Editor's Mind

Joe Biden's letter and Mona Lisa's smile

Publish: 10:00 AM, 01 Apr, 2023


On the night of March 27, one of my editor friends called and informed on the phone that the American President Joe Biden had written a letter to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. This letter was sent on the occasion of the great Independence Day of Bangladesh on March 26. The editor said, "For various reasons, this letter is important at this time." That's all. I read the details of the letter from the American President in various online newspapers to find out what was important in the letter. Before I could find out what was important in the letter a pro-BNP teacher and intellectual called and said, see Biden’s letter. They have given an ultimatum for fair election. This time it won’t be like 2014 and 2018. And what is the praise of the leader. Read well. Then he kind of burst out in laughter and said, "Now even America is on our side. What will happen to the BNP?" I remember saying this with a smile in the high-pitched breeze. I hung up the phone reminding him that it is better not to laugh so loudly during the month of Ramadan. There was only one letter from the US president but this same letter pleased both Awami League and BNP. Both sides think that the message of this letter is in their favor. What a charisma. Both Awami League and BNP consider this letter as their victory. This is like the secret of the Mona Lisa's smile from 500 years ago. Leonardo da Vinci began painting this famous painting in 1503 and 1504. He began working on this artwork at the request of a wealthy Florentine merchant. The businessman wanted a portrait of his wife, Lisa Del Gherardini. At the time of the naming, 'Mona' was used as a term of address for women. Now, just like using Miss or Mrs., 'Mona Lisa' is the naming convention used with the addition of Lisa. It is believed that Leonardo worked on the painting for more than ten years. The 'Mona Lisa' by Leonardo da Vinci is globally renowned and one of the reasons for its attractiveness is the mysterious 'smile'. Using the perspective and the work of chiaroscuro, Vinci created a unique smile that creates a type of optical illusion. Whenever the viewer looks directly at the Mona Lisa, the face appears to be smiling. However, when the viewer's gaze is fixed on the smile, it becomes invisible. There are two different interpretations of the Mona Lisa's smile. Some believe it to be a happy smile while others believe it to be a sad one. This debate has been ongoing for 500 years. Biden's letter has also created a mystery. The message and purpose of this letter creates a mystery. What was the meaning of this letter? The debate will continue for a long time. At least until the next election.

First of all, the question that arose in my mind is why letters in this age? Joe Biden could have called the Prime Minister on Independence Day. The White House could have issued a statement congratulating Bangladesh on Independence Day. White House officials regularly issue such statements on behalf of US presidents. Just a few days ago, on Victory Day (December 16), a statement of congratulations was issued by the US President on behalf of the United States. Governments and heads of state of different countries also send greeting cards or souvenirs on such occasions. But why did Biden write a letter instead? In political science, "authentication" or "documentation" is a widely used word. Documenting or keeping records for the future is a political strategy. Does the White House want to use it as a reference in the future? Is it for this purpose, their wishes have been sent in the form of a written letter? The United States wants to authenticate it for whatever reason or for whoever it is written for. My second question is about protocol. The President usually sends greetings, condolences, or other messages to the counterparty. If a formal greeting message is sent on Bangladesh's Independence Day, it will be sent to the President. However, President Biden sent a letter to the Prime Minister. There is a logical reason for this. Since the American President is the head of government while in Bangladesh, the Prime Minister holds executive power. Therefore, it is natural for the country's head of government to receive a message from the American President on important issues. That is why this letter is important. It is not just a casual greeting but an important message. That is why Mr. Biden sent the letter to the Prime Minister, not the President.

I have another delusion regarding the letter issue. On March 21, Biden sent a congratulatory message to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, which was sent to the Prime Minister through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Generally, when important people around the world send congratulatory messages or make phone calls, the Prime Minister's office or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announces and publicizes it. The phone call of former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the Prime Minister was also announced from the Prime Minister's office. On various days, telephone calls from the Prime Minister of India or the Prime Minister of Pakistan, greetings are officially announced by the Prime Minister's Office. Again, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gives official information about the greetings of the UN Secretary General or the communication of international personalities. But no one from the Bangladesh government has released any information about Joe Biden's letter on March 21. Neither the Prime Minister's Office, nor the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The US president is the most powerful person in the world. He has sent a letter to the Prime Minister; this is very important news. Does the Ministry of External Affairs think this is an unimportant matter, so there is no need to report it to the media? Or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is uncomfortable with this letter and that’s why they didn't want to publicize it? Apparently, the US Embassy waited until March 27. Since Biden's letter was on March 26, the US embassy did not delay after the occasion. They released the entire letter to the media. Although it may seem unimportant to the bureaucrats of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but it seems very important to the US diplomats in Baridhara. More importantly, the message given to the Prime Minister through the letter, the US wants to convey that message to the people as well. For this, the letter was published by the US Embassy in the media.

Another question regarding this letter is why was it sent on March 21 instead of March 26? Bangladesh Independence Day is on March 26th. It is said that this letter is to convey greetings on Independence Day. So why was this greeting letter sent five days earlier? I have tried to find a reason for this. On March 20, the United States released a report on human rights. The next day, Biden sent this letter. Bangladesh was criticized in the human rights report. The government was accused of several issues in an unfair and irrational manner. The 2018 election was also questioned in that report. Then came the letter from the American president. Is this letter a supplementary? The greeting for Independence Day is just an excuse? In fact, in light of the Human Rights Report, Joe Biden informed the Prime Minister in brief about American expectations. That's what this letter is for. There are more reasons for this idea. On March 21, the day after this letter, the US ambassador invited Awami League leaders to lunch on March 22. Dressed in suit coats, six leaders led by the Awami League General Secretary met for lunch. There, the US ambassador spoke about the upcoming elections. He reiterated the hope and desire of the US that the election be free, fair and impartial. So, is Biden's letter a type of pressure? To officially inform the government of the intention of the United States regarding the upcoming elections and Independence Day has only been chosen as a day to express the United States' desire or opinion.

Now we can try to find the meaning of this letter. Before looking into the meaning of the letter and its purpose, let's see what the letter contains. In the letter written by Biden, it is said, ‘On behalf of the United States, I wish you and the people of Bangladesh a happy Independence Day. The Bangladeshi people understand deeply the value of freedom and independence as they fought courageously in 1971 to choose their own fate and to speak their own language.’ The letter further states, ‘As Bangladesh approaches its next election, I am reminded of the deep value both of our nations’ people place on democracy, equality, respect for human rights, and free and fair elections.’ Biden's letter applauded Bangladesh's demonstrated commitment as the largest contributor to peacekeeping operations. The letter said, ‘We applaud Bangladesh’s demonstrated commitment to protecting the most vulnerable as the largest contributor to peacekeeping operations. We thank Bangladesh for cohosting the Global Action Plan ministerial that significantly elevated the political commitment to end the global pandemic.’ The letter praised the provision of shelter to Rohingya refugees. At the end of the letter, referring to the diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and the United States, the US President wrote, ‘In over 50 years of diplomatic relations, the United States and Bangladesh have achieved a lot together — advancing economic development, strengthening people-to-people ties, addressing global health and climate issues, partnering on the humanitarian response to Rohingya refugees, and committing to a prosperous, secure, democratic, and independent Bangladesh. On this day of celebration, please accept my sincere wishes to you and the people of Bangladesh. Joy Bangla!’

The letter from the American President is divided into three parts. Firstly, the desire of the United States for the people of Bangladesh, human rights and democracy has been discussed. In particular, the expectation that the next national parliament elections should be free, fair and impartial is openly stated in the letter of the US President. But whether it is an expectation or a command is as mysterious as the Mona Lisa's smile.

Secondly, Bangladesh's importance and success on the global stage have been highlighted in the letter. Bangladesh's leadership and various issues have been praised in the international community, including its peacekeeping mission and humanity towards the Rohingyas.

Thirdly, the 50-year diplomatic relationship between Bangladesh and the United States has been discussed in the letter.

However, above all, two issues of the letter have become the topic of discussion in Bangladesh politics. One is, 'Free and fair next election' and at the end of the letter 'Joy Bangla'. BNP leaders and supporters believe that the United States is very serious about this election. They want to see the upcoming elections of Bangladesh free and fair at any cost and it is not possible without the participation of BNP. There is enough logic behind such statements of BNP leaders and activists. For two years, the United States has been constantly talking about elections. The US position regarding the 2018 elections is now clear. The latest human rights report by the United States has mentioned flaws about this election. The incumbent US President expressed the ultimate desire of the US regarding the upcoming election. In a democratic system, elections are a competitive process. Participation of multiple political parties is essential in this process. The Election Commission conducts this battle of votes or acts as a referee. Therefore, free, fair and impartial elections depend on the active and responsible behavior of all parties. BNP says that they will not participate in the next elections without a non-partisan caretaker government. If they stay away from the next election due to this demand, then that is their political decision. As a political party they can take such decision. But the question is, if the BNP and some parties boycott the election, will that election be acceptable? Similarly, if the Awami League and its allies declare that they will not participate in the election under a caretaker government, then how will the election be held? If the Awami League or BNP do not participate, will keeping the people away from exercising their voting rights be a democratic decision? If the election is held excluding the parties that are not willing to participate in the election and if it is free and fair and the people are able to vote for their preferred candidates peacefully and unhindered, wouldn't that election be acceptable? It is crucial that the answers to these questions are clarified. It is also necessary to know the US explanation in this regard. Otherwise, anyone can take democracy hostage and that effort is now clearly visible. Competition plays a major role in making elections fair and free. Awami League's main rival in terms of votes in Bangladesh is certainly BNP. Therefore, if BNP does not participate in the elections, then obviously the mood and attraction of the elections will decrease a lot. Many voters will lose motivation to vote after realizing what the outcome of the election is going to be. In such a situation it is easy to question the election. The BNP has relied on this easy tactic for more than sixteen years of being out of power. They believe that if they boycott the upcoming elections, it will not be internationally acceptable, and there will be uncertainty even before the elections. So, is there any way to prevent this from happening in the upcoming elections? Is the United States supporting them from behind? Is this why the US President hinted in a letter that the election would not be recognized if all parties did not participate? If the BNP continues to boycott, it will pave the way for unelected government and unconstitutional process to seize power. The countries, including the United States, which are talking about fair elections, should talk to the BNP about this. If the US really wants free, fair and impartial elections in Bangladesh, then it should take the initiative to bring BNP to the elections. What kind of provisions exist in the current constitution and election laws in Bangladesh? Where are the boundaries of the election commission? It is important to figure out how to keep the administration neutral in elections. The United States can also talk to the Election Commission about this. However, I think there is another motive behind putting the responsibility of fair elections on the ruling party alone without doing any of those things. Behind statements like the upcoming election in Bangladesh must be free, fair and participatory it is necessary to investigate whether there is actually a conspiracy to bring unconstitutional forces to power by thwarting the election.

What is the real intention behind the US Embassy's insistence on fair elections in the upcoming election? Is it to ensure a fair election or to restore a lost dominance in this region? Because the United States has become important again in Bangladesh by raising the voice of fair elections. To maintain this importance, the election issue was also mentioned in the Independence Day greetings. And at the end of the letter, the phrase "Joy Bangla" was used to create a sense of mystery, like Mona Lisa's smile. To prove that the United States is not targeting the Awami League, they are not trying to oust Awami League and they have no agenda in Bangladesh, the emotion 'Joy Bangla' has been used as a shield. This letter is nothing but an expression of desire to manifest American hegemony.


Editor's Mind

Half-educated leadership poses danger to Party and the Country

Publish: 11:00 PM, 22 Dec, 2023


Half-educated people pose a greater threat to the well-being of a country compared to the uneducated or illiterate. An uneducated person is aware of their limitations, leading them to be receptive to the counsel of others. They give due importance to the advice offered by educated people and refrain from imposing their decisions on others. In contrast, semi-educated individuals lack an awareness of their limitations. They perceive themselves as superior, exhibiting disrespect towards wise individuals. Despite their limited knowledge, they exude immense confidence and consider themselves scholars. Unfortunately, these half-educated individuals disregard valuable advice from others, potentially placing themselves, their families, society, and the state in significant crises.

These thoughts crossed my mind after watching the video message from Tarique Zia, the current acting chairman of BNP who is a fugitive in London. Begum Zia's educational qualifications are widely known, and she was well aware of her own limitations. Consequently, she maintained a reserved demeanor, speaking less and listening more. While leading the party, she relied on the advice of others and served as the Prime Minister for two terms. During cabinet or crucial party meetings, she would attentively listen with her hand on her cheek, ultimately making decisions based on her own thoughts. This approach played a key role in strengthening BNP after the passing of Zia. Under her leadership, the party also formed the government twice. Unfortunately, Begum Zia's misfortune lies in the fact that neither of her two sons learned to embody true humanity. I do not want to discuss Arafat Rahman Coco's education. It's neither dignified nor worthwhile. However, Begum Zia's elder son, Tarique Zia, has actually established himself as a 'semi-educated' person. Tarique Zia's father, Ziaur Rahman, was also perplexed about him. It is unclear where and what education he pursued – a mysterious aspect. However, personally, I believe that an individually educated person tends to be much brighter and enlightened than someone with formal education. Globally, there are many eminent personalities who are self-taught and revered. From Rabindranath Tagore to Mahatma Gandhi, and from Bill Gates to Steve Jobs, each has learned from life itself. But Tarique Zia has not chosen that path. Instead, he has sought to establish himself as a semi-educated politician through practices like corruption, nepotism, and oppression. People acquire the teachings of power, ethics, and morality from their families. I do not know what Tarique Zia has learned from his family, but as a politician, he has largely established himself as a symbol of corruption and terrorism. Tarique Zia has created a new dimension in politics by rejecting the eternal truths of politics.

I understand politics as working for the welfare of the people, serving humanity, and sacrificing for the well-being of the people. It involves showing the right path for the country and its citizens. However, Tarique Zia, since the year 2001, has given a new meaning to politics, considering it as a 'shortcut' to becoming rich. Tarique Zia used politics to build the 'Hawa Bhaban' and employed a commission-based approach in everything, from business to jobs, from tenders to ministerial positions. He created a state for Bangladesh where everything revolved around money. Instead of establishing a positive example in politics, he used it to ruin everything. Tarique devised the strategy of increasing the Chief Justice's age and appointing him as the head of the caretaker government to ensure the BNP's continued grip on power. The idea of appointing a loyal individual as the head of the army, to control the army by disregarding seven officers, is the brainchild of Tarique Zia. Numerous examples like these can be cited. He takes politics on a terrifying path. All these are old stories. Due to Tarek's irresponsible actions the country faced one-eleven leading to Tarique's subsequent arrest. At one point, Tarek was granted bail in a compromise with the BNP. He went to London with a pledge not to do politics. I have seen in the lives of many people that challenging circumstances have transformed their lives. Such voluntary exile has provided many with the opportunity to purify themselves. Many have discovered themselves. I thought that by going to London, Tarek would have the opportunity for self-purification, to see himself in the mirror. He will study, rebuild himself anew. However, the psychological world of some people is so stubborn that they do not change; rather, they become even more violent, heinous, and terrifying. Tarique is like them. Despite spending 17 years in London, Tarique has not changed; rather, he has become more distant. The mainstream of politics and Tarique ‘s philosophy is contradictory and completely counter-intuitive. In politics, there is no shortcut. Politics is like a constantly flowing river. However, Tarique's politics is about becoming a big shot through shortcuts or injuring the opposition, forcefully occupying power through shortcuts. To become a big shot through shortcuts, Tarique had built the Hawa Bhaban. To injure the opposition through shortcuts, Tarique orchestrated the grenade attack on August 21. Now, to forcibly seize power through shortcuts, Tarique is attacking innocent people on the moving train, setting fire to buses. 

If Tarique were uneducated, the country wouldn't face so many problems. BNP wouldn't engage in such destructive politics if Tarique went to the polls. If Tarique were well-educated, he might have repented and quit politics by the age of 18. However, Tarique is semi-educated. That's why he considers himself a seasoned player in the field of politics. He disrespects senior leaders and lacks the minimum etiquette towards senior individuals. Despite being semi-educated, Tarique holds a key role in the party. There are no central committee meetings in the party, and the standing committee is powerless. In BNP, those associated with Tarique only care about their personal interests. BNP is now under the control of a feudal system, with semi-educated feudal lords dominating the party. The recent examples of BNP's election boycott and the non-cooperation movement demonstrate the dangers posed by the semi-educated feudal lords within the party.

The latest decision of the BNP was the announcement of non-cooperation movement. The best example of how semi-educated people can become great experts in violence is the video message of the BNP's incumbent chairman last Wednesday. In a country where the opposition cannot organize a proper strike, the call for non-cooperation movement sounds like a farce. In that video statement, what Tarek said is essentially treason. Can a responsible person make such an irresponsible announcement? After watching the video message for more than 10 minutes, I feel like he is governing the people, intimidating them. The stench of arrogance in the form of words is evident.

Does Tarek know what non-cooperation movement means? I humbly ask this question to BNP leaders and workers. With utmost humility, I would like to pose this question to the leaders and workers of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). In recent times, it has become evident from video messages and similar conversations that Tarique Zia's actions are detrimental to his family, party, and the country. His mother, Begum Zia, is not safe under Tar Tarique eq Zia's influence. For the consequences of Begum Zia's predicament, there is only one person responsible - her son Tarique Zia. The current unfortunate state of the BNP is solely attributed to Tarique Zia. Bangladesh is not secure under Tarique's influence. If someday this human-shaped violent threat finds an opportunity, it will wreak havoc on the country. Therefore, say ‘NO’ to half-educated Tarique Zia
Syed Borhan Kabir, Executive Director, Poriprekkhit
Email: poriprekkhit@yahoo.com


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?