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     Volume 4 Issue 76 | December 23, 2005 |

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Bomb-blasts in Bangladesh

A second thought

M Shaukat Ali

The country is now shaking with the terror of bomb-blasts. Many militant bombers have been arrested and the hunt is on-going. Everybody is clamouring about the advent of 'terrorist Islam'. Some are pointing at our constitution being shorn of secularism, again some are aggrieved at the inclusion of the 'razakars' in the cabinet. But all these seem over-simplification of the whole problem. I'm sure the root causes of the rising of militancy lie elsewhere. Bomb-blasts are not happening in Bangladesh alone. Nobody would say Britain, France, Spain or the USA has Islam as the state religion in their constitution although bomb-blasts are not unknown there. Admitted that the militants have indulged in the most heinous crime of killing hundreds of innocent people but the idea and ideal motivating the 'killers' must not be overlooked or slighted. In Bangladesh the JMB bombers claim to establish 'Allah's laws' in the place of 'human devised laws' through destroying the present judiciary and administration. But almost none seems to have ever asked why. It's not sane to think that they are trying to take the country back to the middle-age. The bombers, none of them, have been found to have suffered injustices, tortured or otherwise punished for any offense or crime. Still, what are their grievances and why do they think 'human devised laws' have failed to address their grievances? What are 'Allah's laws' and how they think will 'Allah's laws' address the maladies prevailing in the society? Does it not demand a closer and more intimate insight into this very complex question?

The common mass of this country have been helplessly witnessing the ever-increasing dimensions of corruption and injustices in the society. Honesty and patriotism have long since given way to dishonesty and shameless greed for wealth and power. They have been witnessing how criminals with money and power go unscathed and hold sway over the society with impunity. A poor innocent man can be detained in jail for years without ever being produced before the court or being heard at all. A poor father helplessly witnesses his daughter being doubly and trebly raped by the influential rapist and his associates in the mockery called 'arbitration' (shalish). A poor farmer is ignominiously roped in the waist and sent to jail hajat for defaulting loan of only three four thousand taka whereas the plunderers of public money to the extent of crores of taka move about with VIP facilities everywhere being saluted. In brief injustices and inequities are so brazen and rampant but going on unhindered and unabated. All these have been continuing under the very nose of the present judicial system and administration -- not to mention whose failure has brought about this dismal situation.

Many advocate that every criminal must be brought to justice. The so-called humanists cry even more. They censure the actions of the RAB or Cobra in dealing with the diehard and deadly criminals. But whatever they say, they do not seem to have known criminals like 'Laltu Bhai' (Chuadanga) against whom not even any one of them have dared to bear witness although thousands of people know how he threw dozens of his victims alive into the inferno of the brick-kilns to erase the evidences of his devilish crimes. Examples are not rare that the prevailing law has been unable to protect the victims from the brutality of the criminals or killers. This has been possible either owing to the flaws inherent in the law itself or in those responsible for the administration of justice. Many also opine that the present system of justice is almost inaccessible to and beyond the reach of the poor.

There is again the system of education. Most probably Bangladesh is the only country in the world that runs with a counter-productive and clashing system of education. There are the 'madrasa', the so-called secular schools/colleges/universities and the English medium schools/colleges. The first produces people of mediaeval thinking, who look upon the secular educated people as 'nastiks' while the last produces 'ultras' and the second, a go-between who look upon the madrasa educated people as 'katmollahs', fundamentalists and parasites. Our leaderships have so far failed to formulate a universal education policy which could produce worthy citizens capable of facing the present day challenges.

Significantly the militants/bombers have chosen the judiciary and the educational institutions for their targets. It is therefore a futile attempt to curb or do away with militancy in this country only by arresting a few militants/bombers. The complex situation demands much deeper insight and foresight to resolve. Mere decrying militancy-Islamic or otherwise -- will little help solving the problem plaguing the country.

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