18th April was the fourth day after Mahmudur Rahman undertook a hunger strike to protest government actions and put forward three demands. The three demands were:
1. Withdrawal of case against his mother and acting chairman of Amardesh publications Mahmuda Begum and Sangram editor Abul Asad.
2. Opening up the publication house of Amardesh and putting an end to all harassment in order to allow the publishing of Amardesh.
3. Unconditional release of the 19 employees of Amardesh who were arrested.
He has stated firmly that he will not break his hunger strike unless the demands are met. To those who thought that this is a simple case of Rumi squad style hunger strike, think again. After facing 7 days in remand and observing a hunger strike since the 15th of April, his condition has noticeably deteriorated for the worse. RTNN reports that at 5 pm on today he was admitted to CCU (the intensive care unit) at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSSMU) in Dhaka after doctors unsuccessfully tried to improve his condition. RTNN reports that at present he is suffering from heart complications aggravated by the 'hunger strike'. His blood pressure has fallen to 49/90. His heartbeat has fallen to 48 beats per minute. His kidneys have started failing and experts say that if his hunger strike is not broken soon, an accident may happen any moment.
All this ruckus and some media have published news that makes the night seem like daylight. Take the example of the Daily Star which in its 'keep calm, everything is fine' attitude, said that Mahmudur Rahman was taken to the BSSMU at 5 pm since he had been fasting 'continuously' for the past few days and that there were no other 'physical' complications involved. Or the case of bdnews24, which perhaps had a memory lapse and forgot that there was a man called Mahmudur Rahman. There was no news on Mahmudur Rahman on bdnews24 throughout the length and breadth of the 18th of April.
What have we done? Have we carried out any real action other than letting out steam in roadside processions and social media? Its time to stop reflecting on ways to let out more steam and convert that pent up rage to action. Its time the people ask the government to stop acting Big Brother. Publish Amardesh. If the people ask 'nicely enough', no government will have the power to refuse.
If the society fails to act, we may lose a man. A man who lead while free and has taken the lead again even in confinement. His audacity and brave nature have been both a source of inspiration and shame to us, the people. If we do not act, this action will eventually play into the hands of an autocratic government that has not thought twice before killing more than 200 people since January 2013, and will not give a dime as to whether Mahmudur Rahman lives or dies. We need to act to send a message to Mahmudur Rahman that we are there with him; that he does not need to sacrifice his life due to our prevalent indifferent attitude.
So answer me, for how much longer we wait?
Let us start by Tahajjud tonight. And Allah knows best.