Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Thus spake the High Priest Imran H Sarker

From the lofty utopian perch of a Shahbaghized Mirpur 10, its High priest Imran H Sarker spake thus,

1. "Mahmudur Rahman is the atheist. He is the one spreading atheism and communalism through his newspaper"
(Criticising the government for not arresting Mahmudur Rahman yet, the Shahbagh activists addressing the gathering announced a decision to demonstrate outside the home ministry around 4:00pm 26th of February. A memorandum would be submitted to the ministry demanding the government immediately detain Mahmudur, acting editor of daily Amar Desh. Earlier, two ultimatums were issued to the government for his arrest. Imran urged the government not to hesitate to arrest Mahmudur Rahman and warned, “If you make compromises, the people will not accept it." He, flanked by bloggers who are alleged to have posted blogs and posts on social media that defamed Islam, firmly rejected Mahmudur Rahman's allegation that the Shahbagh movement is run by atheists)

2. "The terrorists, who had vandalised Shaheed Minar and desecrated the national flag across the country, torched Ekushey Boi Mela yesterday.” 
(.......pointing fingers at Islamist parties, specially pointing to the largest Islamic political opposition party Jamaat-e-Islami, who are accused of vandalizing national monuments and desecrating national flags on demonstrations last Friday the 22nd of February. The claims are still under investigation by police and thousands have been accused in cases filed by police since Friday)
I would like to address the above 'claims',

A) The answer to the first 'claim' is a no-brainer, and Mahmudur Rahman may have answered it himself. Taken from the facebook page Progress Bangladesh,here is a translated statement from Mahmudur Rahman, Editor of daily Amar Desh,

"Dear readers,
I put forward to you a courteous question “What is my crime?” All my life in all aspects, I have tried to fulfill my responsibilities with honesty. I did not aspire to be a robbing capitalist as I had no desire for wealth. I have worked as a civil servant for five long years, serving the interests of the government and the people. Entering media in the final years of my life, I have taken an active voice against the Coalition Government’s anti-public policies, tyranny, corruption, human rights abuse and the politicization of the justice system. As a deeply faithful person, I could not bear the terrible insults to our Prophet (s) and Islam- the religion of peace and equality. I tried to portray the true face of these anti Islamic, atheistic and blasphemous characters to the nation. I protested in January 2011 when the undemocratic, India-loyal government took power. My actions have always served the nation and its people. Nonetheless, the government-in-power has subjected me to intolerable persecution over the past four years. I have held onto my religious conviction and refused to compromise with the ruling class of the foreign agents. The patriotic people especially the loyal readers of ‘Amar Desh’ have showerd me with their boundless adoration. I do not have the capability to repay their love. With trust in Allah and the love of my country folk, I will fight for the truth InshAllah until the last drop of blood is left in my body. If I die in this fight against the internal and foreign opportunistic powers, please pray for my magfirat (forgiveness) from Allah. This is my only appeal to you. Allahu Akbar!"
-Mahmudur Rahman

If that is so, why does the government not address an important issue such as blasphemy with a neutral mindset? Why has it not formed a probe committee to investigate such incidents and claims? Why has it sided with the Shahbagh supporters with the one sided stance that an apparently atheist blogger was framed with fake posts defaming a religion? I hope I am not insane in demanding an official probe.

B) The second claim is easier to address. Where did Dr. Imran H Sarker get information of such a ridiculous claim that Jamaat-Shibir was involved with the fire at Ekushey book fair? 

Quoting the Daily Star,"Three bodies have been formed to investigate a fire that destroyed around 40 bookstalls of 25 publications at the Ekushey book fair early Monday. One of the committees has been tasked with finding the reason behind the fire, which originated at 1:10am. Another committee will assess the loss of from the fire while the other one ascertain the process to pay compensation to the publishers of the damaged bookstalls. The probe bodies were formed at a meeting of Bangla Academy authorities and the publishers with the cultural affairs minister, Abul Kalam Azad, at the Academy premises in the afternoon." It has further added that, "Monir Hossain, assistant director of Fire Service and Civil Defence, said they had yet to determine the cause of the fire."

I ask again, where did Dr. Imran H Sarker get information of such a ridiculous claim that Jamaat-Shibir was involved with the fire at Ekushey book fair? 

Shahbag makes a kid hang himself

The news is shocking to anyone with a heart. At Companygonj in Noakhali, an adolescent of 13 years of age, Abdur Rahman Shakil, hanged himself to death. The sudden death occurred when Shakil used a mock hanging platform to enact a mock hanging hanging. Denizen of Lobon Bepari Bari of 3 no. ward of Boshurhaat upazila, Shakil is an orphan and student of the fourth grade at the local government primary school. This news was gleaned from the Daily Manab Zamin and the Daily Sangram.
The dead Shakil Courtesy: Daily sangram

This event occurred on Sunday at 8 pm on a mock hanging podium created to symbolize the demand to hang Jamaat leader Abdul Kader Mollah, who has been given a life imprisonment verdict by the ICT. Supporters of the Jamaat leader say that is is unjust and that he si innocent, while his opponents say that it is too little. They have demanded the death penalty, and a movement has continued as a result from 5th February at Shahbagh. It has spread all over Bangladesh where mock hanging podiums have been set up to symbolize the demand.

Shakil was found to be dead before he could be rescued from the podium. Family members and locals have questioned as to the wisdom in allowing a kid to enact such an incident and as to why people present did not prevent him from carrying out such a despicable act. It has been learned that Shakil's body has been buried without any autopsy and a case was filed at the police station of death by accident. Companygonj police official Sudhi ranjan has confirmed the above and added that he did not have knowledge as to why such an event could occur.

My simple question. Who will take the responsibility for this untimely death of a minor? Will Shahbag ever take responsibility that it may have caused such a sad incident?

3 more dead in Bangladesh: Legacy of death continues

An activist has died of injuries sustained in clashes with police on the 16th of February. He succumbed to his injuries at a private hospital in the capital Dhaka on Monday morning at around 11:30 am local time. Deceased Rahat was a resident of Kaistarael at Dokhin Surma in Sylhet.
Injured Rahat being taken to hospital Source: banglanews24.com

Sylhet City Shibir Assistant Student Welfare secretary, Ali Ajgor Khan Rahat was part of a procession that Jamaat and Shibir activists had taken in protests against killing of at least 10 protesters by brutal police firing at Cox's Bazaar , of whom at least four were Jamaat activists.     

Witnesses said the Jamaat-Shibir activists brought out a procession in the area at about 11am protesting the deaths of four their four workers by police in Cox’s Bazar. As the processionists were passing by Nayasarak point, police chased them from behind, triggering the clash, which lasted for 15-20 minutes. The activists then hurled brickbats at the law enforcers, who also retaliated by firing shots and lobbing teargas shells. They also set off three ‘sound grenades’ to disperse the Jamaat-Shibir activists.

Two of the bullet wounded were identified as Shibir activist Ali Asgar Khan Rahat, also student of Modon Mohon College, and Russel Ahmed, a student of MC College.   

Witnesses said that Rahat was injured by a bullet that pierced his left chest and exited via an adjacent area on his back. Injured Rahat first was admitted to Sylhet Osmani Medical College Hospital and then sent to Dhaka as his condition deteriorated. Hospitalised for over a week, he breathed his last on Monday morning.

On Sunday night, another activist succumbed to his injuries at Osmani Medical College Hospital. The deceased was identified as Abdur Rahim Suhin, 40, son of late Sadi Mia and a residence of Manikpara road area.
Dead body of Hafez Rashidul, Source: Naya Diganta

In another heart breaking event, the dead body of Hafez Rashedul, a young madrassa student, surfaced at the banks of the Padma after he was reported missing on joining the processions called by Islamic parties on Friday the 22nd of February. He had been part of demonstrations at Rajshahi last Friday and is alleged to have been attacked by police and ruling party Chatro League activists before being thrown into the river.

إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ

Monday, February 25, 2013

5 martyred at Manikgonj: Daily Star vomits yellow

Yellow Journalism watches in envy as the Daily Star starts its scandalous report with the shocking words, "Four people were killed and 50 injured when police, attacked by marauding pickets, opened fire in Singair upazila of Manikganj during the countrywide daylong hartal on Sunday." Humanity has died in us all. We have gone so deep into serving selfish political interests that the death of 5 people who don't support our ideology has become an event to be simply dismissed. Shame on us.

Five beating hearts stopped beating today when their love for Islam and the final prophet Hazrat Mohammad (S.A.W) overcame their love for themselves. Five people including a woman were martyred today in a nationwide strike called by Islamic parties in protest against death of four protesters at the hands of police last Friday when police firing coupled with ruling party barbarism led to the deaths. They had died protesting the defamation of Almighty Allah, His Prophet and Islam in general by atheist bloggers who were leading their own government sponsored movement at Shahbagh at Dhaka.

Citing witnesses, Naya Diganta reports that at 10 am Sunday morning, police , Awami League and Jubo League attacked a pro hartal procession taken out at Natun Bazaar area of Gobindal at Shingair. As news of this attack spread out and about, local people came out and joined the pro-hartal supporters who barricaded a section of the Dhaka Aricha Highway. Police flanked by AL and Jubo League retaliated by firing at the procession. Five people died, including a woman. At least 15 were bullet ridden, of whom 2 were reported to be in critical condition. A report by RTNN says that at least 35 demonstrators were bullet ridden while up yo 55 people including police were injured in the violence.  

The deceased are reported to be Mawlana Nasir Uddin (Gobindal Union Jamaat Finance Secretary), Jamaat activist Nazim Uddin, local Qaumi Madrassah student and Chatro Majlis activist Alamgir Hossain, Shah Alam and Helena Begum. 

In a typical turn of events, Awami League led 14 party alliance members have stated that writings of bloggers that defamed Islam and Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) were minor issues which opposition and their media had used to instigate people. The 14- party alliance called publication of such news as propaganda, cyber terrorism and resorting to outright falsehood. Supporting the action of police today in shooting such 'troublemakers' , the leaders of the 14 party alliance said that police had done the 'right thing'.

I close with the closing comments of the Daily Star, which in its rose tinted glasses, saw fit to see machete wielding and armed ruling party activists as being mere villagers, saying, "During the clash, villagers also helped police to disperse the (pro-hartal) activists, witnesses said."

Update: For pictures and video please check out this page.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Violence at half day hartal in Pabna on 23rd Feb

Jamaat-e-Islami had called for a half day hartal at Pabna in Bangladesh to protest the vandalism of its offices a day earlier. Two people were killed by police fire and 40 including 18 policemen were injured when law enforcers fired on processions of Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir activists in Pabna on Saturday. Two more seriously injured by police fire at the clashes were transferred to Rajshahi Medical College for treatment.

The deceased were Jamaat activists, said Abu Taleb Mondol, secretary general of district Jamaat unit. Son of Shamsher Ali, Alal Hossain, 18, hailed from Dharmagram village in the upazila while son of Abdul Kuddus, Sirajul Islam, 23, hailed from Monohorpur in Pabna.

The clashes occurred at 8 am at the Pabna - Dhaka Highway when pro-hartal activists were obstructed by police and security forces. Police fired rubber bullets and tear shells indiscriminately into the crowd in response to the bricks thrown at them, leaving 2 dead instantly.  

In other news a person was burned to death and 11 injured in vandalism of a computer shop by pro-Shahbag Awami League and Chatro League activists at Tangail on the same day. The name of the computer shop was Cosmos Computer systems. The law of the Almighty was final in its verdict. The deceased was a member of the Chatro League itself and was identified to be Sumon Saha (27), son of late Modon Mohan Sarker of the City Babystand Area. Among the injured are the City Chatroleague Vice President Shohid Siddik. They had vandalized the business by dousing the place with petrol and burning it to ashes. News had also come out of several Islami Bank branches being vandalized by ruling party activists all over the country.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Friday, February 22, 2013

Nationwide protests after Jumuah in Bangladesh, 4 dead by police fire.

Four people died today in nationwide protests across Bangladesh. Daily Star reports that around 1,000 were injured, many of them with bullets, when activists protesting the atheist elements at the Gonojagoron Chottor (Shahbagh) who were alleged to have used the social media to defame Islam with blogs and posts that defamed the prophet Mohammad (S.A.W) and Allah (S.W.T), clashed with police and ruling party men in the capital and elsewhere in the country after Jummah prayers on Friday.

Police and pro-government media have alleged that Jamaat-e-Islami and Shibir supporters carried out acts of vandalism from within the ranks of protesters. The protesters today were mostly labelled negatively by media. Daily Star in its reports used 'marauding' activists and in one place in its report talked about bigots, saying, "around 500 bigots brought out a procession from Lalbagh Shahi Mosque". Various TV reporters such as those of Ekattor TV termed the protesters as 'jongi', i.e. terrorists. Others termed them as fundamentalists, radical Islamists and religious zealots. However, activists from within the demonstrations have refuted any such claims, saying that a mass participation from all strata of society had been in effect. It included, but was not limited to, supporters of Jamaat-Shibir, supporters of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party and other parties of the 18 party grand Alliance, even members of the Tabligh Jamaat along with supporters of the Islamic parties who had called for the demonstrations. The presence and support of a large number of general Islam loving people was something the media couldn't hide.  

At Gaibandha, a procession came out after Friday prayers under the banner of Hefazet-e-Islam at Chowmatha of Palashbari. Police super AKM Nahidul Islam, citing witnesses, said that small processions came out various mosques in Palashbari and joined at Rangpur bus stand to form a huge procession. The gonojagoron podium at Chowmatha was attacked and vandalised. When police obstructed the procession, clashes took place. To control the situation, police fired rubber bullets, tear shells and 20 rounds of live ammunition. 50 people were injured including police. Two people who were rushed to Gaibandha Sadar Hospital with bullet wounds were pronounced dead at around 5:00pm. 

At Jhenaidah, a protester, Abdus Salam was killed in a clash with the ruling Awami League men after Juma prayers in Paira Chattar area in the town. Abdus Salam is a teacher at the Alia Madrassah at Jhenaidah City. The clash erupted when two processions, one brought out by Imam Parishad while the other by Awami League flanked by police, came face to face at the area.

At Sylhet, bdnews24.com Sylhet Correspondent reports that at least 150 people were injured, 10 of them sustaining bullet injuries, in clashes between the police and the Islamists, in the city’s Chauhatta and Zindabazar areas. An unidentified man, 28, died on his way to the Sylhet Osmani Medical College Hospital. Dr Ujjal Dutta of the hospital’s Emergency Department said that the youth sustained bullet wounds in the stomach and back. Five of those who are undergoing treatment at the hospital after sustaining bullet injuries have been identified as Mokhlesur Ahmed, 40, Suhen Ahmed, 35, Khairul Ahmed, 32, Shahid Chowdhury, 45, and Faruk Ahmed, 32. The identities of the others could not be known immediately. Officer-In-Charge of the Sylhet Kotwali Police Station Ataur Rahman said that they arrested 56 people from the clash sites. Spanning about five kilometers, the area stretching from Chauhatta to Zindabazar turned into a battlefield. Police used teargas shells and sound grenade and fired from shotguns to bring the situation under control.

In Dhaka, the Daily Star reports that clashes took place at the premises of Baitul Mukarram National Mosque, Jatiya Press Club, and Paltan, Katabon Mosque, Dainik Bangla intersection and Shilpakala Academy areas. Police later detained more than 100 people taking them for Jamaat and Shibir men from the spots.

A notable observation was the targeting of journalists by police fire and tear shells and a rough treatment by a section of the protesters. Up to 26 journalists have been injured and reports have come in of at least 10 journalists bullet ridden, 2 of whom were critically injured. The injured journalists include Masudur Rahman, reporter Gtv; Nurul Islam, cameraman of Independent Television; Abdullah Tuhin, senior reporter Maasranga Television; Mir Ahmed Miru, photographer of Amar Desh; Arifuzzaman of Ekattar TV, Sayeed Bablu of the daily Sangbad, Aminul Islam Bhuiyan. Statements from the facebook page Basherkella also reported that one of its administrators, Rebellious Programmer was also injured by police fire.

It is mentionable that mass protests also occurred at Chittagong, Munshigonj, Rajshahi, Bogra, Moulvibazaar, Pabna and many places all over the country.  

In a follow up the Islamist parties have called a nationwide dawn-to-dusk hartal for Sunday protesting attacks on demonstrators demanding punishment to Shahbagh top bloggers. Bangladesh Khelafat Andolan Ameer (president) Maulana Shah Ahmadullah Ashraf made the announcement at a press briefing at a madrasa in Kamrangirchar on Friday afternoon.

Shahbag shows its spots

It initially started as a precursor to revolution. The smell of revolution was in the air, leading many to hope that change was around the corner. Many participated in it, even many more supported it. But in the end, the ugly face of it all was revealed.

Today, the 21st of February saw a "Mohashomabesh" (huge rally) at Shahbag, where the real demand was spelled out via the lips of the convener of the Bloggers and Online Activists Network, Dr. Imran H Sarker, with a watchful Siddique Nazmul Alam(Secretary of Bangladesh Chatro League, student body of the ruling party Awami League) breathing down his neck. That demand was the banning of Jamaat-e-Islami, largest Islamic party of Bangladesh. It always had been. Demanding the death penalty for Abdul Kader Mollah had just been the tip of the iceberg.

The Daily Star reported that, youths from Projonmo Chattar on Thursday demanded that the government press war crimes charges against Jamaat-e-Islami by March 26. The demonstrators also issued a seven-day ultimatum to the government for arresting the killers of Ahmed Rajib Haider, a blogger and active Shahbagh protester. They demanded the formation of an independent commission to take legal action against all organisations that patronise Jamaat and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir.

A number of left leaning student organizations also spoke at the grand rally. Chhatra Union President SM Shubho alleged the Jamaat-e-Islami had been using religion as its capital and created a business conglomerate. “It is running a terrorist network,” he said. Samajtantrik Chhatra Front General Secretary Mehedi Hasan Tomal, Biplobi Chhatra Moitri President Abdur Rauf and other speakers alleged the Jamaat was trying to confuse the people in the name of religion like they did during the War of Liberation. 

Fanning the fire in terming the demand for banning Jamaat-e-Islami's politics as logical, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said on Thursday that the government was examining everything related with the issue. “The Shahbagh movement has spread all over the country. Besides demanding capital punishment for the war criminals, people across the country have demanded banning religion-based politics, especially the politics of Jamaat-Shibir,” the minister told reporters after paying tribute to the Language Movement heroes at Chandpur Shaheed Minar.

In a move that many see as a clear way to gain sympathy of the public on religious grounds, the youths called for arranging special Dua after Friday's Jumma prayers at every mosque across the country seeking salvation of the martyrs killed by Jamaat activists during and after the 1971 Liberation War. A bdnews24 report said that, on Feb 22, special prayers will be offered after Juma prayers in mosques and also other places of worships like churches, pagodas and temples seeking divine blessings for those killed in the hands of Jamaat and Shibir activists during and after the Liberation War.

A clear tendency of aggressively denouncing any alternative opinion was evident at the grand rally. Pro-government Bangladesh Chhatra League General Secretary Nazmul Alam came down hard on several news organizations for running propaganda against the Shahbagh movement. In this regard the name of Mahmudur Rahman, editor of the Daily Amardesh came up more than once as a Razakar (wartime collaborator). Rahman is known to be a critic of the present government and through his writings had played a leading role in exposing corrupt practices of the present government. Recently, he had also questioned the motives of the government regarding supporting the Shahbag movement and had criticized some of the leaders of the Shahbag movement for their role in spreading anti-Islamic propaganda through social media via writings, which for example, defamed of prophet Mohammad (S.A.W). Chhatra Union General Secretary Hasan Tarek termed Bangladesh Krishak-Sramik Janata League chief Bangabir Abdul Kader Siddiqui, 1971 wartime hero of Bangladesh with one of the most prestigious wartime titles, that of the Bir Uttom, as the  “new Razakar” and demanded that he be stripped of this title..

The leaders on the podium were vocal in their assertions that they were not against religion based politics, but sought to ban Jamaat due to its politics which they said used the concept of religion. Opposition activists closely watching the developments at Shahbag said that the demands of the protesters was a thinly veiled attempt at simply banning religion based politics from the political scenario of the country. The demand of banning of Jamaat was just a pretext in that direction. Opposition activists also said that the branding of the atheist slain blogger Raji Haider Shuvo, as a 'Shaheed', the sacred Islamic term for 'martyr', despite the objection by many organizations, personalities and people was a clear indication that religion was a weapon that Shahbag activists were using themselves.   

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Daily Star plays the tune of autocracy

"Target Friday" is what they label it. The Daily star has come up with the  new terminology to describe what they see as a smear campaign against the benevolent nationalist secular atheists at Shahbag. Dubbing it all as anarchy, the Daily Star has said that Jamaat-e-Islami had been driven up the wall by mass protest over its war crimes, and had set its eyes on Friday to turn the tide by tweaking religious sentiment of Muslims at Jumma prayers against Shahbagh youths. 

Refuting all logic as to the possible causes of such a move, the Daily Star attacks by saying that, " The stage it hopes to set already for anarchy across the country tomorrow by launching smear campaign in a few like-minded newspapers, branding organisers of the youth movement as atheist, anti-Islamic and anti-social elements for the last few days."

Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), chief opposition party and ally of Jamaat, is vigorously accused of giving its support, termed as "the largest shot in the arm", by denouncing Shahbag youths for their “anti-Islamic” activities only a few days after hailing them for their patriotism.  

The Daily Star then assures its readers that they need not be afraid at all, because Superman would be there to save the day. Oops, that was supposed to be the government, not Superman. It says, "The government is learnt to be on top of these developments, and takes up steps to crush any plot to destabilise the country and thwart war crimes trial. The information minister yesterday threatened to sue 'some newspapers' for running motivated stories."

In a related report, the Daily Star happily allots Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu his very own report, where he vociferously voices his opinions and projects the image of the Know-It-All. He threatened with legal action any media found to run any motivated story that could exploit people's religious sentiments. He warned that the government will take measures to control and block any community blog or social media, if found hurting the sentiments of the people. He then continued on with his favorite topic, Jamaat-bashing.

Meanwhile the Daily Star has tried to assure all people that all ministers, parliamentarians and leaders of the ruling coalition remain alert following the publication of an objectionable advertisement with anti-Islamic contents to provoke controversy over the Shahbagh movement. To make matters clearer, a statement was included, "Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury said, “They killed Rajib and then hacked into his blog to post anti-Islamic contents to hurt religious sentiments. Those who are doing all these are akin to beasts. We cannot allow them to be involved in politics.”  "

Further agitating readers, Daily Star states that," Jamaat has employed a tactic of not using its name in the smear campaign against the Shahbagh activists. Instead, the party with its sympathisers in the last few days formed several new platforms such as Islami Dal comprised of six Islamic parties led by Islami Oikya Jote, a component of the 18-party alliance to carry out the campaign. "

Ending on a high note and using the trump card of anonymity,  it sends a lifeline to desperate readers clinging on to its every word," Requesting anonymity, a Khelafat Andolan leader told The Daily Star that Jamaat is wholeheartedly helping them shape up the smear campaign with funds and manpower."

 Congratulations Daily Star, you just managed to label perfectly legal activities of Jamaat-e-Islami as anti-atheist.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bdnews24.com gets expert at flipping online polls

On Sunday, bdnews24.com asked people to vote ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ on: “Jamaat-e-Islami, which opposed the 1971 Liberation War, has no right to be part of politics in Bangladesh. Do you agree with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's comment in light of countrywide demand seeking ban on Jamaat?”

Bdnews24.com says that in the poll for the English edition, as many as 85 percent of the 7917 readers wanted the Jamaat outlawed. Its Bengali site poll had 90 percent of 19732 participants backing the Prime Minister on the issue.

A recent report it published on the site says that unidentified callers said the online poll was being “manipulated”. The report termed these calls as being threatning in nature, quoting a deputy news editor. There were also numerous emails to different bdnews24.com addresses.

Surfing the online arena opened a Pandora's Box. Various facebook pages claimed manipulations in the poll which the news agency had used to write a full blown article on its readers standing on their heads in their eagerness to ban Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, arguably the third largest political party in Bangladesh.

Clear discrepancies were pointed out by enraged online activists who have been circulating screenshots of the poll which they claim flipped over like a previous poll at banglanews24. Its is observable that at a clear trend of "No" votes had been ongoing at 8:10 and 8:18. The voter list was showing at 13206 and 13337 respectively. However, at 8:53 pm, the poll "flipped" to a 87% of "Yes" votes vs. a 13% of "No" votes. 

bdnews24 has tried to explain via a spokesperson said there was no scope for any manipulation in the automated poll who said that,“There is no way an online opinion poll like this can be manipulated. This poll is conducted every day to get the readers’ opinion on an issue based on a news report published that day. The poll’s result is determined automatically. There was no human intervention from our side. When we detected many votes from one single IP address in many instances, we imposed the one IP- one vote rule, which has been the international practice."

My question to the "marauding" bdnews24.com manipulators is that, if that is the case, then why is the poll voter base still at the same trending level, such as 14016 voters?


BDNEWS24.COM twists logic to name and shame

Creating the atmosphere,
It starts with an explosive headline, "HC Juge runs anti-Rajib campaign". Bdnews24.com says that a High Court judge on Monday distributed copies of a report among his colleagues that termed slain blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider ‘Murtad’ (apostate). It mentions that Rajib, a leading activist of the Shahbagh movement, was killed by unidentified miscreants in the city's Pallabi last Friday.

Omitting some facts,
Tazakhobor.com, in a report entitled, "Was blogger Rajib killed for his blog and comments?" says that," On the other hand a good number of bloggers claiming this murder is not because of his activies of Shahbagh movement. Rather this might be a outcome of his previous personal online anti-Islamic activities like objectional comments and ill motivated jokes against Islam . One of his  personal blog hosted in wordpress is revealed which shows all sorts of hate speech against Islam and general muslims. Some of the online Jamaat-Shibir activists had branded the slain blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider as an atheist who they said should have been resisted."

The extra care in neutral professionalism,
Words from the report suffice,
"On behalf of Justice Mizanur Rahman Bhuiyan, his assistant Siddiqur Rahman Hawlader distributed the report in the Supreme Court envelope in the offices of the judges. In the report, the judge said: “His (Rajib) blog posts remind us of Murtad Salman Rushdie.” Several sources confirmed bdnews24.com that the judges of the High Court held several meetings on the issue and also saw the Chief Justice in the afternoon. The Chief Justice summoned the judge and warned him. Supreme Court Registrar AKM Shamsul Islam told bdnews24.com that he was also aware of the incident. He said that some newspapers spread propaganda against blogger Rajib Haider and some of the copies were distributed saying that the news was genuine and that the incident had sparked a lot of discussion."

Going for the kill,
The report continues, "Bhuiyan took oath as an Additional Judge on July 29, 2002 during the last BNP-Jamaat alliance government. His job was regularised on July 29, 2004."

In other words, the judge got his posting during the tenure of the BNP-Jamaat Alliance govt. He is a supporter of that alliance. bdnews24 uses a clear instance of twisted logic that since he is using "Islam" to brand Rajib as an "atheist" (which bdnews24 clearly abhors), he must be a Jamaat sympathiser. Sarcastically speaking, who else would speak out against the first martyr of the second revolution?

Strange are the times we live in.......

Oh dear, The Daily Star reeks of biasedness this morning....

According to Wikipedia,  Journalism ethics and standards comprise principles of ethics and of good practice as applicable to the specific challenges faced by journalists. Historically and currently, this subset of media ethics is widely known to journalists as their professional "code of ethics" or the "canons of journalism". 

While various existing codes have some differences, most share common elements including the principles of — truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and public accountability — as these apply to the acquisition of newsworthy information and its subsequent dissemination to the public.

Now look at this screenshot taken from the Daily Star today morning.

Four important points stand out,
1. In the latest news ticker, it says "HR Chief backs demand for blocking war crimes clemency". I am tired of addressing this, but any sane minded citizen following the news is bound to know that human rights is an issue that has become a farce in Bangladesh. Amendment of an Act in hope that it will influence that outcome of a trial is hardly an occasion to be proud of. Any 'HR boss' with a penchant for 'human rights' would question the move. But the Daily Star, in an apparently shameless move, has decided to cast it in a positive light.
2. "For a cause till his last breadth", on the left hand column is given a position of importance. The emphasis is barely concealed. As a reader you are bound to train a larger percentage of you attention span on to that article.
3. On the top right, the headline is "Hartal for war criminals fails", biased in its larger font portrayal. Your conscious is bound to override the fact that it is followed by "Say Shahbagh youths, wear black badges". Any uninformed reader is bound to assume that it is the general assumption.
4. That news is followed by "Business as usual during hartal", another biased view, given the polarity evident at the moment in the political scenario in Bangladesh. The news subheading whch follows also narrates a one sided approach, "3 killed in Jamaat's stray attacks; Shibir fires at AL office in Rajshahi, 2 bullet-hit". After negatively portraying an issue, any event narrated thereafter is simply viewed as being a chain related to that first negatively portrayed event. The tone is simple that of an unacceptable biased narration, not journalism

I sincerely dream of a day when journalism will again rise its head. I dream of a day when there will be no more mellow yellow journalism. At the same time, I doubt whether it will ever start will the Daily Star.  

Give us back our freedom, Give us back Sonar Bangla

Blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider, 35, was hacked to death near his home in the capital Dhaka Friday night. He was known to be actively involved in the Shahbag protests demanding the execution of Jamaat-e-Islami party leaders who are on trials for war crimes. The police said that Rajib, hacked in the face and throat, was found dead about 9:30pm in a dark place near his house.

Right after the murder was confirmed by police, netizens on Facebook and Twitter went wild, flailing accusations wildly at Jamaat-e-Islami and Shibir. To prove this, they posted a picture of a post on the Sonar Bangla blog, which pointed out at the fact that Ahmed Rajiv Haider Shuvo, known on cyber space as Thaba Baba, was an organizer in the Shahbagh movement. The page pointed out that Thaba Baba was an atheist with an unusual flair for spreading hate speech against Islam. That was all.


Local Awami League lawmaker Elias Molla and blogger Imran H Sarkar alleged that Jamaat and Shibir activists might be behind the killing. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed on Saturday launched a broadside against the Jamaat-e-Islami stating that the Islamist party has no role to play in Bangladesh's politics. She said this while shedding crocodile tears to console the bereaved family of Rajib.

In a surprise move Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) on Saturday shut down the ‘Sonar Bangla’ blog, following demand from the demonstrators at Shahbagh and family & friends of the deceased. BTRC Assistant Director (Media Wing) Jakir Hossain Khan told bdnews24.com: “The blog site has been shut down since Saturday noon.” BTRC directed all International Internet Gateway (IIG) operators to close the Sonar Bangla blog earlier in the day, he said.

Officials of the telecom regulator told AFP that the Sonar Bangla blog site had been shut down since Saturday for spreading “hate speech and causing communal tension”.

But still, that was not all.......

Editor of the blog, Aminul Muhaiman has been detained by plain dressed Detective Branch (DB) police Saturday evening from his resident at Dhanmondi, reports his wife Asia Muhaiman. DB police also seized Aminul’s computer, mobile phone, bank cheque book, educational certificates and passport. Asia does not have any information regarding Aminul since his arrest.

So much for freedom of speech in a democracy of 160 million.

Wikipedia points out that Freedom of speech is the political right to communicate one's opinions and ideas. It is recognized as a human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

I end this piece with these demands,

Free Aminul vai. 
Free the Sonar Bangla blog. 
Give us back our freedom. 
Give us back our voice. 

And Allah know best...............

Fueling the fire: 3 dead in nationwide hartal

Three dead people. Yes, three dead people. It is a statistic that won't bother many in a country where death by natural causes is becoming more of a blessing than a reality. Three people died today in the national strike called by opposition party Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami. 

The reasons,

1. 4 activists were killed last Friday when police fired on a procession brought out under the banner the Maulana Sayedee Mukti Parishad on the 15th of February, after Jumuah prayers at Cox's Bazaar.
2. Jamaat had protested from the beginning on the injustices carried out in the name of war crimes trials, the latest being the verdict of Abdul Kader Mollah, in which he was awarded life imprisonment by the International Crimes tribunal. It is mentionable that 9 of the defendants standing trial are leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami. 
3. A staggering number of Jamaat activists and leaders have been arrested over the past few days, more often than not injustly and without reason. This has been in light of a trend that has been a signature measure of the current government to stifle opposition since it came to power in 2008. Jamaat has called for their unconditional release. 

The incidents,

Three people have died in violence related to today's hartal.

1. Jamaat activist Ibrahim (25) was killed when a procession was fired upon by police at Choddogram, Comilla at 10 am. Three others were also bullet ridden. Ibrahim was from Anandapur village of Choddogram, Comilla. Daily Star had reported that, "police had to open fire on the pro-hartal activists to resist the Shibir men that left three people wounded, the OC claimed." 

2. One person died in Dhaka, Middle Badda, when a minibus of Bondhu Paribahan lost control when trying to escape pro-hartal activists who were approaching it, turned over and killed a passer-by on the spot. 
The Daily star had to say the following on the incident, "Talking to The Daily Star, Iqbal Hossain, officer-in-charge (OC) of Badda Police Station, said two people were injured when a bus carrying them turned turtle at 7:30am as pro-hartal activists chased the vehicle. The driver of the bus tried to speed away to avert any attacks. At one stage, he lost control over the steering and the bus tumbled, the OC added. One of the injured, aged about 32, succumbed to his injuries on way to Dhaka Medical College Hospital, Bangla daily Prothom Alo reported quoting hospital sources."

3. Another person has died at Cox's Bazaar. Quoting the Daily Star, "An elderly man died when pro-hartal activists vandalised an ambulance in Ramu upazila of southeastern district of Cox’s Bazar during hartal hours on Monday.The deceased Hafiz Abdur Rahman, 60, hailed from Unchiprang area of Teknaf, reports our Cox’s Bazar correspondent. Zakir Hossain, driver of the ambulance, said his vehicle came under attack at 11:00am when the patient, who had a cardiac arrest, was heading for Cox’s Bazar Sadar Hospital. As the ambulance reached near Cheinda area of Ramu upazila, a group of Shibir activists barricaded the Cox’s Bazar-Teknaf road and vandalised several vehicles, including the ambulance, he said. As the ambulance failed to move ahead for half an hour, the patient died there. When rushed to Cox’s Bazar Sadar Hospital later, doctors declared him dead, Pranab Chakma, said the on-duty police officer at the hospital."

Fueling the fire, 

1. A Dhaka court on Monday, 18th of February, sent seven officials of Islami Bank Ltd, to jail in two cases filed over funding ‘destructive and subversive’ acts of the party, despite having no evidence put forward to incriminate these officials.
2. Amid international and national protests, the parliament had passed the much-talked-about International War Crimes Tribunal Amendment Act-2013 on Sunday, the 17th of February, to try and punish any organisations, including Jamaat-e-Islami, for committing crimes during country’s liberation war of 1971, allowing the prosecution equal right to appeal sentences – creating an opening for the prosecution to ask the Supreme Court to increase sentences of imprisonment to death sentences. Jamaat-e-Islami has rejected the amendment to the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT).
3. Sheikh Hasina has gone out of her way in criticizing Jamaat-e-Islami and has repeatedly taken oaths to ban Jamaat, recently saying last Saturday (16th of February), that,"Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir have no right to do politics in Bangladesh, as they believe in terrorism, not democracy.". She further said that,“I will not let them have that right as long as I am alive. I can assure you this.” An autocratic statement unattributable to a democratically elected Prime Minister
4. The indication of a state heading towards autocracy is when rights are seen as luxuries, not necessities. Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) on Saturday, 16th February, shut down the ‘Sonar Bangla’ blog, known to have been operated by pro-Jamaat-e-Islami activists, following demand from the demonstrators at Shahbagh after their compatriot Ahmed Rajib Haider was found murdered on Friday. Officials of told AFP that the blog site had been shut down since Saturday for spreading “hate speech and causing communal tension”. Editor of the blog, Aminul Muhaiman had been detained by DB police on Saturday evening from his resident at Dhanmondi, reported his wife Asia Muhaiman.
5. Recent instances of vandalism of institutions alleged to be associated with Jamaat-e-Islami have come to light. Such acts have occurred without any steps by the security forces to provide security. Recent cases have occurred of vandalism of Islami Bank at Khulna and Dhaka.
6. Amidst all this ruckus, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has more than often been divided on issues such as supporting the Shahbag movement and having a clear stance on the war crimes tribunal. It has officially kept quiet on many issues that have affected the country and has differed with Jamaat more often than not, leading many to doubt the strength of its leadership in decisive times such as this.

The conclusion,

When a  government goes out of its way to facilitate a movement that advocates well directed hate, it is nothing but a clear indication of the hands behind such a movement. The government of Bangladesh has used the movement of the youth at Shahbag to create an illusion of public support in its endeavor to silence its critics, amend laws to appeal its own sentences(ICT Amendment Act), and create an atmosphere of fear, hate and uncertainty in the name of YOUR welfare.

Such vile acts of power politics in Bangladesh are an indication of darker days to come, bringing to memory the BAKSHAL of the 1970's, where a man was revered as the father of the nation one day, and reviled the next, to an extent that enough people were not found to give him a final janaza.    

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Flow of blood continues: Martyrs at Cox's Bazaar

On the 15th of February, after Jumuah prayers, a procession was brought out under the banner the Maulana Sayedee Mukti Parishad at Bazarghata area of Cox’s Bazaar, with supporters of Jamaat-e-Islami, Islami Chhatro Shibir and the Olama Mashayekh. As the procession went east through the main road of the city, hundreds of musallis joined it from different mosques on the way. The procession was followed by a large police contingent. They seemed peaceful. The protesters surged forward not knowing of the massacre that was about to be unleashed.

As the procession reached Rumaliarchora area, police stationed at Hashemia gate obstructed the procession and started firing indiscriminately. The protesters retaliated by throwing bricks. The bullets rained and two of the protesters died on the spot as hundreds were bullet ridden. Many bullet ridden protesters writhed on the ground as others fled the scene in self defence and tried to escape through alleyways. Police were seen shooting into alleyways as they pursued the protesters.
As news of the deaths spread around the city, anger spread like wildfire among the general population. They brought out a procession along with the Jamaat-Shibir activists. A huge procession was brought out from the bus terminal area of the city towards the west. The procession engulfed the police and barricaded the intersection. Getting hold of the situation, police stopped firing. Around 200 police were kept under siege at Hashemia Madrassah by the angry protesters for about 3 hours. The BGB was deployed in an attempt to control the situation. The angry protesters ended their intersection barricade after talks with the administration. The situation seemed to have come under control. The protesters started leaving the area.

But more sorrow was to come. As the protesters were leaving the area, some came under the armed attack of a group of ruling party activists and the Chhatro League. Many were injured as the cadres attacked fleeing protesters by opening fire. 

BGB and police were seen to patrol the streets as the administration imposed section 144 in wake of these events.

Cries of the wounded and the bullet ridden echoed through the premises of the District Sadar hospital and the Fuad Al Khatib hospital as injured protesters and their families poured in at regular intervals. Officials at the District Sadar hospital said that at least 9 emergency cases had been referred to Chittagong Medical College.

The martyrs are: Jamaat-e-Islami activist Nurul Haque (42),son of Kalimullah from Sadar Upazila Islampur Union, Mostaq Ahmed’s son Mohammad Abdullah (27) of Piemkhali Union, KalimUllah’s son Tofail Ahmed (22) from Shortoli of Godarpara and Saleh Ahmed (42), son of Hamid Ali of Shatkania Chittagong.  

This is a video of the unrest posted by Basherkella on Facebook.  

It is mentionable that other news sources have talked of 7 deaths  to 10 deaths  

Conflict of interest among Shahbag protesters

Sat, 16 Feb, 2013 12:03:41 AM

 A conflict of interest has been observed among the protesters at Shahbag between the Chatro League, the other student organizations of the 14 party alliance and the bloggers leading the protest movement that has been demanding the hanging of Abdul Kader Mollah and all accused standing trial for war crimes at the International crimes tribunal. This conflict of interest has been centred on the decision to limit the daily time frame of the movement from 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm instead of the whole day.

Bloggers along with the Chatra Union had been in the favour of continuing the protest movements without any compromise or delay until all war criminals were brought to justice ( through capital punishment). However, student body of the ruling party Awami League, the Chhatro League,  student body of Jatiya Somajtantrik Dal (JaSoD), the JaSoD-Chhhatre League, student party of the Workers party, the Chatro Moitri, were all in favour of limitimg the movement from 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm, keeping public convenience in mind.

This conflict of interest had resulted in mike grabbing incidents between the bloggers and the Chhatra League upto 11 pm (the time of writing this report). 

In other news, a blogger was found dead in Mirpur last night. Bloggers have claimed that he had been murdered.  They have accused the Chatro League of secret collaboration with Jamaat. They vowed to continue their movement until all the war criminals had been given capital punishment.

 A minute of silence has been observed at Shahbag in memory of the slain blogger. Protesters shouted slogans of “One Rajib is in our hearts, lakhs of Rajib’s are at Shahbag”

Many bloggers and Chhatra Union leaders have expressed doubts on Dr. Imran H Sarker (Convener of the Blogger and Online Activists Forum), calling him an agent of the Chhatra League. A group of bloggers were seen to have posted derogatory and accusatory remarks on Dr. Sarker at a facebook page “প্রজন্ম চত্তর /Projonmo Chottor”.

Later at 11:00 pm, a group of bloggers decided against the advice and decisions of the Chhatra League and have decided to continue their movement without any time limits.

Source: natunbarta.com

Source link: http://www.natunbarta.com/national/2013/02/16/11679/22e856ca42ec6b7756c86b552a181b96