Remember the James Bond 007 movie named Licensed to Kill? In Bangladesh, right after installation of an elected government at the end of 2008, partisan hoodlums and terrorists have been allowed to continue various forms of crime, which is tolerated by influential figures in the government and is silently watched by the members of the law enforcing agencies.
It is already over one month since my newspaper office was attacked by a gang of armed thugs belonging to ruling party, Bangladesh Awami League, as well as a member from the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence. The attackers enjoyed blessings from one Shintu, proclaiming to be the advisor to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Earlier, Shintu called my office and demanded TK. 500,000 [equivalent to US$ 9200] as extortion. In a harsh voice he told me that the amount was required for organizational purposes for the ruling party. It was later learned that this man continues to use the name of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and a number of top figures in the government, in continuing various forms of illegal activities. The activities of this man are within the knowledge of the ruling party leaders, but he is allowed to continue such activities as it has become a regular culture in Bangladesh for some musclemen and thugs to do whatever they wish when their party is in power.
In most of the democratic countries, while leaders concentrate on their party activists and supporters to be aware of the core value of democracy and democratic behavior, in Bangladesh politicians teach anarchism, terror, corruption and every form of bad action.
Each year, vehicles worth millions of dollars are torched by political demonstrators on the streets of Bangladesh. Such destruction even continues on public and private property. And, of course, instead of feeling guilty for such crime, politicians feel delighted. They claim such acts to be their democratic right.
In October 2006, thousands of activists of Awami League came onto streets in Dhaka with bamboo sticks, hockey sticks, knives and other lethal weapons at the call of their leader [now Prime Minister] Sheikh Hasina to kill people on the streets, during broad daylight, in the name of political demonstration. Controversial Awami League leaders like Jahangir Kabir Nanak, Mirza Azam, Bahauddin Nasim etc., were seen leading these.
Since Awami League came in power in the December, 2008 general election, its student wing and youth front have turned extremely enthusiastic in establishing a reign of terror in all the educational institutions, while free-style crime continue in various parts of the country by activists and members of the ruling party. Members of law enforcing agencies are rather captive in the hands of ruling party thugs and activists. Home Minister Sahara Khatun said truthfully on March 20, 2009 that country’s law and order situation was in the worst form ever since the independence of Bangladesh.
While the ruling government has lately realized that they have virtually no control over their student wing, youth front, and volunteer front, they have quickly adopted a very nasty policy of shifting the country to the status of a dangerous place in the world with the severe threat of Islamist militancy attacks. The Presidential Palace, the Prime Minister’s office and home, the Parliament House, broadcasting establishments, power stations, water supply centers and even English middle and Missionary educational institutions in the country are now under ‘Red Alert’. According to information, ‘Orange Alert’ has been declared in all the cantons in the country. Everywhere there is a fear of militant attack.
Police in Bangladesh have stepped up security at English-language schools in the capital amid fears of Islamic militant attacks. The measures came nearly a month after a mutiny at a military headquarters in Dhaka, in which thousands of rank-and-file border guards were accused of killing more than 70 people, mainly senior army officers. The government said Islamic militants were linked to the mutiny. The government also said that Islamist militants have penetrated deep inside country’s law enforcing and militia forces.
There is also another comment by the government of a link between local militants and the Taliban. It is quite natural to believe, especially after the government’s comments, that notorious terror groups like Al Qaida might have already found a certain place in Bangladesh with those militant Islamist groups.
It may be mentioned here that more than 100,000 students are attending English middle and missionary educational institutions in Bangladesh. On the other hand, there are above 69,000 Madrassas with additional number of kindergarten and kindergarten cadet Madrassas in the country. Experts consider Madrassas as the breeding ground of Jihadists. Also, more than 300,000 students come out of various types of Madrassas in Bangladesh, most of whom are brainwashed with religious hatred, Jihadists’ mentality and high aspirations of becoming ‘martyrs’ in any religious war. Teachers in religious schools allure young students towards martyrdom with heaven, 72-virgins and many more eternal gifts.
Students in Madrassas learn to hate Jews, Christians, Hindus and other non-Muslims; they consider them to be perverted from real religion. The students believe that killing Jews and Christians is their noble task, right from Allah. They consider the Bible, the Torah and other Holy Scriptures, except the Koran, as false and man-written.
Therefore, more than 300,000 students with such dangerous notions in mind, come out of Madrassas every year in Bangladesh, turning country’s security in potential threat.
But what the ruling government is continuing to forecast since the February 2009 Massacre in Dhaka has nothing to do with combating such a rise of Militancy. Rather, they seem to prefer political falsehood to save a large number of ruling party-men, who are directly or indirectly involved behind the BDR Massacre.
Moreover, it is also important to remember here that Awami League signed a treaty with the Islamist party, Khelafat Majlish, in 2006 to introduce Shariah Law into the country. One of the major partners of the coalition government in Bangladesh has an electoral mandate to enact Blasphemy laws in the country.
Additionally, a large number of non-governmental organizations in Bangladesh are reportedly engaged in terror financing. Intelligence reports recommended banning the Kuwait-based Revival of Islamic Heritage Society [RIHS], and taking action against a number of other Middle Eastern organizations found to have links with Islamist extremists.
In 2002, the US Department of State blacklisted some RIHS offices, citing their support for Osama bin Laden and Al Qaida. Intelligence agencies also reported that the militant group Ahle Hadith Andolon Bangladesh [AHAB] also receives such funding. AHAB chief Asadullah Al Galib himself talked about receiving funds. Other suspected NGOs include Rabita Al-Alam Al-Islami, Al-Muntada Al-Islami, Society of Social Reforms, Qatar Charitable Society, Islamic Relief Agency, Al-Forkan Foundation, International Relief Organization, Kuwait Joint Relief Committee, Muslim Aid Bangladesh, Dar Al-Khair, Hayatul Igachha and Tawheed-e-Noor.
Now, in Bangladesh, terrorism may even get stronger when Islamists align with Leftists, and some of the heavyweights in the ruling party continue to patronize such activity. Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, Haji Selim, Haji Mockbull, Shamim Osman, Joynal Hazari, Dipu Chowdhury, Akhtaruzzaman Chowdhury Babu, Jahangir Kabir Nanak, Mirza Azam, Amir Hossain Amu, all belonging to the ruling party, are known terrorists or terror godfathers. Hidden links among the elements are already established, who perpetrate conspiracies in defaming the Bangladesh Armed Forces as many of the kingpins of terror are greatly unhappy with Bangladesh Army for their anti-corruption and anti-terror drives, especially since January 11, 2007.
Thugs belonging to the ruling party attacked the office of my newspaper over one month ago. Surprisingly, there is no action from the law enforcement or intelligence agencies in the country. We were categorically told by police that it was not possible for them to take any action against those thugs, as the thugs belong to the ruling party.
Additionally, the previous government withdrew police protection from my residence. As I am the only journalist in Bangladesh facing sedition, treason and blasphemy charges for criticizing radical and militant Islam, there is serious risk to my life from the possible attacks by the Islamist militants. Now the government has officially endorsed the threat from the militants, but they are reluctant to reinstate police protection at my house. The reason behind this is very simple; none of the major political parties in Bangladesh are against Islamists. In many cases, such elements are close aides of the politicians. And, under such extreme adversity, what justice I can ever expect from the present rulers in Dhaka on the case of attack on my office and me in February 2009? What justice I can ever expect in the continuing case of sedition, treason and blasphemy, which is hanging on my shoulder for past six years?