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Archive for the ‘human rights’ Category

Jahangir Alam Akash: Human rights are an extensive and widespread matter. This concept is hundred percent universal. What can be imagination human rights, except the rights of food, clothing, shelter, medical care, education? Free from all bindings called human rights. It is a fundamental right and freedom. That is all people alike to enjoy the right to receive or maintain. Economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights are of all human rights.
There are significant human rights conditions in the eyes of the law are survival of freedom, freedom of thought, freedom of expression, freedom to work, freedom of cultural activities, freedom of food, religious freedom, and equal right for all. Misgovernment, inequality, lawlessness, injustice, indiscipline, corruption and even the name of religion the running extremism, terrorism, and many other ways including the autocratic mentality human rights are being jeopardized. Due to these causes the common people are right-less of country to country. By this product is increasing the procession of food, education, medical care and homeless people over the whole world.
In Asia, Africa, America and Europe everywhere to the world about human rights abuses is notable. The only difference is this – somewhere less than the impacts. In the line of human rights, Asia and Africa’s position are miserable than Europe or America. Many countries of Asia and Africa submerged under corruption. There is no real democracy in practice. There is also no scientific institutional education system and the development of the technology infrastructure for use. However, the impact of natural disasters, political unrest, dash, and division many negative symptoms are there in Bangladesh. Out of these, there is a violation of human rights by rich countries and alliances in the name of to protect people from the autocratic rulers.
Behind the protection of human rights, human rights are grabbing by both inter-and outer strength! The violators of human rights are taking shelter by various techniques. As a matter of human rights and universal human rights around the world today, the issue has become a public issue. Of course has a different meaning of it to the opportunist, corruption-power minded state leaders and their collaborator. The power, family and personal comfort are the major subjects of them.
The two sides are always active around human rights. One side is to protect the rights of human being, other side is the violator. In reality we see that, human rights are violating by both parts! Rising violence, indiscipline, injustice and many black laws are violating the human rights. In many countries, extra judicial killings are going on where there is no believe or practice to the democracy.
On the other side, the uses of firearms, bomb and ammunition are damaging innocent people’s lives. The women and children are not exemption from it. War is destroying city, port, civilization and culture. To be changing the living of lives. Destroy the environment. Society is going to lose the peace, and harmony. Who will be taken this responsibility?
However, use of the bomb and the weapon is never to protect the rights or lives. It does can only destroy the peace and human life. But the intellectual of the state runners doesn’t or can’t understand this easy matter. Sometimes, in the name of protecting human rights and peoples become their large aims to achieve economic interests and aggressions. Up to the exchange of interest for those days is no problem. Then, the autocratic leaders are good! Whenever the problems come regarding the interests then the leaders become very dangerous for the people and human rights. Is this theory compatible with universal human rights? That means they do not understand it!
People understand that, once upon a time the rulers of autocratic and human rights violator were best friend of some imperialist rulers. Extra judicial killings are not legal in the third world countries! Even kill to a terrorist is not legal there but if any country is from the first world killed to someone in extra judicially wouldn’t be a violation of human rights! Is this contradictory and discriminating behavior or doctrine can be established peace, human rights in the society, in the world? Funny thing is that, the formula of extra judicial killings is same in everywhere. It happened in third world or in the first world.
The main topic for discussion today is the human rights practice inside of my favorite motherland Bangladesh. There are many ways to oppressing the people, to violate the human rights and dignity. State, state forces, terrorist groups have a good role to become the violators of human rights. There are human rights unsuccessful as universality, human rights are divided by the politics or believe of politics. Human rights are defeated by the individual and his or her political ideology in Bangladesh. Some of the people are using human rights as the slope for personal and the political interest. If someone has effected unexpectedly for any private cause then he or she makes color on it as it’s a violation of human rights. Such an event has been occurred recently at Thakurgaon, is the northern part of Bangladesh.
Dear reader, I consider the details of this event for justification and observations. On 10 January, 2011 Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) executive director Sahanur Islam (alias Saikot) has filed a complaint with Thakurgaon Sadar police station. He wrote, “on January 9 in a time of 1.30am in the event of human rights violation, I went to the home of so called victims Jalil and Yunus at the village of Bania Jhargaon of Thakurgaon with my two assistants Sohel Rana and Ujjal Hossen. A terrorists group has attacked on us by the help of that victim Jalil and Yunus. They were taken our laptop, camera, id, video, pen-drive, money and mobile phones from us. When we tried to resists them then they threatened us to kill.”
This issue has come to my notice in May, 2011. When, I was just finishing my Austrian part after Germany. I was noticed with this event by Jenny Lundström, Human Rights Officer of “Global Human Rights Defense” (GHRD). She sent me a Bengali text for translating to English. Though, I am not good in English. In spite of, I like to try to do it as my ability. I personally have indebted to Jenny. Friendly, humanistic Jenny is working to develop the human rights in Asia, especially she works hardly for Bangladesh.

I indebted and grateful to the Amnesty International, International Pen, Asian Human Rights Commission, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Pen-Norway, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Hamburg Foundation, International Haus Der Autoren- Graz, Austria, International Cities of refugees Network (ICORN), GHRD, Bangladesh Rehabilitation Center for Trauma Victims, Christian Development Alternative, Rajshahi Press Club, Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (Sobhan-Jalil), E-Bangladesh etc. I also particularly grateful to the German journalist and human right defender Bernhard Hertlein (Amnesty International, German Section), German author and human right activist Myriam Alexowitz, Chairman of the Writers in Prison Committee, International Pen Marian Botsford Fraser, Helge Lunde, Executive director of ICORN, Elisabeth Dyvik, Program director of ICORN. I would also like to give thanks to an eminent journalist-editor of Bangladesh , ABM Musa, writer Abduallah Al-Harun, Professor AAMS Arefin Siddique (Vice Chancellor of Dhaka University), Prof. Anwar Hossain of Dhaka University, Prof. Malay Bhowmic (Management), Abdullah-Al Mamun (Mass Communication and Journalism) of Rajshahi University Prof. Rahnuma Ahmed & Prof. Sohel Ahmed (Jahangirnagar University), Lutfar Rahman (former President of Rajshahi Chamber & Commerce Association), Naymul Islam Khan (Editor of Amader Somoy), Maynul Islam Khan (Bangladesh Correspondent of Reporters Without Borders) those who were sympathetic towards me and support me in many ways during my dangerous time in Bangladesh. I am grateful to all of them.
However, I doubt Mr. Shahnur’s complaint after read it. It was too large event, but the media has ignored it! The founder of BIHR is a member of parliament of ruling party Bangladesh Awami League. Shahnur’s political ideology is same. My mind is involved with journalism and I have dedicated my career to be a two-decade-long journalism. No doubt about it, the search continues to monitor and investigate the truth is a professional duty of a journalist. I prayed help from my fellow journalist friends whom I known. Many of them give up their hands to me to investigate the complaint of Shahnur. I got the cell number of a concern police. Firstly, I phoned to Mr. Gopal Chakrabarty, officer in charge of Thakurgaon police station. I wanted to know about the complaint of Shahnur. He wanted to know from me that which side I phoned. I want to know the truth and the truth, I am always in favor. He told me, in this case (Mr. Shahnur complaint), there are a lot of pressure. What is stress and why, he didn’t reply. Instead, he gave me the cell number of the investigative officer of Shahnur’s complaint and advised me to talk with him. Investigative officer, Kamal Mohan Chaki said, the matter is under investigation. This is not something to be said! So my doubt on the contents of the complaint has increased. I decided to investigate the matter. Some journalist friends of mine of Panchagarh and Thakurgaon (northern part of Bangladesh) respond to investigate it, after my request. A three member investigative team was formed by two local famous journalists of Thakurgaon district, including a lawyer.
Committee members have tried to discover the actual event or truth from the spot. Committee report sent to me that I want to share with you exactly. “The people of Jhargaon/Bania village of Thakurgaon Sadar Upazila are not aware till today with any event of human rights violation. They do not know of any incidents of human rights violation. According to the different class-profession of local people, there is a group of fake dollar businessmen are active. The counterfeit dollar businessmen are making deception with different people. Many people come here from different part of the country to purchase the US Dollar. They can purchase it comparatively much less as the market value. There are many valuable tools, including money to plunder are common. In the event of such a document contains found from the police file in last two/three years. A village doctor, Bishanath Roy (30) told the investigation team, ‘If any human rights violation event would occur around the village then it should be known to me. I discussed with the people about many things even their family problems during my out of professional time. If such a sensitive issue in the region has been occurred of course it could be known.’ He said, but someone was cheated by a group of sharper at 500/700 meters away from the market to come for purchasing the US dollar. Piar Ali (21), son of Kabirul told, some person had been deceived whose were come to purchasing the US dollar. In this connection, Thakurgaon Sadar police have arrested a middle aged man called Hamidul Islam who charged with cheating. Arrested Hamid said, he was not at home of the event day. Moksed, Tara Miah and many other local people have told that, they are not aware of the any human rights violation event in this area. People told that, Mr. Shahnur has accused the aged Yunus and Jalil. Both of them are now over 70 years. They don’t have the normal ability to act of walking or moving. So how they made this crime, we don’t understand. Investigator of this case, Komal Mohan said, the event is still not fully investigated. However, he acknowledged that the area is famous for fake dollar business. He also said, maybe a bad group was given false identification and information to Mr. Shahanur Islam and took him here.”
This is the activity of a human right worker or a leader of human rights in Bangladesh! Shahnur Islam is not only the chief of a human right organization, but also he is the ‘Justice Maker’ of an organization based in Switzerland. And he also recently appointed as country observer for GHRD. He himself clarified this latest designation of him at the Face book. Conscious, respectable reader, I do not want to make any comment about the above event. Do not want to. And now by you to monitor the actual content and the truth, might be what? I can just say that, this so-called justice maker is an expert to say false!
Before coming to Germany forced to leave the motherland, I had experienced with his treachery. I think we need to focus on this issue. I was unlawfully arrested in 2007. When, I was doing journalism, as well as performing as regional coordinator for Bangladesh Rehabilitation Center for Trauma Victims (BRCT). Mr. Shahnur Islam has circulated to the international community that, his organizations BRCT and BIHR mitt-up the legal fees of the cases which has been filed against me by the paramilitary force RAB and the political opportunist group. But it was totally false story. Truth is absolutely the opposite. They never gave me any legal assistance. The series political motivated cases against me were going on at Rajshahi. I gave all types of documents to the hand of Mr. Rubel, to fight legally against the cases in the Supreme Court. Mr. Rubel is also a leader of BRCT and a lawyer of that court. But he was retained my court papers and delayed for long time. He was delaying by and saying that, we will file today, tomorrow…etc! Finally, he didn’t file it. My fearing and anxiousness was increasing. In that situation, suddenly I met with Advocate Sushanta of Rajshahi. He told me about a lawyer who practicing in the high court of Dhaka. That lawyer’s house is at Naogaon (a district). Mr. Zahid has taken 6000 (BDT) Taka from me to file writ petition in favor of my cases. But he also showed attitude as like Mr. Rubel. After two weeks he returned 3000 taka. Then, I went to a women lawyer who is also famous as human right activist. She didn’t help me, finally. She also disappointed me. Though, she is deliberating her speech on human rights issues in Europe-America. This is the lawyers of Bangladesh! There are many sympathetic lawyers like Mohammad Hossain and Syed Mamun Mahbub. But this can’t be an example. They are the exception.
Whole over the country, various misdemeanors were running by the BNP-Jammat cadres. After the election of 2001 it was increasing. Rape, killing, minority and indigenous persecution are added with their list of misdemeanor. Being a professional journalist, I had tried to disclose the truth in front of the people. Mr. Akram Hossen Chowdhury, founder of BRCT/BIHR was fascinated by my reporting. Now he is a member of parliament. In 2002, he proposed me to work with BRCT. He promised to me that, 5,000 (BDT) taka per month will be given as remuneration and a place for residence. I took his offer. I was bachelor at that time. I had to take responsibility for regional coordinator of BRCT. According to this condition, a contract paper had been made where I and on behave of BRCT, Dr. Khalilur Rahman (Chairman of BRCT) was signed. Still it is in my hand.
BRCT has been working against state torture. I always find a similarity between journalism and human rights. So I had tried to work exactly on my duty. During that time, most painful event of my life was occurred. The government was arrested, tortured and detained me for 28 days. I was freed from the prison by the efforts of national and international human rights and journalist’s organization. And of course, I was innocent with the charges. All cases against me was fabricated and politically motivated. But I was not being released from the conspiracy and harassment.
So, I ran away from Rajshahi to the capital city Dhaka. I admitted to the hospital run by BRCT there. Just after admitting there BRCT has given me a reception as I am a persecuted journalist and human right defender. Many human rights defenders from various countries of the world including Denmark were present there. Justice K M Sobhan, Prof. Taslima of Dhaka University, BRCT chief Akram Chowdhury and his wife Mahfuza Akram Chowdhury also were present in the reception meeting.
BRCT and BIHR mainly are like hat or tail of a coin. Akram Chowdhury is the founder of both of the organizations. “Human rights fact-finder” is the monthly publication of BRCT. “If you would be able to help then this publication could be republished” said Akram Chowdhury. He proposed me to take the responsibility as an executive editor of it. Its publication was stopped for long time. But why, I didn’t know. According to his proposal/offer, he gave me a place to sleep and arranged the daily food for me with other officials of BRCT. He also promised to give me 15000 taka (BDT.) as salary or remuneration for each issue of human right fact finder. However, this proposal and the pledge were not written in any form. I will work day and night running for the wheel on the monthly publication. To make a report, feature, editing, writing even to see the proof everything alone I did. I was also writing the editorial. I was needed my family (wife and children). I was published five issues of the monthly publication human right fact finder. BRCT gave me 21,100 taka (BDT) in different times. Still, 53,300 taka is due from BRCT. However, I don’t claim or demand the due money. It is only a big pain inside of my heart. Being a chief of a human right organization how could be possible to make a false allegation against a persecuted journalist! How they could insult or dishonored me?
The political motivated and false cases against me were going on in the court of Rajshahi which was filed by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and the Mayor of Rajshahi, AHM Khairuzzaman Liton. Meanwhile, the Chairman of BRCT, Dr. Khalilur Rahman has filed another false complaint against me in the CMM court of Rajshahi. The complaint told, “I didn’t paying the rent (for residence in Rajshahi) from few years, on the other side I didn’t vacant the room”. But, Dr. Khalil had never told me to vacant the room. It is good to say that, Dr. Khalil is the uncle of Akram’s wife. I had take life risk to work for BRCT. But the Chairman of that organization made a false allegation against me and to file a complaint in the court. It was laughter! However, I supplied the contract paper to the court which signed by me and Dr. Khalil. Then, the event was clear with the court that how big false allegation was made by Dr. Khalil against me! Finally, my wife and son have left the room. This is the attitude of the leaders of human rights in Bangladesh!
My pain is only for that how they could insult me? The end is not here. My important documents have been stolen from the secured BRCT office. Among the most important of which is “Militancy and terrorism” on the text of the original Manuscript of my book. Not only that but also a Mobil set of mine has lost from the same place. It was not a normal event. It was well motivated. I informed about this stealing to Mr. Akram, his wife Mahfuza Akram and Mr. Shahnur Islam as well as to other officials of BRCT/BIHR. Who did it and why was clear to all of them. But nothing has done against the dacoit who is closed with Mahfuza Akram. Though result was opposite after giving a complaint against him. Suspicious stealer was given me threatened to death. So life is big or documents? It was very normal to defeat by documents as life is dearest.

Still, I didn’t get my documents. That it was not only lost my documents but also an expensive Mobil set of a foreign guest has been lost from BRCT office. Later it was found that I didn’t hear.
The false, fabricated political motivated cases were running in the court of Rajshahi against me which was filed by the combined initiative of RAB, Mayor Liton and DGFI. Meanwhile, chairman of BRCT has filed another motivated complaint against me. Dr. Khalil is a father in law of Mr. Akram. BRCT Chairman Khalil is the uncle of Mahfuza Akram. I sent the contract document to the court which made by both of us (me and Dr. Khalil). Then, it was clear to the court that the complaint is totally false against me. After that, my wife and child son were vacant the room. These are the act of the human rights leaders of Bangladesh!
The abnormal-unexpected two years of emergency situations was end through the election of 29 December of 2008. Grand Alliance, led by the Awami League in January of 2009 has taken the power of the state. An elected government is in power. The human right leader, brother Akram (Akram Chowdhury), is one of the Member of Parliament. Hope is blowing up in my mind. Maybe the black cloud would be cut! This hope is increasing. But not, the black shadow of conspiracy was covering to me and my family. Are Mayor Liton, Akram Chowdhury and RAB mixed up together with same cotton? This is Bangladesh!
BRCT has got comprehensive publicity in various news media, after I joined with BRCT. I managed to setup the treatment clinic and meeting for torture victims on behave of BRCT. I was also organized the treatment clinic of the victims of Kansat. On 26 June of 2006, a meeting of torture victim was held at Engineers Institution Auditorium, Dhaka. Former opposition leader and current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was present there as chief guest. I was also organized the torture victims and brought to Dhaka from the different part of Rajshahi region. I worked day-night to organize it by riding on motorbike at the inaccessible Atrai, Raninagar, Bagmara, Naldanga area. I left my wife and child alone. In spite of I was going to door to door of the torture victim. From BRCT, in exchange I got a false calumny and ignominy of the darkness. But I do not have any anger or sorrow. Yet I am grateful to them! I had got shelter, medical care from them after come out of darkness of prison. Whether or not, it is their responsibility-duty of fund or project. Many more bodies were there! Whether which cause or how and what purpose they were standup besides me! I can not deny it. When had to be stopped the trouble upon from the stressed journalist and human rights defenders then cumulus cloud cover was closed there was only gloom and the light of my hope.
Another human right organization called “Odhiker”. This organization is the supporter of right political wing. It was my idea; they work for human rights as universally. Is any particular person or political opinion may be based on the human rights movement? I never imagined it. But my mistake has broken on the basis of the activity of ‘Odhiker’. I went to the Odhiker office in Dhaka with my friend William. We talked with Mr. Elan and Mr. Korban of Odhiker. Our request was, “please investigate the allegation against me and publish the finding report”. They told me that I must apply for it to Odhiker. I did it. After then, two and a half year is going on. They still did not accept my application to any enterprise. I was contacted to them by phone, when I was in Bangladesh. From the office of Odhiker informed me that my matter is under trial. So they can’t do anything. Though, later Odhiker had start crucial fight in favor of an acting editor of the daily newspaper “Amardesh”. It was also the judicial matter, in the same way. However the reason is not other, but it is for political reason? Amardesh acting editor Mahmudur Rahman has the same political ideology same as like as Odhiker’s ideology. As a result, they published several reports on the issue of Mahmudur Rahman! Though, the matter was under trial.
I have another inhuman experienced on the field of human rights. It is very unfortunate. A lawyer of the High Court of Bangladesh is receiving monthly remuneration from a foreign organization. He also takes money from the victim in the name of transport costs, when he visits the spot. The same complaint can be found against another human right activist who is now living in exile in an Asian country. A women human right leader based on Dhaka who receiving regular foreign fund from an organization of Germany. Her activity is centered to collect the newspaper clipping of human rights violations and to publish a bulletin. Nothing has done more by her.
A newsmen from Rajshahi, who made conspiracy against me with the collaboration of Mayor, RAB, DGFI and a cultural activist based on Rajshahi. Now he is working in an oldest Bengali newspaper in Dhaka as a staff reporter. His wife is a member of a women organization. This husband and wife were involved with the immoral activity. They collected bribe from the victim of rape and rapists with the help of a forensic medical doctor of Rajshahi medical college. They (distorted mentality) have done this inhuman-illegal business by the medical reports of incidents of rape scandal. Behind the protection of human rights, hundreds-thousands story like above are in Bangladesh.
On 19 January of 2003, a news story was published in the daily Sangbad which was wrote by me. The headline of the report was “Extortioning in the name of journalism”. Misfortune is that when this report was published by whose hand as the news editor now he is an acting editor. Now he has given an appointment to that extortionist journalist. That controversial person was tried to influence other journalists and social activists against me. But he failed. Finally, the truth had been won. The report was not false. Senior journalist Shah Anisur Rahman (late), General Secretary of the Rajshahi Press Club, Saidur Rahman and central leader of Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), Anamul Haque were as eye witnesses. That extortionist so-called journalist and his friend so-called cultural personality named “P” who is the informer of RAB and DGFI. Both of them were also provided false information to the RAB and DGFI against me during the emergency period in Bangladesh. Same complaint has been sent to the United Nations by the government of Bangladesh against me. Though, I have given an open challenge to the Bangladesh government. But they couldn’t show their moral honest courage to accept it. When the conspiracy was making against me in 2003 after published the extortion news then Bazlur Rahman was the editor of the daily Sangbad. I called him as “Bazlu Bhai” (Brother). He is no more with us. My hope and believe that his soul is sleeping in peace. He was himself an institution of the journalism and secular movement of Bangladesh. Not only was that he also an extraordinary intellectual personality of the field of economics and politics. When the conspiracy was making against me regarding that report on extortion, one day I went to Dhaka at the Sangbad office. I met with Bazlu bhai. He told me, “You are fighting against the enemy of the people. It is not a simple matter in our society. Don’t be worry. Finally you would be won.” And later his word was also established as true.
However, need to talk about another matter. That is jealous is very common in the mind of the so-called educated people of Asia. Especially, jealous is more active in Bangladesh. This jealous is work both personal and political interest. As a result, one person doesn’t want the betterment of another person. When someone is going forward then opportunist group try to stop him by making conspiracy. A Bangalee/Bangladeshi journalist has applied for political asylum in a Scandinavian country. He wanted an article from me on my persecution history. I sent him it after many struggle. For a long time he was not informed me about my write-up. Then I was communicated with him. He replied me that it hasn’t published. Why, he didn’t notice me the cause. Though, I understood the cause of behind. He is a good friend of the son of the present Prime Minister of Bangladesh. I disclosed in my article about the nomination business of a powerful political party of Bangladesh and also the name of the perpetrators on my horrible persecution. His political fascination is with this party. That is why; my article has not been printed. That person also worked with a reputable human rights organization based in New York from Bangladesh. Another person was worked with a reputable human rights organization in Bangladesh for long time. When he was in troubled hadn’t got any help from that organization. Now he is in Europe is living in political asylum. This is the situation of our media and human rights field!
The executive chief of a NGO based on Rajshahi is also the public relations officer of an autonomous institution. That organization is getting millions fund from USA-EU. Now they are arranging training on human rights issues by the foreign fund. But, when a media man is under threats then they turned their eyes from the situation. The whole country is lay down by the weight of these type of organizations which are always involve with their own, family, group and political purposes. The Millions fund are going into the water in the name of human rights or free media or to reduce the poverty by making microcredit business in Bangladesh. The people who are entitled to get the service are deprived. But the country’s starving the poor man’s fortune does not change. The only change in the status of the organizations big personalities like director or executive director. They are making a big luxurious home, cars, salaries and other facilities for their own or for family by the foreign funds. Just like as “Zero to Hero”. The directors are visiting the foreign countries.
If only 60 percent of foreign funds would be used properly then we could be able to see the real changes of our country. Truly, the country could cover with Golden or by Diamond! Poverty could be flown from Bangladesh. Though, our Nobelist Prof. Dr. Muhammad Yunus told that one day the poverty would see at the Museum. The reality is that the microcredit business couldn’t reduce poverty but it could be able to confine our poorest women by the net of more microcredit. Yes, we feel proud that for Dr. Yunus. Because he has got the Nobel Prize! But how the microcredit is functioning in Bangladesh, should be a big issue or matter to observe by the non interest eyes. It is better to say here that Dr. Yunus is receiving unthinkable high interest from our poorest women those who have no education.
I would like to write something about another matter. It is about the responsibility of the leaders of journalists. If my memory does not betray me, then it is likely that in the month of June of 2008. I have been victimized with a series of politically motivated cases. I was a leader of the journalist community from the northern part of Bangladesh, Rajshahi. The apex body of journalists is Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ). I also was an executive member of this body as the Secretary General of Rajshahi Union of Journalists (RUJ). BFUJ has made a decision to demand for withdraw the cases against me to the Government in a general meeting held at the National Press Club in Dhaka. The prominent journalist Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, President of BFUJ, former President of BFUJ and renowned journalist Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul, Secretary General of BFUJ Abdul Jalil Bhuiyan and many other journalists leaders were also present that meeting. But, dear Jalil Bhuiyan didn’t serve the joint statement and decision of BFUJ. Again I have my doubts about his attitude. Still think, perhaps there was an understanding between RAB, Mayor Liton and my dear courageous journalist leader Jalil. Otherwise, why would he silence? There are many positive instance of my life. Another journalist’s outgoing Secretary General of BFUJ, Altaf Mahmud is one of the most popular of the journalist’s leaders in Bangladesh. He is known as a true friend of the journalists. He has never taken any opportunity from the Government. I also try to contact with him from abroad. However, I acknowledge that I am grateful to Iqbal Sobhan, Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul, Altaf Mahmud. I believe the truth is never dangerous. But, the truth to be hold is rear, very difficult to keep and bear the truth. I think, do not have this ability for all. However, if it would have then selfishness, war, conflict, jealous nothing would be more in this world. Nevertheless, I’ll say that we should be practice the truth in all aspects in our lives. We swear this is what our community strong and Promises. Whether or not true is become a cruel or painful. There are also many people who makes story only for to come to Europe or America. After came to the developed countries they are making false and fake documents and applied for political asylum. Students are among them many. Sometimes we hear this type of complaint. It is unfortunate and we can’t ignore it.
Recently, I talked over phone with a friend of mine who is working in Dhaka. Before the conclusion this article I would like to share to all of you of our conversation. He told, “You (I) are a not supporter of the political ideology of ‘Odhiker’. So, they did nothing for you. And it is normal!” That friend of mine further said, “Presently, a journalist is working with a government-owned powerful media in Germany who worked in favor of the Islamic militancy from Bangladesh. On the other side, you made/did historical report against militancy by taking life-risk for the same media from northern part of Bangladesh. Nevertheless, they didn’t give you any job. This is the media policy of globalization age.” ‘I just said in response to him that I don’t have any sorrow. I never did journalism for getting something. Of course, I did my journalism for the purpose of personal, social and professional responsibility. I know that I am a defeated soldier of the media policy and politics of globalization.
We can see the fund and project based many human rights works in today’s unbalanced world. The combined financial efforts of these two components are coming from the humanistic general people. Many questions including accountability, transparency and democratic practice are comes to organized these initiative for the welfare of the persecuted, stressed and starving people inside of the enterprise. In which exception we observed many ways. Moreover, many organizations are working with good motive to establish the peace and human rights from country to country. It is also true. Otherwise, small news-maker like me would be killed at the hands of injustice. Many thousands lives of Akash have saved by the efforts of non governments organizations. Hope of the people’s (survivors) are alive only for that. I don’t know, what there is to establish the peace and human rights
The practice and establishing of peace and human rights except love, benevolence, tolerance is what we know there is no option to increase the range. Is possible to establish the peace and human rights by promoting discrimination, falsehood, and discriminatory behavior, use of arms, political and economic selfishness, or poverty in the society, nation and world? It is a big question.
I forgot that today (11 July) is an important and special day. The day is the world population day. I want to make my conclusion to encircle upon this day. I think that the food crisis and population abundance of these two important issues are involved with human rights violation. The population and consumption of food and energy are continuously increasing in this world. On the other hand, energy, land and production are reducing. So global economy is under pressure as well as love, harmony, tolerance, believe are breaking day by day. The practice of “Might is right” theory is increasing. World Population Day is celebrated the world since 1987. The world population is now about 7000 Millions. The population is increasing like the wave of river. Bangladesh is one of the highest populate country in the world and its population growth is so high.
Though, the population and dwelling-factory are increasing but the land is reducing in this world. Not only that but also the land is being gradually reduced of the earth. More than hundred 1000 Millions people are hungry across the world today. The world of food, lack of resources to make sure that there is no cost to me. However, the balanced distribution of food and resources are not in the earth. It is clear. Some people are getting food and some people are getting to die without food in the same world. Some of the rich countries of the world are not headache to protecting the environment and keep up food security for all, as they are willing to fight, war, conflict, aggression, bombing and of conspiring to attack! Therefore, for the protection of human rights to increase food security and protect the environment from climate change and to reduce population abundance whether any alternative, so I do not know? However, the experts are only being able to say of it.
In this question, my favorite motherland Bangladesh is what and how active or prepared. Where there is regular lifting the rights of people by the state, where there is a nasty appearance of the civil society there is any expected to continue with the cleaning of the society is only neurosis, nothing else! In spite of, we are optimists. Is people could be able to live without any hoped?
Writer: Jahangir Alam Akash, Editor of Euro Bangla (Peace & human rights) (http://www.eurobangla.org/),(http://penakash.wordpress.com/), (editor.eurobangla@yahoo.de)

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“PAIN” is a book on political science and civil rights has published from Xlibris Corporation publication, USA. This book contains on Bangladesh history, culture and moreover its independence, pre and past-liberation period, the politics of military governments and the political parties.
Along with these, Jahangir Akash has written some articles on Germany, Austria in European perspectives. He has discussed the social aspects, human-rights, democracy, environment-nature and present situations with reference to and examples from these two countries. But the main theme is his country and what he has written about Bangladesh, it is from his long experiences as an active journalist, free-thinker and human-right-defender which are the backgrounds of his exile life since 2009 in Europe. The writer of this book is the editor of “Euro Bangla”.
Anyone can buy it from internet. We would like to share the online links for “PAIN”.
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Pain-Jahangir-Alam-Akash/dp/1456858025
Books on Board (as e-book) : http://www.booksonboard.com/index.php?BODY=viewbook&BOOK=996716
Publishers Xlibris: http://www2.xlibris.com/BOOKSTORE/bookdisplay.aspx?bookid=93404
Description of the book. It is now 39 years that Bangladesh is an independent country. But the rule of law, honest administration and the culture of democracy are still far cry! Common people are searching peace. Militancy, extra judiciary murders, maladministration, party-attribution, terror, corruption are closing the path of progress. Religious and indigenous minority killings-oppressions are hindrances to the amity. The murders of Journalists are robbing the opportunity of free reporting. All these current problems and crisis are well depicted through the pen of Journalist-Akash. This young writer is a courageous soldier of peace and democracy. This book is a reflection of Bangladesh-reality. The international community will definitely get a transparent picture of Bangladesh in the book. Peace, people’s government, real democracy and the rule of law are all golden-deer in Bangladesh. The religious fanaticism, innumerable superstitions, lack of education, poverty, corruption, immorality, have now strongly established the criminality everywhere. Disunity, unfairness, oppression, torture, killing-murder, terror, activities of the communal fundamentalists have crashed the people on the ground! Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Christians live here. People of all religions unitedly have fought for the independence of Bangladesh and shed blood. With enormous sacrifices under the leadership of Bangabondhu (late) Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, The nation got one nice secular constitution. After only 4 years after the independence of Bangladesh, father of the nation, Sk Mujibar Rahman, was killed brutally with most of his family members. Through a planned way the following governments of General Ziaur Rahman and General H.M. Ershad have amended, revised and changed many times the original constitution of Bangladesh and have made it almost a farce! Islam was declared as the ‚State-Religion’. Although Bangladesh has people from four religions! But such a radical change of the former secular Constitution was a heinous dishonour to the holy constitution! Through these measures religious fanaticism and communalism were given a state Formulate Contour. In the name of Islam the religious fundamental militancy has become now the greatest problem of Bangladesh. It is about now about 39 years after the independence, but the war criminals of Al- badr, Al- Shams, Rajakars and the murderers who were directly related with the genocide during the struggle for independence have not yet been put into the trial. The Political Party, Jammat-e- Islam is regularly igniting the fire of communalism in the name of Islam. Communal-politics is not banned in the country. State-terror like killings extra-judicial are going on without end. All devouring corruption is the greatest obstacle for the fulfillment of the basic rights of the people. The afflictions of religious minorities are a day to day affair. In the society, a privileged class is making mountains with money. On the other side, majority people, not less than 95%, are becoming poorer everyday. Religious minorities and the indigenous people are deprived of constitutional rights. Including the father of the nation, hundreds of politicians, journalists, lawyers, judges, members and common people have been killed. Different state-controlled armed cadres have created an extreme fearful and inhuman situation by their killings of innocent people, tortures and oppressions. Within 38 years of independence, the country was under the military rulers for long 17 years. People were pushed to the dark-wild-administration and its persecutions. Torture-murders and planned genocide, crime and the incidences of the militancy are never inquired properly and effectively. Of course after the event, government announces for inquiry and committees are also formed. ‚Whoever is the criminal, he would be definitely punished’, such promises are heard from the top label of the government or from the concerned authorities repeatedly with arrogance. But they are never materialized. Shortly speaking, there is no ‚explanation’ in the country. In the history of human-civilization, the self confessed killers who have committed utmost heinous murders are saved from the state level and any possibility to put them into trial is closed. Judges feel agony to perform their duties. The culture of the ‚absence of justice’ is increasing the criminal tendency day by day. All the state organs have been criminalized. The endless greed of making money of the upper class people are pushing the 70-80% common people towards the lowest level of poverty. By the most of political parties, specially the two big, Awami league and BNP have no headache for democracy. So the democracy in the state level is now beyond every possibility! Fundamental militancy in the name of Islam is growing rapidly. Women-Children-tortures, giving of fake religious decrees (Fatwa of Islam), meanness, and religious fanaticism are expanding. Raids with Bomb and Grenades, suicidal-conspiracies, envy and malice, scrambles are in extremity. Brotherhood, mutual delight, solidarity, love and respect are being lost. Everywhere the humanity is hindered. Differences, dissimilarities between persons are growing. Kindness and humanity are decreasing and on the other side, selfishness and merchantile mentality are growing on an electric-speed! Every day million of peoples are hungry and so to say almost naked due to lack of clothing. Each year through flood, drought, dearth and tempest-cyclone millions of people suffer. Because of the change of river-flows, everyday innumerable people are loosing their all possessions. The five basic rights to have food, cloth, education, treatment and dwelling are totally unknown to the vast majority of the people. Each year innumerable persons die on diseases and without treatments. Millions of children have no access to schools, but ‚Child-labor’ is everywhere! Women-Children-smuggles, rapes are very common matter in Bangladesh. Besides there is labor-discrimination. For similar works as men, women get less remunerations. Crime and criminals are ‚pardoned’ by state and it is a big obstacle for the establishment of rule of Law in Bangladesh. A general statistics depicts that from 2004 till today, more than 1,800 persons were killed extra judiciary, through so-called ‚crossfire’,’ encounter’ or in the name of ‚exchange of fires’. After the killing of father of the nation, the culture of impugning crimes has started. It is still going on, eve under the present new government. Journalist Jahangir Akash in each article of this book, has told us about a ‘Golden Bangladesh’ and the peaceful world where the communal harmony would be a bright example of fraternity.
Author’s cover bio: The thoughts for the society haunts him always. He sees man above religion and color. In favor of the people, truth, justice and with the professional mentality for social welfare, he has grown up. Akash is a professional and non communal Journalist with a mind of free thoughts. To clean the society garbage and darkness, he himself was compelled to get out of the country. Though in exile, he thinks and feels for his motherland all the moments. This exiled Journalist, in each write up has told us about peace, harmony in his motherland and in the world.

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By Jahangir Alam Akash, Bangladesh is a country where there is actually no right to life. Rather, exercising the death penalty and extra judicial killings violates the right, which is common practice. Every year many peoples are handed to the death penalty and many more kills due to extra judicial killings in the name of Crossfire or encounter or so called gunfight. There are no statistics on the number of people killed since Bangladesh attained independence.

The death penalty is a kind of killing. Recently, five persons were handed the death penalty in a day. On January 28 of this year, the decision was made by the Bangladesh Supreme Court to execute the self-declared killers of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding leader of Bangladesh. However, questions have risen on the execution procedure.

On the other hand, President of Bangladesh Zillur Rahman pardoned 20 death row prisoners on 7 September 2010. It is the first history of Bangladesh to give pardon at a time the huge number of death prisoners. The benefited prisoners are belongs with the present government.

In this connection Amnesty International has served a statement on death penalty of Bangladesh. Now I would like to share that statement as it is. President Zillur Rahman pardoned 20 death row prisoners on 7 September 2010. Amnesty International welcomes the pardon but is concerned that it benefits only a small number of more than 1,000 prisoners on death row. It urges the President to extend the pardon to other prisoners sentenced to death in Bangladesh, and commute their sentences.

Commutation of death sentences must not favour only members of the governing party. It should be extended to all prisoners on death row regardless of their party affiliation. The 20 who were pardoned appear to be all members or supporters of the governing Awami League. Amnesty International does not know of any public announcement from the authorities that other death row prisoners, except these 20 men, have received a Presidential pardon.

The pardoned prisoners were sentenced to death in 2006 by a Speedy Trial Tribunal set up to fast track high profile criminal cases. The court convicted them for the murder of a then-ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) activist Sabbir Ahmed Gama in northwestern district town of Natore.

Both the trial and the pardon are tainted with political controversy. Awami League officials have frequently said the trial, which took place at the time of the then BNP-led government, was a political show against the Awami League and the men were innocent of all charges. According to the BNP, the trial was fair and the presidential pardon is politically motivated because it benefits only the Awami League members. They say it is also a political move against the BNP because it gives impunity to those who killed a BNP local leader.

The death penalty is an irrevocable punishment. The authorities must ensure that prisoners are not excluded from Presidential pardons on politically motivated grounds. The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. It violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method used by the state to kill the prisoner.

Amnesty International is urging President Zillur Rahman to declare a moratorium on all executions in Bangladesh. This will be in line with the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 62/149 on 18 December 2007, calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions, which was adopted by an overwhelming majority of UN member states.

The release of the death row prisoners convicted of killing Sabbir Ahmed Gama now places a clear responsibility on the government to find, and bring to justice, those who killed the BNP local leader. This requires a thorough investigation by an independent and impartial body.

Amnesty International is calling on the government and the President of Bangladesh to: · Extend the pardon to other prisoners sentenced to death in Bangladesh, and commute their sentences. Announce publicly if other death row prisoners, except these 20 men, have received presidential pardon. Declare a moratorium on all executions in Bangladesh. Investigate the death of Sabbir Ahmed Gama through an independent and impartial body, and bring to justice those responsible for his death in a fair trial and with no recourse to the death penalty.

Here are some statistics on extra judicial killings in Bangladesh, specifically for human rights organization and bodies working on national and international levels, for human rights.

Extra judicial killings since 2004 have resulted in over 1,700 deaths. Fifty-eight people were killed during “Operation Clean Heart” led by the army, in 2002. The mutiny by the Bangladesh Rifles regiment in February 2009 resulted in the deaths of 74 people including 57 meritorious army officers. At least 208 people have been killed in extra judicially under the present Awami League led grand alliance government. The government attitude on extra judicial killing is like don’t care to the rule of law, constitution, human rights and the international treaties.

According to the daily Bhorer Kagoj, after the mutiny at least 71 BDR mutineers died in police custody. It is alleged that most were tortured before death.

The death penalty is extremely inhuman, degrading and cruel. The constitution and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights prohibit it, but Bangladesh continues to exercise it.

According to the book “The death penalty,” most executions in 2008 were carried out in Asia. Eleven Asian nations – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Japan, North Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Pakistan, Singapore, and Vietnam – still continue to practice the death penalty.

China alone accounted for at least 1,718 executions although the figure is believed to be much higher, as statistics on death sentences and executions are not publicly disclosed and are considered state secrets.

The Middle East and North Africa were second highest with 508 executions. In Iran, stoning and hanging are among the most cruel and inhumane methods used for carrying out death sentences and least 346 people have been executed including eight juvenile offenders. In Saudi Arabia, where beheadings in public is common practice, at least 102 people have been executed.

In the Americas, 37 executions were carried out in 2008, most in the state of Texas. The release of four men from death row in the United States on grounds of innocence brings the total to more than 120 released since 1975. The only other country in the Americas to carry out the death penalty in 2008 was St Kitts and Nevis, the first Caribbean state to carry out an execution since 2003.

According to Amnesty International, 93 percent of the world death penalty took place in China including other four countries.

DW-Bengali’s online section wrote on February 25 that the European Union published a declaration on anti-death penalty. Europe is the first region, which there is no death penalty. The United States, China, Africa and some Asian countries contradicted a EU proposal on anti-death penalty presented to the Human Rights Commission in Geneva and the general assembly of the United Nations in 1998. However, in 2007, the proposal was finally passed by the U.N. general assembly.

Fifty-eight percent of people in China support the death penalty. That said 93 countries have already abolished the death penalty by making it law. Unfortunately, some 141 countries still practice the death penalty.

Historically, Italy has a strong background on the anti-death penalty movement. We must salute Italy as well as other EU states for their dedicated efforts to preserve the right to life and other human rights.

Bangladesh should obey the national and international treaties, law, constitution and human rights declarations and should abolished the death penalty immediately, if they believe, even a bit, that life and rights are valuable.

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By Jahangir Alam Akash: Every person has dignity. For an individual’s dignity is a very important component to living in a civilized society. But the individual’s dignity has been hampered in various ways. A lack of democracy and the rule of law is, every day, violating the dignity of the individual around the world. This is especially common in Asia. Due to human rights violations, terrorism, militancy, poverty, undemocratic attitudes, corruption, discrimination, intolerance and injustice, human dignity has been hampered all over the world. So, every civilized society and state needs to uphold human dignity. If every state and society respects human dignity, then peace and happiness will come into the world. In spite of the fact that the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights ensures human dignity, most of the countries of the world has been violating it. We can say that human dignity indicates a person’s basic needs for living. It is a universal responsibility for every government to provide people their basic needs. But we have seen that most of the governments of the world haven’t provided for their peoples’ fundamental needs. Insecurity, injustice, inequality, poverty and the lack of democracy, accountability and the rule of law are the main barriers to upholding dignity in the world. Many people have no food, clothes, housing, clean water, sanitation, education, health, nutrition and human rights. Asian peoples especially have been facing great challenges regarding human dignity. During the present global economic crisis, Amnesty International has started a Demand Dignity Campaign with an aim to end global poverty by working to strengthen recognition and protection of the rights of the poor. The campaign will demand the leadership, accountability and transparency, which are essential to end the human rights violations that keep people poor. Thanks to Amnesty International for their activities to reduce poverty. With gross poverty, inhumanity, inequality, injustice and without other fundamental rights, how can we even imagine human dignity?

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Bangladesh is a country where there is no right to life!

By Jahangir Alam Akash, Bangladesh is a country where there is no right to life. Rather, exercising the death penalty and extra judicial killings violates the right, which is common practice. Every year many peoples are handed the death penalty and many more die due to extra judicial killings. There are no statistics on the number of people killed since Bangladesh attained independence.

The death penalty is a kind of killing. Recently, five persons were handed the death penalty in a day. On January 28, 2010 the decision was made by the Bangladesh Supreme Court to execute the self-declared killers of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding leader of Bangladesh. However, questions have risen on the execution procedure.

Here are some statistics on extra judicial killings in Bangladesh, specifically for human rights organization and bodies working on national and international levels, for human rights.

Extra judicial killings since 2004 have resulted in at least 1,700 deaths. Fifty-eight people were killed during “Operation Clean Heart” led by the army, in 2002. The mutiny by the Bangladesh Rifles regiment in February 2009 resulted in the deaths of 74 people including 57 meritorious army officers.

According to the daily Bhorer Kagoj, after the mutiny at least 71 BDR mutineers died in police custody. It is alleged that most were tortured before death.

The death penalty is extremely inhuman, degrading and cruel. The constitution and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights prohibit it, but Bangladesh continues to exercise it.

According to the book “The death penalty,” most executions in 2008 were carried out in Asia. Eleven Asian nations – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Japan, North Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Pakistan, Singapore, and Vietnam – still continue to practice the death penalty.

China alone accounted for at least 1,718 executions although the figure is believed to be much higher, as statistics on death sentences and executions are not publicly disclosed and are considered state secrets.

The Middle East and North Africa were second highest with 508 executions. In Iran, stoning and hanging are among the most cruel and inhumane methods used for carrying out death sentences and least 346 people have been executed including eight juvenile offenders. In Saudi Arabia, where beheadings in public is common practice, at least 102 people have been executed.

In the Americas, 37 executions were carried out in 2008, most in the state of Texas. The release of four men from death row in the United States on grounds of innocence brings the total to more than 120 released since 1975. The only other country in the Americas to carry out the death penalty in 2008 was St Kitts and Nevis, the first Caribbean state to carry out an execution since 2003.

According to Amnesty International, 93 percent of the world death penalty took place in China including other four countries.

DW-Bengali’s online section wrote on Feb. 25 that the European Union published a declaration on anti-death penalty. Europe is the first region, which there is no death penalty. The United States, China, Africa and some Asian countries contradicted a EU proposal on anti-death penalty presented to the Human Rights Commission in Geneva and the general assembly of the United Nations in 1998. However, in 2007, the proposal was finally passed by the U.N. general assembly.

Fifty-eight percent of people in China support the death penalty. That said 93 countries have already abolished the death penalty by making it law. Unfortunately, some 141 countries still practice the death penalty.

Historically, Italy has a strong background on the anti-death penalty movement. We must salute Italy as well as other EU states for their dedicated efforts to preserve the right to life and other human rights.

Bangladesh should obey the national and international treaties and human rights declarations and abolish the death penalty immediately, if they believe, even a bit, that life and rights are valuable.

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By Jahangir Alam Akash, To found a Golden Bengal without exploitation-deprivation, hunger-poverty and corruptions was the real force behind the great war of independence. Unfortunately it is true that this aim has not been achieved after 38 years of liberation. National unity is the most significant in the important national issues. During the global economic crisis and deficit of food, on the last 17 October was the day of international day of the prevention of the poverty. The world leaders have promised to evict disparity and poverty. With them, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh is also committed to the nation in the same issue, although hunger and children without nutrition are increasing.
Amongst 600 crores of the world population, 100 crore are hungry. Bangladesh is one of the most thickly populated countries. In the list of 27 hungry and poor countries, Bangladesh is in no. 13. Population is now more than 15 crores. The growth (as per government statistics) is 1.41. Half of the poverty-stricken people live ‚from hand to mouth’. Columnist Niamat Ali wrote, 8 crores Bengalis are hungry. 40% live under poverty standard. In Dhaka city, 6 hundred thousand children have nothing to eat and they sleep on the streets. In the national committee-function of ‚against the poverty’, the leader of the opposing BNP Chairperson and Ex Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia did not attend. Total nation has hoped that at least on this issue a strong national unity would grow. But that did not come true! The national problems with ‘Tipaimukh dam’, people have experienced the same situation.
During the army-controlled Emergency interim government, in those 2 years of mad administrations, two big national leaders, Ex Prime Ministers, Sk. Hasina and Begum Zia were in Jails for a long time. People started to hope that after 29 December Election, political mentalities of these two leaders would be changed. In the culture of national politics, qualitative changes would come. But with the absence of opposition leader in the ‚Poverty-Prevention-Day’ – function, the bitter truth was again confirmed, ‚No change has been occurred!’
Sk Hasina said if corruption is not checked, poverty will never end. She also said, corrupts have no pardon even if they belong to her own party! She winked to he opposion leader and said that those who embezzle orphans’ money, what they can give to the country? She further said to solve the crisis, democracy is mostly needed. (Daily Sangbad, 18.10.2009). Yes, her opinions are very much justified. ‚But what I do not follow, what is use of only saying?’ She has emphasized on democracy to solve the problems. We also think so. But when talk and act do not coincide, we become septic. We have not seen the easiest way of democracy has been followed in the last Awami league Council.
She has called for actions (like Jihad!) against corruptions but at the same time some her MPs are buying big and luxurious cars. In the report of English daily Star, the newly elected AL-MP from Rajshahi-3 (Poba-Mohonpur) Merajuddin Molla has recently bought a luxury car of 22 lacs Taka. But only 10 months ago during election while submitting the income-tax return he showed his yearly income as only 1 lac Taka! The Councilor and MP Meraj Molla after 10 months of election, his buying of such a costly car is an evidence that the statement of Prime Minister and the truth are how much near! We want the effective realisation of her sayings.
Bangladesh must be democratic, rule of law must come and corruptions and hunger must be wiped out. For this, we need a radical change in total system which has no substitute. Education and strong economic base have to be achieved. People will rightly valuate if politicians work for their welfare. Please give up the politics of reciprocal blaming. Not in words, rather in works stays the real identity, it must be proved. 18.10.2009

Is there any Democracy?
The power of RAB is greater than the government. RAB is another black chapter in Bangladesh. 161 people were killed extra judicially in Bangladesh under the present Awami League government. Extra judicial killing have been going on very rapidly violating the highest court ruling order, the Constitution and the Universal Declaration by the law enforcers. The government has closed an exhibition on extra judicial killings in Bangladesh. This is the latest incidents regarding this inhuman issue.
The term “extrajudicial killing” means execution without justice. This is a grave human rights violation. It’s both a violation of Bangladesh’s constitution and of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But these types of killings still occur frequently in Bangladesh.
The State Minister for Home Affairs and the Prime Minister of Bangladesh openly support the extrajudicial killings, despite the fact that Bangladesh signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention against Torture. Not only that, the constitution of Bangladesh also safeguards the right to life.
The government of Bangladesh has been violating the constitution and Universal Declaration of Human Rights since 2004. According to Article 35(5) of the constitution of Bangladesh and Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” And according to Article 3 of the constitution of Bangladesh, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” But, in practice, Bangladesh does not ensure the right to life and has not complied with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the constitution of Bangladesh.
We can see that state institutions such as the judiciary, the rule of law, regulations, the constitution and the national assembly have been disabled. The media’s role regarding extrajudicial killings covered up under reports of “crossfire”, “gunfights” or “encounters” is negative and constrained. The media has only been publishing the normal reports about these encounters filed by the RAB or the police themselves.
A few human rights organizations have long been asking the government to stop the killings, terming them “extrajudicial”. Moreover, the High Court of Bangladesh, on June 29, 2009, asked the government to explain why killing people without a trial, in the form of extrajudicial killings, is not being declared as illegal, and why measures are not being taken against the perpetrators. After this ruling, we still haven’t seen anything happen.
Extrajudicial killings continue even in violation of the High Court’s ruling. How can they continue? It’s very alarming for human rights, democracy and the right to life. And why is the High Court silent regarding this gross human rights violation?
Both governmental and nongovernmental sources have said that the death toll has reached 161 from such extrajudicial killings – labeled as “crossfire” killings, “encounter” killings or “gunfight” killings by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and the police – since January 6, 2009 (from January 6, 2009 to March 21, 2010) when the Awami League-led government assumed office. In Bangladesh, we have a so-called democracy, but there is no rule of law. Every day sees more killings of citizens by the state machinery, killings which are both well-planned and covered up.
The government of Bangladesh has been violating the constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights day after day since 2002 (including operation clean heart). In 2004, the BNP-Jamaat government made a decision about extrajudicial killings and formed the RAB. From March 26, 2004 until March 21, 2010 around 1,700 people (including 58 killed peoples in operation clean heart in 2002) have been killed without justice.
The government of Bangladesh has sided with the extrajudicial killings. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has also said, in an indirect way, that extrajudicial killings will continue. She spoke clearly, upholding “crossfire” killings. What was said by our popular Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in New York is very unfortunate for the rule of law, democracy, the constitution, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as the people of Bangladesh.
According to the Bdnews24.com, Sheikh Hasina talked with journalists in New York on Sept. 27, 2009. Referring to “crossfire” killings at the time, she said, “I do not believe in extrajudicial killings. But if anyone launches an armed attack (against a law enforcer), then they shouldn’t be allowed to kill them like sitting ducks.”
Bangladesh’s elite Rapid Action Battalion continues to engage in extrajudicial killings despite Supreme Court directives to halt it. Although the court is handling the issue of extrajudicial killings, RAB does not seem to be bothered either about the judiciary or the country’s laws.
At least 29 people were killed in RAB’s custody since the court issued a suo moto order on Nov. 17, last year asking the government for an explanation into such types of killings. The High Court on Dec. 14, last year expressed grave concern over the recurring extrajudicial killings even as 11 people were killed in custody since the issuance of a suo moto order on Nov. 17, asking the government for an explanation on the matter.
During the court hearing, the Attorney General was asked to convey the court’s concern to the director general of RAB. The High Court also asked the Attorney General to take initiatives so that no such killings took place till the next hearing scheduled for January 9. In addition, the HC also asked the state’s top law officer for the names of RAB officials of Madaripur that were involved in detaining two brothers Lutfor and Khairul Khalasi who were killed on November 16. Later we heard that, that particulars bench of the High Court has broken by the Chief Justice before hearing. Why, we don’t know?
When the present ruling Awami League party was in opposition, they often raised their voices against extrajudicial killings. Not only that, during the last general election, which brought them to power, they often said that extrajudicial killings should be stopped. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also told the international community that her government did not support extrajudicial killings. Indeed, the government’s attitude, work and words on this issue of crossfire are unfortunately inappropriate.
The assertions of responsible people in the present government are shocking. Home minister Sahara Khatun recently said that, there was no crossfire. It seems, either directly or indirectly, the home minister and other ministers are defending the perpetrators of such “crossfire” killings. Finally we can say that, in Bangladesh has no rule of law.
On the other hand, Police has closed a photography exhibition on extra-judicial killings around an hour before it was scheduled to start at Drik Gallery in the city’s Dhanmondi of Bangladesh on 22nd March, 2010. According to the daily Star (23 March, 2010), a contingent of police went to the Drik Gallery building around 3:00pm and barred the invited guests and visitors from entering the building. The police also did not allow anybody to come out of the building, said a Drik Gallery source. Though two exhibitions are going on the first and the second floors of the building, the police only wanted to know whether the organisers have permission for the exhibition on “crossfire” from the authorities concerned. However, in the face of police interference, the exhibition was inaugurated by Indian rights activist Mahasweta Devi on the road in front of Drik Gallery at the scheduled time at 4:00pm. Officer-in-Charge of Dhanmondi Police Station Shah Alam said they have closed the exhibition first, as the organisers did not have any permission for the exhibition and secondly, as such an exhibition may cause fear in public and deteriorate the law and order. Shahidul Alam who set up the exhibition said,” Police asked me whether I have permission for the exhibition. Crossfire for which police do not need permission, then why should I have permission for the exhibition?” He also said, they have organised thousands of exhibitions since 1993 and they never required any permission. Some of those exhibitions were even inaugurated by the present and former prime ministers. “We organised the exhibition to raise awareness and draw the government and the court’s attention to the extra judicial killings through art, Shahidul told.
We want to say that the reports of so-called “crossfire”, “encounter” or “gunfight” killings that are done by the RAB and the police are totally false. We believe that terrorism should never be combated or controlled through state killings. It is the establishment of the rule of law that is essential to control terrorism.

Press Freedom in Bangladesh

The long autocratic government was just ended. I was then a college student. In the remote northern area of Bangladesh, Panchagarh, I worked as a trainee-journalist in Dainik (daily) Bangla. In its office I came to know the patriot journalist Mr. Shamsur Rahman Cable Bhai. 16 July is his death-anniversary. In this day in 2000, miscreants killed him by bullet. He was then in Jessore, as Staff Correspondent of daily Janakantha. He was the living store of terror, politics, socialism and all other informations. The days in the lives of Bangladesh Journalists come and go, months go New Year appears after the old but the trial for Journalist-murder does not happen. The head of another patriot journalist Manik Shaha was blown away with bomb-attack! Even today the bloody picture of him, I can clearly remember! Free media is far cry; the life of a journalist is not secured.
Without democracy, independence can’t be enjoyed, human rights is also then absent. In this world of disunity and illegalities, journalists are facing more risks. Journalist-killing-oppression in this restless world of war and terror is nothing new. 29 journalists have been killed including a writer in last 17 years. In last year 324 journalists were tortured by the ruling party cadres and law enforcers.
But gradually the call for freedom of press or for free media is going to be loud worldwide. Crossing the media this call has reached in the greater part of the society of citizens. Reason is that without the free media, democracy is helpless. Media and democracy is completing each other. In South Asia then, the risk of journalism is extreme. In Bangladesh, the journalists are facing incessantly the cruel supervisory of the government with state tortures and harassments.
The responsibility of the media is to lead the people to the path of truths with true reports. They are always in favour the oppressed, deprived, poor’s, victims of torture and persecutions. They fight for the establishment of rule of law, introduction of true democracy in state machineries and political system. From their professional duties and responsibilities, they are working amidst innumerable risks, threats and humiliations. In Bangladesh, two private TV Chanel have been closed by the government. If any news on corruption, nepotism, political terror, tender-frauds, and forceful occupations of properties are published, the concerned journalist is now to pay! He is to face the consequences!
As Journalist reports on the peoples’ wants, expectations and problems and on their reasons, they write about the corruptions and misuse of powers by the persons in power and in administration. So they are the direct targets of the law-enforcing authorities who are the backbones of the corrupt politicians and administrative officers. Ekushey TV and CSB News are two examples. They were very popular. Government on various please and tricks have closed the both Channels. Through intervention of the court, Ekushey TV has again been on broadcast. One latest example of torture on Journalist in Bangladesh is Biplob of Daily Shomokal, representative in Gafargaon, Mymensingh. His hands and feet were broken. A retired Army Officer who is now MP of AL has provoked directly to torture him, as reported in the Newspaper. We don’t know the end of the event. In Dhaka Uttara, a young Reporter of a Community based Newspaper; Sujan was killed on last 3 July. Few days back in Rajshahi, the Reporter of daily Star, Anowar Ali was wounded by terrorists attack. During the Emergency, apart from this writer, the Daily Star Journalist Tasneem Khalil was persecuted. In Sylhet, Bandorban, Nilphamari and many other places, Journalists were harassed through forged cases during the Emergency.
After 15 August 1975 with the murder of Sk. Mujibur Rahman, Military Government began to sit like a heavy stone on the people of Bangladesh. Through many movements, sacrifices, in 1990 the long reign of Army was ended, the pigeon of the democracy was free again. In 1991, BNP, founded by General Ziaur Rahman obtained the power through election. After coming to the power, BNP demolished all journalist-organisations. From the Newspapers and News Agencies and Media of the government, the Journalists who were not liked by BNP, they were evicted in mass. Without giving any termination-benefit, BNP government fired the then Daily Bangla editor Towab Khan, the then executive editor of weeklly Bichitra, Shahariar Kabir and other 12 senior journalists.
In 2002 to make a documentary Film for BBC Chanel-4, foreign Journalist Jaiba Malik and Bruno Sorentino came to Bangladesh. BNP government arrested these two British and Italian journalists, and Shahariar Kabir, Salim Samad and Pricila Raj of Bangladesh. On the fake charges of Bomb-attack event in a Cinema Hall in Mymensingh, the BSS Journalist Enamul Hoq Choudhury and prominent columnist and historian Professor Muntasir Mamun were arrested. While in custody during the BNP government, the journalists were brutally tortured.
At the end of April 2009 miscreants has threatened Shamim Parvez Khan, Dhamrai Correspondent of Daily Sangbad to kill his life. He took a courageous role to save the innocent people of the area from the forges cases. The vested interested circle was perturbed. In spite of GD entry in police station, the terrorists was not arrested. Shamim Al-Amin of Daily Shomokal in Gafargaon, Mymensingh was attacked in this time. His hands and feet were fractured. Attacks were made by the cadres of the Retd. Army Govt. MP Captain and Giasuddin Ahmed.
On 16 April 2006 during a Cricket Test Match of Bangladesh and Australia, on a frivolous incident, the Police led by the then DC Ali Akbar, engaged for the security attacked on the Journalists. On 29 May 2006 in Kushthia the then Govt. MPs let loose their cadres and on the attack, prominent Journalist, Editor of Bangladesh Observer, Mr. Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, President of BFJU, was severely wounded. I could still see in my mind the bloody face of him. Terrorists cadres were not punished.
Journalism is my profession, addiction and the total projection of my life. With my investigative journalism as I have tried to do something for the welfare of the people, that was the reason of the disaster of my life. I have always done ‘non-partisan’ reporting. I never thought of to be the victim of state-terrorism myself. About the oppressions and tortures I have reported and had no pretentions that they would act on my life as Boomerang, I shall be the victim of similar molestations. My life is at the door of destruction, insurity and insecurity now. I don’t know these uncertainties would ever end. Because the social stagnation of our country is only deteriorating, we are proceeding towards an uncivilised-barbar society. The growing extinctive powers are engulfing the entire country. Although we know, thousands of oppressions and threats cannot check the tide of the people. An idealist can’ be forced to give up his principles. No state terrors can extinguish the light of the truth. So the truth-hunters and pen-fighters journalists of Bangladesh can never be intimidated. The system of our justice is full of persecutions and oppressions. So people have taken the facts of crossfire and encounters, introduced by the state, very naturally (with exceptions). In general they don’t protest on the activities of Police, RAB or Army. Society is silent even though persons are killed under the custodies of police and RAB. Government has legalise (accept) these misdeeds. There is impunity also. The role of media is also controversial. They just report on the Press release on crossfires. Of course there is few who courageously report the truth and then fell into troubles!
The conscious of the nation are the Journalists. They help the upliftments of the country. But the tortures of RAB on have reached in peak during the Emergency: A bright example is I, myself. Another brave journalist, Shahariar Kabir, during the BNP-Jamat qualition government was indescribably tortured by RAB. He is a human rights personality, an eminent columnist. With wounds in his body he is now living. I have faced the same situation but we want that such barbarisms are not repeated with any Journalist anymore.
Murders and persecutions of the Journalists: Manik Saha, well-known Journalist of Daily Sangbad, New Age, correspondent of now closed Ekushey TV-Chanel was killed with heinous attack of terrorists bombs on 15 January 2004 around 1-15 p.m. Such a brutal murder of a Journalist is almost unparallel. In whole country, this killing was protested, a huge reactions occurred. But till today the murderers are out of legal-catch. On 2 March 2004, the part time Journalist of daily New Age, Abdul Latif Nabil of Keraniganj was slaughtered and killed. His wife had a lover, Nirjon Mustakin and he with his friends Shahidul Islam Pappu and the wife, Konok together had planned to kill Nabil as he earlier opposed her breach of marriage. They were all arrested.
On 27 June 2004 Khulna Pressclub President Humayun Kabir Balu, Editor Dainik Jonmobhumi was killed by terrorist bombing in Khulna. In the same year on 21 August, at night the daily Ajker Kagoj-Correspondent and Upozilla Chattra Dal General Secretary Kamal Hossain of Manikchari, Khagrachori was kidnapped from his house and slaughtered. In the same year on 2 October at late night, Diponkor Chakraborty (59), Executive Editor of Durjoy Bangla, Bogra and Vice-President BFUJ was killed by the terrorists by the side of his house in Sanyalpara, Sherpur. The killers have chopped him with axe. On 14 October 2004 in the evening, in Katabon, Dhaka, terrorists entered into the office of daily Newspaper, Asian Express and shot and killed Shaheed Anowar Appolo (35). Appolo was the Executive Editor of the Asian Express, known from a visiting card from his pocket. It happened due to a conflict with contractory business.
On 5 February 2005 in Khula Press club with bomb attacks Sk Belaluddin, Khulna Bureau Chief of daily Sangram was killed and 4 other Journalists were injured. At Comilla, on 29 May 2005, at midnight, Muhammad Gholam Mahfuz (38), Editor and Publisher of Daily Muktokantho of Comilla was slaughtered and killed by the terrorists. The Correspondent of daily Shomokal in Faridpur, Gautam Das, Correspondent of daily Runner in Jessore, Gholam Majed, Harun-ar-Rashid of Khulna, Humayun Kabir Balu of daily Jonmobhumi, Manik Saha of daily Sangbad, Jalaluddin of Rangamati, Mir Ilyas Hossain Dilip of Jhinaidoho, Sk. Belaluddin of daily Sangbad, Nohor Ali, Shukur Ali Hossain, Ahsan Ali of Narayanganj, Faruk Ahmed of Moulavibajar, of Nilsagar, Nilphamari Muhammad Kamruzzaman, S.M. Alauddin of Satkhira, Samsur Rahman Kebol of daily Jonokantho, Jessore, Saiful Alam Mukul were all killed by the terrorists. Whether any criminal of the murders of Journalists, Writers, Intellectuals and Humanrights-workers has been punished, we don’t know. During the qualition government, on purely political grounds, prominent columnist Professor Muntasir Mamun, Journalist Shahariar Kabir, Enamul Hoq Choudhury was victims of state terrorism. Eminent Journalists Iqbal Sobhan Choudhury, Alhaj Zahirul Hoq were molested. Persecuted was Journalist Prabir Shikdar, Tipu Sultan. In the last 15 years, 23 Journalists were killed in Bangladesh. From Dhaka Uttara published, community based fortnightly Muktomon’s Journalist Nurul Kabir Sujan was killed by the terrorists. The last victim of Journalist-killing in Bangladesh is Sujon.
Much discussed Journalist-killings: Journalist Manik Saha, Shamsur Rahman Kebol, Humayun Kabir Balu, Diponkor Chakravarty, Goutam Das, and Harun-ar-Rashid Khokan. Saiful Alam Mukul, Sk. Belaluddin. During the army-controlled Emergency interim government the oppressed Journalists: Editor daily Janakantha and Publisher Freedom Fighter, Atikullah Khan Masud, Tasnim Khalil, Cartoonist Arifur Rahman etc. Following the events in DU and RU, the prominent dramatist and columnist Malay Bhowmic was the victim of vicious tortures. No real culprits of these crimes have been tried. As per the report of private organisation, ‘Odhikar’, in the time of the present government from last January to 30 June, 2009, 41 Journalists are victims of oppressions. Five of them were physically assaulted due to their reports. 38 Journaists were threatened in this period.
These incidences are not new. During Emergency, Journalist were taken to Army Camp and tortured physically. Whether the Journalist-community could effectively demand justice for the persecutions of their colleagues, it is also a big question of today! Journalists are divided and the politicalisations of them, absence of proper administration and effective democracy, opportunism, parity, media towards the capital of the riches and other reasons have worked as obstacles for the justice of journalists-murder and tortures. As Journalists and citizens of the country, we want to say clearly neither a politician, nor a Journalist, nor a citizen, nor from other professions must not be tortured under custody of law and order. On behalf of the Journailists Community, this is our demand and expectation.
All accused, criminals and the persons related to them must be brought into books and tried. Till today no effective enquiry and trial has been done.
Without an ideological change of the society, the Freedom of Press in Bangladesh is a Golden deer. Corrupts in every government have the upper hands. With black money, new riches are buying the Media gradually. Emergency government has controlled media through proclamations. Media is under the ownerships of black-money holders. They have no ideals without inception. Primarily Journalists are facing the obvious self-censorships. Surrounding the government ads, hundreds of Newspapers are born in the country. How many of them do anything for social welfare? Advertisement is a big weapon of the government to control the media. The multinational companies are controlling media through ads. Crisis in profession is also an obstacle for the Freedom of Press in Bangladesh.
Another problem is the absence of true definitions of ‚contempt to Court’ and ‚defamation’. Recently the contempt to Court was raised against the Publisher-Editor of dainik Prothom Alo. What report is ‚contempt to Court’, which is not, is not clearly defined anywhere. This is a risk for the journalists. Above all, in Bangladesh there is no ‚National Codes of Broadcast’. Giving explanations and maladministration, disunity amongst Journalists, political divisions and ´because of the eco-social-political structures, Journalists-persecutions are not ended. If any journalist is killed or mishandled, there is no trial. So the criminals are encouraged.
The remedies are blocked in the fixed ideas of the people. They think Justice has gone to ashtray! It must be broken through the mass unity of the patriots. If we can go up of the mere interests of politics, personal or groups, then through peoples-uprisings, the problems of state and society can be solved. The culture of the absence of justice and impunity’ is so deeply rooted that after the brutal killings of the colleague, we are to go to the street with slogan, ‘we don’t get justice so we don’t want it.’ We wish a change of this situation.
Good news are that the Emergency government has framed ‚the Community-Radio-Codes’, Human rights Commission has been formed. The present government with the implementation of ‚Right to Information-Act’ has enabled Media a step ahead to its Freedom, experts believe. But only Acts do not act. These are to be materialised through free-executions. New Information Minister has said, ‚the cases against the journalists will be withdrawn.’ It is very good. But one thing must be clear: For example, one Journalist X who has done really crimes. Will his case be withdrawn also? We want to say distinctly as a responsible citizen, no, all cases should not be withdrawn. The forged cases filed for harassments should only be withdrawn. Otherwise the rule of law would be hampered.

Freedom of expression and extra judicial killings

An exhibition on extra judicial killings has closed by the government of Bangladesh. Prominent Photo Journalist of Bangladesh Mr. Shahidul Alam has organized this exhibition. And it was opened by the eminent rights activist of India Mahasweta Devi on 22 March, 2010 at Drik Gallery in Dhaka. After that the police have closed this exhibition. Now it is proved that in Bangladesh has no right to freedom of expression. At around 1,700 people were killed there in extra judicially since 2002 (from Operation Clean heart) to March, 2010 by army, RAB, police and so-called joint forces. Many journalists were tortured and harassed by the government forces. But the perpetrators have always got the impunity.
Bangladesh: Lift ban on extrajudicial killings exhibition (Press release of Amnesty International, 23-3-2010)
Amnesty International is urging the Bangladeshi authorities to lift a ban on an exhibition of photographs raising awareness about alleged extrajudicial executions carried out by a special police unit.
“Yesterday’s closure of the Drik Picture Library exhibition “Crossfire” in Dhaka is a blow to the right to freedom of expression,” said Amnesty International’s Bangladesh Researcher, Abbas Faiz. “The government of Bangladesh must act immediately to lift the police ban and protect the right to peaceful expression in words, images or any other media in accordance with Bangladesh’s constitution and international law.”
Hours before the “Crossfire” exhibition was due to open at a special ceremony in Dhaka, police moved in and demanded that the organizers cancel it. When they refused to shut it down police closed the premises, claiming that the exhibition had no official permission to open and would “create anarchy”.
The exhibition includes photographs based on Drik’s case studies of killings in Bangladesh, which government officials have portrayed as deaths in “crossfire”.
Hundreds of people have been killed in Bangladesh since 2004 when the special police force, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), was established.
In most cases, victims who die in the custody of RAB and other police personnel, are later announced to have been killed during “crossfire” or police “shoot-outs”.
Amnesty International and other human rights organizations consider these killings to be extrajudicial executions.
Human rights lawyers in Bangladesh see the closure of the exhibition as unjustified and with no legal basis. They are seeking a court order to lift the police ban on the exhibition.
Drik’s Director, Shahidul Alam says he has held hundreds of other exhibitions without needing official permission, and that “the government invoked a prohibitive clause only because state repression was being exposed”.
Abbas Faiz said:“By closing the “Crossfire” exhibition, the government of Bangladesh has effectively reinforced a culture of impunity for human rights violations. Amnesty International is calling for the government to take action against those who carry out extrajudicial executions, not those who raise their voices against it.”
The ban is also inconsistent with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s pledges that her government would take action to end extrajudicial executions.
Amnesty International is urging authorities to allow peaceful protests against the killings and to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Human Rights Watch release: Bangladesh: Allow Photo Exhibit of Crossfire Killings/Prosecute Officers Involved Instead of Practicing Censorship
(New York, March 24, 2010) – The government of Bangladesh should allow a photo exhibit about extrajudicial executions in Dhaka to go ahead as planned, Human Rights Watch said today. Barring the exhibit from opening was a serious violation of freedom of expression, Human Rights Watch said. There have been hundreds of such killings in Bangladesh.
The police in Dhaka closed down the Drik Picture Library on March 22, 2010, shortly before the exhibit was to open. The exhibit, “Crossfire,” by Shahidul Alam, features photographs and installations relating to alleged extrajudicial killings by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), a military-dominated crime-fighting force. Officers often contend that these are “crossfire” killings, in which they killed an alleged criminal in self defense, often to prevent an escape.
“The government should address RAB’s involvement in extrajudicial executions instead of trying to silence those who are promoting public debate about the problem,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “These killings can’t just be airbrushed from reality.”
Since the exhibit was closed, police officers have been stationed outside Drik, preventing the public from visiting the exhibit. The reason given by the Rapid Action Battalion and the police for closing down the exhibit, which had received international attention, was that it “lacked official permission” and would “create anarchy.” Shahidul Alam, who is managing director of Drik, told the news media, however, that Drik had organized thousands of exhibitions in the past, including some at which the present and former prime ministers attended the opening, without any requirement from the authorities for explicit permission to hold the exhibit.
Since the battalion was established in mid-2004, it has killed more than 500 people. As far as Human Rights Watch has been able to establish, no one has been prosecuted for any of these killings.
In December 2006, Human Rights Watch released the report, “Judge, Jury, and Executioner,” which documented that many of the victims of “crossfire” killings in a large number of cases reviewed had instead either been tortured to death or summarily shot. The report recommended that the battalion be fundamentally reformed or abolished.
The current government was elected on a platform that it would put an end to extrajudicial executions by security forces. However, according to its own statistics, 111 persons were killed by law enforcement officials in 2009 alone.
In recent months, the minister of home affairs, to whose ministry the battalion formally reports, has claimed that there have been no extrajudicial killings under the current government and that law enforcement officials have only fired their guns when attacked by criminals. However, investigations by human rights workers have found that the victims in many cases have been summarily shot and killed.
“The government was elected on promises of stopping extrajudicial killings and of upholding free expression,” Adams said. “Now that they are in power, they are singing a different tune. The prime minister should instruct officials not only to allow this exhibit to open, but to file criminal cases against RAB officers who act as judge, jury, and executioner.”
Bangladesh should uphold the right to freedom of expression and right to life for the interest of rule of law, democracy and for human rights. If they believe that Bangladesh is a democratic country.

Press freedom and the statement of RAB DG!

By Jahangir Alam Akash, Every day, every moment the journalists are being oppressed in Bangladesh by various ways. Sometimes they are tortured by law enforcers. On the other hand the political terrorists are persecuting journalists.
According to the daily Ittefaq (29-3-2010) on 27 March, 2010 three journalists have attacked by terrorists at Chitolmari in Bagherhat. The oppressed journalists are S.S. Sagor, general secretary of Chitolmari press club and the correspondent of daily Destiny, Salim Jahangir (daily Janmobhumi & daily Janata) and Ekramul Haque Munshi (daily Amardesh and daily Tortho). The terrorists have detained the injured journalists. They are rampaged the Grameen Enterprise shop and looted money and camera from the journalist.
A Hindu minority school teacher Basudev Majumder has insulted by the cadres of Saheb Ali Farazi. Farazi is the Vice Chairman of Chitolmari Upazilla. In this connection some reports have published. After then this attacked on press have occurred.
Now I want to express my opinion on the speech of the DG of RAB. We seem that now they would kill without justice in the sky and water? Because the government has declared that they would get Helicopter for watching terrorists from the sky. And they have also getting other facilities from the government for sky and water ways. DG of RAB has told (Source: daily Ittefaq, 29 March, 2010) that they didn’t kill anybody without justice. I want to say him why RAB-5 (Major Rashid and Major Humayun) were torturing and electric shocking me? Not only that they also hung me with the ceiling and blind folded me for 15 hours (Please read the book “15 hours in total Darkness” and “Extra judicial killings and Revenge”). Though I was not a criminal? Mr. DG of RAB, Could you please tell the people what my “fault” was? (Please watch the history of my torture: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnyD9GFfZsU (Press freedom and Bangladesh) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saG7_iOcp3I (TIDE TV-Germany report)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1G8BUvZ_mc (Unbearable time)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xzaCRYCkqs (BIHR part-1)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BthGnl-WEGo (BIHR part-2)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnyyJHp3ET0 (BIHR part-3)
Mr. DG are you forgotten the brutal torture of journalist F.M. Masum (New Age)? Why the RAB torturing the journalists one after another? We demand the explanation of the cruelty on the media men. The people have deafer with your totally false speech on the RAB activity. People want to challenge you on this ground. Now it is very clear to the country people that what have doing RAB in the name of so-called ‘gunfight’? RAB is a black chapter of the history of Bangladesh. They are violating the rule of law, constitution, human rights and the international declaration of human rights.
Khondoker Hasan Mahmud also said that, more than 800 RAB men have gotten punishment. But what type of punishment they have got? He didn’t clear it. Those who are responsible for the brutal persecution of journalist Masum and Akash (me) are they gotten punishment? We don’t know. The people of Bangladesh want to see rule of law there.
Now I want to share with the readers of USA State Department report on freedom of press and speech: The constitution provides for freedom of speech and press, but the government occasionally did not respect these rights in practice.
Although public criticism of the government was common, newspapers depended on government advertisements for a significant percentage of their revenue. As a result, newspapers practiced self-censorship on some issues.
There were hundreds of daily and weekly independent publications. Although there were significant improvements over the previous year, newspapers critical of the government experienced some government pressure. Journalists perceived to be critical of the government and those aligned with the opposition alleged harassment from unspecified wings of the security forces and members of the ruling party. In addition to one official government-owned news service, there were two private news services.
Unlike in the previous year, the military’s Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR) office and the DGFI did not directly restrict newspaper ownership or content. However, journalists reported the military cautioned them against criticizing the government or the military, especially in the aftermath of the BDR mutiny. Matiur Rahman Chowdhury, editor of Manabzamin and host of two television talk shows, stated in the English language New Age that officials told him indirectly to refrain from inviting specified guests during the BDR incident. He also said tapes for a particular talk show were taken from station several hours before the show was scheduled to be broadcast.
The host of a popular Bengali-language current affairs talk show, Point of Order, alleged she received phone calls from individuals identifying themselves as DGFI officials who warned her against promoting “antigovernment and antistate propaganda.” She also said sponsors of her program had been encouraged to stop their support of her show.
The government owned one radio and one television station. The parliament passed a law mandating that the public television station, BTV, remain the country’s only terrestrial broadcast channel. An estimated 60 percent of the population did not have access to private satellite channels.
There were 10 private satellite television stations and three private radio stations in operation. There were two foreign-based and licensed satellite television stations that maintained domestic news operations. Cable operators generally functioned without government interference. The government required all private stations to broadcast, without charge, selected government news programs and speeches by the prime minister.
The 24-hour all-news television station, CSB, which the government shut down in 2007, purportedly for not having a proper license, remained closed at year’s end.
Attacks on journalists continued to be a problem. There was an increase in individuals affiliated with the government or ruling party harassing, arresting, or assaulting journalists. According to Odhikar and media watchdog groups, at least three journalists were killed, 84 were injured, one was arrested, 45 were assaulted, 73 were threatened, and 23 had cases filed against them during the year. According to some journalists and human rights NGOs, journalists engaged in self-censorship for fear of retribution from the government.
On January 1, following the parliamentary elections, activists of the AL’s student wing, the Chhatra League, harassed and threatened with death Dhaka University correspondents of the Bengali and English publications Daily Sangbad, Janakantha, BDNews24.com, Destiny, and Janatar Chokh. The activists ransacked the reporters’ rooms, destroyed their valuables, and threatened to kill them. No action was taken against the alleged vandals.
On September 1, according to Odhikar, two Chattra League activists attacked and ransacked a store owned by the Chuadanga representative of the daily Amar Desh, reportedly in retaliation for a report published in the paper criticizing an AL member of parliament (MP). The activists set fire to the store and burned copies of Amar Desh. Members of the Chattra League then ransacked the store owner’s home and assaulted his wife and children. Chattra League and Jubo League members also ransacked the business of the Chuadanga representative of the daily Janakantha and the home of the local representative of the daily Prothom Alo.
On October 22, officers of RAB 10 arrested F.M. Masum, a reporter for the English-language daily New Age from his home in Jatrabari, near Dhaka. According to New Age and the Asia Human Rights Commission (AHRC), RAB members beat Masum with iron rods, wooden sticks and the blunt sides of machetes and rubbed salt into his wounds, allegedly because he had worked on several news stories on extrajudicial killings committed by the battalion and its involvement in the fight against drugs. Staff from New Age alleged Masum was targeted because he had written about violence against journalists. The home minister ordered RAB 10 to release Masum, and RAB officials announced an investigation into the matter. After the incident, RAB officials gave varying accounts of the reason for Masum’s detention, including that he had been found in possession of drugs and that he was found with prostitutes. However, when Masum was released, RAB officials stated he had been arrested for not cooperating with the law enforcement agency. RAB headquarters released a statement expressing regret for the incident and transferred one of the officers involved. No further action was taken at year’s end. The government took no further action in the May 2008 assaults against Daily Star correspondents Mirza Shakil and Iasinur Rahman.
There were no new developments in the case of Jahangir Alam Akash, who reportedly was tortured by authorities in November 2007. Akash ran his own blog devoted to press freedoms and human rights during the year.
There were no developments in the case of the Jai Jai Din editor who was fired in July 2008 because he published a cartoon critical of the Army Chief General Moeen Uddin Ahmed.
The trial court dismissed charges against accused teachers and students in the 2007 attack on journalists at Dhaka University. Tasneem Khalil, former Daily Star journalist and researcher for Human Rights Watch, continued to live in exile in Sweden following his 2007 interrogation and torture by joint forces.
Unlike in previous years, the government did not subject foreign publications and films to stringent reviews and censorship. A government-managed film censor board reviewed local and foreign films and had the authority to censor or ban films on the grounds of state security, law and order, religious sentiment, obscenity, foreign relations, defamation, or plagiarism, but this was less strict than in the past. In practice video rental libraries and DVD shops stocked a wide variety of films, and government efforts to enforce censorship on rentals were sporadic and ineffective.
Unlike in the previous year, the government only rarely exercised censorship in cases of immodest or obscene photographs, perceived misrepresentation or defamation of Islam, or objectionable comments regarding national leaders.
There were no developments regarding the 2007 decision to ban Alpin, the satirical weekly magazine of the newspaper Prothom Alo, due to alleged blasphemy against Islam.
Unlike in previous years, the government did not use defamation charges to curb freedom of speech.
Dear readers please read the inhumanity of RAB which report has published by USA state department: Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Although the constitution prohibits torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment, security forces including the RAB, military, and police frequently employed severe physical and psychological abuse during arrests and interrogations. According to figures provided by human rights organizations, the use of such techniques dropped in 2008 but increased during the year. Abuse consisted of threats, beatings, and the use of electric shock. According to human rights organizations, security forces tortured at least 68 persons. The government rarely charged, convicted, or punished those responsible, and a climate of impunity allowed such abuses by the RAB, police, and military to continue.
On June 4, according to Odhikar, Kahalu police in Bogra arrested and tortured the president of the student wing of the BNP, Morshed Habib Bhuiyan Jewel, in Netrokona district. Jewel alleged that several times while in custody at the Netrokona Model Police Station three to four police officers blindfolded him, suspended him from the ceiling with handcuffs, and beat him with sticks from the waist down. According to Jewel, police also poured hot water into his nose and mouth. Netrokona police claimed Jewel was a suspect in a murder case and that they were interrogating him. Witnesses and the victim claimed police arrested him due to his political affiliation. Jewel remained in jail at year’s end.
There were no developments in the 2007 torture cases of Shahidul Islam, Mohammad Jamal Uddin, and Mohammad Kajol.
According to human rights organizations, there were at least three recorded incidents of rape and sexual abuse by law enforcement personnel.
For example, on February 28, according to Odhikar, four police constables gang-raped a member of an ethnic minority group in the Chittagong metropolitan area.
There were no new developments in the July 2008 rape of a 14-year-old girl in Sonargaon, Narayanganj, allegedly by RAB officer Abdul Gaffur. Gaffur was under arrest and awaiting trial at year’s end. There was no further investigation into the July 2008 rape of a young girl at Kamlapur Dhaka, allegedly by police subinspector Rezaul Karim.
Mr DG of RAB, please tell your speech to the nation. Remember that you are the servant of the state. So don’t tell a lie and violate the human rights.

Picture on minority oppression in Bangladesh

By Jahangir Alam Akash, Hindu-Indigenous and Christian minority people have been oppressed continuously by the political influential in Bangladesh. An Indigenous woman Jhorna Dewan (32) has killed on 29 March in Rangamati. (Source: BD News 24, 30.3.2010). This is the latest incident of minority oppression. At least 3 Indigenous people have killed in the incident of February in CHT. We can make a picture of minority oppression.
According to the daily Jugantor (24.3.2010), Mohammad Sanowaruzzaman Josef – Member of Upazila Awami League and U.P. Chairman and his brother Mr. Shamsuzzaman Talukdar Soeb – President of Juba League forcefully and fraudulently occupied lands of renowned Kali Temple situated at Kaliazuri Upazila Sadar of Netrakona district of Bangladesh.
In this connection, Mr. Ranjit Sarker along with some leaders of Hindu community made an appeal to the Deputy Commissioner of Netrakona district for recovery of deity’s land. They also claimed that since long the Hindu communities were celebrating Puja and religious festival on those lands. The powerful land grabbers most illegally occupied those lands and started construct multi storied building thereon. A sense of discontentment was prevailing amongst the Hindu communities due to this abrupt occupation of Temple properties.
According to the Samakal (22.3.2010), Muslim perpetrators on 21 March at about 16.00 hours attacked Hindu village at Dhanua within Faridgonj Police station of Chandpur district. Two Hindu dwellers have been admitted at the hospital with precarious condition due to abrupt attack by perpetrators. Names of injured victims are 1) Ms.Archana Rani Das and 2) Sanjit Das. Because of continuous love affairs between Hindu boy Mr. Samir Chandra Das (17) and Muslim girl Ms. Haowa Begum (16) there developed eternal love.
It is reported that there existed a love between a Hindu boy and a Muslim girl within the same locality. Both the boy and girl absconded due to persistent pressure from their father and mothers and other religious leaders. Muslim inhabitants of the same locality became furious because of inter- religious marriage activities in the locality. On 21March at about 16.00pm a gang of perpetrators with deadly weapons attacked Hindu village, destroyed a substantial part of Temple thus desecrated the Hindu deities thereon, destroyed some dwelling houses of minorities and assaulted 10 Hindu inhabitants of Hindu village only because of love affairs between Hindu boy Mr. Samir Chandra Das (17) and Muslim girl Ms. Haowa Begum (16) This unfortunate incident took place at Bara Dhanua Uttaqr Das Para U.P. No.9 of Govindapur, Faridgonj police station of Chandpur district.
Mr. Bhudu Gopal Das lodged first information report (FIR) at Faridgonj police station on same day against the five perpetrators and unknown 10/15 others under section 143/447/448/385/295/323/325/427/502 of Bangladesh penal code. The accused perpetrators are: Mohammad Faruk (40) son of Yonus, Md. Harun (35) son of Abdul Gani, Md. Siddique (35) son of Iqbal, Md. Sumon (35) Luthfar Rahman Gazi, Md. Masum (35) son of Younus Patwari and 10 to 15 unknown others. Faridgonj police arrested Mohammad Faruk and Md. Harun and sent them to jail custody. All other perpetrators are absconding.
According to the daily Amader Shomoy ( 21 March, 2010), Ms. Anju Rani Das (16) a Hindu school student of Class Nine was seized forcibly from custody of her elder brother on way to visit their relative’s house at Boga Union of village West Kaina within Baufol police station. Her father’s name is Amullya Chandra Das (45) of Kolapara police station of Patuakhali district. Mr. Shymol Chandra Das – elder brother of victim girl was wrongfully restrained and confined at the road along with Ms.Anju physically assaulted, their belongings looted, by the perpetrators and took victim away at Kaina and more than 8 Muslim perpetrators raped her one after another 10/15 kilometres away from police station. Initially the local people came to know about this incident of gang-rape and informed the police after chase of two accused. Ms. Anju Rani was gang-raped on 19th March, 10 at about 8.30 p.m. at Kaina of Boga Union 15 kilometres away from Baufal police station by following accused perpetrators: Hanif Howlader ( 38), Bashir Mollah (30), Forkan Howlader (25), Mohammad Masum @ commander Masud (28), Jamal Khan (35), Mohammad Liton (25), Abdul Mannan (30), Md. Abul Kalam (32). The victim lodged first information report (FIR) at Boufol police station being Boufol P.S. case No. 20 dated 20.03.2010 under section 9(3)30 of Women and Children Repression Ordinace,2003 and 341/379 of Bangladesh penal code against those perpetrators. Out of eight perpetrators two have been arrested by police in the meantime.
According to the daily Sangbad (16.3.2010), Serious allegation against perpetrators belonging to Awami League in power forcefully occupied landed properties worth Taka half a billion of Hindu families at Kishoreganj town. Although police rushed at the spot soon after a general diary was lodged at Sadar police station the perpetrators continued to erect construction on the lands of Hindus illegally. On Monday the Hindu victims in press conference imparted facts of case at the District Press Club in Kishoreganj that on last Friday morning the perpetrators namely –Abdul Karim son of Hashim Bepari, Siddique son of Mansur Ali and Taher along with 10/12 more perpetrators forcefully occupied .5 sataks of lands belonging to Narayan Biswas of Bhattacharjee Para, .7 sataks of lands belonging to Ms.Mala Rani Chowdhury wife of Saitten Bhattacharjee, .3 sataks of lands belonging to Ms.Beauty Bhattarjee wife of Brajesh Bhattacharjee, 03 sataks of lands belonging to Ms.Beauty Rani Sutradhar wife of Bipul Sutradhar, 03 and half sataks belonging to Monmohan Basak, 05 and half sataks of lands belonging to Nani Gopal Banik.
It is also reported that those minority Hindus had been owning and possessing those lands since 15 to 30 years ago. All those lands grabbers forcefully erected houses. In this connection Mr.Saitten Bhattacharjee husband of Ms. Mala Rani started a general diary entry as complainant.The minority communities there in great anxiety and nobody dared to protest illegal construction of houses on their lands. Mir Mosharaf Hossain, Officer-in-Charge of Sadar P.S. informed that on Sunday night and on Monday morning police stopped construction on the lands in dispute. Both the parties were advised to report police station with their legal documents.
According to the daily Jugantor (5.3.2010), Assailants shot dead a Jewellery trader in front of Bahadur Shah Park in Old town in Dhaka Thursday morning.
The deceased was Prem Krishna Roy (37), a resident of Khailash Ghosh Lane at Kazir Deuri. Witnesses said a gang of three of four assailants stopped Prem Krishna, who was on his way home, near the park about 7.45 a.m. and shot him in the fact, chest, abdomen and shoulders. Prem, who returned from Dubai recently, fell on the ground severely wounded. The gangsters made their escape by firing blank shots. Local people took him to Dhaka Medical College Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Prem’s elder brother Amal Roy alleged his brother might have been killed by extortionist who had demanded Taka 10 lakh from Amal just a month ago. On 14th February, 10 he made a general diary entry at Kotwali police station for necessary protection, but police failed to protect him. “Some unnamed people, who demanded Taka 10 lakh from me, threatened me and my family over telephone of dire consequences if I would fail to pay the money, he said. As I refused to pay the money, they repeatedly threatened me saying that they would kill my family members, Amal, who owns the James Jewellery Workshop in the area. Prem who got married to Ms Swapna Roy three months ago, returned to the country early December, 2009 after staying in Dubai for five years. Swapna said her husband had no enmity with anyone.
Nitty Mondal, a worker of the James Jewellery Workshop told that Amal Roy received threats from unnamed caller three times in February and he refused to pay any money back home, Prem Roy had helped his brother in running the business. Once Prem was abducted for extorting Taka five million and after payment those perpetrators let him free on condition. He however, said they could not identify the extortionist.
According to the daily Destiny (18.2.2010), Bijoy Roy (13) a Hindu- children- van-carrier of Chowgacha Upazila was assassinated to death by unknown assailants. His head was separated from his body. He is a destitute child of Aswani Roy –a Hindu van carrier of village Bonni of Chowgacha Upazila. Nobody could identify who were the killers. There is no allegation against this destitute boy. Local lamented for such killing as soon as they came to know this unfortunate event. Local people informed police on 15 February, 10 while mutilated dead body of Bijoy Roy was identified from village Bonni. Police sent the dead body to hospital morgue for autopsy. No relatives of the deceased know when why this boy was brutally killed. On Sunday last Bijoy did not return to his home till his assassination. No trace was available whole night from 14 February, 10. Neighbour became astonished seeing his separated body of this innocent boy.
Mozzammel Hoque, S.I. of Police informed that a murder case has been started without mentioning the names of the assailants and the investigation was going on. Chowgacha P.S. case No. 4 dated 15.02.10 under section 302/34 of penal code; one Md. Tarikul Islam (21) son of Abdul Mannan was arrested on suspicion.
According to the daily Sangbad and Samakal (7.2.2010), consequent upon an incident of sexual harassment of Hindu girl some unruly perpetrators attacked Hindu Temple at Mograpara of Sonargaon Sub-district at Narayanganj of Bangladesh on Friday 5 February, 10 evening. Perpetrators also demolished 6 (six) Hindu Deities (Murthies), attacked houses belonging to Hindu communities. During this time Hindus were celebrating Puja at the premises. Police deployed for controlling the situation. The perpetrators also damaged houses belonged to Hindus namely a) Naresh b) Netai, c) Polly, d) Govinda and e) Sentu and some Hindu youths had been beaten. The perpetrators belonged to Muslims are: Rakibul, Sujan, Sabbir, Mohan, Sagar, Ripon and more others. It is alleged that since 2 February, 10 “Kali Puja” started at village Ashrabdi within Sonargaon Sub-District which would continue for seven days as usual custom. On 4 February, 10 some perpetrators went to see Puja and they wanted to harass one Hindu girl sexually. Some Hindu people protested this ugly harassment and as a result there was scuffle between them and at one stage 20/25 perpetrators armed with sticks and other wooden lathies attacked the Hindu temple and damaged 6 (six) deities. As a result 4 persons were injured. The local Upazila Chairman Md. Mosharaf Hossain informed that the matter has been compromised.
According to the daily Janakantha (19.1.2010), Seven Murthies (Sarwasati deities) constructed for the purpose of Puja demolished by the perpetrators at Pal Para on Saturday night within Sajahanpur in the district of Bogra. Police informed there was preparation of 12 Sarawasati Deity in the village of Demajani of Sajahanpur Upazila. Those Murthies were constructed for the purpose of ensuring Sarwasati Puja. The deity maker worked till 10 a.m. But in the morning out of 12 Deities 7 seven deities are not traceable. After through search those seven deities were found in the jungle with broken conditions.
According to the daily Sangbad (16.12.2010), A powerful businessman within Muktagacha town of Mymensingh district forcefully occupied lands belonging to Hindus. Because the Hindu victim solicited justice, perpetrators obstructed roads and trying to evict him unlawfully. The victim alleged in a written complain that Ms.Raju Bala constructed a house purchasing .3.00 sataks of lands from Mohammad Hossain in the year, 1989 within Paratongi Mouza and she was staying thereon lawfully. During the period of 4 party alliances the powerful neighbour Abdus Sattar Saju –with connivance of political leaders of BNP-Jamat forcefully occupied those three sataks of lands and constructed building thereon. Abdus Sattar Saju threatened Ms.Raju Bala while she tried to intervene. In this connection there were local arbitrations to mete out justice to this women but the occupant most illegally obstructed roads with a view to grab the lands. In this connection a written complain addressed to the Minister for Lands & Reforms made who directed the Deputy Commissioner for taking necessary action. Consequently the powerful perpetrators became more agitating continuously threatening the members of this destitute minority to leave the country. Ram Das husband of Ms.Raju Bala informing press claimed that he deposited up-to-date rents of to the government. He also requested all concerned to get his lands back and necessary intervention by the highest authority being solicited.
According to the investigation report of Bangladesh Minority Watch and GHRD, on 27 October, 2009 Loly Chakma (15) has gang-raped in Sitakunda of Chittagong. The accused are 1) Zahur Member (40) son of late Hajee Atar Meah of Keshabpur, Lalbagh – P.S. Sitakunda, Chittagoong. 2) Sumon (35) son of Md. Ishaque of do 3) Shamim (26) son of Shah Alam driver, 4) Hannan (30) son of Md. Hanif 5) Nuruzamman Sawdagar (45) son of late Abul Khair, 6) Selim (32) son of late Nurul Hoque, 7) Monaiya @ Mona, (25) son of late Abul , all of Keshabpur, Lalbagh,, P.S. Sitakunda. District-Chittagong.
According to the Janakantha (4.10.2009), Two Minority Families belonging to Hindus at Kalapara Upazila of Patuakhali District of Bangladesh are going to be uprooted from their homestead because of false cases filed by Hashem Sikdar – a land grabber of same locality. Both the Hindu families submitted an appeal to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. Ms.Sima and Ms.Ruma -daughters of Makhan Lal of those victims expressed their anguish and submitted an appeal to conscious people of Bangladesh to come forward for their protection of land rights.
According to the daily Star (27.11.2009), At least five women were injured as a local influential person and his men attacked and ransacked 17 houses in an attempt to illegally evict indigenous people in Shialor village in Haripur upazila of Thakurgaon on 26 November, 2009. Of the injured indigenous women, Baramai Maddi, 46, was committed to Haripur Upazila Health Complex in a critical state.
Police said Abdul Alim and his men attacked the indigenous people around 11:30am and badly damaged 17 thatched houses. President of Jatiya Adibashi Parishad of Haripur unit Soniram Hemrom told, about 50 people led by Alim launched the attack for illegally evicting them from Som Maddi’s ancestral land.
Alim claimed he purchased the 3.25 acres of land from Som’s mother 22 years ago. However, Soniram trashed the claim and said in their tradition mothers cannot sell any land. Soniram added on the day of the attack the indigenous male people went to the district headquarters to attend hearing of a case filed by Alim against 200 people to “harass” them.
Continuously attacked on press freedom in Bangladesh

By Jahangir Alam Akash, Press freedom and freedom of speech have been attacking continuously in Bangladesh. More two journalists have attacked yesterday (4 April, 2010) by the ruling party men in the capital Dhaka. It was happened in front of a law enforcer office.
On the other hand on 22 March, 2010 there were attacked on a photo exhibition on RAB brutality organised by famous photo journalist Shahidul Islam at Drik Gallery in Dhaka. It was obstacle of freedom of speech. Though after the national and international intervening government has declared that no bar co continue with this exhibition. After that another attacked on press freedom were happened in Bagherhat. After then this event two journalists have attacked for their reporting.
According to the daily Star(5 April, 2010), a group of activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) beat up two journalists at Shahbagh in the city in the night of 4 April for publishing a report against the central unit president. The journalists were identified as Anis Raihan, staff correspondent of the weekly Saptahik, and Ahmed Fayez, staff correspondent of the weekly Budhbar. BCL is the student wing of ruling party Bangladesh Awami League.
Sources told, Chief reporter of the Saptahik Mohiuddin Niloy said some 20 to 25 BCL men attacked the journalists in front of Shahbagh Police Station around 8:30pm as per the direction of AGM Sabbir Jahan Saikat, president of SM Hall unit BCL.The journalists were walking towards Dhaka University through its Shahbagh entry point, he added.As they reached in front of Shahbagh Police Station, SM Hall unit BCL president honked his motorbike horn loudly from behind the reporters. When the reporters gave their identities and asked Saikat to explain the reason of honking the horn, Saikat got angry and called his fellows from the hall. Niloy further said that Saikat took away the professional identity cards of the reporters and charged Anis for filing a report against BCL Central Committee President Mahmud Hasan Ripon.
The reporters sought cooperation from policemen present at the scene.
The Saptahik published a report on Ripon’s recent activities in its last issue.
The injured journalists were rushed to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University and later shifted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
According to the daily Ittefaq (29-3-2010) on 27 March, 2010 three journalists have attacked by terrorists at Chitolmari in Bagherhat. The oppressed journalists are S.S. Sagor, general secretary of Chitolmari press club and the correspondent of daily Destiny, Salim Jahangir (daily Janmobhumi & daily Janata) and Ekramul Haque Munshi (daily Amardesh and daily Tortho). The terrorists have detained the injured journalists. They are rampaged the Grameen Enterprise shop and looted money and camera from the journalist. A Hindu minority school teacher Basudev Majumder has insulted by the cadres of Saheb Ali Farazi. Farazi is the Vice Chairman of Chitolmari Upazilla. In this connection some reports have published. After then this attacked on press have occurred.
Recently some of the oppressed journalists were expressing their painful history of persecution in a conference on press freedom in Dhaka.
Please see more report on press freedom in Bangladesh:

http://jaakash.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/press-freedom-and-journalists-killing-tortures-in-bangladesh/

In addition, three journalists have killed, 84 injured, 45 assaulted, 16 attacked, one arrested, two abducted, 73 threatened, 23 sued 19 were victimised by other violence in last year (2009). Source: the human rights report, 2009 of Odhiker.
If Bangladesh government believes democracy, rule of law then they should stop the violation of press freedom and freedom of speech.

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Murders without justice

By Jahangir Alam Akash, Another journalist was brutally tortured by the so-called elite force, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), in Bangladesh. Tortured journalist F.M. Masum is now under treatment in a private hospital in the capital city of Dhaka. Before this, he had been admitted to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital. After being tortured, he can no longer hear with his left ear. Masum is a staff reporter for the national English language daily newspaper, New Age. He was tortured on Oct. 22 in his house in Dhaka.

Different media and human rights organizations demanded a judicial inquiry into the torture of Masum. After every incidence of the torture of journalists, like Masum’s case, journalists and human rights organizations give a condemning the act and demanding an investigation.

But we think that only condemning the torture and demanding an investigation is not enough. To prevent more torture, there needs to be exemplary punishment of those who are responsible for these incidents. The Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s secretary general, Khandaker Delwar Hossain, also condemned the torture of Masum and demanded legal action against the personnel involved in the incident. It is very funny, because their government (the BNP-Jamaat alliance) created the RAB. RAB activities are totally inhuman and unlawful. But our blind media has always covered false statements given by the RAB and the police regarding so-called “crossfire” killings without investigation. So, the RAB knows that journalists are always publishing false reports about their illegal operations. That is why the RAB is gaining the courage to torture journalists. At least 50 journalists have been tortured by the RAB since 2004.

This is not a new history of brutal torture by the RAB. The RAB also illegally arrested, detained and tortured inhumanely with electric shocks myself, the editor of Human Rights Today in 2007. Here are some links to videos about my torture by the RAB:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xzaCRYCkqs (BIHR part-1)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BthGnl-WEGo (BIHR part-2)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnyyJHp3ET0 (BIHR part-3)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1G8BUvZ_mc (“Unbearable Time”)

Here is some background of the torture of Masum: According to a report by New Age, the Rapid Action Battalion, on Oct. 22, 2009, had tortured severely New Age staff correspondent F.M. Masum, keeping him in detention at the RAB-10 headquarters at Dhalpur in Dhaka for about 10 and a half hours.

The battalion men picked Masum up from his rented house at Jatrabari in Dhaka at noon and severely tortured him in public. Masum was, however, released at about 10:30 p.m., reportedly after repeated interventions by the home minister and the home secretary, and he needed to be rushed to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital for treatment.

According to Masum and spot accounts, a battalion team raided the house at 67, Dakshin Jatrabai, where Masum lives as a tenant, at noontime for alleged involvement by the landlord in drug peddling. The battalion personnel also knocked on the door of Masum’s flat. As soon as Masum opened the door, the battalion personnel slapped him, accusing him of being late in opening the door.

They started torturing Masum severely as he told them his identity, according to spot accounts. Torturing him in public on the spot, the battalion men rubbed salt in the wounds and took him to the RAB-10 headquarters at Dhalpur. “At the RAB office, they tortured me inhumanely saying, ‘We are taking our anger at Nurul Kabir [the New Age editor] out on you,’ Masum said in the hospital. Soon after Masum’s detention, different battalion officers came up with different stories as the reason for the detention. Some of them claimed Masum was found in possession of Pethedine, some said it was Phensidyl (codeine) syrup, while others said they found him with prostitutes.

The New Age people were asked earlier to sign an undertaking that declared that Masum had been involved in drug trading for a long time, but his colleagues refused to sign it. Masum also said that the battalion personnel had videoed arranged sequences of the seizure of drug substances from his room. He was also videoed along with the wife of the owner of the house.

Any torture is a violation of UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Constitution of Bangladesh, while torture is a criminal offense. The government should immediately abolish the RAB, and bring to justice all those who were involved with tortures and killings.
Press freedom & human rights in Bangladesh
By Jahangir Alam Akash, Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark. Recently I went there. International human rights organization the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) has organized a conference on ‘Preventing terrorism within the fight against terrorism: tools for journalists’ on 6th November, 2009. The organizers were given me an opportunity to join that conference. Around 30 Journalists and human rights defenders from 16 countries were participated in this conference. The conference was supported by the European Commission.
Sami Al Haj, a cameraman for the Al Jazeera TV station was showed a report about the human rights violation at Guantanamo. And he has described his inhuman torture history. He was spent six years in the Guantanamo detention center. Really it was brutal and horrible. Journalist and writer Tara McKelvey from USA has described on the Abu Ghraib prison’s human rights violation. It was a nice, fruitful and important conference. Now, I want to share on my torture history. How and why I was brutal tortured by Army in Bangladesh? I want to draw a picture on human rights and press freedom in Bangladesh.
Torture is a common feature in Bangladesh. Now torture has become institutionalized. In Bangladesh, it has become common for extrajudicial killings to be sanitized under the names of “crossfire” or “encounter” by law-enforcing agencies. A culture of impunity has also been a common practice by the state since 1975. Here, extrajudicial killings by the joint security forces continue unabated.
I experienced torture firsthand while I was detained at an Army camp during the state of emergency declared by Bangladesh’s military caretaker government from Jan. 2007 to Dec. 2008. I want to share with you some of my experiences. Every day, the suppression of the media and freedom of speech is becoming more apparent in Bangladesh. I would like to draw a picture of the destruction of Bangladeshi media from my own perspective.
The people of Bangladesh struggled for 23 years to establish their rights in different sectors throughout the country, then for provincial autonomy, and finally for independence. They owned their victory through a nine-month-long war, after which they found Bangladesh independent. But it is very troubling that Bangladeshis’ fundamental rights have been restricted through interference by the Army, at different times. The Army autocrats who rule the country have caused the deaths of thousands of civilians and Army people, even the father of the nation, Bangobandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, in 1975, but they have always received impunity.
In recent past regime of army backed caretaker government, it was common Practice for the joint forces, the Army, and the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) to torture university professors, journalists and writer and human rights defenders including famous dramatist columnist Malay Bhoumic, professor Anwar Hossen Neem Chandra Bhoumic, Harun-ur-Rashid, present vice chancellor of Rajshahi University Abdus Sobhan, ex vice chancellor of the same university and present ambassador of UK Saidur Rahman Khan. No action can to be taken against these perpetrators.
Personally, I have also been victimized by the recent past authority for my activities as a journalist, writer and human rights activist. I was tortured for 15 hours. My crime was that I was made several investigative reports about the RAB’s offenses of extrajudicial killings, Islamic militancy and Indigenous and minority torture as well as corruption and political terrorism.
I want to paint a picture of the violation of the rule of law and human rights in Bangladesh. The RAB arrested a terrorist named Benazir on May 2, 2007, on the charges of possession of illegal arms. While arresting him, they shot both of his legs in front of his minor daughter and his wife. Benazir is now crippled with two bullet marks on his feet. He is also detained in the hospital area of the Rajshahi central jail. The RAB did not find any arms in his possession.
Another killing was happened in the name of ‘Encounter’ by RAB-5. RAB murdered a local Workers party leader Maznu Sheikh alias Kamrul Islam at Chotobongram in Rajshahi city on May 18, 2007. I reported about these on CSB News and broadcasted interviews of their relatives (wife, mother, brother and localities). In the same time I was published these report on the daily Sangbad and broadcasted in DW Radio.
When Benazir was shot, it was reported by me on CSB News. None of the RAB personnel who were involved in the alleged operation agreed to give statements in front of a television camera regarding the incident. In the evening, I send the report to our head office in Dhaka from our bureau office in Rajshahi. In a news bulletin broadcasted at 1:00 a.m. the following morning, the report was broadcast.
Then, at 9:33 p.m. that evening, I received a call from RAB officer Major Rashidul Hasan Rashid. Soon as I As soon as I picked up the phone, the caller asked me why the broadcasting of the news piece about the RAB’s operation was stopped after being aired only twice. In reply, I told him that “it is up to the head office.” Major Rashid became annoyed with me and said, “You broadcasted this report intentionally.” I replied, “It is my professional duty, nothing more than that.”
He asked, “Why did you broadcast someone crying and the statements of Benazir’s wife and daughter?” In response, I asked him, “Do you want to know it officially?”
At this stage, Major Rashid became very rude. I cannot mention the words he shouted at me in our language, since the language was very bad. He was outraged and said, “If you fail to give the right answer about why you broadcast the report, then I shall take actions against you.” I said, “I have not committed any crime.”
Major Rashid asked again, “Why did the other TV channels not broadcast the same report? You did it intentionally and your actions belong to ‘anti-state activity’.” He also said, “Make sure that you, any of your colleagues, and the CSB News camera are never seen within the jurisdiction and activities of the RAB. If they are, then the RAB will take action against you.”
After that, he hung up. I complained to the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and Amnesty International and other human rights and media organizations as well as DW authority regarding this threat. Then AHRC was given a letter to the government. After then, an investigation was commissioned. After giving a detailed report, I signed my written statement, which was received with signature and official chop by the reader to assistant police commissioner in Boalia, Rajshahi on July 3, 2007.
Mr. Golam Mostofa, the field officer of the National Security Intelligence questioned me regarding the said intimidation and threats, on July 15, 2007. Then, at around 6:00 p.m. on July 22, 2007, Mr. Moyeen, an inspector of the Special Branch of the city of Rajshahi visited my office and took my statement. Inspector Moyeen also asked about the threat I felt, and I replied that the RAB is involved in extrajudicial killings and I feared that I could become the victim of such a killing. I reported that I have been continuing my work, but I still worried that the RAB or his men might target me for further harassment or intimidation.
So I became a target. I have been charged multiple times with false and political motivated charges and have been arrested, tortured and detained. I was arrested from my house at midnight and tortured in front of my wife, child and rental house owners. I was taken to the RAB-5 office. I was hung from the ceiling with my hands tied with ropes and was beaten mercilessly on my feet and my back. I was kept hanging from the ceiling with ropes around my hands, with the mask on my face. And also they gave me electric shocks.
When I was being tortured I was being shouted at with words like: “Will you do the Benazir report again…?” “Litchi garden report again…” ‘Khairuzzaman Liton’s family report again…” Now face the consequences; son of a pig… son of a bitch…” etc. The RAB would like to be able to kill me, and officially call the killing a “crossfire” or “encounter.”
RAB sent me to the local police with the charge under the section 16(2) of Emergency Power Rules 2007. I was under medical attention in the Rajshahi central jail for 10 days. As a new detainee, I was sent to the case table in front of the jail house’s trial court on my first day. When I went to case table, two fellow inmates had to hold me on both sides. I had no power to walk. I could not even sit properly, but could only put pressure on one side of my rear, when sitting. I broke into tears. Many cases were lodged against me. I felt I was being prepared to be killed in a “crossfire” or “encounter.”
There is more shocking news I have learned about a key perpetrator, Major Rashidul Hassan Rashid, an RAB military officer who played the leading role in the extrajudicial killings of Ahsan Habib Babu, a student’s league leader; Kamrul Islam, alias Maznu Sheikh, a Workers Party leader; Ali Jafor Babu, a prominent businessman; and about twenty others. Some people like Benazir and a jail guard, Shahebul Islam, were highly affected and disabled by their torture. Major Rashid has been recruited to serving in the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the Ivory Coast; he joined the UN mission on July 10, 2008. This makes it clear how well the Bangladeshi authorities look into human rights abuses and treat the victims and the perpetrators.
In 2007 journalist Tasneem Khalil, who wrote an article criticizing the government, was taken by Army members to the facilities of the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence, Bangladesh’s intelligence agency, and was brutally beaten. Now he has been exiled by the Bangladeshi government and lives in Sweden. Cartoonist Arifur Rahman arrested and sent to the jail for made a cartoon. Though, he was freed from jail later and he was freed from the case by the court ordered. In the regime of BNP-Jammat government journalist Saleem Samad, writer-journalist Shahriar Kabir, professor of Dhaka University and famous writer Muntasir Mamun also brutally tortured and detained illegally. There are so many examples like mentioned above. In Bangladesh still going on extra judicial killings in the name of ‘Crossfire’ ‘Encounter’ or ‘Gunfight’.
Though, the present government is democratic. Recently in Gofforgaon upazilla under Mymensing district journalist Biblop was tortured by the supporters of ruling party lawmakers. In last 16 years almost 29 journalists-writers were murdered in Bangladesh including Manik Saha, Deponkar Chakraborty, Goutam Das, Humayun Kabir Balu, Shamsur Rahman Cable, Harun-ur-Rashid Khokon, Saiful Alam Mukul, and Sheikh Belaluddin. But yet real investigation and trial has not end. Journalist’s community and the relatives of killed journalists are waiting for justice. In last 38 years since independence hundreds journalists brutal tortured including Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, Atiquallah Khan Masud, Alhaj Zahirul Haque, Probir Shikder, Tipu Sultan. In the present Awami League regime journalist F M Masum, who is working with the New Age was brutally tortured by RAB recently.
On the other hand, In Bangladesh, the brutal persecution of the Christian religious minority and indigenous ethnic minorities is going ahead full steam. Until now, the persecution that both communities faced never saw the light of justice. A culture of the denial of justice in Bangladesh is the root of all the persecution against the ethnic and religious minorities, which isn’t only affecting a part of the country, but is plaguing the entire criminal justice system in Bangladesh. General Zia and his predecessors introduced persecution against the minorities in Bangladesh. Bangladesh became Islamized under the military regime, rather than being a true parliamentarian democracy. Bangladesh was not born with the blessing of being united beyond ethnic and religious differences, but rather has been Islamized, yet with a secular policy.
The attack on the religious minority brings with it the idea of “Islam in the constitution”. The communal spirit began with political motives and ended in mass destruction such as the attack on present Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed back in 2001. The victims of the brutal attack are still looking for justice. At that time also, a bomb attack killed 10 and badly injured 20 others at the Baniarhar Catholic church in Maksudpur, in the Gopalganj district.
In 1998, an indigenous leader, Alfred Soren, was brutally killed by those in power. The day of the attack, the perpetrators looted his house, destroyed his belongings, and set the house on fire. Until now, his family members and the public have never seen the light of justice. Cholesh Richil, an indigenous Christian leader, died in custody on March 18, 2007, following brutal torture at the hands of the army. Richil’s civil rights were grossly violated by government agents. It is puzzling why the government has not yet made a proper investigation to unearth the mystery behind this leader’s death. The perpetrators of this crime should not have impunity. The killing of Richil has not been filed as a criminal case to date. From 1979 to 1981, the indigenous people of Bangladesh became cornered by landless people from the mainland in the process of their rehabilitation by the government. An ill-fated ten-year-old indigenous child, Klanto Chiham, was killed by brutal teachers after being tortured at Maymansingh. A dacoit, or robber, killed a Christian school teacher, Mangsang, at Madhupur in Tangail. A member of an even smaller minority, Dr. Goni Gomes, a converted Christian from Islam, was killed by Islamic militants. The constitution does not give proper identity to the indigenous peoples. This is Bangladesh! We demand that these persecutions stop right now and that the government give all rights due to the minority groups and bring the perpetrators to justice. Nonstop minority repression has been going on.
Press Freedom: Day by day journalism in Bangladesh is going on very danger and risk. Press freedom is golden dear in Bangladesh. Actually here is no real press freedom. Journalist’s killings and torture is a common feature in Bangladesh. In Bangladesh press freedom is a golden dear. In this horrible situation journalists are working here.
Though government always says that, journalists and media are free. In practice, media is not free. Media peoples are working hundred percent with self censorship. Because most of the media owners are black money holder or they have other business. Every day, the suppression of the media and freedom of speech is becoming more apparent in Bangladesh. I would like to draw a picture of the destruction of Bangladeshi media from my own perspective.
29 journalists and writer were killed in last 16 years in Bangladesh. Out of these three were killed in this year (2009) including a community young journalist. Yet, not get justice of the journalist’s families as well as journalists community. Still they are waiting for getting justice.
Journalist’s killings and repression is a common phenomenon in here. Many journalists in different places in Bangladesh have been tortured and threatened by the ruling party men including some law makers in this year. These incidents apart, harassment either in the form of physical torture or filing false cases is on the rise in recent days across the country. At least 130 journalists felt prey to various types of harassments in the country since January, 2009.
After my investigating report about Islamic militancy, extra judicial killings, minority oppression and corruption I was tortured with electric shocked by army (RAB) and they also hung me with the ceiling for 15 hours with blind folded and with a black mask in 2007. Still I have been facing two false and political fabricated cases. In the regime of last army backed caretaker government many journalists were tortured. In the regime of BNP-Jammat government journalist Saleem Samad, writer-journalist Shahriar Kabir, professor of Dhaka University and famous writer Muntasir Mamun also brutally tortured and detained illegally.
The killed journalists and writer are 1) Manik Saha (Khulna), 15 January, 2004, 2) Humayun Kabir Balu(Khulna), 27 June, 2005, 3) Shamsur Rahman Cable (Jessore), 16 July, 2000, 4) Harun-ur-Rashid Khokon (Khulna), April, 2003, 5) Saiful Alam Mukul (Jessore), 30 August, 1998, 6) Dipankar Chakrabarty (Bogura), 20 October, 2004, 7) Goutam Das (Faridpur), Sheikh Belaluddin (Khulna), 2005, 9) S.M. Alauddin (Satkhira), 19 June, 1996, 10) Golam Mazed (Jessore), 11) Mir Ilias Hossen Dileep (Jhenidha), 15 January, 2000, 12) Shukur Ali alias Shukur Hossen (Dumuria-Khulna), 5 July, 2002, 13) Nahar Ali (Dumuria-Khulna), 18 April, 2001, 14) Ahsan Ali (Rupgonj-Narayangonj), 20 July, 2001, 15) Kazi Md. Kamruzzaman (Nilfhamari),1996, 16) Syed Faruk Ahamed (Shrimongol-Moulobhi Bazar), May, 2002, 17) Bazlur Rahman (Chuadanga), 18) Kamal Hossen (Khagrachari), 21 August, 2004, 19) Anwar Apolo, 20) Abdul Latif Nabil, 21) Zamaluddin (Rangamati), 5 March, 2007, 22) Nurul Islam Rana (2009, Uttara-Dhaka), 3 July, 2009, 23) M.M.Ahsan Bari (2009, Gagipur-Dhaka), 26 August, 2009, 24) popular writer Dr. Humayun Azad (Dhaka University), 27 February, 2004, 25) Sarwarul Alam Noman (Mymensing), 1995, 26) Faruk Hossen (Jessore), 27) Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury (Jessore), 1994, 28) Rezaul Karim Reza and 29) Abdul Hannan(2009, Demra, Dhaka).
But yet real investigation and trial has not end. Journalist’s community and the relatives of killed journalists are waiting for justice. Another form of journalist’s repression in Bangladesh is defamation. Every year many journalists have been facing criminal defamation. Personally I was grossly suffered with defamation. With a false defamation charged had went to jail for three days in 1992. Still many journalists with editors are facing with defamation charges.
In Bangladesh, justice and press freedom is a golden dear. Those who are involves in corruptions they always controlled by the governments. Presents trends of media are that, black money holders are coming in the ownership of media house. So, journalists are firstly, self censored for their owners. Another media controlled key is advertisement of government.
That is why; media is not playing good role for the peoples. For media freedom, another problem is that in Bangladesh has no definition about contempt to court and defamation. So, always, media has fearing regarding these. Which content will go to contempt to court or defamation for publishing? Media peoples have not known this. Only for this recently famous national daily the Prothom Alo has charged with contempt to court.
There have no national broadcasting rule. Though, we got recently right to information act and community radio rule. Now, we are waiting for see what would come better for media freedom of these two rules. On the other hand, many law including official secrecy act which are big barrier for press freedom.
Journalist’s communities in Bangladesh are waiting for justice of their killed and tortured colleagues. I think, in Bangladesh if society has not changed as qualitative then press freedom is so far from practically. In practice, has no rule of law, good governance in Bangladesh. Whole nation politically, socially divided by two major groups. Journalist’s community has also divided by two groups and also they have lack of professionalism.
Torture has been a familiar and widespread problem in Bangladesh. It is a routine feature of criminal investigations, used by the police to obtain confessions. It is also used for politically motivated purposes against alleged national security suspects, critics of the government, and perceived political opponents, in order to obtain information, to intimidate or to convey more broadly a message of fear. The system of detention is also a kind of human rights violation.
Article 35 (5) of the Constitution of Bangladesh clearly said that, No person shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment – thus, it is a fundamental right of all Bangladeshis that they are protected by the Constitution against torture. There is a biggest difference between the constitutional provision and the belief of the general people. This experience started on the very day when the nation adopted its constitution as the supreme law of the land immediately after the independence of the country from the colonial regime. That same difference of allowing torture to persist without any credible scope of justice to the victims remains after 38 years of independence. The police, along with its other branches such as Special Branch (SB), the Detective Branch (DB) and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), are not the only agencies that practice torture. The paramilitary forces the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) the armed forces, especially the Bangladesh Army, and the intelligence agencies like the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) and National Security Intelligence (NSI) of the country, all maintain special torture cells of their own. There are temporarily created cells like the Joint Interrogation Cell (JIC) and the Task Force for Interrogation (TFI) Cell and they are notorious for their brutality.
There is little support for the people they are supposed to be protecting. The law enforcement agencies and the security forces care little for the ordinary people of Bangladesh. The personnel, who serve in the police, armed forces and the paramilitary forces stand face to face before the people treating the commoners as criminals in general and subject them to torture in the name of maintaining law and order in the country. In reality, a country likes Bangladesh where a fair trial is beyond imagination of the justice seekers it is absolutely impossible to get a legal remedy against a perpetrator of torture.
Human rights organization The Asian Human Rights Commission informed us that, in Bangladesh 629 police stations in the country. If a single person is tortured per day in these police stations then an alarming number of 229,585 persons are being tortured in Bangladesh every year. Torture at the hands of the state actors regularly causes permanent and temporary disability of persons and amounts to hundreds of deaths every year. But, despite the recurrence of these grave incidents it repeatedly fails to shake the conscience of the policymakers of the nation. The governments of various regimes do not feel any responsibility to bring to an end this brutal practice. Ironically, the political parties of the country pledge to uphold rule of law and human rights before every general election and then turn a blind eye to abuses by the police once they are elected to power.
Bangladesh’s parliament is in session for the second time after a new government led by the Bangladesh Awami League assumed office this year. A draft Bill urging the need of punishing torture and custodial death as a crime has also been in place since 5 March 2009. The Bill was registered by a Member of the Parliament, Mr. Saber Hossain Chowdhury, of the ruling political party, as a Private Member’s Bill as the government did not clarify its position regarding the issue. A ruling party with more than two thirds majority in the parliament can eliminate torture and allow thousands of victims to get justice from the courts of law in order to fulfill the government s commitment to the people thereby meeting their constitutional obligations.
We general people of Bangladesh urges to the Parliament of Bangladesh to prove its commitment that they want to end the practice of custodial torture and the culture of impunity on their own soil. We also urge the parliamentarians to legislate the draft Bill in order to open the doors of the judiciary for the victims of torture.
The victims should have easy access to the complaint mechanism and protection from threats and intimidation. The burden of proof should be upon the perpetrators of torture with an obligation of compensating the victims for their sufferings if the perpetrators are found guilty. Article 46 of the Constitution must be repealed as it is used to offer impunity to the perpetrators of torture. Sections 132 and 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure must be repealed immediately. Section 132 allows the state actors to abuse their power in the name of good faith without any checks and balances, and Section 197 denies the independence of the judiciary. The peoples also urge the civil society, including the media and the rights groups of Bangladesh to initiate movements against the practice of custodial torture and impunity by demanding the criminalization of torture.
Freedom of the press should be granted in Bangladesh’s constitution; it is granted in Art. 39 (b), but it is not binding upon the government. Therefore, we should fight to establish the rule of the constitution. The judiciary should be independent in practice, and all kinds of killings by the government machinery should be stopped. No persons should be tortured by law-enforcing agencies. No rule or ordinance that is contradictory to the main theme of constitution should be formed or passed. No accused persons should have impunity. The U.N. charter should be followed strictly and, in this regard, the international organization should act impartially and independently.
I think that, to establish freedom of the press and to protect human rights that are the first and main step to establish the rule of law and to develop a country, the culture of democracy should be practiced continuously and strictly in Bangladesh. In this regard, a forum for regional or global cooperation should be formed, should be active in creating a few rules, and should be strictly maintained. It is necessary to give punish those who are perpetrators and should Bangladesh government stop Impunity for the greater interest of democracy and peace.
Lastly, I want to say I have been giving high price for press freedom and human rights with my whole family. Only for my professional activity my father in law was lost his political carrier. Though, he has been belonging with Bangladesh Awmai League from last 42 years. After my persecution I have been paralyzed socially, economically, mentally and physically. Not only that, I have lost my job, dignity, reputation. How I will recover my dignity, reputation and all other loses?
Jahangir Alam Akash
Editor
The Human Rights Today
thehumanrightstoday@hotmail.com
http://youtube.com/user/jaakashbd

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