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FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN PLAGUES THE NATION
Will the Prime Minister break the impasse?

M. Shahidul Islam in Toronto

People get used to live in fear of life under chronic conditions of instability and insecurity accompanied by routine corruption and mafia coercion of a despotic rule. But fear of the unknown and unusual goings-on are bound to unnerve a nation. Many Bangladeshi high-ups and big-wigs have recently flown out of the country with the fear that anything may happen any time while, many more within the country find the existential political and social climate dreadful.

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M. Shahidul Islam in Toronto

People get used to live in fear of life under chronic conditions of instability and insecurity accompanied by routine corruption and mafia coercion of a despotic rule. But fear of the unknown and unusual goings-on are bound to unnerve a nation. Many Bangladeshi high-ups and big-wigs have recently flown out of the country with the fear that anything may happen any time while, many more within the country find the existential political and social climate dreadful.

This precarious ambiance is posing a grave threat to the economy by deterring investment and growth and tampering with confidence. And, not only the nation is bereft of a functional parliament and democratic governance, but also afflicted with unbearable social insecurity, rampant murders and the latest spike in the prices of the essentials, compounded further by an arbitrary and inexplicable rise in the prices of gas and electricity.
Much more is feared in coming days as crops damage has been alarming and substantial in staggered pockets of flooding across the country. Flood victims are left adrift with little or no public assistance. Hundreds of villages, mosques and schools across the country remain submerged in water. Millions are marooned.

Beneath the surface
Add to it what may be purposely sought to brew beneath the surface. Whispers are being echoed even in North America that ‘anything can happen anytime in Bangladesh.’ A syndrome of fear has also gripped the ruling party mandarins. AL’s secretary general, Syed Ashraf, had recently cautioned: “Something ominous may occur.” Some other ruling party leaders said: “BNP wants to kill Sheikh Hasina.”
The BNP, for its part, is reticent for mysterious reasons. While bone-chilling utterances from many ruling alliance quarters were being orchestrated as the usual ‘August blusters’ (the familiar refrains that accompany the commemoration of the tragic incidents of August 15, 1975, when Sheikh Mujib was murdered and of August 21, 2004 when a vicious grenade attack on an Awami League meeting killed dozens), the BNP’s public response was patently mild and muted. Beneath the surface meanwhile, a storm is raging within the ruling alliance, the nature and causes of which are turbid and hence giving rise to ominous conjectures. People ear deeply disturbed worrying what may happen in the offing.

Confession of a maverick
A Dhaka court on August 29 placed one Moshiur Rahman Mamun on one-day’s fresh remand to enable police to quiz him on the alleged phone conversations with Nagorik Oikya Convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna.  The DB said Mamum was arrested from the capital’s Uttara on August 24, four days before he was produced before the court. But rumours are afloat that he had been picked up by RAB or DB in February, around the time of Manna’s arrest on February 24.
Where was Mamun so long, and who is he? One of his close associates say: “Mamun was picked up by RAB first in February and quizzed for months before the DGFI requested him to be transferred to them due to his alleged role in plotting a coup. The DGFI kept him for six months and handed him back to the police only last week.”
The hide and seek about Mamun’s arrest notwithstanding, what the law enforcers got from him had quickly been whispered into the ears of many ruling party stalwarts, stirring up an unprecedented ferment of chain reaction that had played out through the month of August. The resultant fear-mongering had pushed into the back burner the sensitive case of a minister and a close relative of the PM, who was alleged to have grabbed minority Hindu property.

Coup foiled?
Some persons feeling vulnerable to police traps being laid for victims had recently fled the country and arrived in North America. One of them said that Mamun had divulged many names to his interrogators about a planned coup d’etat that had gone awry due to his timely arrest. He claimed, “I left the country because I was tipped off about the certainty of being arrested simply because I knew Mamun closely.”
An investigation on Mamun’s antecedents reveals him as a maverick with high ambitions. Purportedly a businessman with British mooring, he had hobnobbed with politicians and civil-military bureaucrats prior to an attempted uprising in the army on 20 May, 1996. He is also known to have been close to Lt. Gen (retd) Masud Uddin, one of the architects of the 1/11 military intervention in 2007.
Since the botched January election of 2014, Mamun is learnt to have claimed, and is said to have confessed to investigators, that he was the emissary of secret messages passed between some civil society members including politicians, and many serving and retired army officers. Manna’s arrest in February is linked to the busting of this alleged scheme in which many civil society luminaries, including Dr. Kamal Hossain, were said to have been looped.

The BNP nexus
Amidst a violent and stalemated political climate that had prevailed prior to and after the January 2014 election, causing many deaths and destruction of national wealth, the allegation of coup plotting was brought to a stunning conclusion following a leaked phone conversation between BNP leader Sadeque Hossain Khoka, in New York city, and Mr. Manna. “Manna had collected Khoka’s telephone number from Moshiur Rahman Mamun,” one of Mamun’s interrogators reportedly revealed. 
Did the authorities play hide and sick with Mamun’s arrest and if so, why? Apart from the question being of law and human rights, could the reason be the pursuit of a BNP nexus in the alleged plot?
Mamun’s family sources claim he was picked up by RAB detectives from a house in Dhanmondi’s Road-14/A on February 23. With respect to Manna, he too was initially picked up by plain clothed detectives on February 23 but was shown arrested on February 25. In the meantime, 17 hours of hybrid speculations had gone on in the electronic media in Dhaka about who picked him up from his ‘niece’s house in Banani.’
Only days before the arrest of Manna and Mamun, Manna, Dr Kamal and Kader Siddique, all formerly of the Awami League, had been advocating for holding a dialogue between the ruling alliance and the BNP. That had earned for them the wrath and revulsion of the ruling coterie.

External connection
Much earlier, in January 2012, the BBC had reported: “Bangladesh army had foiled an impending coup against the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.” Quoting a military spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Masud Razzaq, the report said, “The officers planning the coup were in active military service.” A Major General, two Brigadier Generals, and 10 other mid-ranking officers were later removed from the service. One Major Zia is said to have either fled, or murdered in secrecy. The Mail online of India had reported on January 20, 2012: “India has helped Bangladesh avert what could have been reminiscent of the bloody military takeover in the wake of the assassination of the country’s founding father, Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, more than 36 years ago.”
The arrest of Manna and Mamun reportedly followed a private meeting in Savar in early February 2015 at the BRAC training institute in which some civil society stalwarts, including Manna, and at least eight ambassadors of North America and Europe were present. Police production of Mamun in Dhaka court in the sentimentally charged month of August this year brought into the rumour mill recapitulation of such publicised ripples of disturbance in the security establishment of the nation-state, including memories of brutal massacre of army officers by the-then para-military Bangladesh Rifles (now Border Guards Bangladesh) mutineers, their connection with a ruling party Member of Parliament with dynastic feather in his cap coming to focus again. They had a countervailing effect on the shrill hype of August blusters by the choir of ruling alliance leaders this year, including repeat public warnings by top echelons of the Awami League about ‘foreign’ secret service reports of plot to kill Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. But these are scary noises with which Bangladeshi public are familiar. They are not the cause of current climate of fear.

The real cause of fear
Real cause of fear emanates from the said Member of Parliament with a dynastic feather in his cap taking on a public prosecutor appearing for a sitting minister, also with a dynastic feather in his cap, for legal proceedings of defamation of the minister by a ‘Hindu’ journalist from a family of liberation war victims. More ominously, the same MP and a number of other parliamentarians with dynastic feathers in their caps along with close relations of the same orbit are up against a number of other ministers and MPs of the ruling alliance and vice-versa in an abusive war of words.
Instances of past disloyalties on both sides to the founder-president of Bangladesh at times of crises are being dug up hurled at one another. In particular, an Awami League group of leaders and a JSD leaders’ group are literally at each other’s throat. Members of the Student’s League are also at rampage in several educational institutions, universities and hostels, attacking teachers, suspected Shibir (Islamic-minded) students, factional rivals and chandabazi (extortion) targets around campuses alike. Turf wars are going on with beatings, killings and abduction of targeted victims. The Prime Minister has threatened weeding her party as well as her student wing, etc. of parasites, but to no practical effect.

The essential question
All this is happening when the mainstream opposition is more muted than ever under mamla hamla (harassing criminal cases and police raids) ordeal. The tame parliamentary opposition is only making a show of breaking out of its fetters by a walk-out from the National Assembly floors protesting price-hike of gas and electricity. Cut-throat noises are all within the ruling coterie, and that is creating a real panic. The Prime Minister’s express vexation does not ensure any control, although no one yet believes that an alternative power-centre is in the making within the ruling coterie and the clan.
Interestingly, former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, on the occasion of the founding anniversary of BNP on September 1, has extended an open call to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to jointly build national consensus on politics of development to build the nation-state and abandon on both sides politics of hatred and mud-slinging, albeit reiterating at the same time her main demand for a ‘snap’ election to obtain a truly representative parliament. The essential question is, will the Prime Minister respond to that call by a motion of comprehensive dialogue with the BNP leader including a framework for credible election, to be able divert if not control the wild forces within her camp from ripping one another apart?


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Gas, power price hike: Brutishly callous power elite

Sadeq Khan

The ruling elite of Bangladesh, uninterruptedly pampered as its members are over nearly a decade with lots of flash money and license to break the law toting pistols in their pockets, has become totally insensitive and stoical about ordinary people’s sufferings. Ministers, parliamentarians, local government heads and members all seem obsessed with only one mission, how to extract ‘pin money’ from multifarious levels of government or local government control in development spending as well as in revenue earnings, apart from extortion rackets that they may be individually running in respective turfs of public influence.

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Sadeq Khan

The ruling elite of Bangladesh, uninterruptedly pampered as its members are over nearly a decade with lots of flash money and license to break the law toting pistols in their pockets, has become totally insensitive and stoical about ordinary people’s sufferings. Ministers, parliamentarians, local government heads and members all seem obsessed with only one mission, how to extract ‘pin money’ from multifarious levels of government or local government control in development spending as well as in revenue earnings, apart from extortion rackets that they may be individually running in respective turfs of public influence.

Opposition voices have been coercively rendered harmless, and the civil society either cowed down or bought over. Even the media loudly harps the tune of the incumbent power elite, with or without news value, while relegating to the backstage the perils of the people. Commodity market worldwide has slumped, but in our city markets, cost of consumables for daily household needs have skyrocketed although supplies are generally adequate.

Debt and Deficit: Trends and Challenges, Bangladesh Economic Update.

People being hard hit
Disruption within the city and intercity transportation has assumed awesome proportions, traffic congestions as well as water logging in heavy rains virtually immobilizing metropolitan civic order. Perils of common people in the countryside, with whole communities in the north and the southeast of the country marooned and suffering hunger and diseases in make-shift shelters or damaged homesteads under flooded terrains, appear to have been entirely forgotten by the power elite, their cornered contenders, and even by any flurry of charities this year. Economic conditions of the middle and lower income group people across the board have deteriorated as prices have escalated for basic requirements of living space, healthcare and education.
No one cares. Bombasts on the other hand are carried on aplenty in TV talks and newspaper columns about growing affluence. And the government authorities did not find it necessary to bat an eyelid in choosing this hour to raise the prices of gas and electricity. The decision to enhance power and gas tariffs provoked massive public protests. Economic analysts and business leaders are all in agreement that the raise will seriously affect the industries, increase costs of local products, and make way for cheaper foreign imports.
Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) increased gas tariff by 26.29 percent and power tariff by 2.93 percent. According to the new rate, each cubic metre of gas for industries will cost Tk 6.74 as against previous Tk 5.86. For the tea gardens gas price has been raised from Tk 5.86 to Tk 6.45. For the industrial consumers, the new rate of gas will be Tk 11.36 as against previous Tk 9.47.

Production cost to rise
In addition, price of electricity has also been raised. Earlier, the small industries could purchase per unit of power at Tk 7.42, but now they will have to pay Tk 7.66. For the big industries, the price of power earlier was Tk 7.32 per unit, but now it will be Tk 7.57. The offices of the factories and all commercial establishments selling commodities will also have to pay more. In the commercial field, BERC has raised the price of power from Tk 9.58 to Tk 9.80 per unit. The most serious pressure will fall on the captive power plants as the price of per cubic metre of gas for them has been doubled from Tk 4.18 to Tk 8.36.
FBCCI president Abdul Matlub Ahmed said, “The export-oriented industries will trail behind in competition due to price hike of gas and power at this moment. Especially, those who generate electricity with captive power will be in more trouble. As a result of the price hike, the cost of production will increase and the prices of the commodities will also rise.”
Expressing grave concern over the hike in gas and electricity tariff, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry urged the government to review the decision in greater interest of the country’s economic growth. The trade body handout said:
“The hike will have severe impact on businesses. The industrial sector will be affected badly as any hike in utility prices push up the costs of doing business.
“The tariff hike might also affect the economy by fueling inflation to a double digit. Price of LPG remains higher than in the international market. DCCI thinks it will add sufferings to the poor and middle-income people as the hike in utility prices will increase cost of living.
“The tariff hike should have been justified taking into account the income and socio-economic condition of the general people and above all, the rapid and ambitious industrial and economic growth targets in line with the government’s Vision 2021.”

Price hike irrational
The trade body also observed that the hike was not rational as the current power and gas supply has been failing to meet the growing and diverse needs of various industries, trade and other economic activities. Being the largest user of captive power, growth in textile and RMG sector will be immensely challenged by the tariff hike, the trade body added.
The overall picture of economic health is equally disturbing. The government merrily goes on borrowing for the power elite’s loot from extravagant public spending. Productive businesses, trade, manufacturing and service industries are starved of financing support. The brakes thus imposed on the dynamics of economic growth of the nation-state are slow-poisoning our financial order. But who cares?
The Unnayan Onneshan, an independent multidisciplinary think-tank, in its monthly publication of ‘Bangladesh Economic Update’ September 2015, reveals that increases in per capita debt and debt service payment are likely to lower development finance and escalate intergenerational debt burden in the months ahead. The economic update notes that in FY 2014-15 (July-May), the total outstanding domestic debt has increased by 13.7 percent while the total outstanding external debt burden increased to by 8.5 percent in FY 2013-14. And during the period from FY 2012-13 to FY 2013-14, the debt service payment increased by 18.6 percent.
Government borrowed more from non-banking system than the banking system in FY 2014-15, but deficits are continuing to be financed by government borrowing from the banking system. The domestic debt stood at Tk. 2,22,573 crore in FY 2014-15 (July-May) crore in FY 2013-14, which was Tk. 2,03,163 crore, Tk. 1,81,184 crore, Tk. 1,60,423 crore and Tk. 1,39,220 crore in FY 2013-14, FY 2012-13, FY 2011-12 and FY 2010-11 respectively. Debt has increased by Tk. 26,788 crore during the period from FY 2013-14 (July-May) to FY 2013-14 (July-May).

Rise in deficit and debt
The external debt has increased by $319 million in FY 2013-14 compared to FY 2012-13. In FY 2014-15 (July-February), external debt stood at $1,495 million. The total outstanding external debt, however, stood at $27,036 million in 2013-14, whereas it was $24,907 million in FY 2012-13.
Increasing government borrowing from domestic sources may crowd out private investment by causing the interest rate to rise. In July-May period of FY 2014-15, total domestic debt has increased by 32.93 percent from the corresponding period of the FY 2013-14.
Financing of budget deficit in July-May period of FY 2014-15 stood higher at Tk. 33,883.09 crore compared to Tk. 27,379.43 crore during the corresponding period of FY 2013-14, representing an increase of 23.8 percent. Unnayan Onneshan called for an immediate debt management strategy and harmonization of the macroeconomic policies to check the inevitability of ominous effects of debt and deficit.


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Power struggle at SUST is disgraceful

Faruque Ahmed

The situation at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) is highly volatile and annoying at the moment following the physical assault of some teachers by Bangladesh Chatra League (BCL) cadres last week. The teachers were attacked as they gathered on the campus to march to the VC office to lay siege and to force him to resign. Since the VC is an Awami League nominee and the teachers who want to remove him is a breakaway faction dominated by leftist teachers, the BCL cadres are at work to protect him. They beat the anti-VC teachers and foiled their latest move last week.

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Faruque Ahmed

The situation at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) is highly volatile and annoying at the moment following the physical assault of some teachers by Bangladesh Chatra League (BCL) cadres last week. The teachers were attacked as they gathered on the campus to march to the VC office to lay siege and to force him to resign. Since the VC is an Awami League nominee and the teachers who want to remove him is a breakaway faction dominated by leftist teachers, the BCL cadres are at work to protect him. They beat the anti-VC teachers and foiled their latest move last week.

Earlier the anti-VC group also manhandled the VC while they were abstaining from administrative work for the last five months often shelving the classes. In fact the fight to remove the VC appears to have gained a momentum.

Suspension didn’t work
But the physical manhandling of the teachers has simply hit the sentiment of the entire university community shaming the nation but this incident is no surprising either in view of the violent nature of the  ruling party student cadres.  They are enjoying impunity from being charged for involvement in any crime and violence; they seem to fear nobody.
Nonetheless, the outcry against the BCL activists condemning their attacks on a faction of SUST teachers from the wider teaching community and the country’s socio-political leaderships have created an embarrassing situation for the government. Prime minister Sheikh Hasina was both angry and embarrassed and immediately ordered a purge in the student body’s ranks and file blaming that criminals and intruders have infiltrated organization and they must be rooted out.
Accordingly, seven BCL leaders of the SUST were temporarily suspended from BCL as well as the ‘Varsity as an immediate damage control measure. Many however believe that temporary suspension is a mere face saving devise. This proved to be an eye wash when one of the suspended students was allowed to appear in the departmental semester examination on Wednesday.

The genesis
The campus violence has a long history. In a way, it is also part of the maladies that has been afflicted the universities of Dhaka, Jahangirnanagar and the BUET. In Sylhet, it is basically a fight between different groups of teachers who stand against each other and the group supported by the ruling party is gaining the upper hand. It used to be a fight between two groups known as pro-BNP and pro-Awami League.  The BNP-Jamaat group was strong when the BNP was in power and dominated the campus politics. But this group has been marginalized now. The pro-government teachers have become divided now into pro-AL and broadly anti-AL pro-left factions. 
The government appointed Prof Aminul Islam Bhuiyan as Vice Chancellor in 2013 but the anti-AL faction, also apparently supported by the marginalized BNP-Jamaat group began to campaign against him from April this year. They even resigned from 37 administrative posts of the SUST establishments to bring pressure on the VC to resign after failing to run the varsity. They blamed him for misbehaving with some of their members, making appointments breaking the rules and misuse the SUST funds including expensive foreign tours. A vilification campaign against the VC goes on unabated. But what sustained him so far was support from a large number of the pro-AL teachers and thus the stalemate continues.
Since the VC was government appointed, the ruling party’s Students’ front BCL has provided him the protection. In fact, the event on the campus last week highlighted the breakdown of discipline in which teachers and students were engaged fighting each other. Informed sources also blame local politics as the main cause of the fight.
The anti-VC faction is known to be led by Prof Mohammad Zafar Iqbal, but he keeps himself away from open campus hostility apparently to remain above controversy. But his wife’s active role – who is also a teacher in SUST – show the real character of the fight.

It needs political solution
In fact local Awami League has openly become hostile to Prof Mohammad Zafar Iqbal for being antagonistic to the incumbent VC. Besides, some of his earlier suggestions for admission is said to have gone against local interest.  
He led a march in Sylhet city after the killing of blogger Ananta Dev in May this year criticizing the government’s inaction in finding the killers and arrest them. This annoyed the local ruling party leaders and he was chased from the street by local Awami League cadres led by a local lawmaker, also a member of SUST syndicate. Reports say the law maker and Prof Mohammad Zafar Iqbal again traded hot words in the syndicate meeting last week showing that the ‘oust the VC campaign’ is political. The ruling party cadres are protecting the VC while the rival groups joined by the weakened BNP-Jamaat group are opposing.
Education Minister Nurul Islam Naheed, who is from Sylhet had intervened urging restraint from both sides, but has failed to break the stalemate. As the government appoints the VCs and replaces them, the problem is unlikely to end until a political decision is taken to end the crisis.
Meanwhile, the varsity may remain a hostage and its academic sessions will continue to suffer. The new first year admission may also face a setback.


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Hindutva politics: Murder of Kannada writer in Karnataka

Dr. Abdul Ruff in New Delhi

Criminal politics of Hindutva forces is slowly raising its ugly head in India, starting now with Karnataka state where the BJP party still enjoys large support base.  Already “Ghar wapsi” operations, by which Muslims and Christians are converted to Hinduism openly thereby hitting hard the Indian Constitution, have created hurdles in Indian secular fabric which is now under strain. But criminal operations by the Hindutva forces can endanger Indian unity and even sovereignty.

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Dr. Abdul Ruff in New Delhi

Criminal politics of Hindutva forces is slowly raising its ugly head in India, starting now with Karnataka state where the BJP party still enjoys large support base.  Already “Ghar wapsi” operations, by which Muslims and Christians are converted to Hinduism openly thereby hitting hard the Indian Constitution, have created hurdles in Indian secular fabric which is now under strain. But criminal operations by the Hindutva forces can endanger Indian unity and even sovereignty.

Renowned Indian scholar, former Kuvempu Kannada University Vice Chancellor and Kannada writer MM Kalburgi was shot dead in Dharwad, Karnataka on August 30 morning. According to the report two people came to Kalburgi’s resident in Kalyan Nagar, Dharwad and shot him in the head and chest when the door was opened.

Murder of an educator
M M Kalaburgi, 77, an educationist and veteran researcher of Kannada literature was shot down at around 8.40 AM on Sunday even as his wife who opened the door for the unidentified assailants ventured to the kitchen to fetch the visitors some coffee.  She asked the youths who they were and the duo said they were students who had come to meet Kalaburgi
A resident of the Kalyananagar area in Dharwad city, Kalaburgi was renowned researcher on Vachana Sahitya and ancient Kannada literature.
The commissioner of police for the twin cities of Hubli and Dharwad, Ravindra Prasad, said two unidentified persons came to the veteran researcher’s residence on a motorcycle and knocked on his door. “We have taken up a case of murder. The motive for the assassination is not known yet,” the police officer said.
A close friend of the former vice chancellor and a member of the Kannada literary world, Shankar Alagatti, said Kalaburgi’s wife opened the door to the family residence. She went to the kitchen and shortly afterwards she heard loud sounds. When she rushed to the living room she found her husband had been shot in the head. They took him to hospital with the help of the neighbors but he died on the way. “A CBI inquiry must be conducted into the case to bring out the truth. The people and fans of Kalaburgi are demanding this,” said Shankar Alagatti.
Tv9 Kannada reports that wife and his son and daughter were also in the house when the attack took place.  While his daughter Roopdarshi said that her father’s enemies, who opposed what he stood for, pretending to be his students could be behind the death, the police is also looking into property dispute as motive.

“Bhagwan, you are next”
Kalburgi has often been the target of Hindutva forces and rightwing parties such as the VHP, ABVP and Bajrang Dal. According to News Minute’s report, in 2014 he stirred controversy when he recounted an anecdote about academician-eminent writer recipient of prestigious Jnanapith award for creative thinking, former Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University and Karnataka Central University, UR Ananthamurthy urinating on a religious idol during his school days. He was criticised in 2007 for suggesting the need for a better state anthem.
According to the report, writer K Neela said that Kalburgi stood for the secular ethos of the state. Kalburgi was a former vice chancellor of Kannada University in Shimoga and a member of the Advisory Board to the Kannada Sahitya Academy. He was an epigraphist and a scholar of the Vachana literature.
Kalburgi had raised the hackles of some right-wing outfits like VHP and Bajrang Dal when he had made certain remarks about idol worship by Hindus that were considered “derogatory” and “blasphemous” by them.
After the news about author Kalburgi audacious murder reached Twitter, Bajrang Dal’s Bantwal co-convener Bhuvith Shetty tweeted welcoming the noted scholar’s death and even warned another academician of similar fate. Shetty posted the tweet: “Then it was UR Ananthamurthy and now MM Kalburgi. Mock Hinduism and die dogs’ death. And dear KS Bhagwan you are next” Hindutva criminal politics began in India with the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi by RSS leader Godse and now with BJPO ruling the country under strong RSS operative Narendra Modi, the trend is being officially revised.
Meanwhile, Shetty, after receiving flak from Twitterati where many believed that the Bajrang Dal was taking responsibility for the incident, deleted the tweet and disabled his twitter handle. Denying that his organisation any role in the murder, he said he vented my anger spontaneously “but that doesn’t mean I or people from my organisation have killed Kalburgi”. Regarding the threatening tweet to Bhagwan, he said that Bhagwan should be aware that he could be target for such killing.”That doesn’t mean that my organisation or I want to kill him,” he added.

Congress rules Karnataka
Bhagwan is a retired professor from the Mysore University. He was known for his incisive criticism against Hindutva groups. He recently courted controversy after inviting VHP leader and pontiff Vishveshwara Thirtha Swami for a debate on Hindu scriptures.
Karnataka Chief Minister  Siddaramaiah has said that it treated the Kalburgi’s murder ‘very seriously’ and culprits would be traced soon and meted out ‘strictest punishment’ according to law.  As per police, a special team had been formed to investigate the matter and forensic and fingerprint experts have been called in.
It is a known fact that the Congress party very tactfully  promoted Hindutva forces in India in order to contain Muslims and their demand for  Babri Mosque, proper representation in the government, in services, jobs, education, military, police, etc, but now driven out of power in India it feels  panicky that it can never win over the people of India. The problem is the Congress party is unwilling to change its anti-Muslim premises. It is Congress which is responsible for the mess in Kashmir by sending military to that alien nation and brutally occupying it.
Karnataka state was the first state in South India to elect a BJP government but later non-BJP parties replaced the BJP. And now Congress party is ruling the state.
However, the Hindutva forces in Karnataka are making all out efforts to wrestle power from Congress.  But the murder of this renowned litterateur could affect its political fortunes, though some hard core RSS elements would rejoice now.


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10 Iraq war architects trying to undo Obama’s Iran deal

Zaid Jilani
AlterNet

There is a fierce battle going on in Washington, with progressive and pro-diplomacy organizations facing off against pro-Israel organizations to prevent a veto-proof vote to kill President Obama’s deal with Iran.
These anti-deal organizations are joined by a number of hawkish figures whose last great foreign policy foray was America’s last diplomatic catastrophe: the Iraq war. Here are 10 Iraq war supporters now trying to kill our best chance for a just peace with Iran:

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Zaid Jilani
AlterNet

There is a fierce battle going on in Washington, with progressive and pro-diplomacy organizations facing off against pro-Israel organizations to prevent a veto-proof vote to kill President Obama’s deal with Iran.
These anti-deal organizations are joined by a number of hawkish figures whose last great foreign policy foray was America’s last diplomatic catastrophe: the Iraq war. Here are 10 Iraq war supporters now trying to kill our best chance for a just peace with Iran:

1. George W. Bush: The president who invaded Iraq has apparently learned nothing from the experience, arguing in April that Obama negotiating with Iran was “naive.”
2. Bill Kristol: Kristol, a long-time GOP apparatchik who today is a board member of the anti-deal Emergency Committee for Israel, was one of the biggest proponents of the Iraq war. “We will, in fact, be greeted as liberators,” he said in March 2003. From his perch at The Weekly Standard, Kristol has asked lawmakers to “kill the deal.”
3. David Frum: Frum was a Bush administration speechwriter who coined the term “Axis of Evil” to describe the governments of Iraq, Iran and North Korea, in order to justify the war push. Today, Frum not only opposes the Iran deal but has suggested that Obama is engaged in antisemitic rhetoric for calling out lobbyists who are trying to sink the agreement.
4. Lindsey Graham: Graham said war with Iraq was the “only reasonable option”; today he says the deal is like throwing a “can of gasoline” on a fire.
5. John McCain: Graham’s fellow senator McCain said Iraq was “the right war for the right reasons” as he offered full-throated backing to the adventure. McCain mocks Obama’s diplomatic effort, saying the Iran agreement is an attempt by the Obama administration to seek “nirvana.”
6. Dick Cheney: Cheney, who represents the warmongering arm of the warmongering Republican Party, was a mastermind of the Iraq war. He has claimed the deal would put us closer to nuclear war than at any time since World War II, and plans to give an address against the agreement next month.
7. Joe Lieberman: The former Democratic vice presidential candidate who  turned against his own party over the Iraq war has stepped up to lead so-called United Against Nuclear Iran, after the last chairman of the group stepped down because he decided to support the deal.
8. Benjamin Netanyahu: The Prime Minister of Israel was outside the government in 2002, but he was still called to testify, telling lawmakers he had no doubts about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. He is now claiming  diplomacy with Iran threatens the entire world.
9. Eli Lake: Lake was a reporter for UPI, arguing about the threat of fantasy Iraqi WMD. Today, Lake is a one-man propaganda operation at Bloomberg View, claiming that Obama is practicing the “politics of fear” in order to achieve peace, rather than the war Lake supported.
10. AIPAC: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the main pro-Israel lobbying group, lobbied on behalf of the Iraq war. Today, it is engaged in a no-holds-barred fight to kill the Iran deal, with the donors it has arrayed into an outside group pledging to spend as much as $40 million.
The irony of all this is that the Iraq war set up the diplomatic arrangements we are finalizing today. The war in Iraq expanded Iranian influence, and the West’s negotiations with Iran are partly a result of a nuclear program that was ramped up in the wake of U.S. wars with Iran’s neighbours. There is also added pressure to deal with Iran on the mutual interest of containing ISIS, which would likely never have emerged but for the Iraq war. The nuclear deal is simply an attempt to clean up the mess made by the Iraq war architects themselves.
Zaid Jilani is an AlterNet staff writer. Follow @zaidjilani on Twitter.


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Maoist movement waning in India

Shamsuddin Ahmed

Maoist movement assumed as the gravest threat to internal security of India 3 or 4 years ago is apparently waning in the face of multi-pronged strategy of the government. Apart from deploying 2 lakh paramilitary troops in addition to the police, infighting in the outfit was promoted as Home Minister Rajnath Singh prescribed kanta se kanta nikalengey to tackle the Maoists.

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Shamsuddin Ahmed

Maoist movement assumed as the gravest threat to internal security of India 3 or 4 years ago is apparently waning in the face of multi-pronged strategy of the government. Apart from deploying 2 lakh paramilitary troops in addition to the police, infighting in the outfit was promoted as Home Minister Rajnath Singh prescribed kanta se kanta nikalengey to tackle the Maoists.

Born in 2004 with merger of four remnant groups of 1960s famed Naxal movement, the Communist Party of India (Maoist), soon outlawed, rapidly grew as a dreaded force spreading in 20 of 29 states of India inflicting heavy tolls on security forces making the government began to worry.  The Maoists strenuously established a red corridor across the central India from the shore of Orissa to Bihar and established dozens of liberated zones by 2012 and declared capturing the state power through armed struggle by 2050. The movement attracted millions of deprived and neglected tribal people, adivasis, and low caste (untouchable) Hindus and gained sympathy of a section of intellectuals across the country.

Indian Maoists are down
But the situation now has vastly changed. Maoist activities are now few and far. Confrontation with the government forces has declined substantially. Media reports show few security personnel were killed during the last two months when the red rebels also suffered losses. Three paramilitary BSF troops were killed and six others injured in an ambush in Malkangiri district of Orissa on August 27. The soldiers were out on a routine anti-Maoist operation when their vehicle was blown up by a landmine planted by the rebels. One CRPF man was killed and another badly wounded in a gunfight in Chhatttisgarh on August 18.  Four cops were kidnapped and killed on July 15.  They were travelling in a bus that was passing through the Maoist dominated Kutru village in Bijapur district.  Later, the bodies were thrown on the roadside.  In Jharkhand, 30 vehicles of Central Coalfield Ltd, engaged in transportation of coal, were torched on July 25.
Comrade Ganapathy, general secretary of outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) admitted the debacle. “We have lost a considerable number of leaders at all levels”, he said in an interview with the Times of India published on August 9. The Maoist supremo also admitted that they have also lost some areas dominated by the party activists. The party has been weakened over the time. His priority is now to preserving our subjective forces particularly the strategic leadership of the party.
Ganopathy viewed Hindutva tentacles under the Modi government would spread fast. The aggressive neo-imperialist policies will intensify hardships of the working class, peasants, government employees and various other sections.  Attacks on Muslims and atrocities on Dalits will increase. The stranglehold on people will tighten to deflect the consequent anger of the masses. Aggressive expansionist policies would generate opposition from the people. We need to intervene in such issues, said the Maoist leader who seems to have lost his earlier vigour and spirit. We will expand our activities in newer areas and open new battlefronts, he added.

‘Maoists to end up soon’
The government claimed security forces have got the upper hand in their fight against once dreaded rebels. Low morale of the Maoist cadres, attractive government schemes have worried the Maoist leadership in Chhattisgarh, the citadel of the red rebels where 13 activists have surrendered in recent months.
Humare andolan ko khatam karne key liye yeh sarkar rang rangi ayojan karke janatke andar laloch bhar rahi hai, said a Maoist fighter in the field in a letter to his commander. Much criticized Salwa Judum, appointment of local tribal youths as special police officers, has been introduced in Maoist dominated Bastar district in Chhattisgarh.  Human right activist Prashanta Bhushan at a press conference accused the government of trying to drive away the tribal population from their land, grab the mineral rich land and make the advasis disappear in a way that the world should not know about it. The land has already been leased out to multinational companies for exploitation of the minerals.
Inspector General of paramilitary Central Reserved Police Force (CRPF) is convinced that the Maoist movement will end up in 7-8 years. They won’t survive beyond 7-8 years more, CRPF chief said in a recent interview. The reasons, he said, are ageing leadership, lack of second-rung leadership and emergence of greedy and impatient elements in the movement. The situation is now quite different from years ago when the Maoists were viewed as a dreaded force and a large number of security personnel had left job and scores committed suicide to avoid facing the well trained red rebels armed with sophisticated weapons. The number of fighting Maoist cadres has now declined considerably.  Leaders of previous generation were ideologically sound and committed.  Recruitment of non-committed characters in any system is bound to fail the system.
The writer’s contact: shamsuddin47ahmed@gmail.com mobile 01626041030


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Students’ behavior: Are the teachers doing their bit correctly?

Mohammad Ali Sattar

When someone laments that this has become a land where students beat up teachers one just can’t help endorsing his views. However, one has his own words to express his shame, resentment, remorse and what have you. One is least interested to dwell on the political aspect of these acts and the unholy garb that these so-called students wear and chant a party slogan.

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Mohammad Ali Sattar

When someone laments that this has become a land where students beat up teachers one just can’t help endorsing his views. However, one has his own words to express his shame, resentment, remorse and what have you. One is least interested to dwell on the political aspect of these acts and the unholy garb that these so-called students wear and chant a party slogan.

Politics has in many ways eaten up the innards of the young souls. The potential faculty of morality, enlightenment, education and creativity has been unceremoniously buried by the voo-doo magic of politics which has become a strange ‘occupation’.  Students and national politics have started growing moldy immediately following Dec 16, 1971- a truth that many would now reluctantly but shamefully agree with.

The draconian ferocity
A chronological account of student going wayward is now an issue that causes only boredom. No one for a moment is interested to listen to or talk about students affairs – be it politics, admission matters, or securing good marks in exams. There is something very wrong with the functioning of the whole student community. The degeneration is there. It stares at us with broad open eyes and anaconda teeth. The draconic ferocity in them is now at a dangerous point.
Under growing unsettled socio-political climate the new generation students are coming into the educational institutions that are mostly manned by infected individuals. Each and every campus of schools and colleges are somehow viral. When the tiny tots kick off their student career in play groups or nursery they have no idea about the forthcoming days. They are automatically absorbed by the time and system that run the higher classes in their schools, colleges and universities.
More stunning is the news that now a day school boys are smarter and geared up even before they enter the college or university campus. So in a way, a portion of the new entrants are all set to merge into the rotten part of the system in these institutions. The adventurous and ignorant urban elite and middle class lads are easily taken into the strides of misadventures.
And then there is the huge lower middle class from the rural and country side young men and women who come to Dhaka and other bigger towns to pursue their education career. They get admitted by hook or crook into the institution of their choice. Or land up in those where they could just make it. Who doesn’t know the tale of admission trade carried by a part of students and teachers?

Idealism is long gone
Became a regular do until it turned out to be the standard practice And in the broader corridors of universities the political hype is always there to perturb the gullible and the spoilt. He or she will be carried away at one time or the other by these politically motivated groups.
The idealism is long gone. The student’s role in these institutions is now dreams and stories of the past. We don’t even recall them who laid down their lives for us. Glorious student movements of the past that made possible the eventual liberation of this country is typically bunged in the books. Significant dates and events are seldom discussed as though these pioneers have run out of steam to inspire this generation.
However, if we leaf through the pages of their valorous accounts, we find their politics were way elevated than ours. Their thoughts and actions were topped with sophistication of speech and aristocracy of postures. The manner of debate and understanding had an elitist touch, the fiercest battle of words were fought in the friendliest ambiance. They had genuine enlightened minds with broadest of visions and outlooks.
This ideal generation soon faded. Especially with the liberation in 1971, there appeared to be ‘no need’ for this quality leadership. Gradually (or quickly?) the other group took over. Spent was the glorious past, almost overnight.
The DU and other campuses witnessed regular conflicts and massacres, more grisly were the murders at different student hostels. Use of arms and brandishing of weapons became a regular do until it turned out to be the standard practice.

Teachers got sucked in
Along with all these we cannot overlook the teachers who also got polluted by the system. There was the rapid division in the ranks and files of the teachers of these high institutions. Panels and groups soon picked up colours more prominent than the past.
The teachers gradually drifted from their main job to other activities. Power-play and politics became their past times. Some of them started using students to meet their aims.
Movements against Vice chancellors also got underway soon after December 1971. But it got worse by the end of 1975. The intervention of the state into university and colleges affairs turned things worse. Partisanship and politics found its roots everywhere. Academic interests were readily sacrificed in the altars of greed and power.
Today, when we see the students beating up the teachers we are ashamed. One is sure that not too many are; only a few would be taken aback by the news. But one would like to know from the teachers, are they doing their bit correctly?
The rot is on; it is unlikely to stop any time soon. We shall meet more such incidents now and then, because at this time we have a strong group of teachers and students who are engaged in conspiracies and violence on the campus. They lost their heads, shame and morality. Although they are redundant for a civilized society they survive in our system. When should we declare them uncalled-for and root them out?


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