Friday, April 20, 2018 EDITORIAL

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 EDITORIAL

SCHEMERS AGAINST SHEIKH HASINA’S DECISION?
Fishing in muddy water: Conspirators must be punished

Given that in the light of the cogently argued and logically convincing long-unheeded issue of quota reforms, finally PM Sheikh Hasina acted going one step ahead to abolish the system by itself which was not in the agenda of the student demonstrators. Admiring her affirmative action we said last week, “It augurs well, that amid countrywide demonstrations of students Sheikh Hasina responded by scrapping the ‘quota system’ per se”. Besides we wound up  with following words, “The bureaucracy has to be based strictly on meritocracy. On this issue we wish to quote the greatest English writer of all times, Shakespeare: “All’s well that ends well.”  
The savage attack on the DUVC’s residence happened on 9th April following the clashes between police, the pro-ruling party Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) and protesters demanding quota reform. As regards the assault and vandalism in addition to torching by a gang of youths, many of whom were wearing masks, broke through the gate to get inside. The ghastly incident appears to be machinated with a motive to sabotage the legitimate countrywide demonstrations of an overwhelming number of apolitical general students.
The entire area has been under intensive surveillance over the years with CCTV as well as by law enforcement agency personnel. The VC’s house is located roughly in the middle of a triangle of three DMP establishments — Babupura police outpost, Neelkhet police outpost and the Shahbagh police station. Therefore it is a valid question worth asking how a gang of masked men in presence of some 500 students could enter the central zone of the varsity campus which has been tense since mid-February this year. An immediate judicial probe into the matter brooks no delay. The DMP must give a credible explanation to the public through the Home Minister.
Hundreds of students demonstrated over 45 days back in favour of expanding the scope of ‘meritocracy’ in front of the National Museum.  The demonstrations began on February 17 when students under the banner of Bangladesh Shadharan Chhatra Odhikar Sangrakkhan Parishad launched the movement over their five-point demand, including reducing the quota privilege to 10 percent from 56.
People are not at all surprised in Bangladesh when armed gangs of ruling pro-Awami League varsity and college students belonging to the BCL are engaged in gunfights on the campuses — consequently leaving some dead and many injured as they have become used to hundreds of such incidents. As a domino effect perhaps teachers in a highest seat of learning seemed to be on the heels of their pupils. Though nowhere else in the world teachers of university, college or even school punch each other, it is possible in this country, as was evident at the Jahangirnagar University the other day as difference of opinion between two factions of ruling pro-Awami League (AL) faculty members of the present VC Farzana Islam and the former VC Sharif Enamul Kabir led to bouts of fisticuffs.
Conversely, demanding justified reforms in the quota system in the civil service recruitments apolitical general students of public and private universities across the country — numbering hundreds of thousands — organised a weeklong peaceful demonstration, despite provocations and attempts of sabotage. The Dhaka University students got the ball rolling in January and formed a human chain in front of the Aprajeyo Bangla demanding punishment of ruling pro-AL dreaded Bangladesh Chhatra League activists on January 17. Police foiled a march of anti-quota campaigners in the capital's High Court area on their way to the Secretariat on March 14, 2018. The cops also charged batons and fired teargas shells, leaving at least 15 of the agitators injured.
What was an emotive mild plea from the outset—later a fervent appeal to redress the genuine grievance of the university students regarding reforms in the illogical quota system in public service recruitments, which went unheeded—gradually transformed into a raging tempest.  The adverse turbulence could be averted through affirmative action as discontent was in the air since long.
Described by members of the British Election Study team as "youthquake", the surge in youth turnout resulted in the UK Labour party's unpredictably strong performance in the 2017 general election. One theory quickly came to prominence: Jeremy Corbyn had enthused previously disengaged young voters, who turned out in droves to vote Labour. [Vide  bbc.com/ news/uk- politics -42747342 dated 29 January 2018] Obviously a ‘youthquake’— alike the demands of the British youth who  focussed on polling centres — Bangladesh students too want social justice.
The quota reform movement, aimed at restoring fairplay and justice, is an old unheeded issue which regarding which successive public service reform commissions had recommended. In view of the rapid increase in the number of the educated unemployed, disproportionate differences in perks and privileges of the private sector and the public sector jobs the big issue ought to have been addressed long ago.
As we said, we wrote, “All’s well that ends well.” But to our dismay the issue has not ended; the problem is lingering because of conspirators. The leaders of the demonstration enthusiastically hailed Prime Minister’s bold stand underscoring the fact that they did not want total elimination of quotas. And peace prevailed on the campuses. But it has now become apparent that pro-Awami League (AL) student body BCL, the Dhaka University authority, some politicians and the police are out to defy and undermine Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s decision.
It seems there is a hideous intrigue hatched by some elements to fish in muddy water. Following a so-called “probe” the Dhaka University authority withdrew the expulsion of Kabi Sufia Kamal Hall unit president of the BCL, Iffat Jahan Isha. The university has decided to take disciplinary action against 26 female students who were assaulted by her, for which the varsity authorities had expelled her. Besides, police are harassing the demonstration leaders and their parents. These elements are inviting a turmoil which we abhor most.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina should see to it that these elements are taken to task. Fishing in muddy water should stop: Conspirators must be punished.

Comment

Given that in the light of the cogently argued and logically convincing long-unheeded issue of quota reforms, finally PM Sheikh Hasina acted going one step ahead to abolish the system by itself which was not in the agenda of the student demonstrators. Admiring her affirmative action we said last week, “It augurs well, that amid countrywide demonstrations of students Sheikh Hasina responded by scrapping the ‘quota system’ per se”. Besides we wound up  with following words, “The bureaucracy has to be based strictly on meritocracy. On this issue we wish to quote the greatest English writer of all times, Shakespeare: “All’s well that ends well.”  
The savage attack on the DUVC’s residence happened on 9th April following the clashes between police, the pro-ruling party Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) and protesters demanding quota reform. As regards the assault and vandalism in addition to torching by a gang of youths, many of whom were wearing masks, broke through the gate to get inside. The ghastly incident appears to be machinated with a motive to sabotage the legitimate countrywide demonstrations of an overwhelming number of apolitical general students.
The entire area has been under intensive surveillance over the years with CCTV as well as by law enforcement agency personnel. The VC’s house is located roughly in the middle of a triangle of three DMP establishments — Babupura police outpost, Neelkhet police outpost and the Shahbagh police station. Therefore it is a valid question worth asking how a gang of masked men in presence of some 500 students could enter the central zone of the varsity campus which has been tense since mid-February this year. An immediate judicial probe into the matter brooks no delay. The DMP must give a credible explanation to the public through the Home Minister.
Hundreds of students demonstrated over 45 days back in favour of expanding the scope of ‘meritocracy’ in front of the National Museum.  The demonstrations began on February 17 when students under the banner of Bangladesh Shadharan Chhatra Odhikar Sangrakkhan Parishad launched the movement over their five-point demand, including reducing the quota privilege to 10 percent from 56.
People are not at all surprised in Bangladesh when armed gangs of ruling pro-Awami League varsity and college students belonging to the BCL are engaged in gunfights on the campuses — consequently leaving some dead and many injured as they have become used to hundreds of such incidents. As a domino effect perhaps teachers in a highest seat of learning seemed to be on the heels of their pupils. Though nowhere else in the world teachers of university, college or even school punch each other, it is possible in this country, as was evident at the Jahangirnagar University the other day as difference of opinion between two factions of ruling pro-Awami League (AL) faculty members of the present VC Farzana Islam and the former VC Sharif Enamul Kabir led to bouts of fisticuffs.
Conversely, demanding justified reforms in the quota system in the civil service recruitments apolitical general students of public and private universities across the country — numbering hundreds of thousands — organised a weeklong peaceful demonstration, despite provocations and attempts of sabotage. The Dhaka University students got the ball rolling in January and formed a human chain in front of the Aprajeyo Bangla demanding punishment of ruling pro-AL dreaded Bangladesh Chhatra League activists on January 17. Police foiled a march of anti-quota campaigners in the capital's High Court area on their way to the Secretariat on March 14, 2018. The cops also charged batons and fired teargas shells, leaving at least 15 of the agitators injured.
What was an emotive mild plea from the outset—later a fervent appeal to redress the genuine grievance of the university students regarding reforms in the illogical quota system in public service recruitments, which went unheeded—gradually transformed into a raging tempest.  The adverse turbulence could be averted through affirmative action as discontent was in the air since long.
Described by members of the British Election Study team as "youthquake", the surge in youth turnout resulted in the UK Labour party's unpredictably strong performance in the 2017 general election. One theory quickly came to prominence: Jeremy Corbyn had enthused previously disengaged young voters, who turned out in droves to vote Labour. [Vide  bbc.com/ news/uk- politics -42747342 dated 29 January 2018] Obviously a ‘youthquake’— alike the demands of the British youth who  focussed on polling centres — Bangladesh students too want social justice.
The quota reform movement, aimed at restoring fairplay and justice, is an old unheeded issue which regarding which successive public service reform commissions had recommended. In view of the rapid increase in the number of the educated unemployed, disproportionate differences in perks and privileges of the private sector and the public sector jobs the big issue ought to have been addressed long ago.
As we said, we wrote, “All’s well that ends well.” But to our dismay the issue has not ended; the problem is lingering because of conspirators. The leaders of the demonstration enthusiastically hailed Prime Minister’s bold stand underscoring the fact that they did not want total elimination of quotas. And peace prevailed on the campuses. But it has now become apparent that pro-Awami League (AL) student body BCL, the Dhaka University authority, some politicians and the police are out to defy and undermine Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s decision.
It seems there is a hideous intrigue hatched by some elements to fish in muddy water. Following a so-called “probe” the Dhaka University authority withdrew the expulsion of Kabi Sufia Kamal Hall unit president of the BCL, Iffat Jahan Isha. The university has decided to take disciplinary action against 26 female students who were assaulted by her, for which the varsity authorities had expelled her. Besides, police are harassing the demonstration leaders and their parents. These elements are inviting a turmoil which we abhor most.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina should see to it that these elements are taken to task. Fishing in muddy water should stop: Conspirators must be punished.


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INTIFADA ON GAZA BORDER
Palestinian unarmed youths facing Israeli killers

Fearless Palestinian young women and young men rise against Israeli occupation. Despite facing Israeli soldiers’ tear gas, stun grenades and even live fire, young Palestinian women rid their fear of detention and abuse to join the front lines
along with males and challenge the presence of the intruders.
Photo was taken in October 2015

Dr. Ramzy Baroud

PALESTINIAN popular resistance is neither a new phenomenon nor is it an alien one. General mass strikes and civil disobedience, challenging British imperialism and Zionist settlements in Palestine, started nearly a century ago, culminating in the six-month-long general strike of 1936. Since then, popular resistance has been a staple in Palestinian history, and it was a prominent feature of the First Intifada, the popular uprising of 1987.
 Fearless Palestinian young women and young men rise against Israeli occupation. Despite facing Israeli soldiers’ tear gas, stun grenades and even live fire, young Palestinian women rid their fear of detention and abuse to join the front lines along with males and challenge the presence of the intruders. They also suffer casualties in their efforts towards the liberation of their motherland from occupiers. A young pregnant woman was killed along with her three-year-old daughter in Israeli airborne aggression on the besieged Gaza Strip.
The ongoing popular mobilisation on the Gaza border is a reminder of previous historical events where the Palestinian people rose in unison to challenge oppression and demand freedom. We must learn from young Palestinians who stand bare-chested before snipers and murderers with only their chants for freedom and their faith in certain victory.

Israeli racism and apartheid
Racism is the belief in the superiority of one race over another, which often results in discrimination and prejudice towards people based on their race or ethnicity. Today, the use of the term “racism” does not easily fall under a single definition. The ideology underlying racist practices often includes the idea that humans can be subdivided into distinct groups that are different due to their social behavior and their innate capacities as well as the idea that they can be ranked as inferior or superior.
It goes without saying that Palestinians need no lectures on how to resist the Israeli occupation, combat racism and defeat apartheid. They, and only they, are capable of developing the proper strategy and the tools that will eventually lead them to freedom. Today the need for that strategy is more urgent than any other time, and there is a reason for that.
Gaza is being suffocated. Israel’s decade-long blockade, combined with Arab neglect and a prolonged feud between Palestinian factions, have all served to drive Palestinians to the brink of starvation and political despair. Something had to give.

Palestinians forced into exile
Tens of thousands of Palestinians massed on March 30, at Gaza’s eastern border to begin a series of protests and vigils that are expected to last until May 15. On that date, 70 years ago, Israel declared its independence, forcing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians into exile. For most Palestinians, Israel’s declaration of independence, which resulted in the destruction of their homeland, was an unforgivable crime. For Israelis, May 15 is a celebration; for the Palestinian people, it is “Nakba”, the catastrophe.
But the ongoing act of mass mobilisation is not just about underscoring the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees (as enshrined in international law), nor is it just about commemorating Land Day, an event that has united all Palestinians since the bloody protests of 1976. The protest is about reclaiming the agenda, transcending political infighting and giving voice back to the people.

Context of Intifada
Intifada is an Arabic word that translates literally as ‘shaking off’. It has been used to refer to legitimate means of resistance against oppression across the Middle East for decades. In the Arab-Israeli conflict, it means a concerted Palestinian effort to shake off Israeli power and gain independence from Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. There are many historical similarities between this act of mobilisation and the context that preceded the first Intifada.
Back then, Arab governments in the wider region had largely relegated the Palestinian cause to the status of “someone else’s problem”. By the end of 1982, having already been exiled to Lebanon, the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) along with thousands of Palestinian fighters, were pushed even further away, to Tunisia, Algeria, Yemen and various other countries. This geographic isolation left the traditional leadership of Palestine irrelevant to what was happening on the ground, back home.

Sprawling urban prisons
With little pressure on Israel to end its illegal occupation of East Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank, the Israeli military occupation slowly became the status quo. Palestinians had become little more than inmates in a series of sprawling — urban prisons — checked at every major street corner, subjected to house raids on a predictably irregular basis, and watched day and night from land, air and, in the case of Gaza, sea.
But, in that moment of apparent hopelessness, something snapped. In December 1987, people (mostly children and teenagers) took to the streets in a largely non-violent mobilisation that lasted over six years. But the Palestinian leadership failed to harness its people’s massive energy. Worse, it exploited it, leading to the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993.

Delegitimisation of human rights
Today, the Palestinian leadership is in a similar state of increasing irrelevance. Isolated again by geography (Fatah holding the West Bank and Hamas holding Gaza), but also by ideological division.
It is true, of course, that political and ideological divisions are par for the course of any anti-colonial struggle. From Algeria to South Africa, internal division was the norm, not the exception, in mass movements fighting for liberation.
But never before has this internal division been weaponised so effectively by the cause’s opponents, and used as an argument against the original cause, to delegitimise an entire people’s claim for basic human rights: “The Palestinians are divided, so they must stay imprisoned”.

US President Trump defied
UN consensus

Last December, the new US President Donald Trump compounded the isolation of the PA, recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in defiance of international law and UN consensus. Many see this as only the first in a series of steps designed to further marginalise the PA.
The Authority is not the only Palestinian faction that is becoming increasingly more isolated.
Hamas — originally a grassroots movement born out of the refugee camps in Gaza during the first Intifada — is now similarly weakened by political isolation.
As thousands of Palestinians on March 30 walked into the deadly “buffer zone” along the Gaza border, that is to say, walked peacefully and knowingly into the sights of Israeli snipers, their intention was clear: to be seen by the world as ordinary citizens, who until now have been unseen behind the politicians.
Gazans pitched tents, conversed, sang together and waved Palestinian flags —- not the banners of the various factions. Families gathered, children played, even circus clowns turned up and entertained. It was a rare moment of unity.   
The Israeli army’s response was, shall we say, “in character”. By shooting dead 17 unarmed protesters and wounding thousands of people in a single day, using the latest technology in exploding bullets, they thought they could teach the Palestinians a lesson. It was prison guard handbook 101: beat them, beat them again. Kill them. Kill them again. Even journalists who merely attempted to convey that heroic but tragic moment to the world were shot, wounded and killed.

Condemnations of massacre
Condemnations of this massacre flooded in from respected figures around the world like Pope Francis and organisations like Human Rights Watch. This glimmer of attention may have provided Palestinians with an opportunity to elevate the injustice of the siege up the global political agenda, but it will be little consolation to the families of the dead.
Aware of the international spotlight, Fatah jumped at the opportunity to take credit for this spontaneous act of popular resistance. Deputy chairman, Mahmoud al-Aloul, said that the protesters mobilised to support the PA “in the face of pressure and conspiracies concocted against our cause,” referring no doubt to Trump’s strategy of isolation towards the Fatah-dominated PA. Hamas has similarly tried to take credit. 
But nothing could be further from the truth. This time, it is the Palestinian people, the brave boys and girls of Gaza who are fashioning their own strategy, independent from the factions, in fact, in spite of factionalism. And this time, we must listen, quit lecturing, and perhaps learn from these young men and women as they stand bare-chested before snipers and murderers with only their chants for freedom and their faith in certain victory.

[Dr. Ramzy Baroud has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, media consultant, author of several books and the founder of the PalestineChronicle.com. His books include “Searching Jenin”, “The Second Palestinian Intifada” and his latest “My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story”. His website is www.ramzybaroud.net.]

Comment

Fearless Palestinian young women and young men rise against Israeli occupation. Despite facing Israeli soldiers’ tear gas, stun grenades and even live fire, young Palestinian women rid their fear of detention and abuse to join the front lines
along with males and challenge the presence of the intruders.
Photo was taken in October 2015

Dr. Ramzy Baroud

PALESTINIAN popular resistance is neither a new phenomenon nor is it an alien one. General mass strikes and civil disobedience, challenging British imperialism and Zionist settlements in Palestine, started nearly a century ago, culminating in the six-month-long general strike of 1936. Since then, popular resistance has been a staple in Palestinian history, and it was a prominent feature of the First Intifada, the popular uprising of 1987.
 Fearless Palestinian young women and young men rise against Israeli occupation. Despite facing Israeli soldiers’ tear gas, stun grenades and even live fire, young Palestinian women rid their fear of detention and abuse to join the front lines along with males and challenge the presence of the intruders. They also suffer casualties in their efforts towards the liberation of their motherland from occupiers. A young pregnant woman was killed along with her three-year-old daughter in Israeli airborne aggression on the besieged Gaza Strip.
The ongoing popular mobilisation on the Gaza border is a reminder of previous historical events where the Palestinian people rose in unison to challenge oppression and demand freedom. We must learn from young Palestinians who stand bare-chested before snipers and murderers with only their chants for freedom and their faith in certain victory.

Israeli racism and apartheid
Racism is the belief in the superiority of one race over another, which often results in discrimination and prejudice towards people based on their race or ethnicity. Today, the use of the term “racism” does not easily fall under a single definition. The ideology underlying racist practices often includes the idea that humans can be subdivided into distinct groups that are different due to their social behavior and their innate capacities as well as the idea that they can be ranked as inferior or superior.
It goes without saying that Palestinians need no lectures on how to resist the Israeli occupation, combat racism and defeat apartheid. They, and only they, are capable of developing the proper strategy and the tools that will eventually lead them to freedom. Today the need for that strategy is more urgent than any other time, and there is a reason for that.
Gaza is being suffocated. Israel’s decade-long blockade, combined with Arab neglect and a prolonged feud between Palestinian factions, have all served to drive Palestinians to the brink of starvation and political despair. Something had to give.

Palestinians forced into exile
Tens of thousands of Palestinians massed on March 30, at Gaza’s eastern border to begin a series of protests and vigils that are expected to last until May 15. On that date, 70 years ago, Israel declared its independence, forcing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians into exile. For most Palestinians, Israel’s declaration of independence, which resulted in the destruction of their homeland, was an unforgivable crime. For Israelis, May 15 is a celebration; for the Palestinian people, it is “Nakba”, the catastrophe.
But the ongoing act of mass mobilisation is not just about underscoring the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees (as enshrined in international law), nor is it just about commemorating Land Day, an event that has united all Palestinians since the bloody protests of 1976. The protest is about reclaiming the agenda, transcending political infighting and giving voice back to the people.

Context of Intifada
Intifada is an Arabic word that translates literally as ‘shaking off’. It has been used to refer to legitimate means of resistance against oppression across the Middle East for decades. In the Arab-Israeli conflict, it means a concerted Palestinian effort to shake off Israeli power and gain independence from Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. There are many historical similarities between this act of mobilisation and the context that preceded the first Intifada.
Back then, Arab governments in the wider region had largely relegated the Palestinian cause to the status of “someone else’s problem”. By the end of 1982, having already been exiled to Lebanon, the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) along with thousands of Palestinian fighters, were pushed even further away, to Tunisia, Algeria, Yemen and various other countries. This geographic isolation left the traditional leadership of Palestine irrelevant to what was happening on the ground, back home.

Sprawling urban prisons
With little pressure on Israel to end its illegal occupation of East Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank, the Israeli military occupation slowly became the status quo. Palestinians had become little more than inmates in a series of sprawling — urban prisons — checked at every major street corner, subjected to house raids on a predictably irregular basis, and watched day and night from land, air and, in the case of Gaza, sea.
But, in that moment of apparent hopelessness, something snapped. In December 1987, people (mostly children and teenagers) took to the streets in a largely non-violent mobilisation that lasted over six years. But the Palestinian leadership failed to harness its people’s massive energy. Worse, it exploited it, leading to the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993.

Delegitimisation of human rights
Today, the Palestinian leadership is in a similar state of increasing irrelevance. Isolated again by geography (Fatah holding the West Bank and Hamas holding Gaza), but also by ideological division.
It is true, of course, that political and ideological divisions are par for the course of any anti-colonial struggle. From Algeria to South Africa, internal division was the norm, not the exception, in mass movements fighting for liberation.
But never before has this internal division been weaponised so effectively by the cause’s opponents, and used as an argument against the original cause, to delegitimise an entire people’s claim for basic human rights: “The Palestinians are divided, so they must stay imprisoned”.

US President Trump defied
UN consensus

Last December, the new US President Donald Trump compounded the isolation of the PA, recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in defiance of international law and UN consensus. Many see this as only the first in a series of steps designed to further marginalise the PA.
The Authority is not the only Palestinian faction that is becoming increasingly more isolated.
Hamas — originally a grassroots movement born out of the refugee camps in Gaza during the first Intifada — is now similarly weakened by political isolation.
As thousands of Palestinians on March 30 walked into the deadly “buffer zone” along the Gaza border, that is to say, walked peacefully and knowingly into the sights of Israeli snipers, their intention was clear: to be seen by the world as ordinary citizens, who until now have been unseen behind the politicians.
Gazans pitched tents, conversed, sang together and waved Palestinian flags —- not the banners of the various factions. Families gathered, children played, even circus clowns turned up and entertained. It was a rare moment of unity.   
The Israeli army’s response was, shall we say, “in character”. By shooting dead 17 unarmed protesters and wounding thousands of people in a single day, using the latest technology in exploding bullets, they thought they could teach the Palestinians a lesson. It was prison guard handbook 101: beat them, beat them again. Kill them. Kill them again. Even journalists who merely attempted to convey that heroic but tragic moment to the world were shot, wounded and killed.

Condemnations of massacre
Condemnations of this massacre flooded in from respected figures around the world like Pope Francis and organisations like Human Rights Watch. This glimmer of attention may have provided Palestinians with an opportunity to elevate the injustice of the siege up the global political agenda, but it will be little consolation to the families of the dead.
Aware of the international spotlight, Fatah jumped at the opportunity to take credit for this spontaneous act of popular resistance. Deputy chairman, Mahmoud al-Aloul, said that the protesters mobilised to support the PA “in the face of pressure and conspiracies concocted against our cause,” referring no doubt to Trump’s strategy of isolation towards the Fatah-dominated PA. Hamas has similarly tried to take credit. 
But nothing could be further from the truth. This time, it is the Palestinian people, the brave boys and girls of Gaza who are fashioning their own strategy, independent from the factions, in fact, in spite of factionalism. And this time, we must listen, quit lecturing, and perhaps learn from these young men and women as they stand bare-chested before snipers and murderers with only their chants for freedom and their faith in certain victory.

[Dr. Ramzy Baroud has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, media consultant, author of several books and the founder of the PalestineChronicle.com. His books include “Searching Jenin”, “The Second Palestinian Intifada” and his latest “My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story”. His website is www.ramzybaroud.net.]


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 VIEW POINT

1000 OFFICIALS SUPERSEDED
Why does govt. waste Tk.100 crore on OSDs?

A. M. K. Chowdhury

Bangladesh ranked among the lowest globally in context to adherence to the rule of law from the perspective of ordinary people, an infograph of DataLeads says. It was reported on March 01, 2018.
Every year about 200 to 400 high officials are made or kept as OSDs (officers on special duty). The OSDs enjoy benefits including salary and allowance though they do not have to work. They are entitled official vehicles too.
A Bangla daily reported in 2013 that 460 officials between the ranks of secretary and assistant secretaries are OSDs. Of them one was secretary, 41 additional secretaries, 155 joint secretaries, 124 deputy secretaries, 36 senior or assistant secretaries and 100 officials of different categories on education leave. Most of them were made OSDs for over a year.
The government has to spend about Tk 1.50 lakh for a secretary, Tk. 1.25 lakh for additional secretary, Tk. 1 lakh for joint secretary, Tk. 0.50 lakh for deputy secretary and Tk. 0.25 lakh for senior and so on.  There is no statistics on how much money the government has to spend on OSDs every year. The report said the government has to spend about Tk. 100 crore per annum on OSDs. The civil servants are made OSDs mainly for two reasons-they get promoted but are not given posts for political reasons.

1000 officials superseded
Besides, AL (Awami League)-led government promoted 503 officials to the rank of deputy secretary, joint secretary and additional secretaries superseding about 1000 officials. They are embarrassed to address ‘Sir’ to their junior officials who got promotion on political consideration. This has created resentment among the officials who were not given promotion.
Moreover, a provision has been made in the draft bill of the ‘Government Employees rule’ to appoint an official directly on the basis of ‘outsourcing’. The government employees raised an objection to it while the policymakers were in favour of this provision, as reported in a Bengali daily dated November 4, 2012.
Needless to say the provision of appointment on the basis of ‘outsourcing’ will make administration based on political affiliation and not on meritocracy. This will hamper in establishing good governance. Unless qualified, efficient and competent candidates are appointed in the administration good governance cannot be ensured.

Alleged bribery of Tk. 70 lakh
Like an OSD, former Railway Minister Surunjit Sengupta was made a minister without portfolio after an alleged bribery of Tk. 70 lakh which was recovered at the Peelkhana BGB (Border Guard Bangladesh) at midnight. Surunjit Sengupta enjoyed all facilities of a minister at the cost of public exchequer though he had no work to do for any ministry.
The Civil Aviation and tourism minister Faruque Khan said Bangladesh is a democratic country. Bangladesh is really the only secular country in the world. Like majority Muslims, people of all other faiths viz. Hindu (Sanatan), Buddhist, Christian enjoy public holiday on the occasion of their religious festivals. There is no such example in any other countries of the world. The minister said on October 2, 2012.
The secularists want ban or religion-based political parties. By ‘religion-based they want only ‘Islam’-based political parties and not other religion-based parties like Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikka Parisad. They expound secularism.
After assuming power the AL-led government massively politicised the administration in almost every sector by way of appointment, posting, transfer, promotion and making OSDs. Needless to say such practice will cause chaos in administration. This practice should be stopped in the interest of good governance.

Comment

A. M. K. Chowdhury

Bangladesh ranked among the lowest globally in context to adherence to the rule of law from the perspective of ordinary people, an infograph of DataLeads says. It was reported on March 01, 2018.
Every year about 200 to 400 high officials are made or kept as OSDs (officers on special duty). The OSDs enjoy benefits including salary and allowance though they do not have to work. They are entitled official vehicles too.
A Bangla daily reported in 2013 that 460 officials between the ranks of secretary and assistant secretaries are OSDs. Of them one was secretary, 41 additional secretaries, 155 joint secretaries, 124 deputy secretaries, 36 senior or assistant secretaries and 100 officials of different categories on education leave. Most of them were made OSDs for over a year.
The government has to spend about Tk 1.50 lakh for a secretary, Tk. 1.25 lakh for additional secretary, Tk. 1 lakh for joint secretary, Tk. 0.50 lakh for deputy secretary and Tk. 0.25 lakh for senior and so on.  There is no statistics on how much money the government has to spend on OSDs every year. The report said the government has to spend about Tk. 100 crore per annum on OSDs. The civil servants are made OSDs mainly for two reasons-they get promoted but are not given posts for political reasons.

1000 officials superseded
Besides, AL (Awami League)-led government promoted 503 officials to the rank of deputy secretary, joint secretary and additional secretaries superseding about 1000 officials. They are embarrassed to address ‘Sir’ to their junior officials who got promotion on political consideration. This has created resentment among the officials who were not given promotion.
Moreover, a provision has been made in the draft bill of the ‘Government Employees rule’ to appoint an official directly on the basis of ‘outsourcing’. The government employees raised an objection to it while the policymakers were in favour of this provision, as reported in a Bengali daily dated November 4, 2012.
Needless to say the provision of appointment on the basis of ‘outsourcing’ will make administration based on political affiliation and not on meritocracy. This will hamper in establishing good governance. Unless qualified, efficient and competent candidates are appointed in the administration good governance cannot be ensured.

Alleged bribery of Tk. 70 lakh
Like an OSD, former Railway Minister Surunjit Sengupta was made a minister without portfolio after an alleged bribery of Tk. 70 lakh which was recovered at the Peelkhana BGB (Border Guard Bangladesh) at midnight. Surunjit Sengupta enjoyed all facilities of a minister at the cost of public exchequer though he had no work to do for any ministry.
The Civil Aviation and tourism minister Faruque Khan said Bangladesh is a democratic country. Bangladesh is really the only secular country in the world. Like majority Muslims, people of all other faiths viz. Hindu (Sanatan), Buddhist, Christian enjoy public holiday on the occasion of their religious festivals. There is no such example in any other countries of the world. The minister said on October 2, 2012.
The secularists want ban or religion-based political parties. By ‘religion-based they want only ‘Islam’-based political parties and not other religion-based parties like Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikka Parisad. They expound secularism.
After assuming power the AL-led government massively politicised the administration in almost every sector by way of appointment, posting, transfer, promotion and making OSDs. Needless to say such practice will cause chaos in administration. This practice should be stopped in the interest of good governance.


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