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The Sheikh Hasina administration had been doing everything possible to eliminate the name of Shaheed President Ziaur Rahman

Edit Date:7/22/2010 12:00:00 AM

 The Sheikh Hasina administration had been doing everything possible to eliminate the name of Shaheed President Ziaur Rahman, the valiant freedom fighter and the most successful Bangladesh president to date, from the country’s history. His only ‘crime’ was he had the ‘audacity’ to declare the independence of Bangladesh from the Chittagong Kalurghat Betar station on March 27, 1971 when political leaders failed to do so in time. The Awami League (AL) had to seek a verdict from a willing court to ‘punish’ Zia. One can fool one person all the time or some people sometime but not all people all the time. One cannot manufacture or dictate history; it will speak itself.

It looks like the public is paying the price for the ‘forced’ and ‘farcical’ elections on December 29, 2008 after which the AL led ‘mohajote’ was installed to power. Many nationalist observers and analysts have since been warning that Bangladesh would soon be sucked into the Indian hegemony, conforming to Nehru’s India Doctrine, which envisaged an Indian supremacy in South and Southeast Asia. The AL, its sponsored media and the pro-Indian lobbyists have engaged themselves in allaying such fears, some for protection of their crowns while others for cash rewards. National interests have hardly been of any concern to them.

These elements find Indian ‘great friendship’ in the stoppage of waters at Farrakha, Tipaimukh and many other similar deadly contraptions! So what if our 52 joint rivers dry out at time of need and people keep crying Allah Megh De, Pani De in desperation? (Please read the article “India’s Dream, Bangladesh’s Disaster” by John Vidal published in NFB on July 16, 2010.) They feel nothing wrong at the regular BSF target shootings at Bangladeshis across the border, nor the Indian farmers encroaching inside our land. They do not care if we lose the South Talpatti or our maritime outlet to the sea. They think Bangladesh is out for sale and can be leased out for money, so let India use our ports and land routes for whatever purpose. They do not reason why Asian Highway had to enter Bangladesh from one side of India and exit to India again, reducing Bangladesh to a hapless transit point only. We need no military control in tribal areas in Chittagong Hill Tracts, so that India-trained miscreants and secessionists can keep it continually unstable. It is of no consequence to them if Indian goods and culture flood Bangladesh markets, even though Bangladesh can not export their goods to India for various ‘legal’ and ‘procedural’ reasons. The Hasina administration seems to move along the blue-print it was charted as a condition of its installation to authority.

The nation could not yet know the real story behind the February 25/26 BDR carnage last year, the worst since March 25/26, 1971, even though multiple connections with ruling elites were revealed. Fifty-seven senior officers, including the Director General of BDR, were massacred and their bodies brutally mutilated. Ladies and adult girls were not spared of the savagery during that period hitherto unheard in Bangladesh. Nobody would ever know why dozens of material witnesses were eliminated in the name of ‘heart attacks’ or ‘suicides’ while in custody. Perhaps as follow up of a greater plan, some of the brightest officers of the military were systematically sacked or retired and replaced with awamized officers. Yet, Sheikh Hasina does not seem to have faith in her politicized military. Otherwise, why would she engage Indian commandoes for her security and safety, if rumors were to be believed!

General Moin driven Caretaker Government instituted thousands of cases of corruption, graft and murder against political leaders, mostly belonging to Awami League and BNP, including the two former lady prime ministers. People had seen and experienced the highhandedness of those leaders over the past few decades and had no doubt about the correctness of the charges. Yet we found them coming out of the jails as puritans, and today sitting in the august national parliament and cabinet deciding the fate of Bangladesh and its dismayed sufferers. What an irony! Upon saddling in power, the Awami League took quick steps to withdraw thousands of cases against its men, thanks to an awamized and ever willing judiciary. At the same time, cases against the opposition BNP members are being strengthened with new cases being filed almost daily, particularly against the Zia family members, again thanks to a henpecked and spineless Duduk!

The current suppression and oppression to dissenting media reminds us of Sheikh Mujib’s emergency period in 1974 when all but four government-controlled newspapers were closed. The way Daily Amar Desh and its editor Mahmudur Rahman was thrashed, defying even court orders, can only be possible in a mythical ‘Mogher Mulluk’.

Awami League should in fact be thankful to the opposition BNP for not calling for any Hartal over the past 18 months. It should recall when it was in opposition in 1991-1996 and 2001-2006, how many days did it allow the BNP to run without a Hartal? Yet, it went wild to note the success of Hartal on June 27, 2010 and sent out its official and unofficial enforcement machineries to create trouble. The result was the arrest and persecution of thousands of opposition leaders and workers. The Deputy Home Minister publicly said that the opposition leaders should now ‘save their skins.’ Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury, a disabled freedom fighter, the longest serving Foreign Secretary and an Ambassador to the US, was not spared of the harassment and continued to remain in custody.

Few disagree with a need of trial and punishment for the 1971 war criminals. In fact, the public in general and the freedom fighters in particular wonder why it had not taken place over the past 4 decades. However, that should not give a wholesale license to the AL to arrest, torture and harass the Islamic minded leaders on flimsy charges. Many observers suspect that it is in fact a deliberate effort by AL to keep a fictitious ‘Al-Quida/Taliban Connection’ alive in Bangladesh to solicit and maintain Indo-US-Israeli support. (Please read a letter by Shimul Chowdhury in NFB of July 16, 2010 titled “It is About Anything but the 1971 Liberation War.”)

Do all these mean that Sheikh Hasina is afraid of the BNP, the Jamaat-e-Islam and the legacy of Ziaur Rahman, or the public at large?


By Obaid Chowdhury, USA

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