back with a Bang
Home Minister Altaf Hossain Chowdhury is simply incapable of
remaining in the oblivion for so long. The recent attack on
the car of Gono Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain while he was
on his way to Rangamati to attend a meeting organised by Jonosanghoti
Samity gave him the opportunity to make his presence felt after
a quiet spell. Allegedly, the armed activists of Somo Odhikar
Andolon (Equal Right Movement), an organisation opposing the
CHT peace treaty, allegedly patronised by local BNP MP Wadud
Bhuiyan, swooped on Kamal's motorcade and vandalised the cars.
A panicked Kamal along with other frontline leaders of Gono
Forum U-turned and came back to Chittagong. Right after Dr Kamal's
return to Chittagong, Mossaddek Ali a political Secretary to
PM called Dr Kamal and informed him that the PM expressed her
concern and ordered immediate arrest of the criminals, even
if they belong to the ruling party. Surprisingly, HM came up
with an altogether different story in the House he squarely
held 'the armed activists accompanying Dr Kamal responsible
for this incident and denied any involvement of either the government
or the local BNP leadership. Forget the opposition parties even
cabinet ministers were irate and expressed shock at such irresponsible
comments from the HM. But then, when it comes to making his
mark, especially in the media, our HM never misses it.
Mahbub Bablu, manager and co-owner of Hillside Resort in Bandarban,
was freed after 21 days in captivity on February 23. Though
local administration has claimed to have rescued Bablu from
his abductors in the deep forest at Tarasa point of the Shanghka
river, newspaper reports suggest something different. He was
freed, according to a Daily Star report, after paying Tk 15
lakh in ransom to buy his way out. The family had contacted
the gang on several occasions and paid Tk 9 lakh in the first
instalment; they paid 9 lakh more hours before his release,
the report continues. The hotelier was in good health though:
"They behaved well and provided me with a mosquito net,"
Bablu told the awaiting journalists.
Chittagong Hill Tracts have become a haven for several insurgent
groups. According to Bablu, his abductors were mostly locals,
but their leader was a Burmese and most of them were carrying
AK-47 rifles and some of them had M-16s. While the home ministry
remains busy clubbing opposition activists in and outside the
capital, the discovery of assault rifles and weapons of mass
killing has become more rampant than ever. What is shocking
is the nature of reaction we get from the guardians of our national
security. Prior to this, a huge cache of explosives was found
in Bogra last year. The Home Minister and his police have so
far failed to nab the culprits behind one of the biggest arms
haul in the country's history.
the government has waged several self-styled jihads against
extremist outfits in the country, it has so far resulted in
nothing. Words, however, have been pouring out of the mouth
and are becoming more and more bombastic by day. Recovery of
assault weapons from every corner of the country has made our
national security catastrophically vulnerable; it has never
been more insecure.
Attack on Humayun Azad
Azad has been attacked and is fighting for his life at the CMH.
The decimation of the intelligentsia first took place, on a
large scale, on the eve of the independence of the new nation
that came to be known as Bangladesh. After that, the people
at the helm forcefully made many successive voices mum. Now,
during Khaleda Zia's much vaunted development-prone regime,
a writer, who doesn't have any strong political clout, was brutally
stabbed on the evening of February 28. The event took place
right in front of the Bangla Academy. He was rushed to the Dhaka
Medical College and was later transferred to the CMH as his
condition was grave.
chapatis a number of perpetrators swooped on him while he was
strolling back home from a visit to the Bangla Academy book
fair. When the surrounding crowd moved to rescue this outspoken
writer and professor of Bangla of Dhaka University, the murderous
thugs resorted to blasting a bomb and quickly left the scene.
Interestingly enough, in the following morning, when the students
and teachers took out a procession and went to place a wreath
at the spot of stabbing, a chapati was discovered.
Islam Chowdhury dubs the attack an assault on the free-thinking
intelligentsia, -- the quarter that forms the spearhead of this
nation. The family of Azad is blaming the fundamentalists. The
recent novel titled, Pak Sar Zamin Saad Baad, tackles the psyche
of an Islamic Militant, this might have incensed the fundamentalists
in power. Many find a connection between the book and the incident.
Yet it is mere conjecture. One suspect was rounded off who is
a Chatra League activist. The police, who did not even bother
to gather the evidence lying on the spot, is facing an ultimatum
from the teachers of DU. They have gone on strike till arrest
of Azad's attackers. The Prime Minister, as usual, blamed the
AL and blurted out that it was an evil design of the opposition.
Meanwhile the opposition leader Sheikh Hasina's attempt was
snubbed when she tried to visit Azad at the CMH in cantonment.
As for Khaleda Zia, on her excuse for not going to visit him
was announced by an army press note. It was the terminal condition
that made the doctors not to allow visitors, it said.
The Perennial Target of Police Baton
AL-called Hartal passes off without Motia Chowdhury being assaulted
by the police. The February 28 was no exception. Though the
police they somehow become extra-ordinarily agile and enthusiastic
when they get an opportunity to lay their hands on the opposition
people-- managed to clear away all the pro-hartal elements,
they failed to dislodge Motia even an inch. Not even after her
clothes got torn in places. After a while when most of her colleagues
had taken shelter wherever they could get in, Motia kept on
her solitary vigil all alone lying right in the middle of the
street under the scorching heat for ten long hours. Beating
up leaders spells an ominous turn, for both the government and
for our politics in general.