Heroes Never Die
A photo feature by Saiful Huq Omi of Counter Foto /Polaris
Tales of Political Violence in Bangladesh, 1989-2005
1. Sukanta Das, an award winning musician, lost his right leg and all feeling in his right hand in the Udichi bomb blast in Jessore, and cannot play his guitar anymore.
2. Shahin, a projectionist at a cinema hall, lost his legs and his job in a terrorist bomb attack. He no longer met the minimum height requirement for being a projectionist.
3. Anondomohon Chakma, a school teacher, was mistaken for a guerilla and lost his right leg when he was shot at point blank range by the authorities.
4. Ruma was standing beside former prime minister Sheikh Hasina during the August 21, 2004 grenade attack, and still carries more than a hundred splinters in her body. Doctors have lost all hope for her full recovery. Sometimes it still hurts so much she can do nothing but cry out in pain.
5. Amarnath Mondol, a member of the Communist Party of Bangladesh, was injured in a bomb attack on their party meeting.
He still has problems in his spinal cord. His right leg is almost inactive, and there are still many splinters in his legs, hands, belly, back, and head. The pain never leaves his body.
In his words: "Sometimes it hurts so much that I get a fever. When the full moon approaches, the pain will start again."
6. In 2001, after the coalition of pro-right and pro-Islamist government came to power, there were thousands of cases of minority oppression in Bangladesh.
When Rhadharani was gang-raped by a few of the Muslim strongmen in her village, she could easily recognise them.
The rapists put out both her eyes so that she could never testify against them in court.
7. “We are a family of ten members -- my parents and eight of our brothers and sisters. Before the attack, I used to work at the graveyard with my father. My father is a caretaker of a government owned graveyard.
"Though even before the attack, me and my father didn't earn a decent wage, we knew at least we wouldn't starve to death. Now, without me as an earning member, sometimes we do not have enough money to eat three times a day," says Rajib.
8. A ten feet by seven foot kitchen-cum-bedroom, where Rajib lives. Whenever it rains, the old roof cannot protect the room from flooding.
9. "There is at least one positive side of being in a hospital, you can eat three times a day," says Amarnath Mondal. Amarnath hardly remembers the last time he ate to his heart's content. He knows there is hardly anything good waiting for him at home.
10. The family of Abul Kashem Sarkar who happened to be at the bank withdrawing his monthly salary on November 29, 2005.
The suicide attack targeted mostly public places and the victims were invariably ordinary people.
It was a long time at the morgue waiting for the post-mortem to be over.
This photography project was supported by Action Aid Bangladesh.