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HEADLINES

Has Bangladesh gone into the hands of hooligans?

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury

 

Just because they are members of the Cultural wing of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Babul Ahmed and Helal Khan led a mob of 40 people, mostly equipped with weapons and attacked the newly hired office of Blitz, assaulted members of the newspaper, looted cash and valuables and finally they have put pad locks in the office and virtually the office has gone into their hands. Police is patronizing them, just because they belong to the ruling government. Even on Thursday, October 19, 2006, pro-Saddam and pro-Laden radical daily Inqilab published a colored interview of Helal Khan on its 16th Page, where Helal Khan openly admitted the attack on the office and said police helped him to drive away the editor of Blitz along with other people. Imagine the situation in Bangladesh. Judges court issued a notice on Helal Khan and others asking to show cause as to why injunction should not be issued barring them from entering the mentioned office. The notice was served on 18th of September 2006. But, Helal Khan knows, being a member of the ruling party, he does not need to pay any heed to the Court orders. He simply dishonored the Court Order and took the help of Rezaul Karim, Officer-in-charge of Shahbagh Police Station in committing a broad day crime. Although this notorious criminal has openly admitted the fact of this crime, members of law enforcing agencies and country’s intelligence agencies are remaining mum. There is a specific case against Helal Khan and other for this robbery, which now awaits investigation with Criminal Investigation Department.
There is reaction in the international community on this notoriety of BNP thugs. PEN USA in a statement said, “The Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN is seriously concerned for the safety of journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Chaudhury, who was reportedly attacked by a group of about 30 men at the offices of his newspaper on 5 October 2006. His attackers are thought to have included leading members of the ruling Bangladesh National Party (BNP). Chaudhury was reportedly badly beaten in the attack, and around 400,000 Taka ($US 4000) and several cell phones were taken from the Blitz office. Chaudhury faces sedition charges for his perceived association with Israel and his criticism of the spread of Islamist militancy in Bangladesh in his writings, and his trial is due to start on 12 October 2006. International PEN calls upon the Bangladeshi authorities to provide Chaudhury with effective police protection immediately. PEN protests the charges against journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Chaudhury, and urges that they are dropped in accordance with Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

English PEN is a statement said, The Writers in Prison Committee of English PEN is seriously concerned for the safety of journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Chaudhury, who was reportedly attacked by a group of about 30 men at the offices of his newspaper on 5 October 2006.

His attackers are thought to have included leading members of the ruling Bangladesh National Party (BNP). Chaudhury was reportedly badly beaten in the attack, and around 400,000 Taka ($US 4000) and several cell phones were taken from the Blitz office.

Italy’s leading daily L’Opinione (The Opinion) published an article by Shaykh Abdul Hadi Palazzi on 12th October 2006. In this article, Shaykh Palazzi wrote, “Can you image a country where two leaders of a governmental party assemble about sixty harmed thugs, and together with them ray the direction of one of the main opposition newspapers, hurt the editor, steal what he has in his pocket, steal the cash inside the desk and devastate the seat? Can you image a country where the aforesaid editor goes to the police, but the police refuses to accept his report dealing with violence, theft and damages, and on the contrary blames him for coming to their office with his garments  in disorder? Unfortunately such a country exists and is Bangladesh. According to the Bangladeshi journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, Editor of the "Weekly Blitz International" on October 5 the seat of his newspaper was attacked by a mob lead Helal Khan and Babul Ahmed, two the "cultural department" of the governmental Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). The day after another member of that party, a certain Ruhul Amin, called Choudhury by phone and asked him to sign a declaration according to which he will never sue the BNP leaders, and threatening him of serious consequences in case he refused to obey. But Choudhury was not stopped by fear; on the contrary, he described in a issue of his magazine the brutal methods of BNP, and asked Western media to circulate information about his case.
Which is the reason why the leaders of a governmental Bangladeshi party attack a journalist in such a barbaric manner? This happens since Choudhury is a moderate Muslim who promotes interfaith dialogue, opposes and investigates fundamentalist groups which exist in his country and publicly stands for Jewish-Muslim friendship and for normal diplomatic relations between
Israel and Bangladesh.

But, Bangladesh government has turned deaf and dumb. They do not want to listen to international reactions. They even want to ignore what many of the local organizations like Bangladesh Minority Lawyer’s Association said right after the attack. Because, the government is learning to behave like neo-Taliban.

Should BNP at least want to hand over power with a minimum respectable face, they should forthwith expel Helal Khan and Babul Ahmed from the Cultural Wing of the party and put these notorious criminals behind bar.

Posted on 19 Oct 2006 by Root
 
 
 
 
 


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