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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bangladesh: Seminar held on "Land Rights of the Indigenous People of the Plain Land"

Source: The Dailystar
url: http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=107644
The government, if it deems necessary, will form a separate land commission to resolve the land-related problems of the indigenous people of plain lands, said Land Minister Rezaul Karim Hira yesterday.
Talking to journalists after attending a seminar on 'Land Rights of the Indigenous People of the Plain Land', he said the government is committed to resolving all the problems of the indigenous people but it would take time.
Commenting on the objections from different organisations about the land survey in the Chittagong Hill Tracts scheduled to start on October 15, the minister said they opposed it as it went against their interest.
The seminar organised by Karitas Mymensingh region was held at the Biam auditorium in the city.
Speakers at the seminar also demanded the government form a separate land commission to this end.
State Minister for Cultural Affairs Promod Mankin, who is also a member of the indigenous community in plain land, said land related problems cause the indigenous people suffer most.
"Proper investigations should be carried out to resolve the land related problems in the area and for that the government can form a separate land commission like the land commission in the Chittagong Hill Tracts area," he said.
Syeda Rizwana Hasan, director (programme) of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA), said the government should formulate Forest Right Act like India, which would ultimately help the indigenous people in establishing their land rights.
Shamsul Huda, executive director of ALRD, said the government should form separate laws for the indigenous people to establish their rights.
At the seminar, representatives of different indigenous communities of the plain land shared the problems they had been experiencing in their respective areas.
The seminar presided over by Dr Benedict Alo D Rojario, executive director of Karitas, was also addressed by Theofil Hajang, operations director of World Vision, Bangladesh National Office, and Prof Mesbah Kamal of Dhaka University.

Bangladesh: Christian murdered for a cellphone

Source: Sepro News
url: http://www.speroforum.com/site/article.asp?id=20480&t=Bangladesh%3A+Christian+murdered+for+a+cellphone

Swopon Mondol, a Baptist, died in hospital from serious injuries sustained during the beating -- police blame university students.

ByAsia News

Beaten by a group of young students from the University of Dhaka for an - alleged - theft of a mobile phone, he died after a few hours from serious injuries sustained during the beating. The victim is Swopon Mondol, a Christian from the Free Christian Baptist Churches of Bangladesh. His body was found the evening of 12 September on the university campus. Rushed to hospital, he died shortly after midnight on September 13, his wife, who rushed to his side, has been threatened by the attackers not to report the crime.
Police have opened an investigation into the matter and seem to have identified the culprits. Mohammed Wahid, a police officer from Sahabag station cites internal sources according to whom "a group of students from Mohasin Hall in Dhaka University, led by Mohammed Rajan" brutally tortured and killed the young Christian, husband and father of a child of 10.
"On 12 September - said Mohammed Wahid - around 8 o'clock in the evening I received a call from a source, who noted the presence of a man seriously injured near the park of Suhrawardi. When I saw the condition of man, I ordered his transfer to the Medical College in Dhaka, where his wife also arrived".
The officer (pictured) adds he knew the young man involved and does not believe the "thesis of the stolen phone". He confirms recent cases of "aggression from the University of Dhaka," perpetrated by "groups of violent students" who use "excuses" such as the theft of a phone "to harass innocent people." "He was a good and kind person - highlights Wahid - and he was killed in a brutal manner”.
"In the hospital - adds Lucky Modolo, wife of the victim Diptoo, and mother of a boy of 10 - some young people surrounded me, asking me for money as compensation for the theft of mobile phones. My husband was struggling between life and death, I felt hopeless. "
The woman admits to "being afraid" to ask for an investigation, "the fear of retaliation: they could also kill me”. Her thoughts now go to her young son and "how we are going to survive" because "my husband was the only one who earned money." Swopon Mondol was buried on 13 September; his sister Sulekha is "seeking justice" for the murder.
The Free Christian Churches of Bangladesh has 320 churches and more than 30 thousand faithful, and has been present in the country for more than 25 years. The movement has faced attacks during the second Gulf War and several times members have suffered persecution. "Swopon Mondol was a very active member of the church - emphasizes Baptist bishop Alberti P Mirdha - his death has shocked us. Minorities are not safe in Bangladesh. "

Reported by William Gomes.

Motive Sought for Slaying of Church Worker in Bangladesh

Source: Christian News Today
url:
http://www.christiannewstoday.com/Christian_News_Report_357.html

Police, wife doubt student attackers’ story of cell phone theft.

By Aenon Shalom

DHAKA, Bangladesh, Authorities are investigating possible motives for the vicious killing of a church worker by students at Dhaka University.
A management student at the university and his friends are accused of torturing and killing Swapan Mondol, 35, on Sept. 12 in Suhrawardy Park, adjacent to the university. Mondol, a convert from Hinduism, was supervisor of youth mission for Free Christian Church of Bangladesh (FCCB).
The primary suspect’s friends claim they came to his aid after Mondol stole his cell phone, a scenario that Mondol’s wife and police said they doubt. His wife, Lucky Mondol, told Compass that she does not know why they killed her husband.
“He was an evangelist and earned good amount of money from his job, so he could not snatch a mobile phone in the park,” she said.
She said that when she rushed to Dhaka Medical Hospital after learning of the attack, she found her husband’s body lying stiff on the floor with two holes in his head. His body was smeared with congealed blood. He had been wearing a gold ring and a neck chain of gold, but those items and his cell phone were missing, she said.
Police suspect Mohammed Rajon and his student friends of the killing and have confirmed reports of other cases of violence by student groups who cite cell phone theft as a pretext for attacking innocent people.
Local police inspector Rezaul Karim told Compass the killing was cloaked in mystery.
“Some students of Dhaka University killed Mondol on a charge of snatching a mobile phone,” Karim said. “The students said they caught him red-handed, so why didn’t they just hand him over to us? If he had snatched anything from them, we would have recovered it from him.”
Police will file a murder case, Karim said.
“What a killing frenzy it was,” he said. “Nobody has the right to kill anyone, whoever he is.”
Karim denied Bangladeshi newspaper reports claiming that he said Mondol and three accomplices tried to steal a cell phone from Rajon.
Calumnies
Almost all Bangladeshi media portrayed Mondol, who studied theology at the Christian Development Center in Dhaka and completed graduate work in theology in Bangalore, India, as a thief who worked among park prostitutes.
“I am so shocked by the media, which published vicious calumnies about him,” she said. “The media reports added fuel to the flames and indirectly supported the lynch mob.”
Some newspapers quoted her even though she never spoke to their reporters, she said.
“One top Bengali newspaper reported that my husband used to go everyday in the park, and that I told it to them,” she said. “It is a thumping lie. Around 15 to 20 days a month my husband used to officially visit various districts in the country for church work. How an innocent man died with scandal!”
FCCB Chairman Albert P. Mridha told Compass that Mondol, father of a 10-year-old child, was a loyal and sober church worker who worked for 14 years in nationwide ministry.
“We do not have any program from our church to work among the floating [park] sex workers,” Mridha said.
A week before his death, Mondol returned from a three-week trip to southern Bangladesh to oversee church activities, Mridha said. He had planned to preach at a revival meeting in northern Bangladesh.
“Most of the days of the month he used to spend on tour for church work,” Mridha said. “Sometimes he used to go to the Dhaka University area to see the cultural programs.”
Bangladeshi media also mistakenly identified Mondol as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) worker, to which Mridha also objected, saying a church employee is not an NGO worker.
“He was an honest and sincere worker in his duty,” said Mridha. “If 14 years of past experience is anything to go by, undoubtedly I can say that he was not engaged in theft. There was different kind of motive to kill him which we do not know. But killing him on suspicion of snatching was a pretext.”

==Provided by Compass Direct News==

Christian convert from Islam and family threatened with death: AsiaNews

Source: AsiaNews.It
url: http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=16456&geo=2&size=A


After Friday prayers a group of zealots attacked the house of William Gomes, a young Muslim who converted to Christianity and human rights activist. The police takes no steps to ensure his protection.


Dhaka (AsiaNews) - William Gomes, a Catholic convert from Islam, is in mortal danger. For the past several days he has been the target of Muslim extremists who want to kill him because of his new faith. On 25 September he had to flee his home to escape from a group of Islamic militants who wanted to kill him and his family (wife and child), setting fire to their house. After Friday prayers at a mosque nearby, a group of fanatics had asked the leaders of their mosque to decide on the fate of the young man and the penalty to be inflicted on him.



A freelance journalist and human rights activist, married to a Catholic and father of a child, Gomes had recently received threats, but on September 25, his accusers passed from words to deeds. Led by Nazmi Mohammed Uddin Titu, a local leader of the Chatra League movement of young Muslims, a group marched on the house of the young man accused of apostasy.

The human rights activist sought police protection, but officers of the Police Commission in Jatrabri limited themselves to filing his complaint. Gomes said that the officer on duty guaranteed police intervention only after the fact happened saying he was not surprised at the anger of Muslims over his conversion.

Already September 23 there had been warning signs. Mohammed Mijan Bandari, the local leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), had assaulted Gomes’ cousin, Mohammed Farouk, who with his wife went to visit his relative and family. The human rights activist intervened in defence of his cousin, with the help of his mother and father, only to receive death threats from Bandari and the Islamist group of a hundred people. The crowd only dispersed after the arrival of the police to calm tensions.

The human rights activist, whose reports have been published by AsiaNews, has received the solidarity of Buni Yani, his Muslim friend and professor of the faculty of science and politics at the Muhammadiyah University in Jakarta. Yani has appealed to the authorities of Bangladesh to ensure the safety of Gomes and his family.

Video Report: The hindhu minority in Bangladesh describing the forceful abduction story

Violence against women in Bangladesh continues unabated: Video Report

Warning: content of this video may not be suitable for some viewers, appropriate viewer discretion advised.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Video on Rape of Schoolgirl: Police raid on, bail prayers of 3 arrestees rejected

Source: The DailyStar
Police yesterday continued raiding video shops in Pirojpur, Bhandaria and other areas to seize CDs containing footage of rape of a schoolgirl by a local leader of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL).
They also produced the arrested three in the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate's Court at Pirojpur, seeking a five-day remand for them.
The arrestees are Suman Talukdar, son of Abdul Hye Talukdar and owner of Soukhin Audio-Video Corner at Gopal Krishna Town Club Market, Shahin Howladar, son of Jabbar Howladar of Khamkata and apprentice worker of Digital Mobile Servicing Centre on Pourasava Road, and Faisal Gazi, son of Siddik Gazi of Shikarpur and buyer of a CD.
The law enforcers arrested them on Monday on charge of trading in CDs containing footage of rape of the schoolgirl.
The court will hear the remand prayer today. It also rejected the bail prayers of the arrestees and sent them to jail.
Sub-Inspector Azim Howladar, also the investigation officer ( IO) of the case, said they sought remand for the three to know the whereabouts of rapist Ahsan Kabir Mamun alias Mamun Hawlader, information and research secretary of BCL district unit, and his close friend Monir Hossain alias 'Ganja' Monir who recorded the rape in his cellphone.
DB Sub-Inspector Sultan Ahmed on Monday filed a case with Pirojpur Sadar Police Station against the five on charges of rape, blackmail and distribution of obscene video footage in the market.
Asked about any possible move to net the rapist BCL leader, Pirojpur police said they would probe the matter and arrest everyone responsible for rape, record of the rape and trading of the CDs.
Md Shahidullah Chowdhury, superintendent of police, Pirojpur, told The Daily Star that they would continue their drive to seize the video footage from the market and arrest all culprits.

10 BCL ( Bangladesh Chhatra League) men rape girl

Source: The Daily star

Ten activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) allegedly gang-raped a teenage girl Friday night and were later handed down mere punishment at village arbitration arranged to ensure their escape by local Awami League leaders.
Family sources say the AL leaders compelled the victim's father not to go for legal action and also took their signatures on three blank sheets to stop any future move to that end.
Police also released two of the accused held on the spot while handing the victim over to her father early Saturday morning.
A band of 16 youths kidnapped the girl, a class VII student of Pakhimara in Kalapara upazila, Friday night when she was returning home on a rickshaw from a Puja mandap with her cousin Nasir Uddin.
The BCL men beat up Nasir, drove him away and took the girl to a nearby garden. Ten of them raped the girl until her relatives with police rushed to the scene to rescue her around 2:00am.
Sub-inspector Kabir Hossain of Kalapara police station held two of the culprits -- Rajib and Sohag -- from the spot but freed them later after handing over the girl to her family.
Later on Sunday, local AL leaders including Kalapara upazila unit Secretary Rakibul Ahsan and Upazila Parishad Vice-Chairman Sultan Mahmud arranged the arbitration at Kalapara Girls' School in the evening.
The village arbitration in a farcical judgement fined all the 16 Tk 10,000 each and that they all be whipped 100 times each.
But four days into the grisly incident the victim's father, a poor farmer, still does not dare to file a case.
He said, "Rakibul (AL leader) and his men took signatures of me and my daughter on three blank sheets asking us not to seek justice anywhere else."
Rakibul Ahsan denied the allegation. He claims, "The youths did not rape the girl, they just made an attempt. We punished them so that they don't indulge into such activities in future."
The Kalapara AL leader also denied their political identity as BCL activists dubbing them as "spoilt brats".
Contacted, Kalapara police Officer-in-Charge (OC) Ishaq Ali said they released Rajib and Sohag as the victim's father did not file any complaint.
He says he does not know anything about the village arbitration, adding the police would not file any case of their own and "take legal steps if any complaint is filed".
The gang members were identified as Rajib, Rubel, Ratul, Pobitra, Mojibur, Omer, Rana, Sohel, Regan, Lalu, Jewel, Sohag, Bappi of Nayapara, Saiful and Munim of Madrasa Road in Kalapara upazila town and Al-Amin of Dhankhali.

Hindu devotees clash in Bangladesh: 1 killed, 10 hurt

Source: The Daily star

A Swechchhasebok League leader was killed and 10 others were injured in a clash between two groups of Hindu devotees at Shyambazar in Sutrapur area in the capital yesterday.
Both the groups alleged the clash erupted over taking control of 32 kathas of land on RM Das Lane at Bhushipatti in Sutrapur.
Goutam Sarker, 34, Swechchhasebok League president of Ward No 79, succumbed to bullet injuries at a private clinic two hours after a stray bullet hit him. The source of the bullet remains unknown.
Among the injured, Pankaj, 24, was also hit by bullet.
Officer-in-Charge Tofazzal Hossain of Sutrapur police station said the clash ensued when both groups -- one from Bhushipatti and the other from Pachbari -- reached Shyampur and attacked wish chapati and stick while heading to Farashganj Ghat of Buriganga river around at 12:45am for idol immersion.
Police fired two blank shots to disperse the devotees.
“It is a planned killing and my brother was a victim of the conspiracy,” claimed Gyan Sarker, younger brother of Goutam.
“Several Hindu families have been occupying the land for years. The killing was carried out in a way so that encroachers can occupy the land taking advantage of the clash,” said Sayeed Miah, 79 No Ward Commissioner who also owns the land.
Earlier on September 11, local hoodlums allegedly vandalised idols of a temple located on the disputed property and also fired several gunshots.
Chanchal Roy, general secretary of the temple committee, said, “We have been residing on this land for generations but we do not have any documents.”
"Some local leaders prepared fake ownership documents of the land and obtained a court order in their favour," he added.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Crime problem weighs on Bangladesh government

Source: The Washington Post
url: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/26/AR2009092600332.html

DHAKA (Reuters) - Is crime on the rise in Bangladesh since a democratic government took charge eight months ago, after two years under a military-backed interim authority?
Holding the line on violent crime is important to attract aid and investment to the impoverished South Asian country of nearly 150 million, which has a history marred by frequent violence.
"The government must act immediately before rising crime becomes a pattern and maligns the image of the country," Asif Nazrul, an analyst and Dhaka University law teacher, told Reuters.
Hardly a day passes without Bangladesh newspapers carrying photos of murder victims' corpses lying in hospitals, on the street or in rural fields.
Some were killed in notorious "cross fire" between criminals and law enforcement agents -- regular police and the elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) akin to other countries' SWAT teams.
A statutory government statement accompanies such death reports, saying the casualties occurred as the criminals opened fire at law officers pursuing them, usually at night.
"They (police or RAB) fired back in self-defense, resulting in fatalities," the statement says. Often there are casualties on the security force side too.
Opposition political parties say the cross-fire deaths are linked to graft, as corrupt ruling party officials and bureaucrats try to eliminate rivals and help steer government contracts and related kickbacks to friends and themselves.
Human rights groups meanwhile criticize the killings as effectively "extra-judicial" means of trying to enforce order, and have urged the authorities to crack down on the practice.
The government denies such accusations.
"No one has been killed by law enforcers deliberately or (is) being tasked by the government" to do extra-judicial killings, Home Minister Sahara Khatun said recently.
Being a law-enforcement agent does not mean one cannot shoot back in self defense when under fire, she added.
GETTING BETTER?
Sahara also told parliament the "law and order situation did not deteriorate, rather improved since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took the reins."
Hasina assumed office in January after winning what most independent observers considered a clean election.
She vowed to tackle problems ranging from poverty to crime, to ensure a modicum of stability and attract aid and investment that would lift the standard of living in a country were roughly 40 percent of the population earn less than $1 a day.
But the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) of ex-prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia says the government is ineffective generally on law and order.
"Killing, rape, robbery ... are on the rise due to slackened administration," Khondaker Delwar Hossain, secretary-general of the BNP, told reporters.
Even while saying the overall crime rate was falling, Hasina's Home Minister Sahara also told parliament: "Some 10 people were killed on average each day" over the first eight months of the year.
Police say more than 200 people were killed in the capital alone from January through August, among a national total of 2,836. They said 4,099 and 3,691 people were killed in 2008 and 2007 respectively under the army-backed interim regime, and some 4,166 people murdered in 2006 when Khaleda was in power.
If the trend of the first eight months continues, the total in Hasina's first year would be marginally higher.
A senior police officer who did not want to be named told Reuters: "Criminals backed by different political parties have flooded back into the capital Dhaka and other cities since the change of guard."
A senior home ministry official said those behind the problems include: "seasoned criminals, killers for hire, frustrated sons of the rich, drug addicts as well as political activists."
Independent observers say students from Hasina's Awami League and Khaleda's BNP flex muscles or use guns to extort money, steal documents to help favored businessmen, and take mob action to control streets or university dormitories.
"Government efforts to curb crime are failing, because certain people with political backgrounds are patronizing crime gangs for unlawful benefits," retired Brigadier-General Shahedul Anam Khan, an independent political analyst, told Reuters.
(Writing by Anis Ahmed; Editing by Jerry Norton)

Security forces dismantle Islamic militant camp in Bangladesh, arrest five

Source: Gulfnews.com
url: http://www.gulfnews.com/world/Bangladesh/10352712.html
By Anisur Rahman, Correspondent

Dhaka: Security forces on Saturday arrested five leaders of the Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and dismantled a camp of the outlawed group in the rugged southeastern hills under a revamped campaign against militant outfits, officials said yesterday.
"Three 'ehsar' members [second-rung leaders] were arrested during the raid at their hideout at Matiranga area of Khagrachhari [hill district] last night while the two others were captured from elsewhere in subsequent raids overnight," a spokesman of the elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) told Gulf News.
Major Shakhawat Hussain, however, did not provide details about the raid.
Prime Minister Shaikh Hasina's eight-month-old government had last month constituted a high-powered national committee to coordinate intelligence activities against militant groups.

Bangladesh's chain of corruption undermine victim's rights to Justice

Source: UPI.com
By Rater Zonaki
Column: Humanity or Humor?
url: http://www.upiasia.com/Human_Rights/2009/09/22/bangladeshs_chain_of_corruption/2430/

Bangladesh's law-enforcement agencies claim that they have a strong chain of command to maintain law and order in the country. Likewise policymakers and politicians, who are close to the center of power, claim that they are dedicated to the great cause of upholding the rule of law in the country.
However, the opposition – regardless who they are – always criticize the rulers for destroying the concept of the rule of law. And "chain of command" in the law-enforcement agencies exists only in the imaginations of its officers, along with the illusion of rule of law.
A girl we will call Chobi – not her real name – was raped by a man named Sohel in Chhetra village in Kishorganj district on June 13. The rape victim reportedly went to the Nikli police station to register a complaint against the rapist.
The police refused to record the case, as the alleged accused was the son of an influential person in the locality, and had already bribed the police before the victim approached them.
Chobi had to go to the Special Tribunal on Women and Children Repression Prevention of Kishorganj district in order to register her case. The tribunal judge ordered the same police station to record the complaint as a first information report. Then the complaint was recorded with the police.
Police Sub-Inspector Shashank Kumar Sarkar was assigned to investigate the case. A medical report from public hospital doctors who had examined her asserted that Chobi had been raped – a strong starting point for the prosecution.
Chobi’s family was hopeful that the legal process would lead to justice – but they were about to experience a different reality.
The investigating officer demanded 30,000 takas (US$436) as a bribe in order to submit a rape charge against the accused – despite the fact that all evidence, including witness statements and the medical examination report, supported the complaint of rape.
Chobi's poor family, which had already spent a sum beyond their capacity to bring the case this far, was unable to pay the demanded bribe. The family managed to pay 6,000 takas (US$87) and give fish worth 1,000 takas to Shashank. This means that the investigating officer received bribes in cash and in kind for investigating a rape case.
The police officer insisted that the family pay the remainder of the bribe. When they could not do so, Shashank took his revenge by accepting a bribe from the accused instead. He then submitted a report to the court stating that the claim of rape was false.
Chobi, a victim of rape, now has no hope of justice unless the court orders another agency or a judicial officer to reinvestigate the complaint. Yet no one can predict the outcome of another investigation.
Chobi told her story on Sept. 15 at a press conference, where she handed out a written statement to reporters. She also applied to the district superintendent of police, seeking his intervention. The assistant superintendent of police at another police station was asked to inquire into the matter.
However, it is hardly believable that the authorities will take action against the Nikli police or Sub-Inspector Shashank. This is because Bangladesh's whole law-enforcement system follows a chain of corruption rather than a chain of command.
For example, Police Inspector Hashem Ali Khan, who detained human rights defenders in a fabricated kidnapping case at the Paikgachha police station in Khulna, a southwestern district, told the detainees that he had to pay his superior officers when he brought in detainees for a five-day stay. He said he needed money for fuel and other things. He also warned them that they would be tortured if they didn’t pay the bribe he demanded.
A number of police departments and the Ministry of Home Affairs inquired into this matter, which took place in November, 2008. Yet it yielded nothing – inspector Hashem Ali Khan has been enjoying his policing elsewhere.
Due to intervention by the Asian Human Rights Commission, a Hong Kong-based rights watchdog, the Khulna district police authority inquired into a complaint against Sub-Inspector Ayub Ali of the Paikgachha police station.
On June 13 Ayub Ali visited the house of Shahidul Islam, who had been held on fabricated charges and tortured while in detention for four days without any official record or lawful grounds.
The police officer told Shahidul's mother, "Do you know what will happen to me and you now? I will have to pay to settle the matter and I might be transferred. But the police will be here forever, and I will arrange for your son and his advisers to languish in jail for years."
These threatening words carry the truth that any police officer who is accused of violating the law of the land can walk free by bribing his superior authorities. In reality, Ayub was transferred to Kustia district without facing criminal prosecution or departmental action after an inquiry was conducted.
It is an open secret in Bangladesh that police officers consider a particular jurisdiction a good place to work if more crimes take place there. More crimes bring more bribes. Officers must pay bribes in order to be posted to those "good places," the amount determined by the rank of the job-seeker and the possibilities of income from the targeted posting.
The recipients of bribes also include bureaucrats in the ministries, parliamentarians of the concerned constituencies and influential local politicians. Thus a chain of corruption is established from the top to the bottom of society.
The ordinary poor are compelled to pay bribes far beyond their capacity, up to all their assets, while those in power enjoy the taste of corruption and make the country a heaven of bribery.
The Bangladeshi policymakers should accept this article as an open challenge to prove these stories untrue. There are thousands of similar stories across the country. The authorities can win this challenge only if they acknowledge this deep national problem and reform this system and chain of corruption.
--
(Rater Zonaki is the pseudonym of a human rights defender based in Hong Kong, working at the Asian Human Rights Commission. He is a Bangladeshi national who has worked as a journalist and human rights activist in his country for more than a decade, and as editor of publications on human rights and socio-cultural issues.)

Rapist goes into hiding, Video stores raided, three held at Pirojpur, Bangladesh

Source: The Daily star
Url: http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=107497
Police yesterday raided video stores in Pirojpur and arrested three on charge of trading in CDs containing footage of rape of a schoolgirl by a local leader of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL).
The law enforcers filed a case against the three and an unspecified number of accused on charges of rape, blackmail and distribution of obscene video footage in the market, said Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Pirojpur sadar police Mir Fashiar Rahman.
The police also visited the family of the victim and assured them of all legal aid and security.
The move came after The Daily Star reported Monday on the rape and taking footage of the scene by Ahsan Kabir Mamun alias Mamun Hawlader, information and research secretary of district unit BCL, student front of ruling Awami League.
The arrestees are Suman Talukdar, son of Abdul Hye Talukdar and owner of Soukhin Audio-Video Corner at Gopal Krishna Town Club Market, Shahin Howladar, son of Jabbar Howladar of Khamkata and apprentice worker of Digital Mobile Servicing Centre on Pourashava Road, and Faisal Gazi, son of Siddik Gazi of Shikarpur and buyer of a CD.
The police say they detected the video store after interrogating buyer Faisal Gazi yesterday morning and arrested the two others and seized some CDs.
Asked about any possible move to net the rapist BCL leader, Pirojpur police say they would probe the matter and arrest everyone responsible for rape, record of the rape and trading of the CDs.
Md Shahidullah Chowdhury, superintendent of police, Pirojpur, told The Daily Star they would continue their drive to seize the video footage from the market and arrest all culprits.
The law enforcers also visited the family of the victim and assured them all sorts of legal cooperation, safety and security, Chowdhury added.
A similar incident took place in Faridpur where a girl was gang-raped and the video was released in the market. Since July Faridpur police could not arrest anyone in this regard.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

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AZ¨š— Avkve¨ÄK welq †h, weMZ wbe©vP‡b AvIqvgxjx‡Mi wbe©vPbx Bk‡Znv‡i ¯úófv‡e A½xKvi Kiv n‡q‡Q †h- Òcve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg kvwš—Pzw³ m¤ú~Y©fv‡e ev¯—evqb Kiv n‡e| AbMÖmi AÂjmg~‡ni Dbœq‡b ewa©Z D‡`¨vM, ¶z`ª RvwZ‡Mvôx, Avw`evmx I Ab¨vb¨ m¤cÖ`v‡qi AwaKv‡ii ¯^xK…wZ Ges Zv‡`i fvlv, mvwnZ¨, ms¯‹…wZ I Rxebavivi ¯^vZš¿¨ msi¶Y I Zv‡`i mylg Dbœq‡bi Rb¨ AMÖvwaKvi wfwËK Kg©m~wP MÖnY I ev¯—evqb Kiv n‡e|Ó eZ©gvb miKv‡ii wbe©vPbx A½xKvi †gvZv‡eK cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg Pzw³ m¤ú~Y©fv‡e ev¯—evq‡bi Ask wn‡m‡e cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg f~wg we‡iva wb®úwËi j‡¶¨ miKvi 19 RyjvB 2009 cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg f~wg we‡iva wb®úwË Kwgk‡bi †Pqvig¨vb wn‡m‡e AemicÖvß wePvicwZ Lv‡`gyj Bmjvg †PŠayix‡K wb‡qvM cÖ`vb K‡i‡Q|

Avcwb wbðq AeMZ Av‡Qb †h, cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg f~wg we‡iva wb®úwË Kwgk‡bi †Pqvig¨vb wn‡m‡e wb‡qvM jv‡fi ci AemicÖvß wePvicwZ Lv‡`gyj Bmjvg †PŠayix g‡nv`q GL‡bv f~wg Kwgkb m`m¨‡`i wb‡q AvbyôvwbK mfv AvnŸvb K‡ibwb| c¶vš—‡i f~wg Kwgk‡bi †Kvb AvbyôvwbK mfvi Av‡qvRb bv K‡i wZwb cve©Z¨ PÆMÖv‡gi wZb †Rjvq mdi K‡i Kwgk‡bi †Kvb wm×vš— QvovB f~wg Rwi‡ci †NvlYv w`‡q P‡j‡Qb|

D‡j­L¨ †h, f~wg we‡iva wb®úwË Kwgk‡bi gvbbxq †Pqvig¨vb g‡nv`q cÖ_‡g MZ 3-5 AvMó 2009 wZb cve©Z¨ †Rjv mdi K‡ib Ges wewaewnf©~Zfv‡e ‡Rjv cÖkvmK‡`i gva¨‡g wPwV †cÖiY K‡i gZwewbgq mfvq wgwjZ nb| mdiKv‡j Kwgk‡bi †Kvb wm×vš— QvovB GKZidvfv‡e wZwb cve©Z¨ PÆMÖv‡g f~wg Rwi‡ci †NvlYv †`b| Gic‡i 7-8 †m‡Þ¤^i wZwb AveviI h_vµ‡g iv½vgvwU I LvMovQwo mdi K‡ib Ges LvMovQwo †Rjv cÖkvmK‡K Kwgk‡bi mwPe wn‡m‡e `vwqZ¡ Ac©Y K‡i Zuvi gva¨‡g GKw`‡bi †bvwU‡k AvûZ ‡hŠ_ mfvq wZwb gZwewbgq K‡ib| f~wg Kwgk‡bi †Kvb AvbyôvwbK mfvi Av‡qvRb bv K‡i Kg©KZ©v‡`i wb‡q AbywôZ D³ mfvq AvMvgx 15 w`‡bi g‡a¨ f~wg Rwi‡ci cš’v-c×wZ wVK Kiv n‡e Ges 15 A‡±vei 2009 †_‡K ïi“ K‡i AvMvgx eQ‡ii 15 gvP© 2010 Gi g‡a¨ f~wg Rwic m¤úbœ Kiv n‡e e‡j wZwb †NvlYv †`b (`¨ †WBjx óvi, 9 †m‡Þ¤^i 2009)|

Avcwb wbðq Rv‡bb †h, cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg Pzw³i ÔNÕ L‡Ûi 2bs avivq D‡j­L i‡q‡Q †h- ÒmiKvi I RbmsnwZ mwgwZi g‡a¨ Pzw³ ¯^v¶i I ev¯—evqb Ges DcRvZxq kiYv_x© I Avf¨š—ixY DcRvZxq DØv¯‘‡`i cybe©vm‡bi ci miKvi GB Pzw³ Abyhvqx MwVZe¨ AvÂwjK cwil‡`i mv‡_ Av‡jvPbvµ‡g h_vkxNÖ cve©Z¨ PÆMÖv‡g f~wg Rwic KvR ïi“ Ges h_vh_ hvPvB‡qi gva¨‡g RvqMv-Rwg msµvš— we‡iva wb®úwË KiZt DcRvZxq RbM‡Yi f~wg gvwjKvbv Pzovš— Kwiqv Zvnv‡`i f~wg †iKW©f~³ I f~wgi AwaKvi wbwðZ Kwi‡eb|Ó

myZivs cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg Pzw³ †gvZv‡eK ‡hLv‡b GL‡bv cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg Pzw³ ev¯—evwqZ nqwb, Avf¨š—ixY cvnvox DØv¯‘‡`i GL‡bv cybe©vmb Kiv nqwb, fviZ cÖZ¨vMZ cvnvox kiYvax©‡`i AwaKvskB GL‡bv wbR RvqMv-Rwg †dir cvqwb, m‡e©vcwi GL‡bv f~wg we‡iva wb®úwË Kiv nqwb, †mLv‡b f~wg Kwgk‡bi gvbbxq †Pqvig¨vb g‡nv`q †Kvb D‡Ï‡k¨ GKZidvfv‡e f~wg Rwi‡ci KvR ïi“ Ki‡Z hv‡”Q Zv ¯úó bq| f~wg Kwgk‡bi †Pqvig¨vb g‡nv`‡qi GB †NvlYv cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg Pzw³ cwicš’x I c×wZ-ewnf~©Z e‡j cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg RbmsnwZ mwgwZ g‡b K‡i|

cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg f~wg we‡iva wb®úwË Kwgk‡bi g~j KvR n‡jv cve©Z¨ PÆMÖv‡gi f~wg we‡iva wb®úwË Kiv| cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg f~wg Rwi‡ci (K¨v‡W‡óªj mv‡f©) KvR GB Kwgk‡bi GLwZqvify³ n‡Z cv‡i bv| Kwgkb f~wg we‡iva wb®úwË Ki‡Z wM‡q †KejgvÎ †¶Î we‡k‡l †h †Kvb miKvix ev mswewae× ms¯’vi KZ…©c¶‡K cÖ‡qvRbxq Z_¨, DcvË ev KvMRcÎ mieiv‡ni Ges cÖ‡qvR‡bi D³ KZ…©c‡¶i †h †Kvb Kg©KZ©v‡K ¯’vbxq Z`š—, cwi`k©b ev Rwi‡ci wfwˇZ cÖwZ‡e`b `vwL‡ji wb‡`©k w`‡Z cv‡i [Kwgk‡bi AvB‡bi 6(3) aviv]|

cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg Pzw³ †gvZv‡eK Av‡M f~wg we‡iva wb®úwË bv K‡i Ges Avf¨š—ixY cvnvox DØv¯‘‡`i cybe©vmb I cÖZ¨vMZ cvnvox kiYv_x©‡`i Zv‡`i Rwg cÖZ¨c©b bv K‡i, m‡e©vcwi cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg Pzw³ †gvZv‡eK RvqMv-Rwg msµvš— we‡iva wb®úwË I f~wg gvwjKvbv Pzovš—Ki‡Yi gva¨‡g cvnvox RbM‡Yi f~wg †iKW©f~³ I f~wgi AwaKvi wbwðZ bv K‡i wKfv‡e f~wg Rwi‡ci gva¨‡g f~wg gvwjKvbv wVK Kiv n‡e Zv †evaMg¨ bq| cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg Pzw³ cwicš’x D‡`¨v‡Mi d‡j G‡Z cve©Z¨ PÆMÖv‡gi f~wg we‡iv‡ai †¶‡Î Av‡iv GKwU RwUj mgm¨vi Rb¥ †`‡e Zv‡Z †Kvb m‡›`n ‡bB|

cve©Z¨ PÆMÖv‡gi f~wg we‡iva wb®úwËi j‡¶¨ Avï Ri“ix welq n‡”Q 2001 mv‡j cÖYxZ cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg f~wg we‡iva wb®úwË Kwgkb AvBb cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg Pzw³ †gvZv‡eK ms‡kvab Kiv| Avcwb wbðq Rv‡bb †h, cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg AvÂwjK cwil‡`i mv‡_ †Kvbiƒc Av‡jvPbv QvovB cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg f~wg we‡iva wb®úwË Kwgkb AvBb 2001 RvZxq msm‡` cvk Kiv nq| D³ AvB‡b cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg Pzw³i mv‡_ we‡ivavZ¥K 19wU welq i‡q‡Q|

f~wg we‡iva wb®úwË Kwgkb AvB‡bi we‡ivavZ¥K aviv ms‡kva‡bi Rb¨ 2001 mv‡j cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg AvÂwjK cwil` n‡Z 19 `dv m¤^wjZ mycvwikgvjv miKv‡ii wbKU †ck Kiv nq| D³ mycvwikgvjv AvBb gš¿Yvjq KZ…©K 2002 mv‡j cÖ‡qvRbxq †fwUs n‡q hvevi ci gvbbxq cÖavbgš¿xi wbKU †cÖwiZ nq| ZvB cve©Z¨ PÆMÖv‡gi f~wg we‡iva wb®úvwËi KvR `ª“Z ïi“ Kivi j‡¶¨ cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg AvÂwjK cwil‡`i mycvwikg~‡j cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg we‡iva wb®úwË Kwgkb AvBb 2001 RvZxq msm‡`i PjwZ Awa‡ek‡b ms‡kva‡bi Rb¨ Ri“ix D‡`¨vM †bqv `iKvi e‡j cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg RbmsnwZ mwgwZ g‡b K‡i|

Avcwb wbðq Rv‡bb †h, cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg f~wg we‡iva wb®úwË Kwgk‡bi wewagvjv GL‡bv cÖYxZ nqwb| cÖ‡qvRbxq Rbej I cwim¤ú` m¤^wjZ Kwgk‡bi Kvh©vjq ¯’vwcZ nqwb| 2006 mv‡j Kwgk‡bi Kg©Pvix wb‡qv‡Mi Rb¨ wb‡qvM weÁwß †`qv n‡jI Zv cieZx©‡Z evwZj Kiv nq| Kwgk‡bi Kg©KZ©v-Kg©Pvix wb‡qvM, cwim¤ú` eivÏ Ges Kwgk‡bi Rb¨ Kvh©vjq ¯’vcb Kiv BZ¨vw` welq GL‡bv Aev¯—evwqZ i‡q †M‡Q| ZvB cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg f~wg we‡iva wb®úwËK‡í Kwgk‡bi Kvh©vjq kw³kvjxKi‡Yi j‡¶¨ Kwgk‡bi Kg©KZ©v-Kg©Pvix wb‡qvM, cwim¤ú` eivÏ Ges Kvh©vjq ¯’vcb Kiv Avï Ri“ix e‡j cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg RbmsnwZ mwgwZ g‡b K‡i|

GgZve¯’vq cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg f~wg we‡iva wb®úwËi j‡¶¨ Ri“ix wfwˇZ wb‡gœv³ welqmg~n ev¯—evq‡bi Rb¨ Avcbvi m`q `„wó AvKl©Y Kiv †Mj-

    1. cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg f~wg we‡iva wb®úwË Kwgk‡bi gvbbxq †Pqvig¨vb KZ…©K †NvwlZ f~wg Rwicmn 8 †m‡Þ¤^i 2009 Zvwi‡L M„nxZ Ab¨vb¨ wm×vš—vejx Awej‡¤^ evwZj Kiv|
    2. cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg AvÂwjK cwil‡`i cÖ¯—ve Abymv‡i cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg f~wg we‡iva wb®úwË Kwgkb AvBb 2001 RvZxq msm‡`i PwjZ Awa‡ek‡b Ri“ix wfwˇZ ms‡kvab Kiv|
    3. cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg f~wg we‡iva wb®úwË Kwgk‡bi Kvh©vjq ¯’vc‡bi Rb¨ AwP‡iB Kwgk‡bi mwPemn cÖ‡qvRbxq Kg©KZ©v-Kg©Pvix wb‡qvM cÖ`vb Kiv Ges cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg Pzw³ †gvZv‡eK cvnvox‡`i AMÖvwaKvi cÖ`vb K‡i cve©Z¨ PÆMÖv‡gi ¯’vqx evwm›`vi ga¨ ‡_‡K Gme Kg©KZ©v-Kg©Pvix wb‡qvM`vb Kiv|
    4. f~wg Kwgk‡bi Kvh©vjq kw³kvjx I mwµq Kivi Rb¨ ¯^Zš¿fv‡e cÖ‡qvRbgZ cwim¤ú` I A_© eivÏ Kiv|
    5. wewaMZfv‡e cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg f~wg we‡iva wb®úwË Kwgk‡bi AvbyôvwbK mfv AvnŸvb Kiv|



                  (cÖYwZ weKvk PvKgv)

                  fvicÖvß mvaviY m¤úv`K

                  cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg RbmsnwZ mwgwZ

PCJSS memorandum to Land Minister (Govt. of Bangladesh)

Source: PCJSS


gvbbxq gš¿x

f~wg welqK gš¿Yvjq

MYcÖRvZš¿x evsjv‡`k miKvi

evsjv‡`k mwPevjq, XvKv|

welq t cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg f~wg we‡iva wb®úwË Kwgkb Kvh©Ki Kiv I cve©Z¨ PÆMÖv‡g f~wg Rwic cÖm‡½|

g‡nv`q,

cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg RbmsnwZ mwgwZi c¶ †_‡K Avš—wiK ï‡f”Qv MÖnY Ki‡eb|

AZ¨š— Avkve¨ÄK welq †h, weMZ wbe©vP‡b AvIqvgxjx‡Mi wbe©vPbx Bk‡Znv‡i ¯úófv‡e A½xKvi Kiv n‡q‡Q †h- Òcve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg kvwš—Pzw³ m¤ú~Y©fv‡e ev¯—evqb Kiv n‡e| AbMÖmi AÂjmg~‡ni Dbœq‡b ewa©Z D‡`¨vM, ¶z`ª RvwZ‡Mvôx, Avw`evmx I Ab¨vb¨ m¤cÖ`v‡qi AwaKv‡ii ¯^xK…wZ Ges Zv‡`i fvlv, mvwnZ¨, ms¯‹…wZ I Rxebavivi ¯^vZš¿¨ msi¶Y I Zv‡`i mylg Dbœq‡bi Rb¨ AMÖvwaKvi wfwËK Kg©m~wP MÖnY I ev¯—evqb Kiv n‡e|Ó eZ©gvb miKv‡ii wbe©vPbx A½xKvi †gvZv‡eK cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg Pzw³ m¤ú~Y©fv‡e ev¯—evq‡bi Ask wn‡m‡e cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg f~wg we‡iva wb®úwËi j‡¶¨ miKvi 19 RyjvB 2009 cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg f~wg we‡iva wb®úwË Kwgk‡bi †Pqvig¨vb wn‡m‡e AemicÖvß wePvicwZ Lv‡`gyj Bmjvg †PŠayix‡K wb‡qvM cÖ`vb K‡i‡Q|

Avcwb wbðq AeMZ Av‡Qb †h, cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg f~wg we‡iva wb®úwË Kwgk‡bi †Pqvig¨vb wn‡m‡e wb‡qvM jv‡fi ci AemicÖvß wePvicwZ Lv‡`gyj Bmjvg †PŠayix g‡nv`q GL‡bv f~wg Kwgkb m`m¨‡`i wb‡q AvbyôvwbK mfv AvnŸvb K‡ibwb| c¶vš—‡i f~wg Kwgk‡bi †Kvb AvbyôvwbK mfvi Av‡qvRb bv K‡i wZwb cve©Z¨ PÆMÖv‡gi wZb †Rjvq mdi K‡i Kwgk‡bi †Kvb wm×vš— QvovB f~wg Rwi‡ci †NvlYv w`‡q P‡j‡Qb|

D‡j­L¨ †h, f~wg we‡iva wb®úwË Kwgk‡bi gvbbxq †Pqvig¨vb g‡nv`q cÖ_‡g MZ 3-5 AvMó 2009 wZb cve©Z¨ †Rjv mdi K‡ib Ges wewaewnf©~Zfv‡e ‡Rjv cÖkvmK‡`i gva¨‡g wPwV †cÖiY K‡i gZwewbgq mfvq wgwjZ nb| mdiKv‡j Kwgk‡bi †Kvb wm×vš— QvovB GKZidvfv‡e wZwb cve©Z¨ PÆMÖv‡g f~wg Rwi‡ci †NvlYv †`b| Gic‡i 7-8 †m‡Þ¤^i wZwb AveviI h_vµ‡g iv½vgvwU I LvMovQwo mdi K‡ib Ges LvMovQwo †Rjv cÖkvmK‡K Kwgk‡bi mwPe wn‡m‡e `vwqZ¡ Ac©Y K‡i Zuvi gva¨‡g GKw`‡bi †bvwU‡k AvûZ ‡hŠ_ mfvq wZwb gZwewbgq K‡ib| f~wg Kwgk‡bi †Kvb AvbyôvwbK mfvi Av‡qvRb bv K‡i Kg©KZ©v‡`i wb‡q AbywôZ D³ mfvq AvMvgx 15 w`‡bi g‡a¨ f~wg Rwi‡ci cš’v-c×wZ wVK Kiv n‡e Ges 15 A‡±vei 2009 †_‡K ïi“ K‡i AvMvgx eQ‡ii 15 gvP© 2010 Gi g‡a¨ f~wg Rwic m¤úbœ Kiv n‡e e‡j wZwb †NvlYv †`b (`¨ †WBjx óvi, 9 †m‡Þ¤^i 2009)|

Avcwb wbðq Rv‡bb †h, cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg Pzw³i ÔNÕ L‡Ûi 2bs avivq D‡j­L i‡q‡Q †h- ÒmiKvi I RbmsnwZ mwgwZi g‡a¨ Pzw³ ¯^v¶i I ev¯—evqb Ges DcRvZxq kiYv_x© I Avf¨š—ixY DcRvZxq DØv¯‘‡`i cybe©vm‡bi ci miKvi GB Pzw³ Abyhvqx MwVZe¨ AvÂwjK cwil‡`i mv‡_ Av‡jvPbvµ‡g h_vkxNÖ cve©Z¨ PÆMÖv‡g f~wg Rwic KvR ïi“ Ges h_vh_ hvPvB‡qi gva¨‡g RvqMv-Rwg msµvš— we‡iva wb®úwË KiZt DcRvZxq RbM‡Yi f~wg gvwjKvbv Pzovš— Kwiqv Zvnv‡`i f~wg †iKW©f~³ I f~wgi AwaKvi wbwðZ Kwi‡eb|Ó

myZivs cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg Pzw³ †gvZv‡eK ‡hLv‡b GL‡bv cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg Pzw³ ev¯—evwqZ nqwb, Avf¨š—ixY cvnvox DØv¯‘‡`i GL‡bv cybe©vmb Kiv nqwb, fviZ cÖZ¨vMZ cvnvox kiYvax©‡`i AwaKvskB GL‡bv wbR RvqMv-Rwg †dir cvqwb, m‡e©vcwi GL‡bv f~wg we‡iva wb®úwË Kiv nqwb, †mLv‡b f~wg Kwgk‡bi gvbbxq †Pqvig¨vb g‡nv`q †Kvb D‡Ï‡k¨ GKZidvfv‡e f~wg Rwi‡ci KvR ïi“ Ki‡Z hv‡”Q Zv ¯úó bq| f~wg Kwgk‡bi †Pqvig¨vb g‡nv`‡qi GB †NvlYv cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg Pzw³ cwicš’x I c×wZ-ewnf~©Z e‡j cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg RbmsnwZ mwgwZ g‡b K‡i|

cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg f~wg we‡iva wb®úwË Kwgk‡bi g~j KvR n‡jv cve©Z¨ PÆMÖv‡gi f~wg we‡iva wb®úwË Kiv| cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg f~wg Rwi‡ci (K¨v‡W‡óªj mv‡f©) KvR GB Kwgk‡bi GLwZqvify³ n‡Z cv‡i bv| Kwgkb f~wg we‡iva wb®úwË Ki‡Z wM‡q †KejgvÎ †¶Î we‡k‡l †h †Kvb miKvix ev mswewae× ms¯’vi KZ…©c¶‡K cÖ‡qvRbxq Z_¨, DcvË ev KvMRcÎ mieiv‡ni Ges cÖ‡qvR‡bi D³ KZ…©c‡¶i †h †Kvb Kg©KZ©v‡K ¯’vbxq Z`š—, cwi`k©b ev Rwi‡ci wfwˇZ cÖwZ‡e`b `vwL‡ji wb‡`©k w`‡Z cv‡i [Kwgk‡bi AvB‡bi 6(3) aviv]|

cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg Pzw³ †gvZv‡eK Av‡M f~wg we‡iva wb®úwË bv K‡i Ges Avf¨š—ixY cvnvox DØv¯‘‡`i cybe©vmb I cÖZ¨vMZ cvnvox kiYv_x©‡`i Zv‡`i Rwg cÖZ¨c©b bv K‡i, m‡e©vcwi cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg Pzw³ †gvZv‡eK RvqMv-Rwg msµvš— we‡iva wb®úwË I f~wg gvwjKvbv Pzovš—Ki‡Yi gva¨‡g cvnvox RbM‡Yi f~wg †iKW©f~³ I f~wgi AwaKvi wbwðZ bv K‡i wKfv‡e f~wg Rwi‡ci gva¨‡g f~wg gvwjKvbv wVK Kiv n‡e Zv †evaMg¨ bq| cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg Pzw³ cwicš’x D‡`¨v‡Mi d‡j G‡Z cve©Z¨ PÆMÖv‡gi f~wg we‡iv‡ai †¶‡Î Av‡iv GKwU RwUj mgm¨vi Rb¥ †`‡e Zv‡Z †Kvb m‡›`n ‡bB|

cve©Z¨ PÆMÖv‡gi f~wg we‡iva wb®úwËi j‡¶¨ Avï Ri“ix welq n‡”Q 2001 mv‡j cÖYxZ cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg f~wg we‡iva wb®úwË Kwgkb AvBb cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg Pzw³ †gvZv‡eK ms‡kvab Kiv| Avcwb wbðq Rv‡bb †h, cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg AvÂwjK cwil‡`i mv‡_ †Kvbiƒc Av‡jvPbv QvovB cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg f~wg we‡iva wb®úwË Kwgkb AvBb 2001 RvZxq msm‡` cvk Kiv nq| D³ AvB‡b cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg Pzw³i mv‡_ we‡ivavZ¥K 19wU welq i‡q‡Q|

f~wg we‡iva wb®úwË Kwgkb AvB‡bi we‡ivavZ¥K aviv ms‡kva‡bi Rb¨ 2001 mv‡j cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg AvÂwjK cwil` n‡Z 19 `dv m¤^wjZ mycvwikgvjv miKv‡ii wbKU †ck Kiv nq| D³ mycvwikgvjv AvBb gš¿Yvjq KZ…©K 2002 mv‡j cÖ‡qvRbxq †fwUs n‡q hvevi ci gvbbxq cÖavbgš¿xi wbKU †cÖwiZ nq| ZvB cve©Z¨ PÆMÖv‡gi f~wg we‡iva wb®úvwËi KvR `ª“Z ïi“ Kivi j‡¶¨ cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg AvÂwjK cwil‡`i mycvwikg~‡j cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg we‡iva wb®úwË Kwgkb AvBb 2001 RvZxq msm‡`i PjwZ Awa‡ek‡b ms‡kva‡bi Rb¨ Ri“ix D‡`¨vM †bqv `iKvi e‡j cve©Z¨ PÆMÖvg RbmsnwZ mwgwZ g‡b K‡i|

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Grenade hoax at Banani puja mandap

Source: The Daily Star
Url: http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=107039
A rumour that an Arges grenade was found near the Gulshan puja mandap in Banani last night caused panic among devotees.
Assistant Commissioner (public relations) Shyamol Mukherjee of Dhaka Metropolitan Police later confirmed that the object contained no explosive.
Rab sources said on information they reached the spot and recovered the object left abandoned at the foot of a wall near the mandap in Banani Park around 8:30pm.
Rab conducted a thorough search on the mandap premises but did not find anything else. The puja committee had postponed a cultural programme out of panic.
DMP official Shyamol said activities at the mandap resumed a few hours later.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

RIGHTS-BANGLADESH: Glimmers of Hope Amid an Elusive Peace

Source: IPS
Url: http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=48534


Catherine Makino interviews leading Bangladeshi human rights activist SULTANA KAMAL.

TOKYO, Sep 22 (IPS) - Sultana Kamal dreams of a country "where every single citizen will live in democracy, in equality" and where everyone has "equal share to resources and opportunities." Fulfilling this dream has been her lifelong advocacy as a human rights advocate.

The former adviser to the caretaker government of Bangladesh has served as a United Nations legal consultant for Vietnamese boat people in Hong Kong. As a legal practitioner, she is committed to providing legal services to the poor and underprivileged.

Kamal joined the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, which pitted the West Pakistan (now Pakistan) against East Pakistan, resulting in the latter’s secession as an independent state, now called Bangladesh. Among others, she helped collect information for the guerilla forces, Mukti Bahini (Liberation Army), and gave shelter to people displaced by the conflict.

Kamal completed her law degree at Dhaka University in 1978, and later a master’s degree in Women and Development Studies in the Netherlands.

She has played a key role in bringing to international attention the long drawn-out conflict involving the indigenous people living in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in the south-eastern region of Bangladesh. Even after a peace accord was signed in 1997, violations of human rights in the region persisted and peace remains elusive.

Some critics warned that Bangladesh could become the next Sri Lanka, which only recently emerged from a decades-long civil war.

Kamal, who was in Japan in mid-September, shared with IPS her aspirations for her country and what she hoped a developed country like Japan could do.

IPS: What did you hope to achieve for your people by coming to Japan?

SULTANA KAMAL: (My) main objective was to share information regarding the implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Accord, which was signed in 1997 between the government of Bangladesh and Shanti Bahin (the United People's Party of the CHT).

The Accord was to end the armed conflict, which has been going on since 1976 in the region, and to settle questions regarding the rights of the indigenous people of the Chittagong Hill Tracts. These included land rights, natural and environmental practices, rights to their culture and, most importantly, the constitutional recognition of their rights and identity.

I wanted to see greater awareness of the problems of indigenous people in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, their struggles and demands, which should lead to more support for them by the Japanese.

IPS: Why Japan in particular?

SK: Some Japanese groups are concerned with the rights of the disempowered and disadvantaged, especially indigenous people, who have been engaged in working towards the realization of (those) rights.

IPS: Is your government sincere in its support for the CHT?

SK: The present government of Bangladesh is committed to implementing the Accord, but it is facing challenges from the anti-Accord forces. There is a need to strengthen the people and government's support of the CHT.

This trip to Japan will help us reach the international community and get stronger opinions favorable to the Accord.

IPS: What do you expect from the new government of Japan?

SK: This government is liberal, so we can expect the benefits of a liberal and progressive outlook on (its) international policies. More importantly, we hear that the government will put more emphasis on strengthening relationships with its Asian neighbors, which means more support to the people of Asia who need it most.

IPS: What do you envision Japan will do now that it is under new leadership?

SK: New leadership means new hopes…. not (only) for its own people, but for the (rest of the) world, because Japan is among the league of world leaders.

This time the hope is even greater for Asia as the (Japanese) government is likely to be more forward-looking and has already committed itself to closer ties with (its) Asian neighbors.

IPS: Please tell us about your organization, the Law and Mediation Center or Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK)?

SK: (ASK) started in 1986 as a legal aid centre to provide free legal aid to the disempowered. Since most of the disempowered happen to be women, it had a special focus on them, especially poor women.

It provides legal aid to victims of state or social violence, arbitrary arrest, preventive detention, and community and class violence.

It started in a garage of a well-wisher of the organisation and has since grown into a 17-unit composite programme known as a human rights and legal aid center, or Ain o Salish Kendra.

ASK cooperates with many national, international and regional networks on human rights issues. With the UNECOSOC (United Nations Economic and Social Council) (consultative) status, ASK works closely with the U.N. special rapporteurs and on some government committees as civil society members to give advice. In short, ASK is considered to be one of the most active human rights groups (in the world).

IPS: What is the situation of women in your country?

SK: I am very proud to say that the women have made a lot of progress. But because of the existing patriarchal systems… in both private and public life, women have to face a lot of challenges in realising their rights.

The Constitution of Bangladesh commits to equality in public life for women. It goes further to say that special measures will be taken to bring the disadvantaged groups, including women, at par with everyone, and everyone will be equal before the law.

IPS: Is that happening in reality?

SK: Since in private life, laws based on religions govern people, women are discriminated against in marriage, divorce, guardianship and custody of children and in inheritance.

The discrimination is not only between women and men of the same religion; it is between women of different religions, too. For example, the Muslim women have limited rights to divorce and inheritance, which the women of other religions don't have.

The situation of minority women is even worse, particularly in a conflict situation where their interests and rights are considered secondary to the larger interests of the community which, as we all know, are defined by (traditional) patriarchy.

IPS: What is being done about it?

SK: The women's movement is very vibrant in Bangladesh. The present government also has promised to declare policies for women's development. We can hope for the best, but we know very well that there is no respite from hard work for us to gain what we aspire for.

IPS: What urgently needs to be done in your country?

SK: The most important duty we have now is supporting the democratic processes and be firm on not allowing any anti-democratic, anti-human rights, fundamentalist or corrupt measures, to foil it. Seeing that democracy gets a ground in this country is a job of the people as well as the government. Establishment of justice, rule of law, human rights and security and peace are the priorities now.

IPS: You have given so much energy and time for causes. How has this affected you personally, and have you had to sacrifice a lot?

SK: If I have been able to give my energy and time to causes in my life, I will consider that to be my good fortune. What better use could I put my energy and time to?

The main impact it has had on me personally is that it has taught me to understand and love my country better and to feel a part of the whole of humanity. I don't feel that I have sacrificed a lot. I think I have done nothing more than my duty. (END/2009)
.

BANGLADESH: Missioner priest preserves tribal musical heritage

Source: UCANNEWS.com

TANGAIL, Bangladesh (UCAN) -- The beat of traditional tribal Garo drums are being heard a little more often these days in Pirgacha in Mymensingh diocese.

The playing of these and other traditional instruments is undergoing a revival thanks to the efforts of American Holy Cross Father Eugene Homrich, parish priest of St. Paul's Church in Pirgacha, Tangail.

Father Homrich, 85, has been working in this forested tribal area in the northwest since 1952 and has established a small museum to preserve traditional tribal musical instruments, some of which risked being lost forever.

He has also employed four elderly Garo musicians to teach youngsters how to play these instruments.

"After having spent over 40 years with the Garo people, I found that ... they have a rich musical heritage. So I've tried to be of some help" in this area, said the priest, who is known affectionately as Achchu (Grandfather) Nokrek.

Father Homrich started collecting and preserving instruments in Pirgacha parish, northwestern Bangladesh, in 1993. Since then, he has preserved about 300 instruments, spending about 197,500 taka (US$2,857) in the process.

Just like Western musical instruments, their traditional Garo counterparts include wind, string and percussion instruments.

Father Homrich says he had to obtain many of the instruments from India. "My friends in America and some wealthy local and foreign donors helped me to finance the scheme," said the priest, who speaks the Garo language and often celebrates Mass in the Garo tongue.

The museum also has a collection of traditional Garo household utensils, some of which are no longer to be found in the Garo community in Bangladesh.

Father Homrich has employed 90-year-old Sohin Mree as museum curator, as well as a teacher of traditional Garo music to 25 young Garo people.

"I learned to play musical instruments from my father," said Mree, who used to be a farmer. He added that he had not imagined that he would one day become a music teacher.

For Father Joyonto Raksam, a native Garo himself, Father Homrich "has revived interest in traditional Garo music which is also a part of local Catholic liturgy."

Father Raksam, rector of St. Paul's Seminary in neighboring Jalchatra parish, said, "The Garo have hymnbooks and Mass books in their native language," so musical instruments are important for accompanying hymns sung during Mass and other liturgical celebrations.

The tribal priest also said that Father Homrich's initiative has helped reawaken cultural awareness among parish priests in the diocese. They too, have started collecting and preserving traditional musical instruments in their own parishes, he said.

According to the Bangladesh Catholic directory, Catholics in the diocese numbered 72,952 in 2007. Most of the Catholics are tribal Garo.

Muslims in Bangladesh Seize Land Used by Church

Source: Crosswalk.com
Url: http://www.crosswalk.com/news/religiontoday/11608246/


Aenon Shalom

Compass Direct News


September 7, 2009

DHAKA, Bangladesh (CDN) — Bengali-speaking, Muslim settlers have seized five acres of abandoned government property used by a church and falsedly charged Christians with damaging the land in southeastern Bangladesh's Khagrachari hill district, Christian leaders said.

Kiron Joti Chakma, field director of Grace Baptist Church in Khagrachari district, told Compass that the settlers had taken over the church building and the five acres of land in Reservechara village in June and filed a case on Aug. 4 against five tribal Christians. The Bengali-speaking Muslims had come from other areas of Bangladesh in a government resettlement program that began in 1980.

"In the case, the settlers mentioned that the Christians had cut the trees and damaged the crops on their land and that they should pay 250,000 taka [US$3,690] as compensation," said Chakma. "We cultivated pineapple in the land around the church. But the settlers damaged all of our pineapple trees and built two houses there."

The government has allowed the Christians to use the land. Tribal leaders said that land-grabbing in the area hill tracts, undulating landscape under Dighinala police jurisdiction 300 kilometers (186 miles) southeast of the Dhaka, began again during the army-backed interim government of 2007-2008.

"It is still continuing, and our demands to stop land-grabbing do not rate very high with the administration and law enforcement agencies," said one of the accused, 32-year-old Mintu Chakma.

When he went to the police station regarding the false case filed against the Christians, he said, the leader of the Bengali settlers was there and threatened him in front of officers, telling him, "I can devour dozens of people like you - I will finish your life."

Church leaders have informed a nearby army camp of the seizure. Military officers said they would take action, but they have done nothing so far, Christians said.

"Our leaders informed the army zone commander, and he assured us they would take necessary action, but nothing has happened so far against those land grabbers and arsonists," said 25-year-old Liton Chakma (Chakma is the name of the tribe), one of the Christians accused in the Grace Baptist case.

The Muslim settlers had burned a Seventh-day Adventist Church building in 2008 in Boachara village, close to the Grace Baptist Christians' village, in an effort to frighten tribal people away from becoming Christian, said Liton Chakma. He told Compass that Bengali settlers had also hindered their attempt to construct the church building in August in 2007.

"Many new believers saw nothing had happened to the arsonists, and many of them reverted to their previous Buddhism," he said. "The army and local administration allowed them to run wild. They always threaten to beat us and file cases against us."

Mintu Chakma said that Muslim settlers seized a garden next to his house in 2007.

"They not only destroyed my pineapple garden, but they built a mosque there," he said.

Land Ownership
Local police inspector Suvas Pal told Compass that neither tribal people nor Bengali settlers were the owners of that land. It is government-owned, abandoned land, he said.

"The Bengali settlers claim that the land was assigned to lease to them, but we did not find any copy of lease in the deputy commissioner's office," said Pal. "On the other hand, the tribal people could not show any papers of their possession of the land."

Investigating Officer Omar Faruque told Compass that the Muslim settlers had built two houses there, though they did not live there or nearby.

"I told the Bengali settlers that if they [tribal Christians] worship in the church there, then do not disturb them," said Faruque.

Dipankar Dewan, headman of the tribal community, told Compass that the tribal Christians have an historical claim to the land.


"The land belonged to the forefathers of tribal Christians, so they can lay claim to the property by inheritance," said Dewan.

During conflict between tribal people and Bengali people in the hill tracts, the tribal people left the country and took shelter in neighboring India, leaving much of their land abandoned. Bengali settlers took over some of the land, while the government leased other tracts to Bengali settlers, Dewan said.

"Many lands of the tribal people were grabbed in the hill tracts in the two years of state-of-emergency period of the previous army-backed, interim government," he said. "Those Bengali settlers tried to grab the land during the tenure of the army-backed, interim government."

Members of the Shanti Bahini, tribal guerrillas who fought for autonomy in the hill tracts, ended a 25-years revolt in the Chittagong Hill Tracts area in 1997 under a peace treaty in which the government was to withdraw troops and restore land acquired by settlers to local tribesmen.

Some 2,000 Shanti Bahini guerrillas surrendered their weapons following the 1997 treaty. But the tribal people say many aspects of the treaty remain unfulfilled, including restoration of rights and assigning jobs to them.

The guerrillas had fought for autonomy in the hill and forest region bordering India and Burma (Myanmar) in a campaign that left nearly 8,500 troops, rebels and civilians killed.

Recently the Awami League government ordered one army brigade of nearly 2,500 troops to pull out from the hill tract, and the withdrawal that began early last month is expected to be completed soon. Four brigades of army are still deployed in the hill tracts comprising three districts - Rangamati, Khagrachari and Bandarban.

Copyright 2009 Compass Direct News. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Thakurgaon clash over temple: 5 held

Source: The DailyStar

About 200 followers of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), including chief of Gorea ISKCON Temple Pushpa Shila Sham Das, have been sued on charge of killing a traditional Hindu devotee at Bhatgaon village under Sadar upazila on Friday.

Bhabesh Chandra Roy of Bhatgaon village filed the case with Sadar Police Station on Friday night, accusing 62 identified and about 150 unidentified ISKCON followers of killing traditional Hindu devotee Fulbabu.

Fulbabu was killed and 15 others were injured in a clash between the ISKCON followers and traditional Hindu devotees over control of a local temple.

Police arrested five of the accused yesterday. They are Jogesh Chandra Roy, Motilal Roy, Jatish Chandra Barman, Harandranath Barman and Khirmohan Barman.

Following the clash, police ousted the followers of both sects from the temple and took control of it.

Bangladesh celebrates Durga Puja: Merinews.com


Source: MeriNews.com
Url: http://www.merinews.com/article/bangladesh-celebrates-durga-puja/15784669.shtml

Bangladesh is perhaps one of the few Islamic countries where a Hindu festival like Durga Puja is celebrated with gusto. All are welcome to the puja pandal irrespective of the religious association.


BANGLADESH IS one of the few countries that call themselves Islamic Republic and yet celebrate a Hindu festival like the Durga Puja. It has historical reasons. In the pre-independence undivided India, a large number of Hindus lived in the cities and villages that later became East Pakistan and on independence from Pakistan was renamed as Bangladesh. Indeed the tempo of trouble free celebration of a Hindu religious cum social function depends on the attitude of the government of the day. Right now, the Awami League is in power and instructions issued by it from the capital Dhaka is that the Hindus should have full freedom of practising their faith.

The number of puja pandal in Dhaka, Sylhet, Khulna, Chittagong and other towns and cities has never been so large after the country declared itself an Islamic republic. Now, this year the Hindu population has more religious freedom. There is enthusiasm and fun and frolic in the air and on the ground in Bangladesh with Sheikh Hasina as the powerful and effective Prime Minister.

It may be recalled that Sheikh Hasina is the daughter of Sheikh Mujibur rehman who became the Prime Minister after the then East Pakistan was liberated with the help of the Indian Army. Notwithstanding ups and downs in the diplomatic relationship between the two countries, the Bangladeshis can never forget that they are enjoying the fruits of freedom after being liberated from the iron clutches of Pakistan, thanks to India and the Indian support.

By the way, Durga Puja commences its ten day celebrations with worship of the goddess on the mahalaya and it reaches climax with Maha Ashtmi and Maha Navami. Children and adults look forward to the Pooja with great expectations. After the religious part is over, the socio-cultural aspect comes into prominence and staging of plays or screening of movies hold sway. The audience swells beyond the capacity of the pandal. Men, women and children of all faiths living in Bangladesh flock to the Hindu celebrations without a hitch.

The only other country that stages plays from the Hindu epic, Ramayan, where mostly Muslims play the roles is Indonesia. Among numerous islands of the country, Bali is the only Hindu island but Ramayan is staged all over Indonesia, specially the capital Jakarta.

As neighbours of Bangladesh and as one who was with them in shaping history, the Indians naturally feel close to them. We wish one and all Happy Durga Puja.


Monday, September 21, 2009

The Demolition Of Ramna Kali Temple In March 1971 (Part II)


Picture (courtesy: Asia Tribune): Remains of the Temple of Lord Jagat Bandhu under.

Bangladesh


By Rajen Thakur


Source: Asia Tribune


Url: http://www.asiantribune.com/news/2009/09/21/demolition-ramna-kali-temple-march-1971-part-ii



Another Massacre Held In Faridpur Shri Angan In Faridpur:
On 21April 1971 (07 Baikh 1377 BS, Wednesday ) eight bramahcharees of Sree Angan of the Lord Jagat bandhu Sunder were butchered and tomb of the temple was demolished.
All those Vaishnava Brahmacharees namely Sahid Kirtan Bandhu, Shahid Nidanbandhu,Shahid Kshitibandhu, Shahid Bandhudas , Shahid Chirabandhu, Shahid Gour Bandhu, Shahid Andha Kanai and Shahid Ravibandhu were killed by the Pakistani Occupation forces while Brahmacharees chanting kirtan, prayer, of lord Jagatbandhu Sundar,an incarnation of Vishnu,a vaishnava cult in Hinduism. This Sree Angan as commonly known to all section of people is a holy shrine and profoundly respected to all irrespective to caste, creed and religions.
Believe it or not, it was happened, a Pakistani Army Captain Jamshed who commanded the massacre in Faridpur from April to July’71 had to beg divine mercy and ultimately commit suicide before the altar of Lord Jagatbandhu’s main temple of the Sree Angan just a few days before Pakistan Forces surrendered to Joint Command of Indian Army in Dec.1971.Capt Jamshed was burried in the Sree Angan (near pond of the Shiva Temple) by the Razzakar and Bihari Muslims, Probodh Kumar Sarkar, a Freedom Fighter of Faridpur told me. It may be mentioned here Captain Jamshed who had torched the main temple, killed the Brahmacharees and desecrate the holy place became lunatic before his unnatural death. But why he committed suicide before the altar of the main temple of Pravu Shri Shri Jagatbandhu Sundar? Was it a dictum of destiny or maledictions of divine power?
Hari Priya Brahmachari, a witness of that massacre said the memory of that day was still painful. “I lost all my companions that day. Luckily I am still alive. They killed the Sadhus who were engaged in prayer, I hid myself inside a hole in the ground. Every day, many visitors come here and express their horror at the events of that day.”
In June 1971 Sydney Schanberg reported on the formation of these units:' Throughout East Pakistan the Army is training new paramilitary home guards or simply arming "loyal" civilians, some of whom are formed into peace committees. Besides Biharis and other non-Bengali, Urdu-speaking Moslems, the recruits include the small minority of Bengali Moslems who have long supported the army -- adherents of the right-wing religious parties such as the Moslem League and Jamaat-e-Islami.' Collectively known as the Razakars, the paramilitary units spread terror throughout the Bengali population. With their local knowledge, the Razakars were an invaluable tool in the Pakistani Army's arsenal of genocide.' However, In June the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sydney Schanberg filed a number of eyewitness accounts from Bangladeshi towns for The New York Times. In response, the Pakistan army expelled him from the country on June 30, 1971.
Who was responsible?
The Pakistan army and the Razakars did not stop at simply massacring Hindus. They also took to raping Bengali women. During nine months in 1971, over 200,000 Bengali women and girls were raped. Many were taken as sex slaves and raped multiple times by the Pakistani army."
'Measuring the Tragedy' the New York Times (June 7,1971) mentioned: “People have killed each other because of animosities of race, politics and religion; no community is entirely free of guilt. But the principal agent of death and hatred has been the Pakistan Army." These paramilitary units, the al-Badr and al-Shams, worked as informers and assassins to augment the military's gruesome task of killing Bengalis.
R.J. Rummel likewise writes that “the Pakistan army [sought] out those especially likely to join the resistance — young boys. Sweeps were conducted of young men who were never seen again. Bodies of youths would be found in fields, floating down rivers, or near army camps. As can be imagined, this terrorized all young men and their families within reach of the army. Most between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five began to flee from one village to another and toward India. Many of those reluctant to leave their homes were forced to flee by mothers and sisters concerned for their safety.” (Death By Government, p. 329.)
Rummel describes (p. 323) a chilling gendercidal ritual, reminiscent of Nazi procedure towards Jewish males: “In what became province-wide acts of genocide, Hindus were sought out and killed on the spot. As a matter of course, soldiers would check males for the obligated circumcision among Moslems. If circumcised, they might live; if not, sure death.”
“For month after month in all the regions of East Pakistan the massacres went on,” writes Robert Payne. “They were not the small casual killings of young officers who wanted to demonstrate their efficiency, but organized massacres conducted by sophisticated staff officers, who knew exactly what they were doing. Muslim soldiers, sent out to kill Muslim peasants, went about their work mechanically and efficiently, until killing defenseless people became a habit like smoking cigarettes or drinking wine. … Not since Hitler invaded Russia had there been so vast a massacre.” (Payne,Massacre, p. 29.)
There is no doubt that the mass killing in Bangladesh was among the most carefully and centrally planned of modern genocides. A cabal of five Pakistani generals orchestrated the events: President Yahya Khan, General Tikka Khan, chief of staff General Pirzada, security chief General Umar Khan, and intelligence chief General Akbar Khan. The U.S. government, long supportive of military rule in Pakistan, supplied some $3.8 million in military equipment to the dictatorship after the onset of the genocide, “and after a government spokesman told Congress that all shipments to Yahya Khan’s regime had ceased.” (Payne, Massacre, p.102.)
The first formal and public protest was raised after independence of Bangladesh by Senior Advocates in the Supreme Court Bar headed by Advocate S R Paul along with 22- leading non-Muslim Intellectuals in April 1979 .In a statement of memorandum addressed to the than President of Bangladesh and to the fellow brothers and sisters of Bangladesh stating the woeful episodes of discrimination on the non-Muslim citizens. Although equal under the law, these minorities are, in practice, disadvantaged in such areas as access to government jobs and political office. Selection boards in the Government service and educational institutions are often without minority group representation. Property ownership, particularly for Hindus, has been a contentious issue since independence when many Hindus lost land holdings due to unequal application of the law. Reported cases of violence directed against religious minority communities have resulted in loss of property and so forth, which was published as an advertisement in the front page of The Sangbad, Dhaka, on 18 January 1979
The appeal by the Hindu leaders, contained in an advertisement published in Sangbad in January 1979, is excerpted below: “It is a matter of great regret that secularism has not been implemented in political and social life. No help has been given in the reconstruction and renovation of hundreds of temples, Vihara and churches including the historic Kalibari temple of Ramna and the East Bengal Swarasta Samaj which were razed by the Pakistani occupation army. The Ramna kalibari has not been returned despite claims. The Enemy Property Act of Pakistan has been illegally retained in independent Bangladesh under a different name and this has been invoked to make hundreds of thousands of non-Muslims homeless and landless. Severe discrimination has been practiced against non-Muslims in the matter of admission in educational institutions ,trade and government services.”
We sought to place on record a major case of human rights violation that has escaped the attention of the world in the hope that it would trigger further research by people better qualified than us. Is there any positive development since the above cited three decades old demands of Hindus in Bangladesh?
In the post August 1975 the changes in the attitude towards minority and Jamaat as well right-wing religious forces became partner of power game and army became the arbitrator in Bangladesh politics. Democracy, rules of law, human rights are crying for justice, but justice is at stake. The population of Hindu minority has declined from 15 %( 1974) to 10 %( 2001).
The Hindu minority becomes the coveted enemy under VPA. The state turned authoritarian for fifteen years (1975-1990), military dictators ruled the country the initial constitutional commitment gradually diluted by successive amendments through a martial law ordinance, secularism was dropped from the guiding principles of state through a martial law ordinance, secularism was dropped from the guiding principles of state introduced by the regimes.
After 1990, the two dominant parties –BNP and Awami League- had altered power. But fates of religious minority and backward section of citizens remain under punitive measures and obnoxiously humiliated. Earlier, elections were tussle between army owned political party and people’s parties-results also were tutored. In December 2008, army and Election Commission were neutral, participation of voters was massive, and results depicted ‘people express for change which is internationally acclaimed’. But earlier elections since second parliamentary election in 1979 minority and women had to face violent attacks and to bear agonies of the power-game of pre and post electoral victory particularly in the 8th parliament election held in October 2001. So in the case of the generation of early forties, they too had little knowledge about parley politics of the late forties, but we the members of that generation have created history and achieved our nation-state, Bangladesh.
The sacrifices of the Hindu leadership were never acknowledged either officially or publicly.
Does the nation pay respect to those departed souls?
Is there any room for the Hindu leaders in the history who fought for the cause of history and the War of Liberation?
In the post-August 1975, Bangladesh, Bengali, Hindu and India are equated with a typical psyche by the ruling cliché. "The existing literature on the history of Bangladesh underplays not only the inner contradictions of the Muslims of Bengal, but also other significant features of her past.
It's a 'crisis of confidence'.
In the 9th Parliamentary election held in December 2008, people expressed desire for change through ballot –and there is a great change by ballot. "A new journey of democracy marching ahead daughter of Bangabandhu, Awami League President Sheikh Hasina has shown us a vision with her ‘Charter for Change’ and we opted for that change. A new journey of democracy a freshly begins in January 2009. We congratulate Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on her overwhelming victory. She came to power after 7 years 5 months 21 days since her 5-year first- tenure of the head of government’s office completed on 15 July 2001.
Bangladesh Hindus want justice not puja dole, they want equal citizenship rights, political, religious and economic participation not piety or mercy. It's an evidential fact that Hindus in Bangladesh unfortunately have been facing the music of great declination in respect of politico-economic and social status today, to the extent to which caste is declining as a social factor; it is reverting itself as a political factor.
Here in Dhaka, newly formed 'Babu cultured' puja committees displayed their vulgar wealth of crore taka in some places in posh areas of the capital. This money could be used in the cause of Hindu welfare or even in the construction of the Shri Shri Ramna Kali Mandir that remains uncared for nearly four decades since it's demolished by the Pakistani Army in March1971.The Government of Sheikh Hasina has placed Taka one crore to Hindu Kalyan Trust , a wing of the religious affairs ministry for distribution among the deserving puja committees in the country. The Puja committees in the capital and other parts of the country depend on doles and protection of law enforcing agencies. They usually organize Puja mondaps and display communal harmony in the name of Puja once a year like other festivals but in reality, besides begging, there is no security and political and economic power to earn for them. The fate of minority remains under the same wheels over sixty years.
It may also be mentioned here Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in her first term in office in 1997 allowed Sharadiya reception, and President of the Republic invited Hindus at the state reception on Sharadiya Utsav at the Bangabhaban . Since then the Bangladesh has been organising Sharadiya state Reception for Hindus and also religious state reception for Buddhist and Christians. Through this gesture of state-reception, Awami League in its secular commitment recognises the religions of minorities apart from state-religion. The Hindu leadership under the umbrella of Durga Puja is a farce and becomes a political bargaining factor for a class of beneficiaries.
The celebration of Puja festival committees under the so-called Hindu leaders in Bangladesh is tutored and cared for in the past and present by the elected Governments and army regimes.
However, this year in 2009, highest number of Durga Puja would be observed in the country without any untoward incidents because both the communities are to be in greatest festive mood starting from Eid-Ul Fitr, September on 22 to the Bijay Dashami on September 28. The Government keeps her eyes and ears open to avoid any untoward incidences. Hindus are happy and reposed confidence over the actions of the government relating Durgapuja- Festival so far apart from some untoward desecrating image and temple incidences in some parts of districts.
To commemorate the festival, messages from the two figureheads of the country and other political personalities come forth to give finesse. Unfortunately for Hindus in Bangladesh they have been facing the music of great declination in respect of politico-economic and social status today The Durga Puja has lost its religious fervour and festivity in Bangladesh. Well-placed Hindus, like Babus of bygone days, of different walks of life in the metropolis, dressed in their best, attend state function, the 'Bijoya Dashami' reception at Bangabhaban, the president’s palace.
With the spirit of complete surrender to achieve eternal liberty and Blessings of Ma Shri Shri Durga be bestowed on all of us with best Vijoya wishes and greetings to all. With the spirit of complete surrender to achieve eternal liberty and Blessings of Ma Shri Shri Durga be bestowed on all of us With best Vijoya wishes and greetings
(Concluded)
Shri Rajen Thakur is a freedom fighter, an organiser of Mujibnagar Government and columnist- author
- Asian Tribune -

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bangladesh: The Demolition Of Ramana Kali Temple In March 1971


Picture (Asia Tribune: Ramna Kali Temple)


By Rajen Thakur

Sourc: Asia Tribune
Url: http://www.asiantribune.com/news/2009/09/20/bangladesh-demolition-ramana-kali-temple-march-1971


Ramana Kali Temple The birth of Bangladesh in 1971 was a unique phenomenon- it was the first nation state to emerge after waging a successful liberation war against a postcolonial state.
The nine-month-long liberation war in Bangladesh drew world attention because of the genocide committed by Pakistan, which resulted in the killings of approximately three million people, and raping of nearly a quarter million girls and women mostly over 70 percent were Hindus. Ten million Bengalis, of whom 80% were Hindus, reportedly took refuge in India to avoid the massacre of the Pakistan army, and thirty million people were displaced within the country were poor Muslims and Hindus.
In Bangladesh there are more than 30,000 temples and religious citadels in Bangladesh, and most of those were ransacked, demolished and desecrated.. Thousands of people-men, women and children-were killed and women raped by Pakistani army and their local stooges and collaborators of the so-called peace committees looted Hindu properties. When the burden of the killing became too much for the army, the Pakistanis enlisted and trained paramilitary units made up of non-Bengali Muslims and Bengali collaborators from right-wing religious parties.
Shri Shri Ramna Kali Temple: The 500 year old famed spiral temple was considered a symbol of Hinduism and its heritage in Bangladesh*
Massacre At Ramana Kali Bari: An American Eye Witness
On that night of 25-26 March on the orders of General Yahya and the Pakistani ruling clique the Pak forces armed with mortars, cannons and recoilless guns attacked the citizen in their sleep. In an attempt to drown in blood and silence in terror the upsurge of Bengali Nationalism, the military junta of Yahya Khan unleashed the most barbaric war of extermination against the entire people of Bangladesh. In the wake of this war the occupation Pakistani Army have been indulging in an unparalleled orgy of wanton loot, rape, murder and destruction. It is these gruesome happenings which have been characterized by U Thant the then Secretary General of the United Nations, as “one of the most tragic episodes in human history” and as “ a very terrible blot in the page of human history.”
"On the night on 27 March 1971 all the 250 Hindu men, women and children, who lived in and around the 700-year old Ramna Kali Bari in the heart of Dacca, were massacred. The priest of the Temple Swami Paramananda Giriji held the deity and prayed to Goddess Kali and he remained like that until incendiarism of the Pak army 'cremated' him alive along with all others.
An American eyewitness said: "There are no more Hindus in Ramna Kali Bari… I went to see it. Houses were still aflame and bodies were stacked at grotesque angles." This American added, "The sight staggered foreigners allowed to see it --- among them Mr. David Gordon, head of the World Bank in Pakistan". About 100 corpses were put on display in the village on 29 March 1971.
Dr John E. Rohde of USAID noted that “on the 29th we stood at Ramna KaliBari, an ancient Hindu village of about 250 people in the center of Dacca Ramna Race Course, and witnessed the stacks of machine-gunned, burning remains of men, women and children butchered in the early morning hours of March 29,1971. I photographed the hours later.”
Mr. Gordon Allott's speech in the Senate on July 14, 1971 mentioned that the 'Ramna Kali Bari is an ancient small Hindu settlement situated in the middle of the Dacca racecourse. Even during the most violent Hindu-Muslim riots of partition, the village was able to avoid participation in communal strife …on March 29, a pile of bodies charred and machine-gunned, was on visible display in Kali Bari. The entire village was burned to the ground.'
There was something of a joker in Yahya Khan. Perhaps because of the World Bank officials’ disapproval of the destruction of the Ramna Kali Temple, the military President of Pakistan or his trusted Governor, General Tikka Khan, sanctioned Rs.20, 000 for rebuilding, the temple which had been not only razed to the ground but after the rolling of bulldozers over it not a single brick remained there.
The Ramna Kali Bari and the two villages are now an extension of the grassy racetrack of Dhaka.
When a World Bank official was shown a temple, a foolish stage show was arranged to convince him that the Hindus were freely pursuing their religious duties. A non-Bengali police constable was made to shave off his head leaving a tuft on it. He put on a dhoti and was made to sit and offer flowers as if he was doing the usual puja. When the Inspector- General of Police and others brought the World Bank official there, the fake Hindu priest seeing his boss, jumped up to stand to attention and gave a smart salute, said Mr. A B M Musa of Times, London and BBC correspondent at Dhaka.
A new report, that Pakistani invaders raided the Temple and the Ashram again around end of April or early May in 1971, was published in January 31, 1972 issue of 'Daily Purbadesh' on the destruction of Ramna Kali Temple and Ma Anandamoyee Ashram.
Loren Jenkins of Newsweek, U. S. A. was in Dhaka on March 25-26 and here is what he reported:“ When the army decided to strike, it attacked without warning. Houses were machine-gunned at random. It was a blatant exercise in terror and vengeance, there can never be any excess for the sort of fire-power we saw and directed against unarmed civilians. There can be no excuse for the mescals burning of the shanty homes of some of the most impoverished people.” (April12, 1971)
Don Coggin, correspondent of Time, U. S. A. reporting from Dacca wrote:
“Before long, howitzer, tank, artillery and rocket blasts rocked half a dozen scattered sections of Dacca. Tracers arched over the darkened city. The staccato clatter of automatic weapons were punctuated with grenade explosions and tall columns of black smoke towered over the city. In the night came the occasional cry of Joi Bangla “(victory to Bengal) followed by a burst of machine gun fire” (Time, April5).
Saturday Review, edited by Norman Cousins, reported:
“A machine gun was installed on the roof of the terminal building at Sadarghat, the dock area of old Dacca. On March 26, all civilians within range were fired upon. After the massacre, the bodies were dragged into buses, some were burned. Some were dumped into the Buriganga river, adjacent to the terminal,” (Saturday Review, May 22).
Quoting reports from British citizens who were evacuated from Dacca few days after the start of the military operations, Guardian, United Kingdom, April 5 wrote
Another British eyewitness account described how troops in Dacca shot nine professors, their families, and 21 students in one of the University resident buildings, Similar attacks were alleged to have taken place in three halls.
At TantiBazar, troops surrounded the area and set fire to the bamboo and thatch houses in an area of a quarter of square mile where thousands lived. Women and children who attempted to flee were machine-gunned and bayoneted.
“Two small Hindu villages ( Ramna Kali Mandir) on the infield of the Dhaka horse-racing tract (near the central district) were surrounded by the army and every man, woman and child was massacred. Three days later, a heap of bodies three feet high, remained where they fell when they were machine-gunned.”
Not only in Dhaka, But also in Chittagong, Mymensingh, Sylhet, Jessore, Khulna, Dinajpur, Pabna and Kushtia as well as in scores of villages, Yahya Khan’s west Pakistani army committed such atrocities on hundreds and thousands of Bangali women. Even old women and literally kids of twelve years were not spared. All foreign Correspondents have testified to this horrible rape of Bangali womanhood. Robert Payne describes scenes of systematic mass slaughter around Dacca (Dhaka) that, while not explicitly “gendered” in his account, bear every hallmark of classic gender-selective roundups and gendercidal slaughters of non-combatant men:
In the dead region surrounding Dacca, the military authorities conducted experiments in mass extermination in places unlikely to be seen by journalists. At Hariharpara, a once thriving village on the banks of the Buriganga River near Dacca, they found the three elements necessary for killing people in large numbers: a prison in which to hold the victims, a place for executing the prisoners, and a method for disposing of the bodies. The prison was a large riverside warehouse, or go down, belonging to the Pakistan National Oil Company, the place of execution was the river edge, or the shallows near the shore, and the bodies were disposed of by the simple means of permitting them to float downstream. The killing took place night after night. Usually the prisoners were roped together and made to wade out into the river.
They were in batches of six or eight, and in the light of a powerful electric arc lamp, they were easy targets, black against the silvery water. The executioners stood on the pier, shooting down at the compact bunches of prisoners wading in the water. There were screams in the hot night air, and then silence. The prisoners fell on their sides and their bodies lapped against the shore. Then a new bunch of prisoners was brought out, and the process was repeated. In the morning the village boatmen hauled the bodies into midstream and the ropes binding the bodies were cut so that each body drifted separately downstream. (Payne, Massacre [Macmillan, 1973], p. 55.)
It may be mentioned here that Shri Shri Ramna Kali Temple and Ma Anandamoyee Ashram were built on 2.22 acre land in Dhaka. This land is situated on the southern side of the then Race Course Ground (Presently Surawardi Garden) and on the opposite side of Bangla Academy. The Kali Temple was built by "Dasanagthi" group of people who were followers of Sankaracharyay. Swami Gopal Giri of Badri Narayan Joshi Math came to Dhaka about 500 years ago and first founded a monastery at Ramna says the historian Muntashir Mamun. At that time the monastery was known as " Kaatghar ". Subsequently, the main Temple was built here by Haricharan Giri.
This very Temple, built about 500 years ago, was destroyed on March 27, 1971 by the Pakistani invading army. Sreemath Swami Paramananda Giri was the temple priest when the Temple was destroyed. Although the Temple was built in the architectural style of Bengali Hindus, Islamic style was also noticed on the structure. 120 feet high peak extending over the second floor of the main Temple could be observed from far distant places. The peak of the Temple could be noticed as a landmark structure of Ramna in the well publicized photograph showing Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahaman lecturing at vast public gathering on Race Course Ground on March 7, 1971.
Beautiful image of Goddess Bhadrakali was seated on a wooden throne in the Temple and the Temple was surrounded by the wall of the Race Course Ground. To the right side of this image was the deity Kali of the Bhawals. The priests, worshipers, and other devotees lived in the rooms on north-east and western sides of the Temple. There was also a Shiva Temple on the side.
Regarding the efforts for rebuilding the destroyed Temple and Ashram, the Justice K. M. Sobhan Commission noted that such demands came not only from the Hindus, demands also came from the respectable representatives of the society to rebuild the famous Kali Temple and Ma Anandamoyee Ashram in independent Bangladesh. Even the religious minded Khadem of the Mosque expressed his desire to rebuild the Temple. The respected representatives of the society, who gave testimony to the inquiry Commission, realized the necessity to rebuild the historic Kali Temple and Ashram at Ramna and construct a memorial with the names of the martyrs carved on it. This will establish correct historical perspectives and bring consciousness in the minds of the people about the freedom struggle. The memorial will appear to the freedom complex now under construction.
So far the public Inquiry Commission could collect names of about 50 people among those who died in the hands of Pakistani invading army on March 27, 1971 at Ramna Kali Temple and Ma Anandamoyee Ashram. Names of all the martyrs could not be found because most of the survivors of the diabolical massacre, perpetrated by Pakistani invading army at Ramna Kali Temple and Ma Anandamoyee Ashram, left the country at different times. Their whereabouts could not be collected at the initial stage of inquiry. The Public Inquiry Commission will make every effort in future to collect testimony from those survivors and print a complete list of names of all the martyrs. While the Commission was investigating the destruction of Ramna Kali Temple and Ma Anandamoyee Ashram and mass murder committed there, specific sections of a confidential report prepared by a Commission formed under the leadership of Hamudur Rahaman, retired Chief Justice of Pakistan, were published. A very small part of the incidents of destruction and gruesome murder perpetrated by the Pakistani occupying forces in 1971 in Bangladesh was included in this report.
However, the conscientious people of the society were shocked and hurt to know from whatever little was published. The amiable citizens of Pakistan were also vocal and demanded trial for the war crimes. For the information of the people of Pakistan and the world, the report was also published in English. In order to investigate these incidents, a "Public Inquiry Commission for Destruction of Ramna Kali Temple and Ma Anandamoyee Ashram and Mass Murder" was formed on March 27, 2000. The Commission included six members and they are 1) Justice K. M. Sobhan, Chairman; 2) Prof. Muntashir Mamun, Member; 3) Writer Sahariar Kabir, Member; 4) Journalist Basudeb Dhar, Member-Secretary; 5) Dwipen Chatterjee, Member; and 6) Chandra Nath Poddar, Member.
On the occasion of Durga Puja 2000, the Awami League government of Sheikh Hasina finally conceded the demand of Bangladeshi Hindus that had been made perennially, to allow worship again on the site of the original temple. Since then, every year, a delegation of Bangladeshi Hindus has had to formally request permission from the government, and if this is granted, a temporary pandal (stage) is constructed at the site of the original temple, enabling Hindus to worship, and this structure is called "Ramna Kalibari".
However, as soon as the festival ends, the pandal has to be dismantled as per the regulations of the city authorities. In 2004, a semi-permanent makeshift place of worship was built, and an image of the Goddess Kali was installed. It has been repeatedly alleged that visitors to the reinstated image of the Goddess Kali at the site of the original temple are harassed by the police. It is alleged that this is done with the full knowledge of local authorities to prevent the site becoming seen as a formal place of worship. Up until this point, there was nothing on the site to indicate either the history of the temple or recognition of the massacre that had taken place there in 1971.
In June 2006, the BNP government of Khaleda Zia finally announced that it would grant permission to rebuild the Ramna Kali Temple, 35 years after it was demolished, and 34 years after its remains were cleared and replaced with grass. However, the news was not universally welcomed by Bangladeshi Hindus; the Government is insisting on a relocation away from the original site on a less prominent site within the Suhrwardy Udyan; the proposed structure will also be considerably more modest than the original grand building that was truly an icon of the city.
With the framing of the Constitution of the Shri Shri Ramna KaliMandir and Ma Anandamoyee Puja Uddjapan Parishad in June 2009 and The Parishad has been working on constituting a new elected committee to march on in fulfilling the long cherished dream to rebuild the Shri Shri Ramna Kali Temple: The 500 year old famed spiral temple was considered a symbol of Hinduism and its heritage in Bangladesh*
(To Be Contibued - Tomorrow)
Shri Rajen Thakur is a freedom fighter, an organiser of Mujibnagar Government and columnist- author.