[Published in News from Bangladesh on August 03, 2007]
Ripan Kumar Biswas, USA
Talking with journalists in his office on July 25, 2007, Communications Adviser to the present interim government of Bangladesh Major General (retd) MA Matin said that the government is adamant to impose a bar against extortionists to take part in the next elections.
In reply to a most important question in these days of why the leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami and other religious based political groups are not being arrested so far, Matin severalized that they mightn’t have any link with corruption as partners in the last BNP-led four-party alliance government.
But according to a Dhaka based English daily newspaper, most of the Jamaat leaders were closely involved with murder, looting, encroachment and embezzling of relief materials while its Ameer (party chief) and former industries minister Matiur Rahman Nizami is already accused in the August 21, 2004 grenade attack case and in the case of Paltan shooting on October 28, 2006.
Jamaat's secretary general and former social welfare minister Ali Ahsan Mujahid is accused in connection with a murder during a clash between 14-party coalition and Jamaat on October 28, 2006.
While Sheikh Hasina was not allowed to travel to the United States for being charged in an extortion case, Mujahid was easily allowed to travel to Turkey on June 16, 2006 whereas he is accused in connection of Tk 25 lakh extortion case filed by a Sylhet businessman on May 3, 2007. He is further in connected with the August 21, 2004 grenade attack case filed by Badar Aziz Uddin, a victim in that attack.
This is a very few according to the report while primary investigations into the allegations revealed numerous misdeeds of Jamaat leaders and leaders of various fundamentalist groups.
No doubt that extortion is a criminal offense, which occurs when a person either obtains money, property or services from another through coercion or intimidation or threatens one with physical or reputation harm unless they are paid money or property.
Arresting in connection with extortion case is meaningful in terms of sound administration, national integrity of work fluency and vibrant civil society.
But when a person or a group is involved against national, racial or religious groups to destroy their political and social institutions, culture, language, national feelings, religion, economic existence, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups, the national interest shouldn’t be here and there as that person or the group is not involved with extortion.
This type of groups or persons mightn’t be involved broadly with such criminal offense, but they are intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves.
The world has suffered much genocide in human history, but the worst genocide in the annals of history in 1971 was not simply possible by the state-sponsored Pakistani army. People of Bangladesh suffered such attempted extermination with the help of local allies.
In containing the freedom fighters of Bangladesh, the Pakistan government had raised paramilitary forces from the members of the student wing of the fundamentalist party Jamaat-e-Islami and the follower of ‘Moududi (a political leader Maulana Abul Ala Moududi)’ ideology with the designations of razakar, al-badr and al-shams. These forces joined the army in killing and terrorizing the people.
These collaborators of Pakistani army provided intelligence against the freedom fighter, the supporters and sympathizers of the war and abducted, arrested and eventually killed them with the help of the Pakistani army. To wipe out Bengali culture on the verge of defeat on December 14, 2007, Pakistan army unleashed them to exterminate Bengali intellectuals.
They became happy to burn the houses and loot the properties of Bangladeshis. In addition, they kidnapped thousands of Bangalee women and trafficked them to various Pakistani military camps. Around 450,000 Bangalee women were raped and molested.
Members of Razakar, Al-Badr and Al-Shams are leading now the various political parties like Jamaat-e-Islami, Islami oikko Jot, Khelafat-e-Majlish and many more while others live freely in foreign countries. They are capable to grab the seats of the Parliament of Bangladesh. None of these criminals have yet to face any trial for the crimes they committed in 1971.
To further consolidate their grip on the country, the defeated forces of the 1971 liberation war are now carrying out bomb attacks across Bangladesh. They don’t believe in democracy rather they use it as a way of surviving and being able to propagate their views, their end games are the destruction of democracy and the implantation of a totalitarian state based on Shariah law.
Before execution of convicted six terrorists including Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) supremo Shayek Abdur Rahman and Siddikul Islam alias Bangla Bhai for involvement in settings off bombs, people wanted to know who were the real puppet makers behind them whereas these convicted criminals tried to talk to the media and even send a statement to the press.
According to their indication, many leaders from various religious based political groups including Jamaat-e-Islami are actively involved in the religious movements and bombings in the country.
Due to interference by a former Jamaat-e-Islami lawmaker Abdul Khaleque of last 4-party alliance government, police couldn’t arrest listed militants of JMB in Sathkhira, Khulna. He even personally formed women JMB cadres and trained them at Chhoygharia Mahila Madrasha in Sathkhira, Khulna.
However, everyone hailed the present interim government and the judiciary department of Bangladesh to see the harshest punishments of former post and telecommunications minister of the immediate-past BNP government Barrister Aminul Haque and 24 others were sentenced to 31 and half years of a rigorous jail term for "patronizing Islamic militancy" in the country on July 26, 2007, but questions about the negative and the bad arise when there is a sign of propensity is clear to see.
Although three of the seventeen Jamaat lawmakers in the last parliament -- Syed Abdullah Mohammad Taher, Gazi Nazrul Islam, and Mizanur Rahman Chowdhury -- are already under arrest on numerous charges, but none of them or any other from any other fundamentalists groups have been charged either for aiding and abetting Islamic militants or the crimes they committed in 1971.
Giving punishment to any criminal is always praiseworthy, but ignoring the crimes like genocides and the movements against humanity that can make Bangladesh to be an orthodox Islamic republic, negating the concept of secular Bengali nationhood, which was the basis of the liberation war, are not good too.
Ripan Kumar Biswas is a freelance writer based in New York
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