels, in Choddogram side of Dhaka-Chittagong Highway, the speed of the bus was 110km per hour while the bomb was thrown.” He said, it is beyond the capacity of a human being to throw a bomb inside such a speedy bus from behind. He posed a question whether a human being possesses such powerful hand to throw a bomb whose speed was over 110 kms per hour that not only hit the bus, but also broke its strong glass and caused death to 11 passengers. He alleged some trained personnel threw bombs at the bus using some other throwing devices or weapons (grenade launchers).
The pro-blockade activists don’t have the capacity to hit a running bus of such speed from behind. As the spot of the incident is very close to Indian State of Tripura border, the petrol bombs might have been thrown from the other side of the border or by some professionals inside Bangladesh.
On the other hand, sources quoting the intelligence report said, some hundred bombs are daily thrown in various regions of Bangladesh. The raw material of such hand bombs are sulfur dioxide, phosphorous ammonium nitrate, DTT, TNP, lead-oxide, mercury, sulphur, potassium, sulphate. 80 percent of these materials enter Bangladesh through illegal way from India.
The intelligence report mentioned the names of 216 importers and suppliers of these illegal explosives that among others included such 25 names who are related to AL politics. However names of eight out of 90 AL leaders and cadres could so far been collected who are involved in importing, supplying and preparing cocktail bombs and selling them to the concerned groups in Bangladesh.
All these partial, out of enormous, information unequivocally establish the fact that the pro-government elements are engaged in smuggling materials, preparing and throwing petrol bombs on vehicles and committing arson attacks on them. The indifferent behavior of the law enforcing personnel in nabbing the bomb throwers proves that the terrorists belong to the pro-government fronts. They never nab the criminals at the time of occurrence. The criminals freely leave the spot on the very nose of the police. Later police arrest the local BNP and Jammat activists for their alleged involvement in throwing bombs or setting fire to vehicles.
Knowledgeable sources analysing the scant media reports and the technique of nabbing and killing the opposition activists opine that in most cases pro-government cadres throw petrol bombs or do arson attacks on the vehicles whose responsibilities are shifted to their political foes. Enjoying police cover the bomb throwers, in most cases, freely leave the place, as the police never tried to instantly nab them. The reason of such mysterious behavior of the police is that the bombers belong to the ruling AL (Bangladesh Awami League). And the bombs are thrown to arrest the local leaders and activists of BNP and Jammat. Huge number of AL activists were either wounded while preparing bombs or by the law-enforcers at times erroneously arresting them along with bombs. But they were released when their identities was known.
Still government leaders hold the opposition parties responsible for the ongoing violent anarchies. Even a very ordinary individual, not to speak of a government minister, remains cautious regarding his or her past record whenever he/she talks or condemns others. But government ministers refuse to realise this. They forget that the people of Bangladesh even the international community didn’t forget their past deeds that paralysed Bangladesh repeatedly and caused human sufferings and stumbled economic prosperity, above all set the bad practice in political arena. Now they raise cry against the same thing that she did earlier.
On the other hand, government leaders created the ground that compelled the opposition alliance to impose the current blockade in Bangladesh. Since they assumed power in 2009, they deprived their political foes of minimum political rights on one hand and involved and arrested them on fake charges on the other. Opposition activists were and still are the victims of fake charges and arrest, hijack, planted crossfire and extrajudicial killings. They do these undemocratic and unjust deeds to provoke the opposition to take up arms. The opposition comprehended their game and refrained from taking undemocratic steps to deter government atrocities. They followed those hard practices, including blockade that the AL previously did during 1994-6 and in 2006-7.
Government leaders are determined not to allow the opposition to enjoy their democratic rights that was the immediate cause of parting with Pakistan. They are adamant to crush the opposition leaders and activists through non-judicial and unlawful killings, though they repeatedly utter that they stand for democracy. What a dubious, contradictory and tyrannical policy they adopt and implement that terrorise and victimise the most promising nation of the South Asian region. Such policy shatters its economy, ruins foreign trade and local industry, shrinks foreign investment, isolates it from international community and solidifies hegemonic domination that ultimately will lead Bangladesh to astray.
(The contributor is a journalist & researcher based in NY, USA Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mohammad Zainal Abedin, from NY