Now the British High Commissioner…
hell broke loose last Friday when a bomb was hurled at the
Bangladesh-born British High Commissioner to the country Anwar
Chowdhury at the shrine of Shahjalal in downtown Sylhet. After
the mayhem only chaos followed. Chowdhury miraculously survived,
but two people, including the envoy's bodyguard instantly
died. "The bomb hit my stomach after it was hurled, but
it had not exploded then," Chowdhury, who was slightly
injured, later told the reporters.
incident, however, has opened a whole new Pandora's box. While
consecutive governments have remained as indifferent as ever,
140 people have so far been killed in the last five years.
It was, in fact, the second blast at the shrine in the last
six months. The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)-led government
has done nothing to arrest the culprits behind the blast around
six months ago on January 12, which ripped through the 700-year-old
shrine. A probe committee was immediately formed with the
Police Super of Sylhet as its chief; the investigation has
failed to make any significant breakthrough. Many point fingers
at the religious extremists or the parties who use religion
for their own political purpose. It is all the more suspicious
because whenever any such incident takes place the BNP and
its intelligentsia suddenly become vigorous in denying the
possible link of religious extremists to the blasts.
Terror in Bagmara
is like a scene from the Dark Ages. The front pages of the
dailies on May 20 showed the shocking image of a half-naked
dead man hanging up right down from a tree. The man, Badshah
was another victim of Jagroto Muslim Janota's operation commander
Bangla Bhai. Bangla Bhai is the latest godfather to terrorise
Bagmara, Naogaon and surrounding areas.
cleansing operation included getting his 'army' to abduct
4 people, kill two of them and then hang the body of one of
them upside down from a tree as a message to every one in
the area regarding the consequences of opposing his doctrines.
have also started to collect grain from poor farmers as toll.
So far in spite of the Home Ministry's order to arrest Bangla
Bhai, the police have not done anything to nab the killer.
Yet, according to a police superintendent of Rajshahi, there
is no specific complaint against Bangla Bhai in any thana.
Police have also commented that 'you can't just arrest a citizen
if you want to.' Such sensitivity towards the citizenry, however,
did not seen to manifest itself when hundreds of 'citizens'
were indiscriminately rounded up and put in the slammer during
the government's desperate attempt to fail Awami League's
April 30th deadline to bring the government down.
while Bangla Bhai has declared himself as the champion of
Islamic ideologies, he seems more pre-occupied with teaching
members of the outlawed Sharbahara party than promoting Islamic
They Get What They Deserve
men accused of causing the death of Trisha have been handed
the death sentence by High Court. The death reference trial
ended on Wednesday, May 19. The accused are Mehdi Hasan Modern,
Shaheen and Ariful Islam Asad. On July 17, 2002, Trisha, a
little girl in Gaibanda, was chased by a group of young men
threatening to physically assault her. Trisha, to escape her
attackers dived into a pond and drowned while the culprits
watched. Within two months of the incident the three were
sentenced to death in September 2002, in a special tribunal
in Gaibanda to deal with violence against women and children.
Later the sentence was upheld at the High Court.
on May 19, the petition filed by the accused with the Supreme
Court to review the verdict upholding the death penalty in
the Yasmin rape and murder case was rejected. Three policemen,
Assistant Sub-Inspectors Moinul Huq and Abdus Sattar and Constable
Amrita Lal Barman were sentenced to death for the rape and
murder of 19-year-old Yasmin. On August 24, 1995, the policemen
picked up Yasmin, a domestic help, who was on her way home
from Dhaka to Dinajpur with the promise of a lift. On the
way they gang-raped her and threw her onto the roadside where
a vehicle ran over and killed her.
from the Dead
was a miracle any widow or orphan would dream of. Nannu Patwari,
a 32 year old man and father of two, created a stir in his
village in Shakdi Rampur when he apparantly came back to his
home late at night after his own kulkhani! On May 2, Nannu
had gone to Sylhet in search of work. On May 13, a man, claiming
to be Nannu's friend informed his family that Nannu had met
with a terrible road accident and had died; his body was lying
in the morgue of a general hospital in Chittagong. Nannu's
relatives rushed to the hospital and brought back a body,
which was quite unrecognisable due to the severe injuries.
The body was given a burial that Friday. But on the night
of the khulkhani, when Nannu's wife Nurjahan was sleeping,
her dead husband was standing at the door. Thinking he was
a ghost, Nurjahan screamed and the other household members
rushed to the spot amazed that the person they had buried,
was alive and kicking. While a family got back their loved
one, the identity of the person who was buried may be lost
president Sonia Gandhi stepped out of the race last Tuesday,
May 18th, when she declined the post of Prime Minister. Amid
the protests of her fellow party members, she said "The
post of prime minister has not been my aim…my aim has always
been to protect the secular foundations of our nation."
Congress MPs urged Gandhi to reconsider, but their pleas fell
on deaf ears, and she remained firm in her decision. Congress
supporters who voted against Hindu nationalist party BJP,
are shocked and disappointed. Congress has asked former finance
minister Manmohan Singh to take the oath as India's new Prime
Minister. He is to be the first non-Hindu Prime Minister in