Friday, August 28, 2015

Skip Navigation Links
 
link
 
link
SUPPLEMENT

Visitor Login










Cross-fire killings: Ruling coterie rueful of its Frankenstein?

Sadeq Khan

For nearly a decade now, rights activists have been crying out loud about extra-judicial killings, custodial deaths and forced disappearances. Plain clothes policemen have been picking up from homes and from the streets targeted citizens whose detention and disappearance are officially denied, some turning up as corpses floating in the river or rotting by the roadside, others never found.

Full Story

Sadeq Khan

For nearly a decade now, rights activists have been crying out loud about extra-judicial killings, custodial deaths and forced disappearances. Plain clothes policemen have been picking up from homes and from the streets targeted citizens whose detention and disappearance are officially denied, some turning up as corpses floating in the river or rotting by the roadside, others never found.

‘Odhikar’ and other human rights bodies in this country have been regularly reporting on custodial and “cross-fire” killings, on abductions leading to death or disappearance of persons ‘wanted’ by police for ‘interrogation’, and on ruling party abuse of state power to ‘terrorise’ and silence rivals in politics as well as suppress public resistance to extortion regimes of ruling party godfathers.
The US State Department’s annual report on Human Rights violations around the world regularly recounted such reports. The ruling coterie of the incumbent despotic regime never cared. The victims are often eminent opposition activists and leaders of the mainstream centrist politics, and sometimes old-guard “class-war” enthusiasts of the left whose negligible but virtuous following in any pocket of influence might be considered a nuisance by the ruling party rising star in the area. The former category of victims could provoke a hue and cry, and if their friends and relations were persistent and had resource backing, could obtain some redress in tracing the victim, dead or alive, filing police case (court case if the police refused to record f.i.r.) and pursuing the judicial process. Judicial rebuke would result in some administrative penal measures of no consequence.

‘Cross-fires’ & diplomatic etiquette
Sometimes “cross-fire” victims who were maimed but spared of life, like child victim Lemon who lost his leg, could obtain some form of compensation. In general, the magistracy and the judiciary let alone complaints of such unnatural deaths and disappearances, tied up in red tape. The police, if “pestered” by complainants in such cases, invariably choose to divert the course of investigation or prosecution to fictitious channels. Therefore, justice delayed results in justice denied.
In case of the latter left-leaning category of victims, genuine words of sympathy are spelt out from mouth to mouth locally, or sometimes beyond in the civil society and the media, but thereafter simply forgotten. Interestingly, suspects of Islamic extremism, purportedly for the suppression of whom unbridled police powers and immunity were given for real or fake ‘encounters’, appear to be spared of ‘cross-fire’ treatment or custodial deaths, even if they may be ‘tortured’ in interrogation and detained sine die under one pretext or another pending trial. Presumably the police and the magistracy take into account the collective capacity of extremist suspects to inflict “personalised” injuries, choosing soft amongst “tyrants” in the police and magistracy or their family members, in reprisal.
Sections of the media and Human Rights organisations at home and abroad have been relentless in exposing these blood-soaked dark rituals of the police raj in Bangladesh. The US State Department in its annual report on Human Rights violations around the world have been regularly reproducing lurid narratives of such extra-legal police actions. The parliament, the Executive or the Judiciary in Bangladesh never paid any heed.
Foreign dignitaries visiting Dhaka were sometimes drawn by the media to comment on such cases. Some one or the other from the ruling hierarchy would immediately jump in protest by issuing orchestrated press statements to the effect that the visitors’ comments were undue interference in our internal affairs and violation of diplomatic etiquette.

Cross-fire boomerang
Suddenly, this state of affairs appears to have changed over the last couple of weeks. The visiting British Minister of State for International Development Desmond Swayne in a press conference on 25 August commented on “extra-judicial killings” in Bangladesh, calling them “intolerable” and asking for “perpetrators” to be brought to justice: “Bangladesh is a democracy, and it’s essential that democratic values should be preserved and maintained. That means you can’t tolerate extrajudicial killings. “So, it’s for the government and police to ensure those crimes are investigated.”
It was music in the ears of a number of ruling party bigwigs. Reason: The Police Power Frankenstein of their creation has struck a boomerang on their own men. A sensational 7-murder in Narayanganj with mercenary use of RAB police personnel in a fake RAB police operation, resulting from inner-party conflict over turfs and interests of the “elected” Dons of Crime in that city, had created lot of furore and even prosecution of “some” of the “mercenary” law-enforcers involved. But the judicial process did not go very far and procrastination continues to shield in jail or out of jail the “perpetrators” who are closely connected with the ruling party hierarchy. But recent killings in “cross-fire” one after another of Awami League “terrors” retained by powerful leaders of the ruling coterie has shaken up the Executive and the Judiciary alike. According to the media reports, four leaders and activists of the ruling Awami League and its associate bodies died in “shootouts” with the police and RAB between August 18 and August 21. One of the latest incidents has been taken up by a member of the dynastic leadership of the ruling party. Result: Three Rapid Action Battalion officials were prosecuted on August 23 on charge of killing Chhatra League leader Arzu Miah in the name of ‘gunfight’ at Hazaribagh on early August 18.

Its within legal limits: IGP
Metropolitan Magistrate Shahriar Mahmud Adnan posted for August 25 its order in the case filed by elder brother of the ruling Awami League-backed student organisation leader Masud Rana against RAB-2 commanding officer colonel Masud Rana, its deputy assistant director Shahinur Rahman, inspector Wahid and informant Ratan. Masud told the court that the battalion officials abducted and killed Arzu, former president of the Hazaribagh thana Chhatra League in a pre-planned way near Hazaribagh Park between August 17 afternoon and early hours on August 18 in the name of gunfight.
The case was lodged after local Awami League lawmaker Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh on several occasions blamed the battalion for the abduction and murder of Arzu and demanded punishment of those involved in it.
Arzu was the prime accused of the killing of teenage boy Raja, who was tortured to death by Arzu and his associates on August 17. Sixteen year-old Raja was reportedly picked up by Arzu and his associates from his house in Hazaribagh accusing the teenage boy of stealing Arzu’s mobile phone set.
Battalion director (legal and media wing) Mufti Mahmood Khan at a briefing on August 18 claimed that the battalion arrested Arzu at about midnight on August 17. Miscreants tried to snatch him from battalion custody at Boraikhal of Hazaribagh at about  3:30am on August 18, when the battalion men conducted operation along with Arzu to arrest his cohorts. Arzu sustained bullet injuries when the ‘miscreants’ engaged the battalion in a gunfight’ Arzu was rushed to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries at about 5:30 am.
The Inspector general of police defended ‘gunfights’ by law enforcers and asserted that the incidents fell within legal limits: “Police opened fire fearing risk of life when they were attacked. They have the right to protect their lives. It took place in a legal context. We are accountable for this sort of death and face executive inquiry. Criminals have no particular political party. They are engaged in criminal activities for personal gain taking shelter from different parties. We treat them as criminals and take action.”

Losing grip
On August 25, a judicial enquiry has been ordered by the Metropolitan Magistrate in the case filed against the three RAB officials. Meanwhile top leaders of the ruling coalition are continuing to hammer on the culture of “cross-fire” killings by the police, and are also engaged in a blame game castigating one another by direct or oblique references to their past disloyalties to the dynastic core of the ruling coterie.
Evidently, the all-powerful PMO is losing grip over events, or the top echelons of the ruling coterie, including dynastic heir lings, are not in tune with what is in the mind of the Prime Minister and her office.


Login to post comments


(0)



Vivacity of history robbed by myth, falsehood

M. Shahidul Islam

This August has been unlike many others. The intra-fighting within the ruling AL cadres and a spate of cross-fires by law enforcers on alleged murderers of ruling party aside, barrages of accusations by many ruling party stalwarts against its political ally, the JSD —for having created the poisonous ambiance and the prelude to the August 15, 1975 massacre of Sheikh Mujib and many others—have created a whirlpool of confusions and obfuscations that will taint history’s sanity for decades.

Full Story

M. Shahidul Islam

This August has been unlike many others. The intra-fighting within the ruling AL cadres and a spate of cross-fires by law enforcers on alleged murderers of ruling party aside, barrages of accusations by many ruling party stalwarts against its political ally, the JSD —for having created the poisonous ambiance and the prelude to the August 15, 1975 massacre of Sheikh Mujib and many others—have created a whirlpool of confusions and obfuscations that will taint history’s sanity for decades.

As information is getting twisted every minute in this unprecedented hurling of accusative innuendos and hyperboles, most of which without any substance, the new generation is frustratingly swinging in the eves and flows of that confusing historicity in the making. Many even ask: What’s the truth?

Defining truth
Truth is the narrative of events conforming to the reality. But our historic truth is getting submerged under the propaganda of those in the steering of the statecraft. In so far as it relates to the context, execution and the consequences of the August 15, 1975 military putsch, the truth seems to have a rainbow like facade, with multifarious colours and contours.
A general consensus among many Awami Leaguers is that the USA was behind the killing of Sheikh Mujib, with help from Khondoker Mostaque Ahmed et al of his own cabinet and a bunch of serving and retired army officers; including then deputy chief of the army, Maj. Gen. Ziaur Rahman. This version of history recurs with full ferocity whenever the Awami League assumes power.
Having taken that version as sacrosanct and infallible, the ruling AL stalwarts explicate the political backdrop of Mujib’s assassination by blaming the JSD, Siraj Sikder’s PBSP, et al, internally while external linkage to the August 15 coup is often traced diligently and stretched up to Washington DC where the US administration and the CIA are suspected of having plotted the scheme.
Now, a new dimension of the Mujib killing episode has begun to surface, thanks to the overplaying of the issue by the ruling AL and most of the Bangladesh media outlets playing the tunes of AL’s authoritative dictates. Latest information on the coup, culled from authentic information from Delhi and Washington, reveals that the coup was an indigenous move with infiltrations from both Washington and Delhi, and the eventual outbidding of Delhi by Washington. After the coup, President Gerald Ford is said to have told Mrs. Indira Gandhi in a hot exchange: “Madam Prime Minister, the game is up.”
This hot exchange is indicative of both Washington and Delhi playing some role in dismantling the Mujib regime. However, before such external linkages are narrated further, we must examine the backdrop dispassionately to make any authentic contribution to the making up of our own history for the posterity. The following watershed events can help any inquisitive mind reach at a plausible conclusion in this regard.

Snippets of history
1. Sheikh Fazlul Haque Moni, nephew of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the founder of Mujib Bahini and the Jubo League, the youth wing of Bangladesh Awami League, was a close confidant of the Indian external intelligence service, the R&AW.
2. This has been proven anew when the joint intelligence committee formed by the Indian government during the Bangladesh liberation war was tasked to form a special force under Major General Uban (see his book: Phantoms of Chittagong) which became known as the Mujib Bahini, and of which Moni was the leader. This was a checkmating force to the populist Freedom Fighters (FF) operating under the exiled Bangladesh government and commanded by Pakistani-trained officers not trusted by India.
3. The overbearing power of the Mujib Bahini has been narrated by one of the famous ex-Awami League MPs (1971), M.A. Mohaimen, who said: “In the morning hours of December 16, I came to know that General Niazi, along with all of his soldiers, would surrender to the Indian Forces at Dacca Race Course Ground in the afternoon of that day. Upon hearing this, I rushed to 8 Theatre Road [Calcutta] to meet Tajuddin Saheb. I heard that he had left for Dacca by then or at least was preparing to leave. But upon my arrival there, I found Tajuddin Saheb sitting there in regular attire. On being questioned about his departure for Dacca, he replied that he would not go. I was quite surprised on hearing this reply. Our country is about to achieve independence after a long struggle; the enemy force is about to surrender but the Prime Minister of Provisional Government would not be physically present at the surrender ceremony. I could not figure out the matter at all. Being inquired about the reason he replied, ‘You know my attitude toward Sheikh Moni and Mujib Bahini. I came to know from my well-wishers in the army that total anarchy prevails in Dacca at this time. Right at this time, it is not safe at all on my part to be present in any public gathering in Dacca. … So, my well-wishers are saying that they will inform me after the situation in Dacca comes under their control I shall be able to go to Dacca within a day or two.’ When I asked if General Osmani Saheb was heading for Dacca, he replied that he will not go either. I ‘s Tajuddin’s since Mujib Bahini was not in good terms with him either.”

Mujib’s request for withdrawing Indian army
4. Upon Mujib’s urging to Indira Gandhi to take away Indian forces from Bangladesh, most of the Mujib Bahini leaders and activists were seen breaking away from the AL. They soon formed the JSD and espoused a theory of scientific socialism which sought to assume state power through armed struggle.  Almost simultaneously, on 8 February 1972, the Mujib regime formed a para-military force called the Jatio Rakhi Bahini (JRB). Purportedly an auxiliary force of the police, it was in reality a private army loyal only to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Professor Ghulam Murshid compared it with Hitler’s Gestapo while author Anthony Mascarenhas said there were a few differences between Hitler’s Nazis and Mujib’s JRB. All authentic accounts state the JRB killed over 45,000 political activists in three years. The culture of cross fire also started from there.
5. Yet, amidst fast deterioration of the law and order situation, India became concerned about the sustainability of the Mujib regime and the future of Bangladesh which constitutes the under valley of eastern India. In December 1974, India Gandhi dispatched the founder of Indian external spy agency, Rameshwar Nath Kao, to meet Sheikh Mujib who pre-warned Mujib of the certainty of a military coup against his regime. Veteran R&AW analyst Asoka Raina narrated this incident in his famous book, “Inside R&AW.”
6. Last but not the least, the passage of the Fourth Amendment Act on January 25, 1975 made Sheikh Mujib the president of Bangladesh with unlimited power; whereupon he could, and did, create a single party, select ministers of his choice and control the mass media (all but four newspapers were allowed publication). The tenure of the existing parliament was also extended arbitrarily to another five years, ignoring its due expiration in 1978.

India’s role
As the nation became ungovernable and public discontent pitched to boiling rage, another R&AW official was dispatched to Dhaka by Delhi to brief Sheikh Mujib in March 1975 about the details of the impending military plot which Mujib is said to have ignored.
Frustrated, and aware that Bangladesh would unleash itself from Indian tutelage if the scheme of the Pakistan-trained officers succeeded, the R&AW then created its own team to replace Mujib, which, according to one of the accused of the Mujib killing case, was headed by Sheikh Fazlul Hoque Moni but was overpowered by the nationalist zeal of the forces that arrayed against him; resulting in Moni’s assassination along with Mujib and many of his immediate family members.
This narrative obtains authenticity if one observes how India has been sheltering two of the alleged Mujib killers, Capt. Majed and Risaldar Mosleuddin, who, according to Bangladesh intelligence sources and Bangladesh media, are sheltered inside an Indian prison but the Indian authorities do not admit about their existence in that country. On Dec. 20, 2009, then Indian High Commissioner to Dhaka, Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty, dismissed as speculation the media reports that the two accused were in India.
Besides, Lawrence Lifschultz, who had investigated the August 15 coup in details and served as the Dhaka correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review in 1974 and the South Asia correspondent for the same publication in 1975 (based in Delhi) wrote:  “In India, Indira Gandhi, speaking of the tragedy of Mujib’s death, spoke of the sure hand of foreign involvement. As usual, Mrs. Gandhi was graphically lacking in details or specifics. However, her avid supporters during those first nuptial days of India’s Emergency, the pro-Moscow Communist Party of India (C.P.I.), were more explicit: the CIA said the CPI was behind the coup.” The CPI being an ally of the Indira Gandhi team in power in Delhi, Delhi too became a prime suspect in the killing of Sheikh Mujib.


Login to post comments


(0)



JSD’s past politics unfolding news debate

Faruque Ahmed

A highly charged debate has suddenly made the country’s political climate quite volatile last week on the role the leftwing political party JSD and its armed wing Gonobahini had played to destabilize the Sheikh Mujibur Rahman government in 1974-75.

Full Story

Faruque Ahmed

A highly charged debate has suddenly made the country’s political climate quite volatile last week on the role the leftwing political party JSD and its armed wing Gonobahini had played to destabilize the Sheikh Mujibur Rahman government in 1974-75.

Senior Awami League leader and Mujib’s nephew Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim and Mahbubul Alam Hanif have publicly blamed the JSD leaders and their armed outfits for destabilizing the country at that time which eventually created the environment for a military coup ending in the killing of Sheikh Mujibur by a group of errant army personnel.
Meanwhile, BNP leaders have also labeled similar charges against the JSD leaders and their violent politics at that time blaming them for creating the chaotic situation that paved the way to the unfortunate killing of Sheikh Mujib and his family.

Convulsions within
Joining voice with Awami League leaders they have also demanded a judicial inquiry commission to ascertain the role of the players of 1975 change over that brought military leaders to rule the country destroying the nascent democratic experiment under the one party rule of Sheikh Mujib.
BNP has also demanded the resignation of Information Minister and present JSD leader Hasanul Haque Inu who was a young socialist revolutionary at that time organizing volatile activities in a bid to installing a leftist government replacing the Sheikh Mujib government.
However JSD is now a component of the grand coalition of Sheikh Hasina government and its leaders see an unholy nexus between some Awami League and BNP leaders in raising such issues at this moment.
Inu slammed the development saying when the government’s fight against terrorism and fundamentalism is moving towards the ultimate victory some quarters are out to destroy the unity.
The attacks and counter attacks through the media by leaders of the three political formations are at its peak and it appears that more tensions and mistrusts may overshadow the debate centering JSD’s presence in the government.
There may be a similarity of feelings at work. BNP is under pressure to distance itself from the Jamaat and the new development shows that sections within the Awami League are not be feeling comfortable with JSD’s role in the government.
Meanwhile, the tensions between the Hazaribagh ruling party leaders in the city and the elite force Rab centring the killing of Chatra League leader Arzu Miah appears to have created an uneasy development for the government. The misgivings further aggravated following the killing of three other party cadres last week in what Rab said in ‘gunfight’ encounters in Magura and Gazipur districts.
The killing of Arzu Miah in ‘gunfights’ within 12 hours of the killing of a boy by him drew hostile reaction from local party leaders including the ruling party lawmaker Fazle Nur Taposh MP, a close relative of the Prime Minister. They demanded trial of Rab officers who killed the local ruling party leader.

Controversy on RAB’s role
The lawmaker said Rab was established by BNP-Jamaat government and it appears that the force is now turning the gun against Awami League leaders and workers. It must be restructured, he said apparently calling to purge the hostile elements and ensure its total loyalty to ruling party leaders and workers.
Meanwhile, a case has been lodged against three Rab officers and its local commanding officer has been withdrawn to calm the local party men who are calling for action against the elite force. But what appears difficult to understand is that no extra-judicial killing is unlawful in all cases in any form. But Rab killed scores of BNP-Jamaat men in so called gunfights over the past six years, in addition to forced disappearance of hundreds others. However, nobody from the ruling party ever protested it as they are doing now demanding trial of Rab personnel for killing the party men.
The fact is that the ruling party wants that Rab must play effective role to silencing the opposition but when it comes to deal with the crimes such as mugging, killing or terrorising by ruling party men they must watch from sideline.
The factional fights within the ruling party have now escalated throughout the country and they are killing almost daily one another on flimsy grounds while the presence of the opposition activists in their areas has almost disappeared. Such intra-party killings based on local political control and toll collection appears highly embarrassing for the government. It may be noted that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has recently ordered law enforcers to ‘use strong hand to deal with crimes.’
Party leader Mohammd Nasim has denounced the unruly party activists saying they are intruders and the government has decided to cleanse the party of such elements. Some other senior leaders making identical comments suggested that Rab may have turned the guns against the rogue party elements on instructions.

Licensed arm cadres
But the fact is that the criminalization of the ruling party cadres now runs high with scores holding guns and firearms to face the rivals in the ground. It has made party cadres desperate apparently forcing the government to take up stern steps signaling that party men are not entitled to impunity for killing rivals within the party.
Some analysts suggest it is perhaps too late now because the government has provided local party leaders and cadres with about 12,000 licensed firearms over the past six and a half year. A former home minister allegedly had provided 3000 firearms including pistols, rifles and shotguns to party cadres of her constituency in north city.
Besides, illegal arms are flooding the country from outside prompting unruly men with political connections to engage in criminal activities. The four Jubo League leaders who were killed in factional fights in the past weeks in the city’s Badda area for controlling local politics and business were the victims of their own gun trotting. This is a time for introspection for those at the helm.
The challenge that Rab faces from ruling party cadres is an ominous sign and it is not known how the government would reign in the unruly party elements without using the law enforces. Additionally, the political tensions concerning JSD’s role in the government at present and in the past may be unfolding new debates with far reaching political ramifications.


Login to post comments


(0)



Turkey holding snap poll on November 1

Dr. Abdul Ruff in New Delhi

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey is trying to strengthen his powers to face opposition to Islamist form of governance. Turkey is heading towards a new election amid escalating violence between Turkey’s security forces and Kurdish rebels as it is taking a more active role in the US-led campaign against Islamic State.
President Erdogan last Friday (August 21) announced that the second legislative election will be held November 1 next, so the Turks will be back to the ballot box once again after the last poll in June this year producing a hung parliament.

Full Story

Dr. Abdul Ruff in New Delhi

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey is trying to strengthen his powers to face opposition to Islamist form of governance. Turkey is heading towards a new election amid escalating violence between Turkey’s security forces and Kurdish rebels as it is taking a more active role in the US-led campaign against Islamic State.
President Erdogan last Friday (August 21) announced that the second legislative election will be held November 1 next, so the Turks will be back to the ballot box once again after the last poll in June this year producing a hung parliament.

Political turmoil
Erdogan’s Justice and Development party (AKP) lost its overall majority in the June election for the first time since it came to power in 2002. Coalition talks saw wide divides between the AKP and the other three parties in parliament, in part over the role Erdogan would play in governance. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, now the leader of the AKP, already announced last week he was giving up trying to form a coalition with a junior partner. Davutoglu formally told Erdogan that he had failed to form a coalition government. Erdogan told reporters he had no intention of giving Turkey’s opposition leader the mandate to try and form a government.
The snap elections come just months after the last poll in June, which saw the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which Erdogan helped found has been facing  discontentment  among sections of population fueled by the essentially anti-Islamic opposition on account of  policies  and  Erdogan’s  fight  with  his one  time ally  Gulen.
2013 Gezi Park protests against the perceived authoritarianism of Erdogan and his policies, starting from a small sit-in in Istanbul in defence of a city park which led to nationwide protests breaking out in 2013 against his policies. An internationally criticised crackdown on protestors by the police and AKP youth members led to 22 deaths, resulting in Gülen withdrawing support from the AKP and EU ascension talks stalling.
A $100 billion government corruption scandal in 2013 led to the arrests of Erdoan’s close allies, with Erdogan himself incriminated after a recording was released on social media.  Blaming the scandal on a ‘coup attempt’ by a ‘parallel structure’ formed of his ally turned foe Gülen’s supporters in high judicial offices, Erdogan implemented large-scale reforms to the police and judicial systems that were criticised for placing the judiciary’s independence in doubt

More power for president
However, soon Erdogan was directly elected as president last year. He has since taken on powers not wielded by his predecessor as head of state and has called for this de facto situation to be recognized through constitutional changes. In the campaign before the last June election, Erdogan had urged voters to back the AKP so it could enact legal amendments and empower the presidency, but it failed.
The June election also saw the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) enter parliament for the first time.  Last month, the ceasefire between the armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the state broke down, putting pressure both on the ruling party and the pro-Kurdish civilian movement.
Erdogan said he would form an interim government that will lead Turkey until the election, and could appoint persons not members of the parliament. Turkish law requires that the interim government include members of all four parties represented in parliament, but two opposition parties have already said they would not participate.
Erdoan appears to be betting that a new ballot could revive the fortunes of his Islamic-rooted party which he founded and led for more than a decade, and thus put him back on course to reshape Turkey’s democracy into a system in which the president would have executive powers. A coalition government would also have limited his ability to influence the government.
Dozens of people have been killed in renewed clashes between Turkey’s military and rebels of the Kurdistan Workers’ party, or PKK. Last month, Turkish jets raided Isis targets in Syria and PKK targets in Iraq while US jets also launched their first air strikes against Isis targets from a Turkish air base near Syria.
Opponents have accused Erdogan of attacking the PKK in a bid to win nationalists’ support and discredit a pro-Kurdish party, whose gains in the June elections deprived the ruling party of its majority. “God willing, on November 1st, Turkey will go through what I like to call repeat elections,” said Erdogan.


Login to post comments


(0)



Nepalis prefer constitutional monarchy

Shamsuddin Ahmed

The draft constitution of Nepal providing for seven provinces and secularism as principle of the state has sparked fresh conflict across the country that suffered 10,000 people dead in severe earthquake in May last. Eleven fringe parties including Madesh Janadhikar Forum in the Constituent Assembly (CA) boycotted, burnt and torn the draft constitution and street protests left more than a score people dead since it was placed in the house weeks ago. Last Monday (August 24), seven police personnel and three demonstrators were killed in remote Kalali district in the west when Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities enforced strike. As tension prevailed in the area, Army was called out to quell the situation.

Full Story

Shamsuddin Ahmed

The draft constitution of Nepal providing for seven provinces and secularism as principle of the state has sparked fresh conflict across the country that suffered 10,000 people dead in severe earthquake in May last. Eleven fringe parties including Madesh Janadhikar Forum in the Constituent Assembly (CA) boycotted, burnt and torn the draft constitution and street protests left more than a score people dead since it was placed in the house weeks ago. Last Monday (August 24), seven police personnel and three demonstrators were killed in remote Kalali district in the west when Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities enforced strike. As tension prevailed in the area, Army was called out to quell the situation.

Draft constitution tabled
Protesters said the constitution failed to meet aspirations of the people and protect the rights of ethnic minorities dalits, adivassis and Muslims that ignited hatred. It is apprehended demarcation of borders of seven provinces would discriminate against historically marginalized communities. Political leaders tend to carve out provinces and draw boundaries for their short-term electoral gains.
Preempting serious conflict disgruntled Madheshi leaders announced compensation of Rs. 50 lakh to potential martyrs in Madhesh movement for two separate provinces. This open call for martyrdom like terrorist outfit shows they want conflict, killing and destruction. Madhesh comprises plain area along the border with India and inhabited mostly by migrants from Bihar and Uttar Pradhesh.
Final draft of the constitution was placed in CA on August 23 amid protests and shouting of slogans. Adoption of the constitution on the basis of consensus is unlikely. The ruling Nepali Congress-CPN(M-L) with support of UCPN (Maoist), popularly known as the power syndicate, may finally go for usual way of adopting the constitution with two-thirds majority vote in the 601-member Assembly. What worrying most is the proposed constitution raised the prospect of new rebellions being born. The flaming agitations across the country with sporadic curfews are a tantamount of the fact that Nepal cannot withstand the federal structure and secularism as the state principle.
Political parties in Nepal have been struggling for nearly a decade for a constitution of the republic since abolition of the 240-year old Hindu monarchy in 2006.The first constituent assembly representing parties differing widely with each other failed to produce the statue despite its tenure was extended several times to four years. The second and present constituent assembly elected one and a half years ago has produced a draft, which, when presented in CA met with objections by smaller parties representing ethnic minority groups.

Constitutional monarchy preferred
Feedback pouring into the CA constitution committee from across the country showed a vast majority of people demanded a revival of Hindu state with constitutional monarchy. People strongly opposed federal structure saying that Nepal with 2.88 crore population is even smaller than one state of India. Dividing the country into seven provinces may weaken the country rather than strengthening unity among the people. Financially also, the country cannot bear the expenses of so many provinces.
About secularism, the government has taken note of countrywide resentment. UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli has hinted that the secularism would be dropped from the new Constitution.”I have heard that a large section of people are against secularism. Demonstrators demanded restoration of Hindu State. UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Prachanda said secularism may be replaced with ‘religious freedom’. Nepali Congress had always been opposed to the declaration of Nepal as a secular state and was secretly in favour of defining Nepal as a Hindu state.
The most vexing demand is two separate Madhesh provinces. Upendra Yadav, Bijoy Kumar Gachhadar and their associates demand for demarcation of boundaries and Jesus Muniz citizenship for those Indians staying in Nepal. Earlier, Koirala government had granted citizenship to 4.2 million Indians residing in Nepal. If they get Jesus Muniz citizenship, they can become executive chief and also the head of the state of Nepal.
Already, Mahantha Thakur, Rajendra Mahato, Sarita Giri and many others have enjoyed political rights although they are Indians by birth. Three-party syndicate is apparently willing to address the Madheshi demands arguing that it would help them suppress the demands of other agitating groups. Madheshi leaders at the constitutional and political dialogue committee meeting on July 17 had threatened to split Nepal and creating Madhesh a separate country if their demands are not met.

The India factor 
It may be recalled that immediately after India annexed Sikkim in 1975 Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had allegedly assigned the job to RAW for splitting the tarai part of Nepal and include it in India. Her plan didn’t materialize as she was engaged in internal political crisis and her government was toppled by the BJP. Nevertheless, the Indian spy agency continued working on the plan.
During the 1989 people’s Movement, India had proposed to King Birendra that Nepal should remain at the status of Bhutan to ensure his reign. The King rejected the proposal and decided to handover executive power to the agitating political parties instead of securing his position by surrendering to India.
Nepal lawmakers influenced by India had tried to endorse the citizenship amendment bill disguised as a Finance Bill. King Birendra sent that bill to the Supreme Court for its decision questioning whether the bill was a finance bill or a citizenship bill. The Supreme Court gave a verdict that it was not a finance bill which the King was not bound to approve. In this way, the King once again saved the country from falling into Indian pockets.
But immediately after the 2006 April uprising, the political leaders in power made the first decision to grant citizenship to 4.2 million Indian nationals residing in Nepal since 1989. Within 2 years the country witnessed the Madhesh uprising in 2008, many say orchestrated by Indian intelligence agencies by providing manpower and financial support. Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala had to sign an agreement with the agitating Madheshi parties at the Indian Embassy in presence of the ambassador. Today, the Madheshi leaders are demanding that the entire tarai region should be declared as two provinces.
The Nepal Army and the National Investigation Department viewed the Madheshi and other communal groups can be a serious threat to the sovereignty and integrity of Nepal. Indians are behind the Madheshi demand and some Western countries are behind the hill area communal groups.
The writer’s contact: shamsuddin47ahmed@gmail.com mobile 01626041030


Login to post comments


(0)



Israel unleashes its loose cannon on the UN

Jonathan Cook in Nazareth
Countercurrents.org

The appointment by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu of one of his most hawkish and outspoken rivals as Israel’s new ambassador to the United Nations has prompted widespread consternation.
As one Israeli analyst noted last week, Danny Danon’s appointment amounts to a “cruel joke” on the international community. The new envoy “lacks even the slightest level of finesse and subtlety required of a senior diplomat”.

Full Story

Jonathan Cook in Nazareth
Countercurrents.org

The appointment by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu of one of his most hawkish and outspoken rivals as Israel’s new ambassador to the United Nations has prompted widespread consternation.
As one Israeli analyst noted last week, Danny Danon’s appointment amounts to a “cruel joke” on the international community. The new envoy “lacks even the slightest level of finesse and subtlety required of a senior diplomat”.

Last year Netanyahu sacked Danon as deputy defence minister, describing him as too “irresponsible” even by the standards of Israel’s usually anarchic politics. Danon had denounced the prime minister for “leftist feebleness” in his handling of Israel’s attack on Gaza last summer.

Israeli right’s poster boy
Danon is a UN official’s worst nightmare. He is a vocal opponent of a two-state solution and has repeatedly called for the annexation of the West Bank.
Back in 2011, days before the UN General Assembly was to vote on Palestinian statehood, Danon dismissed the forum as irrelevant: “Even if there will be a vote [in favour], it will be a Facebook state.”
On the face of it, Netanyahu’s timing could not be worse. Danon is to represent Israel as the Palestinians are expected to step up efforts at the UN to entrench recognition of their statehood. He will also be a leading spokesman as Israel tries to fend off war crimes investigations at the International Criminal Court in the Hague.
The generally accepted explanation is that Netanyahu’s move is driven by domestic, not diplomatic, calculations. Danon is the Israeli right’s poster boy, one who makes the prime minister look too cautious and conciliatory.
The two faced off for the Likud party leadership last November. Danon lost but Netanyahu doubtless fears, as his party and the Israeli public shift ever rightwards, that his rival’s time is coming.
The posting removes Danon as head of the Likud’s powerful central committee, dispatches him to a distant land, and should provide him with opportunities aplenty to self-harm.
But that is not the whole story. Danon’s appointment reveals something more significant about Israel’s deteriorating relations even with its international supporters.
It is hard nowadays to recall that Israel once took the UN very seriously indeed. It had to. In the decade following 1948, Abba Eban, the country’s foremost diplomat, sought to carve out international recognition and respectability for Israel at the UN.
Eban often used deceit and misdirection – he is reported to have avowed that “diplomats go abroad to lie for their country”. But he never forgot the importance of creating a façade of moral justification for Israel’s actions, even as it launched wars of aggression in 1956 at Suez and again against Egypt in 1967.

Netanyahu’s desperate diplomacy
Reality caught up with Israel when the UN adopted a resolution in 1975 equating Israel’s official ideology, Zionism, with racism. The resolution was only revoked 16 years later, after the Soviet Union collapsed and the United States emerged as the world’s sole superpower.
Washington arm-twisted the General Assembly with promises that Israel would engage in a peace process with the Palestinians, culminating a short time later in the Oslo Accords. But as Oslo slowly unravelled, and Israel’s leaders – not least Netanyahu himself – were exposed as the true rejectionists, Israel was forced on to the back foot again.
Today, the consensus in Israel is not only that the UN is a bastion of anti-Israel prejudice but that it is an incubator of global anti-semitism, much of it supposedly spawned by Arab states. Israel is blameless, so this story goes, but the world has fallen under the haters’ spell.
The parting shot of Danon’s predecessor, Ron Prosor, last week was to accuse yet again a leading UN official, Jordan’s Rima Khalaf, of anti-semitism for pointing out the untold misery caused by Israel’s near-decade blockade of Gaza.
Earlier this year, after stepping down as Israel’s ambassador to the US, Michael Oren went further, arguing that the plague of anti-semitism had infected even America’s leading Jewish journalists. Their critical coverage of Israel was proof of self-hatred, he claimed.
The need for such desperate diplomacy has grown as Israel’s moral image has tarnished, even for its allies. But the hectoring and intimidation by seasoned diplomats like Prosor and Oren has produced diminishing returns.
Danon’s posting is part of a discernible pattern of recent appointments by Netanyahu that reflect a growing refusal to engage in any kind of recognisable diplomacy. Confrontation is preferred.
The trend started with Netanyahu’s decision in 2009 to let the thuggish Avigdor Lieberman lead the foreign ministry and Israel’s diplomatic corps.

Danon the diplomatic menace 
Notably, Netanyahu picked Ron Dermer, a high-profile partisan of the US Republican party, to replace Oren in 2013. Dermer is widely credited with engineering Netanyahu’s provocative address earlier this year to the US Congress, in an undisguised effort to undermine President Barack Obama’s talks with Iran.
Danon’s appointment, like Dermer’s, indicates the extent to which the Israeli right has abandoned any hope of persuading the international community of the rightness of its cause – or even of working within the rules of statecraft.
Just as Dermer has turned Obama’s White House into a diplomatic battlefield, Danon can be expected to barrack, abuse and alienate fellow ambassadors at the UN in New York.
An Israel that has no place for negotiations or compromise wants only to tell the world that it is wrong and that Israelis don’t care what others think. Danon is the right man for that task.
Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net.


Login to post comments


(0)



METROPOLITAN
EDITORIAL
COMMENTS
INTERNATIONAL
BUSINESS
INFOTECH
CULTURE
MISCELLANY
AVIATOUR
LETTERS
LAST WORD
OIC DIARY
July 2015 OIC condemns bloody terror attacks in Sinai
July 2015 Terrorist Attack on Peace Keepers in Northern Mali
July 2015 UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL OIC-proposed resolution on Human Rights of Rohingya adopted
July 2015 ACCOUNTABILITY AND JUSTICE FOR VIOLATIONS IN OCCUPIED PALESTINE Human Rights Council adopts OIC-moved resolution
July 2015 UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL OIC-moved resolution on protecting family adopted by majority vote
July 2015 Implementation of Kuwait CFM resolutions
July 2015 OIC mourns the death of Prince Saud Al-Faisal
July 2015 Heinous terrorist incident at the Italian Consulate in Cairo
July 2015 OIC condemns terrorist act in N’djamena
July 2015 Libyan Parties initial Political Agreement in Morocco
July 2015 NUCLEAR DEAL WITH IRAN OIC hopes for agreement to secure regional peace & stability
July 2015 Attack on Turkish Border Town
July 2015 OIC contradicts Nuri Al-Maliki’s statement on Saudi Arabia
July 2015 Pernicious terrorist attack in the Northern Cameroon
July 2015 OIC condemns Israeli move to build 886 new settlements
July 2015 Israeli incursion into Al-Aqsa Mosque to attack worshippers
July 2015 Deadly terrorist attack in Bahrain
July 2015 Roundtable on the role of civil society in electoral processes
July 2015 Bangladesh Ambassador presents credentials to OIC Secretary General
July 2015 OIC Secretary General sends Eid Greetings to the Muslim Ummah
FOUNDING EDITOR: ENAYETULLAH KHAN; EDITOR: SAYED KAMALUDDIN
Contents Copyrighted © by Holiday Publication Limited
Mailing address 30, Tejgaon Industrial Area, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh.
Phone 880-2-8170462, 8170463, 8170464 Fax 880-2-9127927 Email holiday@bangla.net
Site Managed By: Southtech Limited
Southtech Limited does not take any responsibility for any news content of this site