Behind the Scene
Shawkat Ali: Still Fighting
For almost the last two years, the man has been passing his days inside the house. Yet it is remarkable that he is still alive. Freedom fighter Shawkat Ali lives out his days with a huge amount of splinters on his body. He has sustained critical injuries along with 30 others after a grenade attack in the premises of the city's Gulshan Centre in the night following 7 August of 2004, minutes after a meeting of the Sylhet city AL. In the incident the then Publicity Secretary Ibrahim Ali was killed while the city Mayor and city AL Chief Badar Uddin Ahmed Kamran were extremely lucky as they had just left the venue minutes before.
“I wake up in the middle of the night with intense pain”, said Shawkat. “In the last few weeks, I've tried to move a little with the help of a companion in addition to a walking stick”, Shawkat says. Already about 20 lakh taka has been spent towards my treatment in the last two years. He adds, “I don't know how much more will be needed and how much longer it will take for me to be cured.” Shawkat is a former Commander of the Sylhet district unit of Bangladesh Muktijoddha Sangsad. He was also a senior Vice president of Sylhet Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCI).
Shawkat was the sole earner of his family. This incident has snatched away the peace of this family. The family car and much of the family property had to be sold for the family to be able to afford expensive treatment. Shawkat does not know what will eventually happen, there is no sign of getting justice. No one can say when the trial will be over or whether anybody will be punished for these crimes.
As the leaders and activists of the city AL came out of the hall room, they were chatting among themselves about the incident. A member of the Executive Committee of the city unit and convener of the Ward 19 AL- Shawkat Ali sustained critical injuries in both of his legs. His left arm was badly wounded while his whole body was pelted by the grenade splinters. He, along with others was admitted into the Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital, where he was operated on the same night. After two days, he was flown to the BIRDEM hospital, from where he returned home after two months of treatment. He was totally confined to his bed for about 10 months. Then he started taking steps with the aid of his walker, Shawkat Ali said. He added, “Before that, I had to take my meals on the bed, I had to go the bathroom on the bed. I am trying hard to mobilize myself again, but the progress is very slow. Now I am under the treatment of 3 physicians in Sylhet and in the capital, Ali said. Every day, I have to go to the physiotherapy center with the help of my walker and stick. Also I do physical exercises in the house under a physician's guidance.
“As of now, I have to spend at least 20 thousand taka every month towards treatment”, he informed. “I had to let go of the very favorite car of mine for meeting the treatment expenditures.” In addition, close relatives, well-wishers and others helped him in continuing his lengthy treatment, which is yet to end.
Shawkat Ali said that although operations have been done on his right arm, a finger remains ineffective. His whole body is in pain. “I have to wake up in the middle of the night. Ali says, I don't know how I'll go through the nights with my body feeling this way.”
(R) thedailystar.net 2007