Sunday, February 20, 2005

BANGLADESH: Catch Bomb-Throwers Now

+ When the government has to hide truth, it needs both scapegoats and sacrificial goats. Even a couple of cabinet secretaries, one of whom was so close to the power, had to be sacrificed on the altar of lies. And the ASP is not the only man to embrace such an ignominious fate, at least one of his senior colleagues with distinct records under his belt had had such an unceremonious exit under this regime. If these could be considered a cleansing operation, we could not be happier. But our record of four times championship in corruption in a row and the police figuring at the top makes such moves irrelevant and even smacks of an ulterior motive of the government. Now that things are coming to light without the government wanting so, the long wait for evolving an effective internal mechanism to fight the threat from fundamental Islamic militants may soon be over. +

Catch Bomb-Throwers Now

The recovery of bombs, grenades and materials used for making bombs along with books written by controversial teacher Dr. Asadullah-al Galib of the Arabic Department, Rajshahi University from Tangail, Kurigram and Thakurgaon only presents a bomb-infested picture of Bangladesh. How widely the Islamic militants with arms and ammunition have infiltrated the country can be realised from their repeated attacks on all they consider un-Islamic and the big hauls of arms cache. Yet what has so far been recovered may just be the tip of the iceberg. Now that the names of men like Dr. Galib with international connection are surfacing, the masterminds behind the so-called Islamic revolution may soon be caught provided that the government in power does not try to colour it differently and invent outrageous lies in this connection.

Already the government has reportedly become fidgety over the leaking of some contents of the confessional statements made by Shafiqullah following his arrest from a village under Gabtoli upazila. If he revealed the truth, it was expected to be highly sensitive. But why the DC intervened, as reported, to collect the statement and has denied even the investigation officer any access to the file is quite mysterious. It shows a section of the top administration is either directly involved with what is going on in relation to the bomb and grenade attacks or it has many things to hide from the public eyes. The arrest of an additional superintendent of police on a charge of murder attempt and involvement in procurement of explosives for manufacture of bombs is intriguing too. If the charges brought against him proves right, it shows the agency's internal weakness as well as its own criminality. When a high police official can maintain such cosy relations with rapac ious murderers, they do so not without interest. But then this is the same police official who was rewarded for foiling bomb attacks on the last Tongi Ijtema.

When the government has to hide truth, it needs both scapegoats and sacrificial goats. Even a couple of cabinet secretaries, one of whom was so close to the power, had to be sacrificed on the altar of lies. And the ASP is not the only man to embrace such an ignominious fate, at least one of his senior colleagues with distinct records under his belt had had such an unceremonious exit under this regime. If these could be considered a cleansing operation, we could not be happier. But our record of four times championship in corruption in a row and the police figuring at the top makes such moves irrelevant and even smacks of an ulterior motive of the government. Now that things are coming to light without the government wanting so, the long wait for evolving an effective internal mechanism to fight the threat from fundamental Islamic militants may soon be over.

The government has proved it is not in control and any attempt to derail the course of investigation or the nation's aspiration is certain to invite a backlash. It would do well to respect the nation's sentiment and do everything to carry out a fair and effective investigation into the recent bomb recovery cases to find out their possible link with the blasts so far as well as the perpetrators' and their mentors' international connections. In this connection, the government should give a serious thought to Dr, Kamal Hossain's suggestion for constituting, in consultation with eminent citizens including former chief justices, an independent national commission with full and plenary power.