Vol. 5 Num 241 Fri. January 28, 2005  

Capturing 'Bangla Bhai'
Long on rhetoric, short on action
The 'Bangla Bhai' spectre has arisen again. If the home ministry's reaction is anything to go by, as we ought to, there is no official acknowledgement of any group called 'Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh' (JMJB); and thus of its self-styled leader Bangla Bhai. In other words, he is supposed to be living in the figment of media imagination. But when there was a surge of reports and commentaries last year, on his illegal and criminal activities, which amounted to taking the law into his own hands, no less a person than prime minister Khaleda Zia herself directed that he be arrested at once. But as we all know, directive fell on deaf ears down the line.

Now, the seesaw being played out regarding his arrest is putting the country's image on the line, something which ought to have been avoided. We really do not see why the authorities are hesitant in recognising his existence despite mounting evidence of the evil clout he exercises on his followers. Failing to do so would only fuel all kinds of undesirable speculative theories about religious extremism in Bangladesh. The quicker the authorities realise this, the better for all of us.

It's not that we lack the capacity to catch him. Our law enforcers are definitely capable of capturing such a criminal any day. But if ambiguous statements about so-called Bangla Bhai are made by people in authority, then it might well be construed as lack of intention on their part to put him behind the bar. The government can rest assured that when there is a serious bid to arrest him, there would be no dearth of support from the common men; for, we are in no doubt about a growing public sentiment against the monstrosity of Bangla Bhai and his party.