`A state within the state is now ruling the country.‘ Recently uttered by Dr Mizanur Rahman, National Human Rights Commission chair, these words, ominous as they sound, are of immense concern to the nation’s citizenry.
To those who love this country. Who feed off its soil, off the labour of those who plant, grow, nurture, feed us. What sense can one make of his words?
Dr Mizan was speaking at a roundtable on granting constitutional recognition to indigenous people but his words were occasioned by something else. An incident which is proving to be the turning point.
Yes, Limon. People across the nation are outraged. At the shooting. If possible, more so, at the subsequent cover-up attempts by some ministers, by a senior civil-military leadership nexus.
Cover-up? How else but by `criminalising’ the victim? Limon is a `terrorist’, his father’s a `terrorist’. The whole family is nothing but a bunch of terrorists.
Limon’s left leg had to be amputated after the 16-year old Jhalokathi college student, the son of an agricultural day-labourer, was allegedly shot in the leg by RAB’s officers on March 23. RAB claims, the shooting occurred during an `encounter’.
But the real problem, from RAB’s perspective, is that Limon has lived to tell the tale. Unusual, for RAB’s victims generally don’t. Human rights activists allege, since the formation of the elite anti-crime, anti-terror force in 2004, the number of extra-judicial killings has crossed a thousand. Continue reading “`State within the state.' Militarisation, and the women's movement”
Solidarity Rally for Limon
Friday June 17, 2011
4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Outside the National Museum (Shahbagh)
It was the third rally in support of Limon Hossein?a 16 year old Jhalokathi college student, the son of an agricultural day-labourer, who was shot by RAB personnel on March 23, 2011, leading to the amputation of his left leg.
The false cases in which Limon has been implicated — possessing illegal arms, obstructing law-enforcement agencies in the pursuance of their duties — still stand; high-up government officials have stated that not only is Limon a `criminal’, his father too, is a `criminal.’
State harassment and persecution of Limon MUST be resisted because it affects all of us, he is our son, he symbolises the nation’s future. He has become a test case, and we must put our foot down and insist, Too many lives have been lost! No More!
We collected signatures in support of our demands (see below) The human chain was joined by passersby. A young theatre group from the nearby town Narayanganj Ei Bangla’y performed their street play, `Shobuj Pori.’ We were encouraged by the fact that every week ever bigger numbers of spectators gathered (see video below).
Our demands are:
? Stop fabricating cases against Limon and his family members.
? Ensure the security of Limon, and his family members
? Punish the perpetrators
Masud Imran (Mannu), asst professor, archaeology, Jahangirnagar university
Naseem Akhter Hussain, professor, govt and politics, Jahangirnagar university
Sayema Khatun, asst professor, anthropology, Jahangirnagar university
Mahmudul Shumon, asst professor, anthropology, Jahangirnagar university
Nasrin Khondkar, asst professor, anthropology, Jahangirnagar university
and, rahnuma ahmed, writer
A `death squad’ was the BNP-Jamaat government’s gift to the nation, a gift that has been nurtured and defended by two successive governments, each claiming to be vastly different to the previous one.
Claiming not only to be better, but morally superior.
The death-knell was struck more than seven years ago, on June 2, 2003, when the cabinet committee on Law and Order decided to form the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). Those present were the committee president Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, law minister Moudud Ahmed, home minister Altaf Hossain Chowdhury, education minister Omar Farooq, and state minister for home affairs Lutfuzzaman Babar.
RAB was formally created eight months later, in March 2004, a composite force comprising elite members from the army, navy, air force, the police, and members of other law enforcement groups. It began full operations in June, the same year.
Remember Fakhruddin Ahmed, the ex-World Bank guy who led the military-installed caretaker government (2007-2008), who claimed to be driven by the objective of “holding a free, fair and credible election” which will truly reflect the “will of the people”? Who saw himself as a “champion or leader” motivated by the aim of “strengthening Bangladesh’s democratic order”? (Time, March 22, 2007).
Well, if you search the records, it turns out that around 315 persons were killed extra-judicially under his, and general Moeen U Ahmed’s, 23-month long emergency rule. Of these, the deaths of more than 250 persons were allegedly crossfire killings (`Bangladesh 2008. Insidious militarisation and illegal emergency,’ Asian Human Rights Commission, December 2008).
Even if, for arguments sake, these persons were hardened criminals, how is the democratic functioning of state institutions strengthened by officials of its elite anti-crime, anti-terror force behaving exactly as criminals do? Continue reading “The gift of a `death squad'”