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     Volume 5 Issue 116 | October 13, 2006 |

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Common Sense Fails a not-so-common Wealth


Police training in Bangladesh is at its best. Or else, how can one explain the marksmanship accuracy with which our baton-wielding law enforcers miss the groin and the head of citizens they smash to pulp on the streets, inside stadiums and now the shooting club?

The biology class at police schools is told that a human body does not comprise of any head, heart or hack-able organs. 'Muscles dekho aur feko', is the motto of one such private coaching centre. Asked why a Bangladeshi academy should draw a dictum in foreign lingo, the quick retort was, “Who said they are foreign? We have so arranged in the last 30 years that they have now become the words of our peara watan”.

It has been gathered that at the police training academy they use dummy human beings with only legs, buttock and that's it. And the trainees are given instructions on how to hit and hit and hit the dummy. In real life, when they meet people they do not see any human beings, they see dummies. And, thanks to their rigorous training, they never ever strike someone on the head or on the... (This is a decent family magazine) because that would not be passable as an 'encounter' or a 'crossfire'.

On the 2nd of October on a lazy afternoon policemen in instalments went berserk in order to contain a darwan and an Ansar personnel, who simply objected to the parking of a police vehicle (with no policemen inside) in front of a gate that they were paid to keep clear. When others came to the aid of the two, they also got a taste of the wrath of their 'protectors', paid by people's money to look after people.

The bizarre statement, if I heard any, is that the transgressing policemen “did not recognise” the shooters; as if it is perfectly all right to whack others. According to the law of the land (I hope) no employee of the government has the right to strike any citizen in such a beastly manner. That is common sense. The police can resort to counter-attack to maintain law and order, but that does not include pulling athletes out of their dormitory or beating them up in a police station. Restraint should be a policeman's strength.

Let us assume that Asif Hossain Khan and the others were taken to be common citizens, and thereby beaten up as common criminals. That stinking analogy is now well established. But for over a week, even after their identity has been known, ministerial and Bangladesh Olympic Association officials have not visited/contacted ailing Asif and others lying in hospital, extended to the injured any morale comfort or provided them with any financial support; notable among them being democratically-elected, career politician, the Sports Minister.

That has given rise to the assumption that not all are aware what means the Commonwealth, and the depth and height of Asif's rare achievement. Perhaps they do not know that the Commonwealth consists of as many as fifty-six independent nations and a few of their dependencies. The Commonwealth Games, initiated in 1930 at Hamilton, Canada, is a multi-sport gathering of competitors from all of those countries every four years. And our Asif (he was also their Asif when he returned from the Manchester Games) lifted a Gold Medal in such a majestic meet. His victory saw the raising of the national colours on foreign soil, an honour reserved only for state guests, and the air in and around the old English city was blessed with the chords of Amaar Sonar Bangla…

Shooter Asif, a not-so-common wealth in a nation where we have a huge dearth of world beaters in sports, is a champion among an estimated nearly 200 crore people of the Commonwealth of Nations.

The police can stoop low to conquer the favour of the wife of a Dangerous-In-Government, but our Asif sits atop crores of people as a champion shooter. Only that day, he did not shoot.

Shooter Asif

Anguilla (10,000)
Antigua and Barbuda (70,000)
Australia (2 crore)
The Bahamas (3.2 lakh)
Bangladesh (14 crore)
Barbados (2.8 lakh)
Belize (2.8 lakh)
Botswana (16 lakh)
British Virgin Islands (23,000)
Brunei (3.7 lakh)
Cameroon (1.7 crore)
Canada (3.3 crore)
Cook Islands (22,000)
Cyprus (8 lakh)
Dominica (70,000)
Fiji Islands (9 lakh)
The Gambia (16 lakh)
Ghana (2.1 crore)
Grenada (90,000)
Guyana (7.2 lakh)
India (107 crore)
Ireland (40 lakh)
Jamaica (29 lakh)
Kenya (3.3 crore)
Kiribati (One lakh)
Lesotho (19 lakh)
Malawi (1.2 crore)
Malaysia (2.4 crore
Maldives (3.5 lakh)
Malta (4.05 lakh)
Mauritius (13 lakh)
Montserrat (15,000)
Mozambique (2 crore)
Namibia (20 lakh)
Nauru (13,000)
New Zealand (42 lakh)
Nigeria (14 crore)
Pakistan (15.5 crore)
Papua New Guinea (55 lakh)
Saint Kitts and Nevis (40,000)
Saint Lucia (1.75 lakh)
St Vincent & the Grenadines (1.2 lakh)
Samoa (1.8 lakh)
Seychelles (90,000)
Sierra Leone (60 lakh)
Singapore (50 lakh)
Solomon Islands (5.5 lakh)
South Africa (4.5 crore)
Sri Lanka (2 crore)
Swaziland (12 lakh)
Tanzania (3.75 crore)
Tonga (1.2 lakh)
Trinidad and Tobago (12 lakh)
Tuvalu (12000)
UK (England, Wales, Scotland) (6.5 crore)
Vanuatu (2.5 lakh)
Zambia (1.06 crore)

Approximately 190,78,75,000 human beings

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