Editor's Mind

'Red card' for BNP

Publish: 11:00 PM, 03 Nov, 2023


24 August 1954. D. Eisenhower the 34th president of the United States, signed an exceptional law known as the "Communist Party Control Act." Through this Act the Communist Party was banned in the United States. there was a fierce debate about whether it was permissible to ban a political party nationally in a country that valued freedom of expression. However, the law argued in favor, saying that "democracy and terrorism cannot coexist. In democratic politics, there is no path to change the government other than through elections." Many sections of this 1954 law have been repealed over the years and numerous states have also invalidated it. However, the law is still in effect. According to this law, one of the world's leading democratic countries prohibits the Communist Party. Not only the United States. The United States is not alone in this. Many countries around the world have banned or are banning political parties that support or engage in terrorism, violate the constitution, or pose a threat to the state. In many countries, even after a political party becomes extremely popular, it loses the right to organize for fostering terrorism. One such neighboring country of the United States is Canada. In 1940, the radical right-wing political party 'National Unity Party' was banned in that country for the same reason, supporting extremism and terrorism. In the world's largest democracy, India, more than 40 organizations have been banned. All of these banned organizations are associated with terrorism. The Communist Party of India (Maoist), the National Democratic Front of Bodoland, the People's Liberation Army, the Popular Front of India, and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, among other organizations, challenge the integrity and sovereignty of India. Therefore, these organizations are banned. Bhutan is a country of peace. But in the 1980s, it experienced political unrest and violence. During that time, the Bhutan People's Party became popular, but it was eventually banned. Even today, Bhutan People's Party remains prohibited. In 2003, the Communist Party in Bhutan was also banned and there are allegations of militant activities associated with that organization. The Cambodia National Rescue Party started violent political activities to overthrow the government in Cambodia in 2017. The Rescue Party was banned on various charges, including allegations of encouraging terrorism in politics. In the past, there were instances of political parties being banned in Egypt in 2014 on charges of violating the constitution and involvement in terrorism, including the "Anti-Coup Alliance" and the "Independent Party." Many political parties have been banned in Egypt at various times. Since the Second World War, all political parties in Germany that have associations with Nazi ideology have been banned. If a political party is found to have even the slightest sympathy for Nazism, it is immediately banned. Three such political parties were banned in 1992. These parties were the German Alternative, National Offensive, and the Nationalist Front. The German Workers Party was also banned in 1995 on similar charges. In 2018, the Hong Kong National Party was banned on allegations of terrorist activities. Due to their radical right-wing politics, the Saint Party was banned in the Netherlands in 1998. There are many similar examples like these.

Let's talk about Bangladesh now. The Bangladesh Nationalist Party or BNP is undoubtedly one of the most popular political organizations in the country. However, from its inception, this political organization has been in violation of the country's constitution, democracy and laws. The foundation of the BNP is inherently illegal, unconstitutional and a hindrance to the fundamental consciousness of the Bangladeshi state. BNP was created in the cantonment. The founder of this party violated the constitution, seized power unlawfully. The party should have been banned as soon as democratic rule was restored in the country. However, that did not happen. This party won the National Assembly elections twice in 1991 and 2001. However, BNP has violated the constitution even while in power. They have supported terrorism and endorsed extremism. In October 2001, after winning the elections, they chose a ruthless path to suppress the opposition, using Nazi-like tactics. They unleash demonic rampages on minorities and innocent people. BNP’s involvement in the grenade attack on August 21, 2004 is now proven in court and the party should have been banned solely for this crime. Although the state did not show a red card to BNP, the people of the country clearly showed a yellow card to BNP in the 2008 elections. But still, the BNP did not learn its lesson. Before the 2013 elections, the BNP once again resorted to violence, burning and vandalizing across the country, and choosing the path of arson and terrorism. For the same crime the United States banned the Communist Party by law in 1954. Bhutan People's Party was banned in Bhutan in 1990 for the same offense. In 2014 the Independent Party was banned in Egypt for the same offense that the BNP had committed in 2013 and 2014. However, the government couldn't take constitutional action against the BNP at that time. This reflects the government's failure.

Many had assumed that after the so-called 2015 movement, the BNP would change its approach. They would feel that the people of this country do not favor violent and destructive politics. After the 2018 election, the BNP chose the path of peaceful protest. From 2022, the party continued to protest against the government through peaceful gatherings, meetings and various programs. However, on October 28, the BNP proved that they are indeed a terrorist party. The BNP has not learned from its past and it has not changed much. They seek to oust an elected government not through the ballot but through acts of terror and arson. A video of a member of the police force is being brutally beaten to death is now circulating on the social media. Those responsible for the attack are all associated with the local leaders of the BNP. Their identities are not hidden. Everyone knows their names and addresses. Watching the video will make anyone's heart tremble and will haunt anyone's nightmares. When you see the scene of that innocent person's child crying, you won't be able to hold back your emotions. No one can tolerate this crime. The way BNP leaders and activists stormed Rajarbagh Police Hospital is astonishing. Not too long ago, Israel attacked a hospital in Gaza in a similar manner. That attack was condemned as a crime against humanity. The world was shocked by Israel's aggression. The BNP has committed the same crime by attacking a hospital. It is a heinous crime. Through this attack, the BNP has lost its political rights. The Chief Justice of the country is the guardian of the constitution, the head of the judiciary. An institution. When an attack occurs at the residence of the Chief Justice, it is an assault on the constitution. If any political party attacks the constitution, it is considered a violation of the constitution, an act of treason. A treasonous organization cannot exist in any independent country.

In a democratic state, the presence of multiple political parties with varying ideologies is normal. These parties will hold and advocate for different political beliefs. Their thoughts, consciousness, and ideals will shape public opinion. Different political parties will present their views to the people. The majority of the population will support the political party whose agenda they prefer, and they will cast their votes in elections. Those who win the people's votes will form the government. Those who cannot form the government will scrutinize the government's performance. They will point out mistakes and work to improve. This is the essence of democracy. Beating the police like snakes, setting hospitals on fire, or causing harm to innocent people is not politics; it is terrorism. Such acts of terrorism will not stop unless strict measures are taken against them. Terrorism and democratic politics cannot coexist. The main enemy of democracy is terrorism.

On October 28, the BNP has proven that they are a terrorist organization. Just like in sports, there are rules to follow. If you don't follow the rules, you are shown a red card. Similarly, in politics, there are rules to abide by. If the rules and laws are followed a political party must also face consequences. BNP received a yellow card in 2008. Their crimes on October 28 are alarming. They no longer deserve just a warning (yellow card). A red card is a must for them.


Syed Borhan Kabir, Executive Director, Poriprekkhit

Email: poriprekkhit@yahoo.com


Editor's Mind

Dr. Yunus, Rustam Mandal and the rule of law

Publish: 07:36 PM, 04 Sep, 2023


December 1998. A small news article on the inner pages of a daily newspaper - 'A farmer commits suicide after failing to repay loans from Grameen Bank.' This incident occurred in Sharsha, Jessore. Many farmers in this region had taken loans with high interest from Grameen Bank. They hoped to repay the loans with the proceeds from the new harvest. However, the devastating flood of 98’ ruined everything. The farmers went to the Grameen Bank's office, hoping that at least during the famine, they would be exempted from repaying the installment of the loans. But the district office of Grameen Bank informed them that this was beyond their authority. The burden to repay the loans intensifies on the people affected by the wrath of the flood. Not only in Jessore but borrowers of Grameen Bank all over the country were in dire straits. Many local Members of Parliament from various areas brought this issue to the attention of the Finance Minister. Considering the overall situation, the Finance Minister instructed all NGOs to waive or to refrain from receiving it immediately. Several small lending institutions like ASA, Proshika and several other micro-credit institutions followed the government's directive. They waive one month's interest during floods. Deferred payment of installments for two months. But 'Grameen Bank' refuses to comply with the government's decision. In this context, Dr. Muhammad Yunus, the Managing Director of the Grameen Bank, describes how the bank's operations will be adversely affected due to a certain decision. Without waiting for the government's decision or response, the organization sends letters to all regional offices to maintain the previous practice of collecting loan installments without any disruption. At this time, a special team (force) was formed under the initiative of Grameen Bank to collect the installments. Powerful, muscular youths from the area are recruited into this team. They started threatening the borrowers by going door to door. Then, they forcefully confiscate household items like rice or other assets if necessary. They were often physically tortured to collect the installments. And legal charges against the borrowers were frequent. From August 1998 to January 1999, Grameen Bank filed around 13,000 cases across the country to recover installments. At least two hundred poor farmers were arrested in these cases. They were taken to the police station and court with a rope around their waist, as if they were any violent criminals. At that time, many farmers fled from their land to escape the oppression of Grameen Bank. Rustam Mandal was a victim of such ruthless exploitation. The news reported that Rustam Mandal had five due weekly installments. Unable to pay the installment, a case was filed and an arrest warrant was issued against him. Unable to find a way out, Rustam Mandal committed suicide.


Rustam Mandal was not the only victim. During the challenging period following the flood, numerous farmers across the country resorted to taking their own lives due to their inability to pay the installments of Grameen Bank. Mirza Azam, a young member of parliament raised the issue in the national parliament on a 'point of order'. He stated, 'It's inhumane and unjust to drag a farmer to the brink of suicide for a mere 200 taka.' He demanded the withdrawal of these cases against the farmers. Mirza Azam also alleged that those who are committing 'suicide' due to the inability to repay loans are essentially being killed. After this issue was raised in the National Parliament, a heated discussion ensued.


At this time, a statement was issued from Grameen Bank led by Dr. Yunus. In the statement, Grameen Bank completely denied allegations of harassment against farmers. At the end of the statement, it was written that, "The law is equal for everyone. There is no opportunity to differentiate the law for any special individual." After 25 years, that incident has resurfaced before my eyes, with Dr. Yunus at the center of international outrage and concern. On August 17th, former U.S. President Barack Obama expressed his concern about Dr. Yunus is being harassed. The letter, kept secret for 10 days by Dr. Yunus, was published on August 27th by the 'Yunus Center.' On that day, 34 members of the country's civil society expressed their concern about the government's actions towards Dr. Muhammad Yunus. The next day, 160 prominent personalities from around the world, including Nobel laureates, collectively wrote an open letter urging the suspension of ongoing legal proceedings against Dr. Yunus. A day later, Hillary Clinton declared on Twitter a formal battle against the Bangladesh government on Dr. Yunus's behalf, calling on world leaders to stand by him. As I read this passage with deep concentration, the scene of Rustam Mandal's house flashed before my eyes. At that time in 1998, I used to program an investigative report called 'Perspective' on Bangladesh Television. Based on those news reports I did an episode on installment payment harassment. I had visited the home of Rustam Mandal in Jessore. As they could not pay the installments, the tin roofs of the house were taken away by the people of Grameen Bank. Rustam Mandal's daughter was pale, in despair. His wife, a widow, was grieving deeply. In an interview with the regional manager of the Rural Bank in Jessore, he said, ‘There is no option to withdraw the case.’ International pressure to withdraw the case against Dr Yunus. And after the death of Rustam Mandal, there is a legal excuse to continue the case of collection of installments. What is the truth? Is the law equal for everyone?


Article 27 of the Constitution of Bangladesh states, "All citizens are equal before the law and entitled to equal protection of the law." So, why two different policies for Dr. Yunus and Rustam Mandal?


Former Attorney General Advocate Aminul Haq Amin used to fight against the allegations of corruption against Ershad. On the day he passed away, he had gone to the Appellate Division of the Bangladesh Supreme Court in the morning to oppose the bail in a corruption case against Ershad. At that time, this fearless individual became agitated. He said, ‘If a farmer cannot pay 10-taka installment, they tie rope around their waist and send them to the jail. Due to a lack of money, that farmer cannot go to court. And by embezzling crores of state money, big crooks hire barristers and get out through loopholes in the law. This is not justice.' As he was leaving the Appellate Division, he suffered a heart attack and passed away. I remembered the words of Advocate Aminul Haque again in the lamentation of some prominent people about Dr. Yunus. The statement made by 160 world-renowned personalities on behalf of Dr. Yunus has been published on their website by Chicago-based public relations organization "Cision PR". These 160 individuals have been invited to sign a declaration through a contact form on the website. Cision PR is one of the renowned global communication firms, headquartered in the United States. The firm specializes in promoting any brand, company, organization, or individual skillfully. It has branches in 170 countries worldwide and communicates in 40 different languages. This organization works on enhancing the image of over a thousand clients. My question is, who gave them the responsibility of getting the signatures of so many prominent people to prepare such a statement on behalf of Dr. Yunus? How much did it cost? Earlier, a statement of 46 people on behalf of Dr. Yunus was published in the form of an advertisement in an influential media of the United States. Crores of money were spent on that advertisement campaign. is Dr. Yunus trying to influence the judiciary with money? Why can't a case be filed against him? Is he above the law? Earlier, the Nobel Peace Prize winning economist had fought in several cases. Those cases were filed by Dr. Yunus himself. Due to crossing the age limit, he was sent to retirement from the position of managing director of Grameen Bank. He challenged the government's decision and had faith in the judiciary at that time. Why is it different now?" However, Dr. Yunus lost in that case. The Supreme Court of the country declared the government's retirement notification valid.


In the fiscal year 2020-21, Dr. Yunus donated all the money from his personal account to the Yunus Trust. NBR (National Board of Revenue) claimed a 15% donation tax during that time. Dr. Yunus objected to making this donation and filed a case against NBR. On May 31st, Dr. Yunus lost in three income tax reference cases. He then deposited over 12 crore taka (more than 120 million taka) to NBR through a pay order. Now the workers of Grameen Telecom have filed a case alleging violation of labor laws. Now the workers of Grameen Telecom have filed a case alleging violation of labor laws. Dr. Yunus wanted to settle the case out of court with money. Money transactions were also done in illegal ways. The case has reached the Supreme Court and now proceeding in the Labor Court on the order of the Supreme Court. Dr. Yunus has filed a case, and there are no issues with that. However, when the workers file a case, there is a problem. What kind of justice is this! I believe most of the people who signed the petition to stay the case against Yunus do not know a single thing about it. They have been misled into this matter. Former American First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has a separate bias towards Dr. Yunus. She is always enthusiastic about doing something special for Dr. Yunus. When Dr. Muhammad Yunus retired from the position of Managing Director of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, she violated all protocols and called the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. United States always talks about the rule of law. However, they themselves often ignore the rule of law for their own interests. They constantly talk about human rights in the United States. But they do not consider it a violation of human rights to deny workers their rightful wages. So, does the rule of law mean granting freedom to individuals like Dr. Yunus who are loyal to the United States?


Writer: Editor in chief, Bangla Insider

Email: poriprekkhit@yahoo.com


Editor's Mind

Few ministers and bureaucrats are desperate to sink the 'boat'

Publish: 01:10 PM, 10 Jun, 2023


On Tuesday (June 6th) I had a meeting with a government official at 10 in the morning. However, even after 10:30, there was no sign of him. He is an important government official. Seeing the delay, I called him. He said, "Brother, I'm coming. There has been no water at home for seven days. I went to a relative's house with my wife and children to take a bath. How can we survive in this heat?" He arrived an hour and a half later and said, "The water pump in the apartment has been damaged due to load shedding. We don't have the financial capability to buy a new pump in this inflationary market. What should we do in this situation?" Having to go here and there like a refugee to take a bath. He informed me that the previous day he had to take his family to the office to take a bath there. Needless to say, when a mid-level government official is in this situation, it reflects the condition in which we, ordinary people, are living. Load shedding is becoming scarier day by day. Earlier people were unhappy. But now, they are gradually becoming outraged. Who knows when this dissatisfaction will erupt? That day an Awami League leader, who regularly goes to talk shows, was saying, 'Brother, I don't like going to talk shows anymore. What do I say about electricity? Why should we take the blame for the misdeeds of a few individuals? Those in the ruling Awami League who are in the field, those who talk to people and are connected to people are now not worried, but scared. The State Minister of Power and Energy has been in charge of the ministry for a solid 9 years. There is even a 'lifelong' adviser in this ministry. I don't want to criticize all of this. I have no desire to bring up the mistakes of the adviser and the minister. But I am shocked and surprised by the state minister's expression of grief. The State Minister of Power expressed sorrow regarding load shedding in parliament and press conferences. In psychology, there is a widely discussed topic called "body language" or nonverbal communication. The true, sincere, and heartfelt feelings of a person can be understood through their body language. There is no need to show Nasrul Hamid's expression of sorrow to a psychologist for an in-depth analysis. Without a psychologist, it can be said that his expression of sorrow is artificial and insincere. The reason is that he has no connection with the people. The State Minister of Power is a perfect advertisement of what happens when a public representative is disconnected from people. Payra power plant has been shut down due to lack of coal. He himself said that coal imports did not go well due to 'incoordination'. Whose incoordination? Who or what has trapped coal import in a web of long bureaucracy? The state minister has to give answers to these questions. Everything in the power sector is shrouds in mystery. Inconsistency in everything. Every person who has been crushed by the tyranny of load shedding knows about the limitless corruption in the power sector. And there are words in the air. Who stole thousands of crores of money, who bought a shopping mall in Dubai, who bought an entire village near Dhaka? There are also reports in newspapers that there is no load shedding where the electricity advisor’s house is located. Now these things are being discussed openly, and there is a controversy surrounding it. Some very common question comes to mind. Let's stick to the topic of the Payra Power Plant. In 2016, the PDB contracted to purchase electricity from Payra. This electricity plant was built with a loan from the Exim Bank of China. Interest rates are much higher than World Bank, IMF. The first unit of the power plant came into production in January 2020. And the second unit started working in August of that year. Although electricity generation started, the power transmission lines were not established. Therefore, the public did not receive electricity. But according to the agreement, PDB (actually people) had to pay a large amount of capacity charge every day for one and a half years. Payra power plant has become a loss-making company in the beginning. Regarding the enormous subsidy in the power sector, who benefits from it? Is it an innocent mistake or intentional looting?

In the terrifying reality of load shedding, the present government's 14-year success story has turned into a description of failure and deception. The common people are becoming restless. So, no matter how many times the State Minister of Power uses the term 'accidental,' this is not a sudden accident. It is a premeditated implementation of a planned blue-print to destabilize the government. A conspiracy against Sheikh Hasina. Whenever the State Minister for Power and Awami League leaders talk about load shedding and looting of the power sector, they talk about BNP-Jamaat rule. On Tuesday, in the National Parliament, the same broken record was played by the State Minister. The BNP-Jamaat alliance fell into public anger because they could not provide electricity, there were protests in Kansat, people gave their lives. BNP has received the punishment for their failure. Isn’t the Awami League government is being pushed to the same situation now? 'Electricity in every household' was one of the biggest achievements of this government in the past 14 years. Sheikh Hasina illuminated Bangladesh from darkness. The people of this country had forgotten about load shedding. Chargers, IPS, generators, and other equipment gradually became unknown. But the power sector again took Bangladesh in 2002. The pride and achievements of the Awami League government have been reduced to dust by advisers, state ministers and bureaucrats. A few days ago, I was looking at a list of people working in various organizations in the power sector. The family identity of a large part of them is related to BNP-Jamaat. During their education, they were members of Chhatra Dal or Shibir. Some of them are engaging in rampant corruption without any boundaries. With a large sum of money, they have obtained important and influential positions. They are now destroying the electricity sector. Awami League's election manifesto talks about "self-reliance in energy”, but the bosses in the sector has no interest in it. For example, 200 billion cubic feet of gas has been discovered in Elisha in Bhola. This gas alone can meet Bangladesh's gas demand for 10 years. However, due to various excuses, the gas is not being brought into the country's gas grid. The reason for this is corruption. By not importing, the above-mentioned earnings will be shut down. That's why there is no interest in gas exploration from the energy department. Load shedding has become a recent outcry for the common people. But the outcry over the cost of living has been going on for the past four years. The heat in the market over commodity prices is more intense than fire. Recently, the Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce has been appointed on a contractual basis. Undoubtedly, his presence is indispensable. If he is not present in the Ministry of Commerce, it will collapse. If not, how can he be appointed under the contract as a Secretary of the ministry, which has failed and is incompetent in controlling commodity prices? The issue of commodity prices is somewhat like a circus or magic. Sometimes the price of rice increases, sometimes it's chili, sometimes onions or sugar. The Commerce Minister himself has admitted that the market is under the control of a 'syndicate'. In the meantime, for a few days, sugar and soybean oil have disappeared from the market. The Commerce Minister is helpless. The Secretary seems like a resident of another planet. Recently, there has been a scarcity of onions, leading to a skyrocketing price in the market. For a month, there was a flurry of letters about importing onions and engaging in bureaucratic exercises. It's a cunning manipulation to embarrass the government. Planning Minister himself criticized the decision of the Ministry of Commerce. After ECNEC meeting on Tuesday, the Planning Minister said, "We have reached a decision to import onion after 15 days. Now the price of onion has started to fall. If the commerce minister had decided to import onion earlier the price of onions per kilogram would not have been 90 Taka." The current government came into power after winning the election in 2008. It was a global recession at that time. Food prices were rising all over the world. There was a crisis of rice in different countries, causing an outcry. In the midst of such a situation, the Prime Minister took the responsibility and took control of commodity prices astonishingly. At that time Colonel (Retd.) Farooq Khan was the minister in the Ministry of Commerce. When he was unable to handle the situation, Sheikh Hasina quickly changed the minister. Jatiya Party GM Kader is given the responsibility. He handled the situation with extraordinary skill. The one-sided election of 2014 was also accepted by the people of this country, a major reason for this was the bearable situation of commodity prices. There was stability in the economy. After the election in 2014, Awami League heavyweight leader Tofail Ahmed received the responsibility of the Ministry of Commerce. During this time, he maintained control over the prices of commodities with expertise. In 2015, there was volatility in the global edible oil market. Tofail Ahmed kept the market under control by calling the traders and talking to them. That is the job of ministers. Tipu Munshi got the responsibility of this important ministry after the 2018 elections. I don't want to re-write what happened in the market during his tenure. The government or the Ministry of Commerce has no control over the market in Bangladesh. Syndicates control the market. If the ministers cannot sit in the driving seat of the ministry, then the bureaucrats turn into monsters. They do whatever you want. That is what is happening now in the Ministry of Commerce. In the end, the loss is to the government. Awami League's image is being destroyed. Just as looters and conspirators have crushed the pride of Awami League with electricity, incompetent bureaucracy and looter syndicates have ruined the government's pride with commodity prices.

After the ECNEC meeting last Tuesday, Planning Minister MA Mannan admitted - 'Inflation has reached an unbearable level.' He said, 'It is a matter of shame for me.' The economic crisis has now exposed the dilapidated, impoverished face of the country. Everyone expected that this year's budget will focus on reducing inflation, recovering from the economic crisis. But I have considerable doubts as to how much this budget can control the downward trajectory of the economy. Moreover, the release of vague information regarding income tax and foreign trips has provided an opportunity for spreading rumors and creating confusion. It is like not having a Finance Minister at all. One great fortune of Bangladesh is that most of the time we have had good Finance Ministers. Tajuddin Ahmad, Saifur Rahman, Shah AMS Kibria, Abul Mal Abdul Muhith—each of them has played a significant role in advancing the country's economy. Some more, some less. Finance Ministers of Bangladesh are considered the second most important individuals after the Prime Minister in terms of leading the country's economy. There is a stark contrast between the former Finance Ministers and the current one. Abul Maal Abdul Muhith gave the last budget of his life by working 18 hours a day for a month. He spent sleepless nights and held meetings after meetings with stakeholders. And now we have found our Finance Minister on the day of the budget. "Where have you been all this time?" we wonder. In the economic crisis of the country, our Finance Minister is absent from any meetings with the IMF or celebrating 50 years of relationship with the World Bank. Finance Minister is sick. Why should he bear the burden of ministry if he is sick? The Prime Minister also has a 'Lifetime' economic adviser. 14 years ago, he could be seen in seminars and symposiums, discussing with intellectuals. He is also invisible now. In the terrible economic crisis, the economy is now in the hands of the bureaucrats. How much do these bureaucrats see the interests of the country? There is no political thought to deal with economic problems. The Ministry of Finance is not concerned about elections. Attempts to solve the crisis in a bureaucratic manner are only deepening the problem. Can you imagine that Bangladesh was one of the top five countries in the world in terms of continuous growth under this government. That emerging economy is now in shambles. The prevailing economy is now facing a serious crisis. The Ministry of Finance has taken measures against loan defaulters and money launderers. What action has the Ministry of Finance taken against defaulters, money smugglers? It can be heard that people from the opposite side of the government are sitting in many important places in the Ministry of Finance. The bureaucrat, who became a government official in the 2001 elections and played the role of BNP cadre, is now the secretary of an important department of the finance ministry. They constantly make various schemes to embarrass the government. Bangladesh is currently facing a dollar crisis. In the recent ECNEC meeting, the Prime Minister instructed to quickly release foreign loan projects, stating that it would bring in dollars. When the Prime Minister made this statement, the Planning Commission became busy organizing how to freeze the foreign loan projects. I just want to give an example. One of the largest projects in the country's livestock sector is underway with World Bank loans. I was shocked to read the description of an evaluation meeting on the first amendment of this project. The recommendations and guidelines adopted in the project evaluation under the chairmanship of a member (secretary) of the Planning Commission are contrary to the government's agreement with the World Bank. If these recommendations are ultimately accepted by ECNEC, the World Bank will terminate the agreement, citing breach of contract. This is a direct violation of the contract because the money borrowed from the World Bank cannot be used in another account. However, the Secretary (member) has proposed utilizing the funds from the World Bank project to implement another government project. There is no reason to think that the secretary does not know the rules of the World Bank. I believe this is planned so that the World Bank cancels the agreement and stops lending. Through the syndicate of the newly formed Awami League government, this individual has become the Secretary. After becoming Secretary, those who are loyal to the Awami League were started an uproar. But it didn't work. Now he has emerged in his true form. The emergence of such ghosts within the administration has created more and more loopholes. The government has reached the end of its term and has been entrusted with the task of ensuring public satisfaction and gaining people's trust. However, the incompetent and ignorant behavior of some ministers, along with their self-interest, has complicated the situation. Some are behaving like idiots. Recently, Mukta Sultana, a student of Eden College, came to Facebook Live and burnt all her academic certificates. It is a punishable offence. However, a state minister hired her for a job. Has the minister lost his ability to assess the severity of the situation? I also saw the minister's spouse criticizing his husband's childishness. Now there is a daily occurrence of such heinous acts like burning certificates. Will the minister give everyone a job? Why would ministers and state ministers resort to such cheap tactics earn some fame? The opportunists who have been killing the administration are now revealing their true faces. Sheikh Hasina, alone, has tirelessly worked towards the dream of Bangabandhu's Sonar Bangla, a prosperous Bangladesh, over the past 14 years. However, those who do not desire this have now embarked on a mission to destroy this achievement using all their might. In these 14 years, the BNP-Jamaat alliance failed to involve the people in their movements. But due to the actions of certain individuals within the government, people are now losing faith in the government. As soon as the boat reaches the port, some are leaking the boat. Some ministers and bureaucrats have embarked on a mission to sink the boat.

They need to be identified. They must be removed from their responsibilities. Within the Awami League, there are many competent idealistic and principled leaders. Those who will show competence in this difficult time and help the Prime Minister to overcome the crisis, should be brought forward. The government's political image must be improved by reducing authoritarianism and dependence on bureaucracy. This will reassure the people. Time is running out quickly. Without the support of the people, no political party has any other asset.


Editor's Mind

A self-confessed murderer and US visa policy

Publish: 10:09 AM, 03 Jun, 2023


Rashed Chowdhury - a confessed murderer, the freak killer. On August 15, 1975, the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was killed along with his family by some despicable people. And National and international conspiracies were behind this heinous murder in history of Bangladesh. Rashed Chowdhury is one of those who directly committed this worst incident. After the brutal murder on August 15, 1975, the murderer Mushtaq gave the killers OF Bangabandhu impunity. Moshtaq's illegitimate government promulgated the Indemnity Ordinance. In the face of army discontent and disorder, Mushtaq was deposed on November 3, 1975. In a series of coups and counter coups, Ziaur Rahman seized power on November 7. Zia was one of the masterminds of the August 15 conspiracy. So, he seized power and upheld the Indemnity Ordinance. Those directly involved in the murder were sent abroad in a special plane. Once in power, Zia rewarded the murderers with diplomatic jobs. This is another horrible chapter in history. Ershad came to power after Zia's death. He also milked the self-confessed murderers of the Father of the Nation. Those who were doing diplomatic jobs were promoted. Even after the fall of Ershad, the murderers were out of everyone’s reach. In 1991, Bangladesh had its first time in the country under a non-partisan caretaker government. BNP won that election. In the Parliament of 1991, the Awami League and BNP agreed and returned to the parliamentary democracy system. But BNP did not agree to repeal the Indemnity Ordinance. The path to justice for the killers of 75 remained blocked. Begum Zia gave another round of promotion to the murderers. Meanwhile, murderer Rashed Chowdhury was transferred to Brazil. Awami League won the 1996 election and came to power. Rashed Chowdhury escaped from Brazil and took refuge in the United States, the biggest guardian of democracy in the world. It is their utmost responsibility to protect the world human rights. The country tends to find if any country has violated democracy or human rights. If democracy is not restored, the US punishes like a strict class teacher.

Even the slightest deviation of human rights does not escape the attention of US officials. They punish with various sanctions. Sometimes I think, what would happen to world democracy, what would happen to human rights without US. The worst murderer in the history, who himself portrays his devilishness, entered the country which is such a defender of human rights.

Many thought this is it. Rashed Chowdhury will not be able to escape anymore. United States spends so much and does so much work to promote human rights in the world. The most brutal self-confessed murderer has gone to their country! There is no way for the batter to survive. We were sure that Rashed Chowdhury is no longer safe. I kept waiting, when will I get the news that he has been arrested. Has Rashed been sent to Guantanamo Bay prison or elsewhere? But surprisingly, the self-confessed murderer Rashed Chowdhury got political asylum in the United States. He moves freely here and there in the United States. The then US President was Bill Clinton. During a visit to the US, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina requested to the US officials that the self-confessed murderer should be sent back to Bangladesh. Clinton promised to look into the matter. That's it until then. Awami League came to the charge of running the country and revoked the Indemnity Ordinance. The proceedings of the trial of Bangabandhu's killers began. Instead of a special tribunal, Sheikh Hasina took a bold decision to proceed with the trial of Bangabandhu's murder under conventional law. A long legal battle ensued. A few of the killers were arrested and brought to justice. But some were absconding including Rashid, Dalim, Noor Chowdhury. Among them, the murderer Rashed Chowdhury was sitting in the lap of the US, the contractor of human rights. The trial process of killing Bangabandhu went on for a long time. On the other hand a diplomatic initiative began to bring back the self-confessed murderers, who have escaped abroad, and bring them to trial. Abul Hasan Chowdhury was the State Minister for Foreign Affairs during that period. Along with Sheikh Hasina, he also met the US President. Later, in an interview given to a daily, Abul Hasan Chowdhury said, "I remember President Bill Clinton telling Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the Oval Office, 'I don't want to see them (the accused) stay in this country.’'  Sirajul Haque, the lawyer for the state in the Bangabandhu assassination case, was an optimistic person. He told me that if the trial is conducted under the customary law, there will be no question in abroad. It will be easy to bring back the murderers.' But until the Awami League government left power in 2001, Rashed Chaudhuri remained in the US. The BNP-Jamaat alliance came to power in October 1, 2001 elections. Meanwhile, Bangabandhu's murder case was under trial in the High Court. Barrister Maudud Ahmed became the Law Minister. He admitted in his own book (How Was I in Jail, page-141) that his government stalled the trial in the Supreme Court. The BNP chairperson blocked the trial of this heinous murder, while on the other hand reinstated the fugitive murderers. Meanwhile, the United States, the protector of 'human rights', decided to grant political asylum to the self-confessed murderer in 2004 while granting him citizenship in 2006. Awami League came to power for the second time under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina in 2009. The government took the initiative to finish the trials of Bangabandhu's murder. Sirajul Haque passed away on October 28, 2002 with the grief of not seeing the execution of the murderers of Bangabandhu. Anisul Haque took responsibility to finish his father's unfinished work. After the judgment of the Appellate Division, the argument for repatriating the fugitive murderers became stronger. Meanwhile, the government strengthened diplomatic efforts to bring back the murderers including Rashed Chowdhury. Those who were arrested were executed. I had hoped that the US would at least return Rashed Chowdhury quickly as justice was secured through a long legal battle. Bangladesh made a written application to the United States many times to get Rashed Chowdhury back. Alas! The caretaker of human rights, The United States kept silent on this matter. The United States grants citizenship to an immigrant under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Since May 24, there has been a lot of discussion about this law in Bangladesh. Under this law, the United States has announced a new visa policy in Bangladesh. The Act contains detailed provisions on how an immigrant can become a US citizen. The law says it is not enough to stay in US for getting citizenship, a person  must fulfill at least 20 conditions at any given time. Important among these is that a person convicted of any criminal offense (regardless of the country), human rights violator, murderer, will be considered ineligible for citizenship. Not only that, even if an immigrant obtains citizenship by concealing any such information, if it is proved in the future that he obtained citizenship with false information or concealment of information, his citizenship will be revoked and he will be deported from the United States. Be clear, there are no ifs and buts in law. A country that upholds human rights so highly must have such kind of law. But, in the case of Rashed Chowdhury, was this law has been applied? No, it didn’t.

In 2018 and 2020, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina wrote two letters to the then US President Donald Trump. Trump asked the Attorney General's office to look into the matter. But after Joe Biden became president, everything stopped. Now, when the Foreign Ministry of Bangladesh contacted the US State Department, they said that the matter was not theirs, but that of the Attorney Office. The law minister himself contacted the US Attorney's office, asked for time. But in the past year and a half, the US Attorney's Office has not responded about it. This is how it goes. When the caretaker of human righs doesn’t deports a self-confessed and Supreme Court convicted murder. Then Canada also does not send back murderer Noor Chowdhury. Canada's argument is that since the death penalty is prohibited in that country, they will not extradite a person sentenced to death. Rashid, Dalim and other fugitive murderers are also being held in different countries, as the US has given asylum to a murderer. Readers, close your eyes and think, a person killed the US president and took refuge in Bangladesh. How long do you think Bangladesh could keep him? Would it be scandalous to give him Bangladesh citizenship? But the United States can do everything. What they do is right. Whatever they say is the law in this world.

Now when there is an excitement among the Bangladeshi politicians over the US visa policy, I remembered the case of the murderer Rashed Chowdhury. I took a moment and remembered the long history. After the announcement by US Secretary of State Blinken, the leaders of the two main opposition parties are screaming out as it is their 'victory'. Awami League leader Obaidul Quader has discovered that Mirza Fakhrul can’t sleep over this. Mirza Fakhrul is no less. He has researched that 'Awami League's tone has softened.' Soon after the announcement of the new visa policy, Awami League, BNP and Jatiya Party leaders visited the US ambassador's residence. The US got what it wanted in less than 24 hours. 

The United States wanted a loyal allegiance among all political parties, an absolute authority in the politics of Bangladesh. Dominance over the politics of Bangladesh. The political uproar over a visa policy may seem like 170 million people in Bangladesh are crazy about going to the United States. If you don't get a US visa, there will be a tragedy in Bangladesh. The US ambassador is also encouraging. During an event recently, he said, "Visa policy is not a concern for those who want fair elections." 

I want to ask the US ambassador, a rickshaw puller who drives the rickshaw in the sun during the day also wants fair elections. Will the rickshaw-puller get a US visa? Or the young genius of the village who is studying despite much difficulties or the village farm laborer or a widow who destroyed due to the debt of Dr. Yunus, They all are in favor of fair polls. Will they get a US visa? Many people who already applied for visas to the US are rejected. Does the list of names of those who are not granted visas by the United States for various reasons are also published? But it will be done in this case. Humiliating them publicly is one of the objectives of this visa policy. The United States State Department's website provides a count of how many (non-immigrant) visas are issued to each country each year. The list shows that in 2013, 28 thousand and 80 Bangladeshi citizens were given visas by the United States. In 2014, a maximum of 35 thousand 25 people were given visas. Last year, 29 thousand 202 people got US visa from Bangladesh. In the last 10 years, approximately 200,000 Bangladeshis have received US visas while about an equal number of applicants were also rejected. The US visa policy is not a headache for ordinary citizens. This visa policy has created instability for those who are important in various fields of the state,. The big head of the administration admits his children in the United States, has his wife also living there. But he lives a bachelor life in Dhaka. They send all the money there and cover themselves with the cloak of 'honesty'. This visa policy made them upset. Politicians, who made a second home in Canada, built a palace in Begum Para, kept their wife and children there, who plan to fly there "if something happens" in the country. The US visa policy has left them worried. The businessman, who was close to Hawa Bhaban has now become a bigger Awami League than Awami League itself. He has become a so called new soldier of ‘Sheikh Mujib Army’ by flushing out banks and smuggling the money to USA, Canada. US visa policy is suffocating news for him. The United States made this visa policy willingly. Democracy, voting, human rights are not destroyed by the common people. These were destroyed by a handful of greedy thieves, robbers, opportunists. They are in all parties. They poke their noses in every administration during any governments. They are the ones who question elections, weaken democracy. The US visa policy is aimed at them. Therefore, this visa policy can be appreciated. If they don't muddy the waters with democracy and elections, then there is no reason why democracy-loving people in this country should not have free, fair and impartial elections. But the problem is elsewhere. In almost all cases, US policies and laws are clear like water. The US administration takes the shape of the container in which it is placed. For example, according to the law that declared the visa policy, the murderer Rashed Chowdhury is not supposed to get citizenship. But the despicable killer is still living in the United States.

According to the Immigration Act, a former chief justice convicted of corruption is to be deported from the United States. He is fine. A military officer, who was in the news for 'Crossfire' during his time in RAB, who pushed through everything during the 1/11, he lives in the United States under what principles? Seven murders pardoned in this world for unconditional US loyalists. Hamid Karzai's unbridled corruption is not a crime. But Chile's Allende has to die for not surrendering to the US. So the question is whether these laws and policies will apply equally to everyone in Bangladesh? Those who are sitting civilly in Bangladesh with US citizenship. Those who want to create a situation like one-eleven. They want to establish a long-lasting undemocratic government in the country through the process of depoliticization, they are the enemy of democracy, the main obstacle to fair elections. Will they be covered by this policy? Who will determine who is against for a fair election? The US loyalists in this country? The reason for all these questions is past experience. In post-independence Bangladesh, the United States applied laws and policies biased to their interests, as evidenced by their declassified documents. A review of these documents shows that the United States did not send wheat in 1974 to Bangladesh by applying Section 103 (d) (3) of PL 480. That section of PL 480 was applied at the time to allegations that sacks of Jute had been exported to Cuba. The declassified documents contain conversations between Henry Kissinger and the then-Assistant Secretary of State Tom Edes. Both Bangladesh and Indonesia exported goods to Cuba, but Kissinger stopped sending 74 thousand tons of wheat to Bangladesh excluding Indonesia.

US declassified documents show the killers of the 75 had been in contact with the US embassy since 1973. On July 11, 1973, Major Rashid went to the US Embassy and talked about the purchase of arms on behalf of Ziaur Rahman. Newbery, then an official at the US embassy, must have known that a mid-level military officer could not come up with an arms purchase proposal like this. In 1974, the murderer Farooq officially informed the US Embassy of his plan to stage a military coup in Bangladesh. The then US Ambassador Davis Eugene Boster reported this information through his message number 2158 in Washington. The US documents revealed that before the August 15 tragedy, the killer Farooq visited the US embassy several times. However, the declared policy of the US is that they do not support illegal seizure of power and military coups in any country. But on August 15, 1975, there was tacit acquiescence of the US in overthrowing an elected president, killing him along with his own family. Not only in Bangladesh, the US overthrew elected government in many countries and put their preferred puppet government in power. The US has imposed sanctions on RAB over human rights issues. But they did not raised any voice against the biggest human rights violation in the history of Bangladesh. They did not seek abolition of the Indemnity Ordinance but gave citizenship to murderers. A little deeper analysis shows that when the US becomes overly interested in a country, when policies are made about a country, it faces a big disaster. It sees power shifts. Attempts are made to bring the US-backed government to power. However, in countries those stand firmly on their self-respect, the leaders of those countries who can awaken and unite the people in this matter, can take a position against the will of the US. Just like Mahathir's Malaysia or the Turkey. The US made every effort to defeat Erdogan in the Turkish elections. But Recep Tayyip Erdogan's strong leadership and popularity prevented that. Another strong leader Sheikh Hasina is well aware of US intentions. That is why she was speaking harshly against the US. But the complacency of some Awami League leaders after the visa policy upsets me. Bangladesh saw what the American fans of Awami League did in 1975. Fears loom that Bangladesh is moving towards another August tragedy?


Editor's Mind

Destruction Looms within the Government's Home

Publish: 10:00 AM, 27 May, 2023


Sachin Datta, a judge of the Delhi High Court, made the following statement on Monday (22nd May), 'The freedom of expression does not grant a license to anyone to character assassination through the publication of information. Freedom of expression does not include the freedom to attack or spread false propaganda.' This statement by Judge Datta is significant in the context of the controversial issue of the documentary titled 'India: The Modi Question.' He has summoned the BBC in a case related to this matter.

On January 17th, the BBC aired a controversial documentary in India on "Gujarat Violence", which directly implicated Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The documentary was highly biased and one-sided. The Indian government did not lodge any protest against the BBC. Instead, they issued a directive to remove the contentious documentary in strong terms. Facebook and YouTube swiftly removed the controversial documentary, considering it to be a provocative piece of content. However, the Indian government remained unsatisfied. The Income Tax Department conducted campaigns at BBC's Delhi and Mumbai offices within a month (February 14th). Lastly, on May 22nd, the Delhi High Court issued a summons against the individuals associated with the BBC on charges of spreading "hate and animosity" through the dissemination of the "disgusting and defamatory" documentary. This case represents a significant milestone in curbing the spread of hate and animosity in the field of information dissemination.

Approximately two years ago, a similar incident occurred concerning Bangladesh. On February 1, 2021, a fabricated, vindictive and untrue documentary was published by Al Jazeera regarding Bangladesh. The documentary under the title 'All the Prime Minister's Men' is forcibly linked to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. After the release of the documentary, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh sent a strongly worded protest letter to Al Jazeera. However, the Qatari-based television channel did not pay any attention to the protest letter. After the release of the documentary, various circles are using the documentary as a tool for propaganda against the government. Fragmented sections of that document are still being circulated in Facebook, YouTube, and other social media platforms. BTRC, the Ministry of Posts & Telecommunications have not even taken any initiative to remove this hateful, violent documentary from social media. India has done everything possible to protect the dignity of the institution of the 'Prime Minister' to protect the interests of the country. We have witnessed their tireless efforts. But our officials watched the joke. India has succeeded, but Bangladesh has not. Why? Those conspiring within the government whisper, "India is a much larger country. Can we compete with them considering their huge population?" Hearing this, it seems that they live on a distant planet. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh appears to be quite conscious of the dignity of his country, as evident from his recent statements. Despite being aware that the United States can "turn the tide" of power in Bangladesh, the Prime Minister is openly criticizing the most powerful nation in the world. This criticism is not against a nation, but rather for the sake of the country's own interests and dignity. Are the individuals holding various positions in the government not courageous and steadfast enough? They cannot afford to be because they are the conspirators themselves. 

While India has reined in arbitrariness in the name of expression, summoning influential media outlets of international repute like the BBC, Bangladesh's Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, kneeling down and greeting Facebook. On May 11, Jasad's scientific revolutionary held a meeting with the employees of Facebook. He praised the people of Facebook and treated them like sons-in-law. However, he has not taken any initiative to stop the offensive, hateful, and character-assassinating content against the state. According to published reports, Facebook has stated that it will not open an office in Bangladesh. It has also stated that content monitoring is not feasible. Posts and Telecommunications Minister is quite delighted even with these objections of Facebook in Bangladesh. "Facebook is currently holding up to 40 percent of requests," he said.

Bangladesh has become a hub of rumors primarily due to Facebook and YouTube. Not just rumors, social media has now become the main vehicle for spreading hatred against the state and government. The state and the government are constantly being vilified through social media. Social media platforms are fueling distortion and divisive celebrations in relation to Bangladesh. Today, Bangladesh is facing a terrible information terror and nasty attack by some cyber terrorists from the USA, Canada, France, and Paris in the name of Tarek Zia, the fugitive BNP leader in London. At first glance, these may appear to be anti-government propaganda. However, the way all this filth and obscene content is spreading through social media, it is polluting and becoming odorous throughout Bangladesh. Yet, the government and its relevant agencies are not taking any initiatives to stop these continuous indecent broadcasts. There is no headache. So, is there any secret communication between the cyber terrorists and government officials? This question arises because Sheikh Hasina, who is transforming under the attacks of cyber terrorists, and those who are working for the development of Bangladesh, are the only targets of the cyber terrorists. There is no voice against the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications through social media. A few days ago, I saw the announcement of a report against a state minister. But then no more reports. It was announced for a few days that a report was coming against a person who became the owner of several banks during the Awami League period. But the report did not come. I noticed a similar incident involving some influential businessmen suddenly becoming close to the government. Upon further investigation, it is revealed that there is a terrifying conspiracy behind it, aiming for complete destruction. The Awami League has been responsible for governing the country for the past 14 years. During this time, many businessmen have become incredibly wealthy. Nameless people have also become owners of thousands of crores of taka. Those who were not around during the bad times of Awami League are now standing around the power like femicles. All these infiltrators, sudden perpetrators of unlimited corruption, are smuggling billions of dollars abroad. They are contacting London to secure their looted assets in the future. Cyber terrorists are blackmailing them. As soon as the announcement is made to publish news against them, they are establishing contact with their associates abroad. They are shutting down all those news that expose their looted assets. Not only are they providing financial support, but they are also leaking highly sensitive information about the government to cyber terrorists. On the other hand, those hardworking entrepreneurs who have contributed to the country's development with their sweat and intellect are not falling into the trap of cyber terrorists. The lovers of the country, businessmen, and industrialists do not accept defeat from these vile manipulators. So, they have now become targets as well. Relentless distorted propaganda is now underway. The BTRC, Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications seems to be merely a spectacle. Those who were against Bangabandhu and the Liberation War in Ganakantho are now ministers in the current government. It is their responsibility to oversee the welfare of social media. At that time, they themselves used to spread false propaganda against Bangabandhu and his family on Ganakantho. And now social media gives way to ugly propaganda against Sheikh Hasina and her loyalists. They are conspirators. The Prime Minister's visits to Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom were important in terms of diplomacy and economy. An ancient state minister took a selfie with several other ministers and companions on the plane. It seems like they are going on a picnic. They shared the photo themselves on social media. Did they willingly provide cyber terrorists with weapons? Did he intentionally hand over weapons to cyber terrorists? Taking a photo of someone without their consent and sharing it on social media is inappropriate, unethical, and even more so is removing it from his ID after sharing it on social media. Not only this state minister, many such people are going as the Prime Minister's travel companions, they keep in touch with the anti-independence forces. They serve as a major source of information for cyber terrorists. They disseminate these photos and information with distorted colors and angles on Facebook and YouTube from abroad. Through social media, they engage in relentless defamation against the Prime Minister and the people she trusts, which is a punishable offense in any country. If anyone within the country participates in even a fraction of these activities, it falls under the jurisdiction of the Digital Security Act. But what if someone does it from abroad? The highest court in Bangladesh has ordered multiple times to block certain types of content. However, the BTRC (Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission) and the relevant ministry have stated that they have no control over Facebook and YouTube. I sometimes get confused. Who do the government-appointed ministers and officials actually represent? The government or the cyber terrorists? According to the laws of Bangladesh, Tarique Zia, a convicted fugitive, is prohibited from making any statements in public. But every day, this fugitive individual comes live and ridicules the state, the liberation war, and the government. He is organizing meetings, and spreading slander against the Prime Minister. Those who are not taking any action to stop such propaganda are disrespecting the court. Due to the influence of a rotten scientific socialist minister in the government, the BTRC (Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission) and the opposition party BNP-Jamaat have now taken control of social media. The embassies of Bangladesh abroad are also sitting with arms folded against cyber terrorists. Till date, I have not heard that the embassy of Bangladesh in the United States, United Kingdom, France, or Canada has requested the government of that country to take action regarding their activity. Far from filing a case against them, the embassies did not even protest against the filth. Just a few days ago, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a list of 22 names to various embassies. However, the embassies have shown no interest in the matter. Destruction is taking place within the government itself. Facebook has more than 50 million users in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is a huge market for Facebook and YouTube. It is very easy to bring them under the law. What is happening in Bangladesh now is similar to what happened in India and other countries. There have been allegations of racism, violent propaganda, and incitement of hatred spreading on Facebook and YouTube in various countries. Since its establishment in 2004, Facebook has faced numerous lawsuits in different countries. In almost all cases, Facebook has surrendered. Facebook is an American company. According to US law, if any defamatory information is published, it can be sued. If you lose a financial compensation case, you have to pay a huge amount of compensation. There was also a debate about who would pay the compensation for the case. But in a New York damages case, the court said Facebook could not avoid its liability. Facebook will have to pay compensation. The company has reportedly paid close to $8 billion in damages in the United States alone. The country that has been vocal against fake information, personal attacks, racism, hate crimes on Facebook, Facebook has been flexible towards them. Facebook has not voluntarily set up office in any country in the world. Did not pay taxes by self-motivation. Facebook has surrendered to the countries that strongly demanded Facebook to comply with their laws and regulations. In Brazil, a person posted a photo of a pregnant woman on Facebook. The woman filed a complaint against the individual for violating her personal privacy. The Brazilian court ordered Facebook to remove the photo as per the complaint. However, Facebook rejected the court's decision. Consequently, the court directed the government to instruct Facebook to suspend its activities if it failed to comply with the court's order. The government instructed Facebook to establish its own office in Brazil within one month. Within 21 days, Facebook set up its office in Brazil and they removed that photo too. A U.S. Senator referred to a Mexican minister as a drug trafficker in his statement. A Mexican citizen who immigrated to the United States gave a status on Facebook with this statement. The minister takes legal action, and the Mexican government takes a strong stance. Finally, the issue is resolved, and Facebook establishes an office in Mexico. Previously, a comment was made referring to Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, as a hub for sex business. The Thai government immediately banned Facebook. Within two days, Facebook seeks forgiveness and pledges to establish its own office in Thailand within three months. There are many similar examples. When Facebook or YouTube operates in a country, they must adhere to the laws of that country. Accountability is essential to ensure a response. As long as they do not come under accountability, they are out of touch. Facebook is a business organization. It earns billions of dollars annually from Bangladesh. Previously, they did not pay any VAT or taxes. Due to the initiative of the Prime Minister's ICT Advisor and the appropriate steps taken by the NBR, now Facebook is paying some VAT and taxes in Bangladesh. However, there are still allegations of a significant amount of tax evasion against the organization. In Bangladesh, a Digital Security Act is in place, but it is as ineffective as a paper tiger. It only causes harassment to the opposition, and it fails to control cyber terrorists. To control cyber terrorists, a data protection law is necessary. It exists in all developed countries. Recently, the largest democratic country in the world, India, is in the process of enacting the ‘Guidelines on Ethics in Digital Media Code’ as a law. The country's Minister of Information Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad, has stated, ‘This policy aims to make social media more accountable and responsible within its jurisdiction.’ According to these guidelines, any complaint related to cybersecurity must be addressed by Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter within 72 hours. Any objectionable content of this nature must be removed within 24 hours. ‘This policy of the Indian government has been welcomed,’ said Ajit Mohan, the Managing Director of Facebook in India. He expressed respect for India's law and stated, ‘There is no alternative to complying with it.’ While in India, the tech giants are being brought under scrutiny, the situation in Bangladesh is different, with their relevant ministries remaining silent. I have been hearing for a long time that the Ministry of ICT is working on the Data Protection Act. But it's not happening. Minister of State for ICT focuses on profitable projects. What are the benefits of making a law? Recently, the government has taken the initiative to create guidelines called "Regulation for Digital, Social Media, and OTT Platforms 2021" and sought opinions from stakeholders. Facebook has provided their opinion on this matter. The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) is examining 45 opinions regarding the policy. Of these, 33 opinions are from Meta or Facebook. Those who do not have an office in Bangladesh, who are beyond the jurisdiction of the country's law, do they have the right to express their opinions? Why is there so much reluctance in the government, ministers and authorities in bringing Facebook, YouTube under the purview of the law? Is this for the sake of propaganda against the government and the state? Instead of opposing movements, they are confusing the people through the false propaganda of social media. Embarrassing the government. 

The outcry of some demons on social media have unsettled the people of the country. If Sheikh Hasina declares firmly that she will not buy anything from the country that imposes sanctions, why can't the ministers muster the courage to say that they will not allow anyone to do business in Bangladesh if they don't have offices here, including Facebook and YouTube? Why do the ministers feel embarrassed to send such a warning message to Facebook and Google? Or do they have some other hidden agenda?


Editor's Mind

Forecast of a 'One-Eleven' storm in politics

Publish: 10:00 AM, 20 May, 2023


Sometimes I really like BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir. He often reveals the truth unintentionally or his face says it all. For example, last Saturday (13th May) during a gathering in Paltan, he said, "A storm is coming. Strong waves are approaching Bangladesh. Today, not only a natural storm but also a political storm is coming. When Mirza Fakhrul was cheering "A storm is coming," the people of the country were anxious, worried, and fearful. Coastal residents were leaving their houses to settle in shelters. The Meteorological Department had issued a Level 10 warning. Storms, cyclones, and tornadoes are not happy occasions. They bring destruction, death, fear, tears, and suffering. But the BNP Secretary General seemed to be thrilled by this catastrophe. A political party that believes in people's rights can never wish for people's misery. But Mirza Fakhrul expressed anticipation of people's suffering through this political storm. The people of this country are not unfamiliar with natural disasters such as Sidor, Aila, and Mokha, as well as political storms in the name of terrorism, violence, arson, and unconstitutional rule.

Political storms can be of two types. One type is temporary and short-lived, like the political tornadoes in 2014 and 2015. During these unfortunate events, violence broke out, homes were destroyed, and educational institutions were set on fire. People lost their lives in the chaos. However, these storms did not last long. The other type is a long-lasting political storm, like the one in 2007 known as "One-Eleven." This turmoil engulfed Bangladesh for two years. So, did the BNP General Secretary indicate bringing another one-eleven? The BNP has been relentlessly striving to bring about another "One-Eleven" in the country for the past few months. They want to create a situation similar to the previous turmoil and overthrow the Awami League government. Visible indications of an impending unelected government can also be observed in Bangladesh's politics. Recently, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made some explosive remarks in an interview with BBC. During her visit to the United Kingdom, she granted an exclusive interview to BBC journalist Yalda Hakim. In that interview, Sheikh Hasina stated, "Perhaps the United States does not want to see me in power, hence they have imposed sanctions on the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), the special security force in Bangladesh." This statement by the Prime Minister is significant and indicative. The strain in the relationship between the United States and Bangladesh has now become evident. After concluding the visits to the three countries, a press conference was held at Ganabhaban (Prime Minister's residence) on Monday (15th May). In that press conference, without mentioning the name of the United States, she announced that we will not buy anything from countries that put sanctions on us. It is evident that Sheikh Hasina has indirectly indicated the United States with this statement. During the press conference, the Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police stated that the ambassadors of four countries will no longer receive additional protocol or security privileges. In the evening, the Foreign Minister made a similar announcement. The nature and process of the decision were confusing. Without understanding or comprehending, it started creating chaos. The BNP (Bangladesh Nationalist Party) criticized this decision by the government. In protest, the BNP also announced a demonstration program. You don't need to be a researcher to understand the secret of BNP's unconditional love for the US. Once some communists in Bangladesh were pro-Moscow, while others were pro-China. At that time, there was a popular joke in Bangladesh politics. The joke was as follows: "If it rains in Moscow, the communists in Bangladesh hold umbrellas." When Ziaur Rahman came to power, he started the canal-building program. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs used to invite diplomats from various countries to attend this event. Some diplomats, under the guise of courtesy, participated in this event. One such event was attended by the then ambassador of the Soviet Union to Bangladesh. That’s it. The next day, the leaders of the Communist Party went down to cut the canal with spades around their waists, starting a humorous trend in politics. Even the Communist Party workers were surprised. Later, the leaders explained that they participated in the canal-building program due to tactical reasons. It was their way of protesting against the oppression faced by the banned leaders and workers of the Communist Party. BNP's reaction to withdrawing the Protocol or Escot is an expression of blind adherence to politics. What is actually the case? Many countries have embassies in Bangladesh. The ambassadors of all these embassies do not receive the same level of security and facilities. Some ambassadors of certain countries receive privileges like kings. When ambassadors from a few countries used to visit here and there, their security measures would increase in the name of the protocol. Not only the secretaries but even the ministers do not receive such protocol. The government has now stopped providing additional security to some such countries. All the measures that should be taken to ensure the security of an ambassador or an embassy are taken according to the Vienna Convention of 1961. This is a natural and normal step by the government. However, a minister and the police commissioner organized a press conference in a way that made it seem like a terrifying incident had occurred and BNP saw an opportunity. Without further ado, they started lamenting about it as if the whole security system of ambassadors, including the United States, had been withdrawn. Is the BNP desperate to gain the trust of the US Embassy when the government is in open tension with the US? Because in Bangladesh, all unconstitutional powers were replaced by the direct or indirect influence of the United States. However, the BNP seems to have forgotten that during their rule, a serious attack was carried out in Sylhet on High Commissioner Anwar Choudhury of the United Kingdom. Amnesia has now become prominently visible within the BNP. They not only forget the failure to ensure the security of foreign diplomats but also overlook their own failures. Load shedding, Hawa Bhaban corruption, the rise of terrorists and militants like Bangla Bhai, the incidents of 10-truck arms smuggling, the grenade attack on August 21, the syndicate in the market—everything has been erased from the memory of BNP leaders. Or perhaps they deliberately choose to forget all these. If they were to remember what the BNP did from 2001 to 2006, no BNP leader would have the audacity to speak with such confidence. They wouldn't have been able to hold their heads up in shame. The list of BNP leaders' forgetfulness includes the incident of One-Eleven. For this reason, they are again trying to bring such an unelected government to power. BNP leaders may think that if such a government comes, it will push the Awami League aside, and the BNP will enjoy the comfort. But the situation is not like that. Unelected government is the adversary of politics, an obstacle to the economy, and an enemy of the general public. Let me clarify a bit with some "nostalgic" memories. In 2007, under the leadership of Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed, the unelected government seized power and attacked politics first by arresting politicians in a biased manner. It was the beginning of a dirty game to prove the dishonesty of politicians. Powerful media was used to assassinate the character of politicians. Political leaders were arrested and brutally tortured without charge. The books "Kaaragar-e Kemon Chilam" by BNP's late leader Barrister Moudud Ahmed and "Karagar-e Lekha Onusmriti, Je Katha Bola Hoini" by Awami League's General Secretary Obaidul Quader leave a chilling impact on anyone who reads them. If the leaders of the Awami League and BNP were arrested, they would be taken to torture cells. They would be subjected to merciless torture. BNP was then a departing party from power, and Awami League was the opposition party. But the army-backed caretaker government did not spare the Awami League leaders either. Rather, Awami League President Sheikh Hasina was arrested before Begum Zia. So, if the BNP thinks that a civil government will come and pamper them like a son-in-law, they are living in a fool’s paradise. If a caretaker government comes, politics will be expelled from Bangladesh. Democracy will be buried. The economy will be destroyed. Dr. Fakhruddin's caretaker government did not just arrest political leaders. They were looking for some spineless servants in politics. The 1-11 government tried to implement the blueprint of breaking up the two main political parties with these servants. The caretaker government of the Eleventh Government had tried to implement the dark desire of dividing the two main political parties by formulating the minus formula to remove the two popular leaders from politics unconstitutionally to strengthen their power. Interestingly, those who fought for that army-backed government then, those who were hated as reformists then, and those who tarnished politics - are now the most vocal in their demand for a caretaker government. Many of those who were oppressed in BNP during 1-11 are now cornered. Reformists are now in the driving seat of BNP. Greedy leaders who used to sit at the feet of army intelligence during One-Eleven are now the ones who clamor the most to throw out the government. So, are they on a mission to complete the unfinished agenda of one-eleven? What is one-eleven? In my opinion, turning Bangladesh into a dependent and puppet state of the West is the main concept of One-Eleven. If we analyze the rule Fakhruddin-Moin U Ahmed, it becomes evident that there was an attempt to make the country dependent on foreign powers at that time. The driving force of the country's economy is the private sector. At that time, a sinister game began against the entrepreneurs of the private sector. Large industrialists were immediately arrested right from the beginning. The alleged list of top corrupt individuals was both alarming and a clear disregard for the law. This list marked the beginning of unchecked extortion in the country. Without considering the country's laws, businesses began to face extortion in various forms. Industrial establishments were subjected to arbitrary arrests, and they faced threats of hefty financial demands. Many people, out of fear for their dignity, handed over their hard-earned money to national extortionists. Some fled the country, crying in despair at the merciless destruction from afar. Someone stopped business and waited for dawn. During the time of One-Eleven national terrorism resulted in an extortion of 10 trillion takas from private accounts. The highest court of the country declared this fund collection illegal. However, despite the directives of the highest court, the businessmen and industrialists have not yet recovered the money. Agriculture is a major pillar of Bangladesh's economy. Our agriculture also suffered greatly under the storm of a caretaker government. Due to the high cost of fertilizer and shortage, irrigation stopped due to lack of electricity, our farmers were in serious crisis. Frustrated with the unjust situation, they protest by throwing potatoes on the streets. When farmers are struggling to survive, the current Defense Minister hosts a lavish potato festival at a five-star hotel. Educational institutions turned into prisons. The entire nation was humiliated by tying ropes around teachers' waists. The common people confront a dire situation. In the grip of an oppressive condition, the entire country is pushed into a state of terror. On February 5, 2007, a message from the American diplomat reaches Washington, stating, "Since the new government took over, 43,000 people have been arrested by a joint force consisting of the police, paramilitary forces, and the army." (Source: One-Eleven Bangladesh 2007-2008, Page: 197). The lower courts were controlled by the military-backed government. Even when the High Court granted bail, human rights activists like Dr. Kamal Hussain protested against it. Those who complain about human rights in Bangladesh today did not protest it that day but rather supported it. The United States did not impose any sanctions on Bangladesh at that time. Rather, they expressed their approval. Apart from a few enlightened politicians and intellectuals, no one supported that military-backed government. So, does the BNP want to bring back that situation to the country? 

A cyclone or natural disaster provides some indications before its impact. Similarly, the advent of a political storm can be understood through certain events. In Bangladesh, another political storm is looming, and the first sign of a political catastrophe is political instability. There is currently uncertainty and instability regarding the upcoming national parliamentary elections in Bangladesh. BNP has declared to bring a heated situation in politics. If the BNP resorts to violence, protests, and arson attacks, it will accelerate the catastrophe. The failure of the ruling party is also a major reason behind the creation of such a situation. Within them, some groups secretly welcome such disasters. The Awami League has been in power for more than 14 years. However, at this time, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is solely responsible for all responsibilities. No one else seems to have any role. A large part of the ministers is incompetent. Some are deeply involved in corruption. A state minister gave an explosive interview to some media a few days ago. There he spoke candidly about ministerial syndicates, corruption and failure. Unrest within the government is becoming evident. Within the government, there are opportunists and sycophants who are not providing accurate information to the Prime Minister. The conspirators who are undermining the administration are gradually being exposed. The ruling Awami League leaders and workers are suffering from complacency. Awami League is in thought that Sheikh Hasina will bring them to power again. The condition of the party is miserable. The extent to can be understood only by looking at Gazipur and Barisal City Corporation. All these are the pre-indicators of an unelected government. The undisputed mastermind of the unelected government is civil society. They are actually agents of the Western powers. They do everything according to the orders of their Lord. Now, without any obstacles, they have taken the field. The power-hungry civils is doing everything to destabilize the government. They are being supported by the most powerful state in the world. Those who have no concern for Bangladesh anymore. They want to corner the government on the issues like democracy, human rights, etc. They are conspiring against the government. The psychological warfare of the United States with the government is now evident. It is also an indication of an unelected government taking power. It was these diplomats who played a major role in bringing about One-Eleven. 

However, to strike a one-eleven the country's armed forces need to be deployed. Every time an undemocratic regime has come to the country in the past, a certain misguided faction of the military played a role. The armed forces of Bangladesh are now more professional and globally recognized than ever before. They represent the sovereignty of the country from a neutral standpoint. Due to the absence of such confusion, they have not intervened in the past 14 years. That is why there is doubt that such a disaster might not hit Bangladesh. Another reason for hope is the courage, determination, and political foresight of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. She possesses the political wisdom and expertise necessary to handle such crises effectively. As a result of her leadership, Bangladesh was freed from the turmoil of One-Eleven. It was because of her, the political cyclones of 2014 and 2015 did not last long. 

The sky is dense with clouds. Just as nature becomes turbulent before the arrival of the monsoon, the situation in Bangladesh is also similar now. Will Sheikh Hasina be able to handle it? In the end Mokha did not hit Bangladesh. It changed its course. Crossing over the border of Saint Martin it hit Myanmar. Bangladesh is saved from major disaster. Will political storms also change their course in the same way? 

Author: Executive Director, Poriprekkhit