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Police excesses

Edit Date:7/27/2010 12:00:00 AM

The Daily Star, Sunday, July 25, 2010, http://www.thedaily star.net/ newDesign/ news-details. php?nid=148039 Mrinmoyee Rahman, Chittagong “Suffocating” seems to me the right word to explain how we are here in Bangladesh now. Bangladesh an “Independent”, “Sovereign”, “Democratic” nation where everyone is supposed to have the free will to express their opinions, views and thoughts. However, the ground reality in the country now tells a totally different story. Mainly due to the fact that major international news agencies are maintaining a 'strategic' silence about the current Bangladeshi regime's human rights violations, people from outside of the country may not get the full picture of what is going on. We the insiders feel threatened to speak up! So the conscientious people of the world have few avenues to know about how we are in Bangladesh. One peaceful night in the first week of this month (July 2010), a relative of mine, sleeping in his house, suddenly wakes up by the banging of his door. A group of “policemen” (as they identified themselves) raided the house and wanted him to come out. His sisters managed to hide him out and asked them to break the door if they had proper search warrant. They didn't have any, and so they left. The police couldn't produce any allegation or warrant against him. Yet, they are in continuous search for him. He managed to escape, and still is not known how and where he has been living. His hand phone being switched off, even his family can't contact him. He is yet to know what he had done for which he has to face this. Another relative's neighbour lives in one of those modern apartments of today with high level security. Police came to their house one night in search for their third son who is known to be a Shibir leader. They couldn't find him, so called out his elder brother, telling him that they had to talk to him and assured that he won't be harmed. He came out in his sleeping dress and was caught in that state! Moreover, we hear he is being taken to remand (torture in police custody)! We all know what inhuman treatment they have to face in remand. Why? Conversely, we remain dumbfounded and speechless when we see that the Chhatra League (pro-government student organisation) leaders kill each other in broad daylight, move openly with arms around university campuses, threaten the lives of thousands of students. And yet they go unpunished and receive free licenses to kill and rape! Every night we sleep with the fear that police might pay a visit and arrest someone of the family. Yet, we can hardly talk about what is going on, as they might be “hearing”. We hardly talk over the phone. At home we hardly raise our voices. We hardly go out without compulsive reasons. And such political issues are totally "out of the subject"; if we discuss these, we know that we will have to suffer the consequences. Who knows, maybe I will be accused of writing this small piece! Nothing is impossible for “them” now. Yet it is “they” who talk about human rights, about democracy, about freedom, about peace and solidarity, and mostly, about INDEPENDENCE! Yet, we live, with prayers to Almighty, and hope that He is watching from above.

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