Wednesday, February 16, 2005

BANGLADESH: Violence on Valentine’s

+ Let it suffice for now to suggest that if criminality in the northern regions has its roots in the likes of Bangla Bhai and his vigilantes, in the south-east it owes much of its origins to the outlawed Purba Banglar Communist Party or Janajuddha. But that still does not explain the bomb explosions which, especially since the earlier part of last year, have rocked places like Habiganj, Sylhet and now Dhaka. One could go back all the way to the Udichi blasts of 1999, to arrive at the sad conclusion that the powers that be, prior to and after October 2001, have miserably failed to nab the criminals involved. Is one then to draw the inference that a very well-organised group, determined to undermine the government as well as clip the wings of the opposition, is at work? It has generally been the rule that negative forces based at home and perhaps sustained by dark forces abroad have in modern times played havoc with the political stability of relatively weak nations. +

16/02/2005

Violence on Valentine’s

The acts of violence perpetrated in the Dhaka University area on Monday evening testify once more to the spiralling criminality around us. That an innocuous celebration such as Valentine’s Day can be marred by acts of bestiality points out to us yet once again the increasingly destructive times we are passing through. The bomb explosions have left a good number of people injured. It may be something of a massaging of the soul for us to know that no one has died (at least, there have been no reports of death as we write). But that does not make matters any easier for anyone of us. There are very strong reasons to feel alarmed at the slide in law and order, especially in view of the fact that Monday’s blasts occurred close to the venue of the Ekushey book fair. With all the security measures adopted for this year’s book fair, one would have thought the university and all other places around it would be safe. That clearly does not seem to be the case. In effect, the message which has been coming through loud and clear is that the purveyors of violence are people certainly more powerful and more mysterious than the government or any other organisation.

In the circumstances, it is the convention to ask that a thorough investigation be launched into this new incident of violence in order for the culprits to be exposed. But that is precisely what we have all been doing for a long time now, haven’t we? Every instance of criminality we have been subjected to has made us a little more conscious of what we need to do to have sanity return to our collective life. Unfortunately, the slide has continued and so far no one, not the government, not the opposition, not our citizens in their individual or collective manner have been able to solve the mystery of who the elements are behind such violence. It will of course be naïve to suppose that the crimes we have been experiencing have all sprung from a single source. The reality is a little more complex. Let it suffice for now to suggest that if criminality in the northern regions has its roots in the likes of Bangla Bhai and his vigilantes, in the south-east it owes much of its origins to the outlawed Purba Banglar Communist Party or Janajuddha. But that still does not explain the bomb explosions which, especially since the earlier part of last year, have rocked places like Habiganj, Sylhet and now Dhaka. One could go back all the way to the Udichi blasts of 1999, to arrive at the sad conclusion that the powers that be, prior to and after October 2001, have miserably failed to nab the criminals involved. Is one then to draw the inference that a very well-organised group, determined to undermine the government as well as clip the wings of the opposition, is at work? It has generally been the rule that negative forces based at home and perhaps sustained by dark forces abroad have in modern times played havoc with the political stability of relatively weak nations.

It is time for reason, for cool heads to prevail — beyond the narrow confines of the partisan. That applies to the political class as a whole, in government and out of it. The great imperative is for us to get a hold on our lives. The Valentine’s Day bombs have only increased our sense of vulnerability.