Friday, May 22, 2015 EDITORIAL

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 EDITORIAL

Surfacing of BNP’s central leader in India

Happy surfacing of opposition party BNP’s central leader Salahuddin Ahmed—-three-times elected MP from Chokoria-Pekoa constituency in Cox’s Bazar, former civil servant and ex-state minister—-at Shillong in the Northeast Indian state of Meghalaya has drawn huge attention of the regional and global media which have detailed his abduction odyssey in Dhaka over two months back.
Given that angst, anguish and torment of the family have been allayed to some extent since he was kidnapped from Dhaka’s Uttara area on March 10, while people in general heaved a sigh of relief at the good news that the man is somehow still alive—-the chance of which for abducted persons is rare in this country under this regime if disappearances of former BNP Whip Ilyas Ali, Chowdhury Alam etc are to be recalled. Now chatterbox leaders of the ruling Awami League (AL) led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have suddenly become unusually reticent on this widely discussed issue. 
Even during the much abhorrent quasi-colonial dictatorial rule of the then Pakistan, abduction or picking up politicians, not to speak of important leaders like Salahuddin, by plainclothes law enforcers was unheard of; and arrests were done as a matter of course by uniformed police officers in daytime showing warrant in presence of people of the neighbourhood.
As “en.prothom-alo” reported on 18 March, Salahuddin’s wife maintained that the law enforcement agencies picked up her husband from a house in Uttara. This was corroborated by security guards and eyewitnesses near the house from where the BNP leader was taken away. The Prothom Alo spoke to persons around the area. Most people told the reporter about a black pickup van that came and halted at the top of the road at around nine at night. A few microbuses then also drove down the road on the night of 10 March when Salahuddin was abducted from the house 49/A,   on Road 13B, Sector 3, Uttara.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mohammed Asaduzzaman Miah refused to comment on what the police were doing to find Salahuddin. But state minister for home affairs Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told BBC, “He is not with us. We are trying to find out what has actually happened.” [en. prothom-alo. com/ bangladesh/61429/].
Salahuddin’s wife said, two weeks before his abduction, a team of police officers and Detective Branch personnel had raided their Gulshan residence and detained their two chauffeurs and a staff. Mrs. Hasina Ahmed went to Uttara West police station to lodge a general diary but was refused to do so. Then she appealed to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, “I beg to the Prime Minister to instruct the law enforcers to return my husband.” The entreaty was not responded.
What a strange land is this devoid of basic human traits, of which minimal empathy towards fellow humans is one, because the BNP leader is no underworld gang leader. Not to speak of assuring of any assistance, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made fun of one woman’s most terrible crisis and jeered at that family’s tragedy saying that Salahuddin may have been smuggled out of the Gulshan office of Khaleda Zia in one of the eight garbage-filled bags! [vide The Dinkal, 15 March 2015]. Is it not bad taste, to say the least?
Meanwhile, at a Milad Mahfil at Dattapara under Shibchar Upazila in Madaripur district on 19 May 2015, Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan stated that Salahuddin Ahmed could not have been alive if the government or any of its agencies had abducted him. [vide http: //newsorgan24 .com/detail /9582; http: // onlinebangla. com. bd/ post/ 6979/; www. coxsbazarnews. com/ 21 May 2015; www. banglagazette. com/ 21 May 2015 quoting NTV footage]. For obvious reason the implications of this observation is alarming. 
Some AL leaders said that Salahuddin had gone to Shilong on his own; however Bangabir Abdul Kader Siddiqui counterd that even a blind man would not believe it. However, Mrs. Hasina has met her husband at Shillong where he has been suffering from cardiac, kidney and other diseases for which due medical treatment is being given to him. Earlier, Salahuddin had undergone medical surgery in Singapore.  Upon advice of the doctors in Civil Hospital, Ahmed was shifted to Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences in Shillong. Meanwhile, his wife has appointed senior advocate S P Mahanta of Meghalaya High Court to take up his case under the Foreigners Act for illegal entry into India, albeit involuntarily. We wish the end of his torment.
Human rights watchdog body Odhikar in its survey said that during the incumbent AL regime, from 2009 to 2014, as many as 170 persons were victims of enforced disappearances—-and 89 of them were picked up by the notorious RAB elite force, 44 were taken into custody by Detective Branch personnel of the Police and the rest were taken away by police, industrial police and others.
Four years ago two major leaders of the BNP were picked up by law enforcers in civvies never to be returned despite tearful appeals to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina by the victim’s wife, daughter and relatives who are moaning in never-ending anguish.
Above and beyond, distinguished jurists and some newspaper editorials reminded the government of the very basic mandatory constitutional obligation that a citizen—[no matter whether he/she did not or do not toe the line of the incumbent AL or is loyal to any other party registered with the Election Commission] irrespective of political allegiance—cannot be deprived of life, liberty, or property without appropriate legal procedures and safeguards.
Will the government heed?

Comment

Happy surfacing of opposition party BNP’s central leader Salahuddin Ahmed—-three-times elected MP from Chokoria-Pekoa constituency in Cox’s Bazar, former civil servant and ex-state minister—-at Shillong in the Northeast Indian state of Meghalaya has drawn huge attention of the regional and global media which have detailed his abduction odyssey in Dhaka over two months back.
Given that angst, anguish and torment of the family have been allayed to some extent since he was kidnapped from Dhaka’s Uttara area on March 10, while people in general heaved a sigh of relief at the good news that the man is somehow still alive—-the chance of which for abducted persons is rare in this country under this regime if disappearances of former BNP Whip Ilyas Ali, Chowdhury Alam etc are to be recalled. Now chatterbox leaders of the ruling Awami League (AL) led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have suddenly become unusually reticent on this widely discussed issue. 
Even during the much abhorrent quasi-colonial dictatorial rule of the then Pakistan, abduction or picking up politicians, not to speak of important leaders like Salahuddin, by plainclothes law enforcers was unheard of; and arrests were done as a matter of course by uniformed police officers in daytime showing warrant in presence of people of the neighbourhood.
As “en.prothom-alo” reported on 18 March, Salahuddin’s wife maintained that the law enforcement agencies picked up her husband from a house in Uttara. This was corroborated by security guards and eyewitnesses near the house from where the BNP leader was taken away. The Prothom Alo spoke to persons around the area. Most people told the reporter about a black pickup van that came and halted at the top of the road at around nine at night. A few microbuses then also drove down the road on the night of 10 March when Salahuddin was abducted from the house 49/A,   on Road 13B, Sector 3, Uttara.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mohammed Asaduzzaman Miah refused to comment on what the police were doing to find Salahuddin. But state minister for home affairs Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told BBC, “He is not with us. We are trying to find out what has actually happened.” [en. prothom-alo. com/ bangladesh/61429/].
Salahuddin’s wife said, two weeks before his abduction, a team of police officers and Detective Branch personnel had raided their Gulshan residence and detained their two chauffeurs and a staff. Mrs. Hasina Ahmed went to Uttara West police station to lodge a general diary but was refused to do so. Then she appealed to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, “I beg to the Prime Minister to instruct the law enforcers to return my husband.” The entreaty was not responded.
What a strange land is this devoid of basic human traits, of which minimal empathy towards fellow humans is one, because the BNP leader is no underworld gang leader. Not to speak of assuring of any assistance, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made fun of one woman’s most terrible crisis and jeered at that family’s tragedy saying that Salahuddin may have been smuggled out of the Gulshan office of Khaleda Zia in one of the eight garbage-filled bags! [vide The Dinkal, 15 March 2015]. Is it not bad taste, to say the least?
Meanwhile, at a Milad Mahfil at Dattapara under Shibchar Upazila in Madaripur district on 19 May 2015, Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan stated that Salahuddin Ahmed could not have been alive if the government or any of its agencies had abducted him. [vide http: //newsorgan24 .com/detail /9582; http: // onlinebangla. com. bd/ post/ 6979/; www. coxsbazarnews. com/ 21 May 2015; www. banglagazette. com/ 21 May 2015 quoting NTV footage]. For obvious reason the implications of this observation is alarming. 
Some AL leaders said that Salahuddin had gone to Shilong on his own; however Bangabir Abdul Kader Siddiqui counterd that even a blind man would not believe it. However, Mrs. Hasina has met her husband at Shillong where he has been suffering from cardiac, kidney and other diseases for which due medical treatment is being given to him. Earlier, Salahuddin had undergone medical surgery in Singapore.  Upon advice of the doctors in Civil Hospital, Ahmed was shifted to Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences in Shillong. Meanwhile, his wife has appointed senior advocate S P Mahanta of Meghalaya High Court to take up his case under the Foreigners Act for illegal entry into India, albeit involuntarily. We wish the end of his torment.
Human rights watchdog body Odhikar in its survey said that during the incumbent AL regime, from 2009 to 2014, as many as 170 persons were victims of enforced disappearances—-and 89 of them were picked up by the notorious RAB elite force, 44 were taken into custody by Detective Branch personnel of the Police and the rest were taken away by police, industrial police and others.
Four years ago two major leaders of the BNP were picked up by law enforcers in civvies never to be returned despite tearful appeals to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina by the victim’s wife, daughter and relatives who are moaning in never-ending anguish.
Above and beyond, distinguished jurists and some newspaper editorials reminded the government of the very basic mandatory constitutional obligation that a citizen—[no matter whether he/she did not or do not toe the line of the incumbent AL or is loyal to any other party registered with the Election Commission] irrespective of political allegiance—cannot be deprived of life, liberty, or property without appropriate legal procedures and safeguards.
Will the government heed?


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Modi’s China visit: Will mistrust be removed?

Barrister Harun ur Rashid

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi just concluded a much publicized three-day visit to China from 14th May.  Welcoming Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping told his guest, according to Xinhua News Agency: “This is the first time I have treated a foreign leader in my hometown and I hope you have a happy stay”. The state news agency said Mr. Xi described their relationship as a “bilateral strategic partnership.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first visit to China since taking office a year ago marks the latest effort by the two neighbors to overcome their strategic differences and increase bilateral trade to levels that reflect their huge populations and fast economic growth.
Modi, as the chief Minister of Gujarat in 2011 has been an admirer of China. He said at that time: “China and its people have a special place in my heart. I admire their hard working, disciplined and resilient nature and above all, their sense of history. Our cultural bonds are very strong and deep-rooted. Over the years, our relations have further strengthened. We are committed to making them still better, fruitful and productive”.

“One belt one road” strategy
Modi as the Indian Prime Minister has dual responsibility. While he seeks Chinese cooperation in economic and infrastructure areas, he has to be careful about India’s role in Asia Pacific as both are in silent competition to influence the region as rivals.  Furthermore India’s policy of regional cooperation with many of the South Asian countries is to keep in check the increasing Chinese larger footprint in Nepal and Bangladesh. It appears that he cannot put political rivalry in the back burner.
Some of the strategic differences are as follows: The Chinese proposal of “one belt one road” is not comfortable to India. Through the Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB), the Chinese hope to integrate the economies of Eurasia. In parallel, the Chinese have embarked on the 21st century Maritime Silk Road, which hopes to establish a string of ports, industrial parks, tourism hubs and smart cities along the coast.
To counter China’s maritime ambitions India proposes with a ‘Cotton Route’ to help forge economic and strategic partnerships with other countries by reviving ancient Indian Ocean pathways through which the fabric was exported to both the east and west.
The ‘Cotton Route,’ still in the nascent stages, will reach out farther and wider, official sources hinted. It is aimed at increasing India’s economic cooperation and strategic partnerships with countries in the Indian Ocean region. Sources said India’s first cotton exports date back to the 1st century CE.
In his “Monsoon” (2010), US author Robert D. Kaplan argues:”We need fresh ways of seeing the world.” Most important of all, it is in the Indian Ocean that the interests and influence of India, China and the United States are beginning to overlap and intersect. It is here, Kaplan says, that the 21st century’s “global power dynamics will be revealed.”

‘Reverse string-of pearls’ strategy
The ‘String of Pearls’ is a geopolitical theory regarding potential Chinese intentions in the Indian Ocean region. The emergence of the String of Pearls is indicative of China’s growing geopolitical influence through concerted efforts to increase access to ports and airfields, expand and modernize military forces, and foster stronger diplomatic relationships with trading partners.
India feels threatened by the encirclement of China’s ‘string of pearls.’ To counter Chinese “String of Pearls” India has taken the initiative of a ‘reverse string-of-pearls’ strategy in cooperation with, Vietnam, Japan, Australia, and Russia and it  would have a significant containment effect on China’s global ambitions, though Moscow’s thinking differed from Delhi’s strategy.
India held a maritime conference a Bhubaneswar (Orissa) for three days from 20th March. In redefining India’s geopolitical relationship, Modi has been keen to hold balance of power in the Asia-Pacific dialogue that involves all the major players in the region on a single dialogue platform. However, it is not known if the Bhubaneswar conference made any lasting impact amongst the participants.
The main thrust of Modi’s China visit appears to attract Chinese investment and Chinese tourists in India for its economic growth. India seeks Chinese investment in railways and other infrastructure projects.
China, which is conducting a feasibility study into a $36 billion bullet train project from the Indian capital in the north to Chennai in the south, has asked for work to begin on a pilot project covering part of the route, officials said.
The two sides have also agreed to speed up implementation of a shorter high-speed rail corridor from Chennai to Bengaluru, as China seeks to cash in on Modi’s vision of modernizing the train system that 25 million people use daily.
Japan and France are the other countries bidding for a share of modernizing India’s rail system, the world’s fourth largest, in which India is seeking investment of $137 billion over the next five years.

India’s engagement with China
A Chinese official said this week that. Modi’s three-day trip produced $10 billion in new twenty four deals when he met his counterpart, Premier Li Keqiang, on 15th May in Beijing. Project areas include economy, trade, science, technology and agriculture.
Modi has been keen to reduce the huge deficit with China. Last year the bilateral trade amounted to $70.6 billion, and India had a deficit of $37 billion. For China and India with a combined population of 2.8 billion people the bilateral trade volume is meager. Modi sought to reduce the deficit in exporting to China in such areas where India has a very successful record such as pharmaceuticals, information technology (software) and some agricultural products
Chinese President Xi Jinping assured India’s visiting prime minister that China has peaceful intentions in pursuing economic development projects in South Asia including India to facilitate the peace, stability and prosperity of the region. He was indirectly referring to his visit to Pakistan last April when he committed about $46 billion on infrastructure projects linking Pakistan and China through strategic corridor.
India’s “part containment and part engagement” approach towards China has nevertheless led to the emergence of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), where both countries are founding members.
India and China are also central to the emergence of the New Development Bank, steered by the BRICS, and which would have K.V. Kamath as its first head. India and China’s partnership in re-defining the global financial architecture and can consolidate if India becomes a member in a future bank that will be formed by countries belonging to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), ­ an institution that New Delhi could join later this year.
As India is becoming closer to the US and Japan as strategic partners to contain Chinese influence in the Asia Pacific region, it is to be seen whether Modi’s visit to China can remove the mistrust following the 1962 brief war as a result  in territorial disputes. The challenge for the Indian prime minister is the same as for many other Chinese neighbours: to establish common interest with China, increasingly confident that its ascendancy is irreversible.
The writer is former Bangladesh Ambassador to the UN, Geneva

Comment

Barrister Harun ur Rashid

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi just concluded a much publicized three-day visit to China from 14th May.  Welcoming Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping told his guest, according to Xinhua News Agency: “This is the first time I have treated a foreign leader in my hometown and I hope you have a happy stay”. The state news agency said Mr. Xi described their relationship as a “bilateral strategic partnership.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first visit to China since taking office a year ago marks the latest effort by the two neighbors to overcome their strategic differences and increase bilateral trade to levels that reflect their huge populations and fast economic growth.
Modi, as the chief Minister of Gujarat in 2011 has been an admirer of China. He said at that time: “China and its people have a special place in my heart. I admire their hard working, disciplined and resilient nature and above all, their sense of history. Our cultural bonds are very strong and deep-rooted. Over the years, our relations have further strengthened. We are committed to making them still better, fruitful and productive”.

“One belt one road” strategy
Modi as the Indian Prime Minister has dual responsibility. While he seeks Chinese cooperation in economic and infrastructure areas, he has to be careful about India’s role in Asia Pacific as both are in silent competition to influence the region as rivals.  Furthermore India’s policy of regional cooperation with many of the South Asian countries is to keep in check the increasing Chinese larger footprint in Nepal and Bangladesh. It appears that he cannot put political rivalry in the back burner.
Some of the strategic differences are as follows: The Chinese proposal of “one belt one road” is not comfortable to India. Through the Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB), the Chinese hope to integrate the economies of Eurasia. In parallel, the Chinese have embarked on the 21st century Maritime Silk Road, which hopes to establish a string of ports, industrial parks, tourism hubs and smart cities along the coast.
To counter China’s maritime ambitions India proposes with a ‘Cotton Route’ to help forge economic and strategic partnerships with other countries by reviving ancient Indian Ocean pathways through which the fabric was exported to both the east and west.
The ‘Cotton Route,’ still in the nascent stages, will reach out farther and wider, official sources hinted. It is aimed at increasing India’s economic cooperation and strategic partnerships with countries in the Indian Ocean region. Sources said India’s first cotton exports date back to the 1st century CE.
In his “Monsoon” (2010), US author Robert D. Kaplan argues:”We need fresh ways of seeing the world.” Most important of all, it is in the Indian Ocean that the interests and influence of India, China and the United States are beginning to overlap and intersect. It is here, Kaplan says, that the 21st century’s “global power dynamics will be revealed.”

‘Reverse string-of pearls’ strategy
The ‘String of Pearls’ is a geopolitical theory regarding potential Chinese intentions in the Indian Ocean region. The emergence of the String of Pearls is indicative of China’s growing geopolitical influence through concerted efforts to increase access to ports and airfields, expand and modernize military forces, and foster stronger diplomatic relationships with trading partners.
India feels threatened by the encirclement of China’s ‘string of pearls.’ To counter Chinese “String of Pearls” India has taken the initiative of a ‘reverse string-of-pearls’ strategy in cooperation with, Vietnam, Japan, Australia, and Russia and it  would have a significant containment effect on China’s global ambitions, though Moscow’s thinking differed from Delhi’s strategy.
India held a maritime conference a Bhubaneswar (Orissa) for three days from 20th March. In redefining India’s geopolitical relationship, Modi has been keen to hold balance of power in the Asia-Pacific dialogue that involves all the major players in the region on a single dialogue platform. However, it is not known if the Bhubaneswar conference made any lasting impact amongst the participants.
The main thrust of Modi’s China visit appears to attract Chinese investment and Chinese tourists in India for its economic growth. India seeks Chinese investment in railways and other infrastructure projects.
China, which is conducting a feasibility study into a $36 billion bullet train project from the Indian capital in the north to Chennai in the south, has asked for work to begin on a pilot project covering part of the route, officials said.
The two sides have also agreed to speed up implementation of a shorter high-speed rail corridor from Chennai to Bengaluru, as China seeks to cash in on Modi’s vision of modernizing the train system that 25 million people use daily.
Japan and France are the other countries bidding for a share of modernizing India’s rail system, the world’s fourth largest, in which India is seeking investment of $137 billion over the next five years.

India’s engagement with China
A Chinese official said this week that. Modi’s three-day trip produced $10 billion in new twenty four deals when he met his counterpart, Premier Li Keqiang, on 15th May in Beijing. Project areas include economy, trade, science, technology and agriculture.
Modi has been keen to reduce the huge deficit with China. Last year the bilateral trade amounted to $70.6 billion, and India had a deficit of $37 billion. For China and India with a combined population of 2.8 billion people the bilateral trade volume is meager. Modi sought to reduce the deficit in exporting to China in such areas where India has a very successful record such as pharmaceuticals, information technology (software) and some agricultural products
Chinese President Xi Jinping assured India’s visiting prime minister that China has peaceful intentions in pursuing economic development projects in South Asia including India to facilitate the peace, stability and prosperity of the region. He was indirectly referring to his visit to Pakistan last April when he committed about $46 billion on infrastructure projects linking Pakistan and China through strategic corridor.
India’s “part containment and part engagement” approach towards China has nevertheless led to the emergence of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), where both countries are founding members.
India and China are also central to the emergence of the New Development Bank, steered by the BRICS, and which would have K.V. Kamath as its first head. India and China’s partnership in re-defining the global financial architecture and can consolidate if India becomes a member in a future bank that will be formed by countries belonging to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), ­ an institution that New Delhi could join later this year.
As India is becoming closer to the US and Japan as strategic partners to contain Chinese influence in the Asia Pacific region, it is to be seen whether Modi’s visit to China can remove the mistrust following the 1962 brief war as a result  in territorial disputes. The challenge for the Indian prime minister is the same as for many other Chinese neighbours: to establish common interest with China, increasingly confident that its ascendancy is irreversible.
The writer is former Bangladesh Ambassador to the UN, Geneva


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 VIEW POINT

Blight of human trafficking and drug smuggling must end?

A.M.K.Chowdhury

Although human trafficking is often a hidden crime and accurate statistics are difficult to obtain, researchers estimate that more than 80 per cent of trafficking victims are female, says RandomHistory.com. Over 50 per cent of human trafficking victims are children.
Human trafficking implicates a serious insult to humanity and violation of human rights. The recent discovery of mass graves in a jungle in Thailand where 50 Bangladeshis were buried, who had been trafficked to get job abroad, unearthed a very unpleasant picture for the country. According to Thai authorities, there are at least 40 such mass graves in the jungle. At least 5,000 people of Cox’s Bazar district alone left the country illegally to get job abroad in 2013 have gone missing. (The Daily Observer, dated May 9,2015). It depicted a deplorable scenario of unemployment problem in the country. When the government fail to ensure safety and security of people then they go abroad taking risk of their lives for livelihood.
A Bangla daily reported about 50 thousand people were trafficked for Malaysia by sea in last 3 years to get job. Of them over three thousand and five hundred (3500) people were found missing. The law enforcement agencies in their drive from time to time rescued as many as five hundred people. (The Daily Naya Diganta, dated May 7, 2015). The Thai authorities rescued 117 migrants from a jungle of which 91 were Bangladeshis and the remaining 26 were Rohingyas (Myanmar Muslim nationals) as reported on May 10, 2015.
A United Nations High Commissions for Refugees (UNHCR) report said despite the risks, an estimated 25,000 Rohingya and Bangladeshis boarded smugglers’ boats on the Bay of Bengal between January and March this year – almost double the number over the same period in 2014. The finding came out in the latest Irregular Maritime Movements in South-East Asia report. Many victims of human trafficking drown in trawler capsize, some go missing and some land in jails and some are buried in mass grave in jungles in Thailand.

Cox’s Bazar has become a safe haven
The coastal region of Cox’s Bazar has become a safe haven for human traffickers as many powerful vested quarters continue to smuggle people off to Malaysia by sea on a regular basis. Law enforcers in Cox’s Bazar have prepared a list of 79 godfathers of human traffickers in Teknaf only.
Of them Awami League (AL) lawmaker Abdur Rahman Bodi of Cox’s Bazar – 4 constituency’s name topped the list followed by his brother Mujibur Rahman, Cox’s Bazar municipal unit President of the AL and third Teknaf Upazila Chairman Zafar Ahmed. Dolu Hossain, 55, who was number four in the list and two other traffickers – Jahangir Alam, 34, and Jafar Alam, 38, were killed in gunfight with police in Teknaf.

International links
International traffickers having links with them pick up people from Bangladesh and Myanmar and send them to Thailand and Malaysia, where they are sold as slaves. If the victims’ families are unable to pay the demand money. (The Daily Observer, dated May 9, 2015).
Another report said the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) approved three separate charge sheets against former State Minister for Housing and Public Works Abdul Mannan Khan and his wife Hasina Sultana, and AL lawmaker Abdur Rahman Bodi of Cox’s Bazar – 4 constituency for allegedly amassing wealth beyond their known source of income. Abdul Mannan Khan accumulated wealth worth Tk. 2.65 crore, Hasina Sultana wealth worth Tk. 3.35 crore Abdur Rahman Bodi amassed wealth worth Tk. 6.33 crore illegally, according to charge  sheets. (The Daily Sun, dated May 7, 2015)
Earlier a report said the amount of the property of Abdul Mannan Khan rose from Tk. 10.33 lakh to 11.03 crore in five years. The income of Abdur Rahman Bodi, MP, AL, had risen by 351 per cent and neat property by 19 per cent , according to affidavit submitted to the Election Commission (EC) prior to the parliamentary election. (The Independent, dated January 23, 2014).

Various crimes
Another report said Abdur Rahman Bodi sought nomination from the BNP (Bangladesh Nationalist Party) in 1996 election. But the BNP high command did not give him nomination because of his involvement in various crimes. Even he assaulted Abdul Halim, Executive Engineer of Roads and Highways department for not doing work as per his instruction. He then got nomination from the AL and became MP (Member of Parliament. (Ajker Surjodoy, 21 – 27 October 2014 issue)
Earlier a report said police dropped names of all principal accused from charge sheet in a case over illegal Yaba trade in Cox’s Bazar region, allegedly controlled by Abdur Rahman Bodi, MP, who had recently been jailed for massive corruption but came out on bail after a few weeks. Illegal yaba trade worth crore of takas is run by a gang of criminals mostly members or close to the ruling party AL especially its Cox’s Bazar MP Abdur Rahman Bodi and his brothers and relatives.

1,250 pieces of Yaba drug
The report further said Bodi forced police to drop notorious Yaba traders’ name from the charge sheet. The police arrested four students of Dhaka University, reportedly members of BCL (Bangladesh Chhatra League) student wing of ruling party AL with 1,250 pieces of Yaba tablets on December 7, 2014. The use of Yaba, a narcotic drug, has increased in the country by 77 times (7621 per cent) over the past six years, the report said. (The Daily Observer, dated December 10, 2014)
Another report said while Abdur Rahman Bodi, MP, came out on bail, he was given a royal reception by his party men. Many leaders and activists of his party i.e. AL in a motorcade of a thousand cars went to the airport to receive him. Some 200 arches and five stages were built in 60 kilometres road on Cox’s Bazar – Teknaf highway to welcome him. Bodi sarcastically thanked Chairman, ACC and journalists to justify his popularity in the area by filing case against him and to make him popular all over the country. (The Daily Naya Diganta, dated November 6, 2014).

200 parents killed by their drug addict sons
A report said at least two hundred parents were killed by their drug addict sons in the last 10 years. At the same time more than 250 women were killed by their drug addict husbands. Some days ago, adolescent girl ‘Oishi’, a drug addict, murdered her parents in the capital. His father was a police officer. (The Daily Naya Diganta, dated April 22, 2015).
Youth and Sports Minister Biren Sikder told Parliament that at present 19 lakhs 51 thousand educated youths are unemployed in the country. (ibid, dated December 1, 2014). Needless to say, a large number of uneducated youths are also unemployed. If the job seekers could be provided with jobs by the government then they would not be the victims of human trafficking. Top priority should be given to solve unemployment problem in the country.
The Daily Star in its May 7, 2015 issue reported that it estimates around 2.5 lakh Bangladeshis took sea journeys in the last eight years, but the actual number of the missing, murdered, jailed or dead on way to Malaysia or Thailand is still unknown. However’,The Daily Star’ reported on May 12, 2015 that four boats carrying some 1,400 migrants were rescued off the coast of Indonesia and Malaysia on May 11, a day after nearly 600 migrants had been rescued from a wooden vessel off Indonesian’s northwestern province of Aceh.
Human trafficking and smuggling of drugs should be stopped at any cost. The godfathers of human trafficking and drug smuggling should be brought to speedy trial and exemplary prosecution in the interest of the country.

Comment

A.M.K.Chowdhury

Although human trafficking is often a hidden crime and accurate statistics are difficult to obtain, researchers estimate that more than 80 per cent of trafficking victims are female, says RandomHistory.com. Over 50 per cent of human trafficking victims are children.
Human trafficking implicates a serious insult to humanity and violation of human rights. The recent discovery of mass graves in a jungle in Thailand where 50 Bangladeshis were buried, who had been trafficked to get job abroad, unearthed a very unpleasant picture for the country. According to Thai authorities, there are at least 40 such mass graves in the jungle. At least 5,000 people of Cox’s Bazar district alone left the country illegally to get job abroad in 2013 have gone missing. (The Daily Observer, dated May 9,2015). It depicted a deplorable scenario of unemployment problem in the country. When the government fail to ensure safety and security of people then they go abroad taking risk of their lives for livelihood.
A Bangla daily reported about 50 thousand people were trafficked for Malaysia by sea in last 3 years to get job. Of them over three thousand and five hundred (3500) people were found missing. The law enforcement agencies in their drive from time to time rescued as many as five hundred people. (The Daily Naya Diganta, dated May 7, 2015). The Thai authorities rescued 117 migrants from a jungle of which 91 were Bangladeshis and the remaining 26 were Rohingyas (Myanmar Muslim nationals) as reported on May 10, 2015.
A United Nations High Commissions for Refugees (UNHCR) report said despite the risks, an estimated 25,000 Rohingya and Bangladeshis boarded smugglers’ boats on the Bay of Bengal between January and March this year – almost double the number over the same period in 2014. The finding came out in the latest Irregular Maritime Movements in South-East Asia report. Many victims of human trafficking drown in trawler capsize, some go missing and some land in jails and some are buried in mass grave in jungles in Thailand.

Cox’s Bazar has become a safe haven
The coastal region of Cox’s Bazar has become a safe haven for human traffickers as many powerful vested quarters continue to smuggle people off to Malaysia by sea on a regular basis. Law enforcers in Cox’s Bazar have prepared a list of 79 godfathers of human traffickers in Teknaf only.
Of them Awami League (AL) lawmaker Abdur Rahman Bodi of Cox’s Bazar – 4 constituency’s name topped the list followed by his brother Mujibur Rahman, Cox’s Bazar municipal unit President of the AL and third Teknaf Upazila Chairman Zafar Ahmed. Dolu Hossain, 55, who was number four in the list and two other traffickers – Jahangir Alam, 34, and Jafar Alam, 38, were killed in gunfight with police in Teknaf.

International links
International traffickers having links with them pick up people from Bangladesh and Myanmar and send them to Thailand and Malaysia, where they are sold as slaves. If the victims’ families are unable to pay the demand money. (The Daily Observer, dated May 9, 2015).
Another report said the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) approved three separate charge sheets against former State Minister for Housing and Public Works Abdul Mannan Khan and his wife Hasina Sultana, and AL lawmaker Abdur Rahman Bodi of Cox’s Bazar – 4 constituency for allegedly amassing wealth beyond their known source of income. Abdul Mannan Khan accumulated wealth worth Tk. 2.65 crore, Hasina Sultana wealth worth Tk. 3.35 crore Abdur Rahman Bodi amassed wealth worth Tk. 6.33 crore illegally, according to charge  sheets. (The Daily Sun, dated May 7, 2015)
Earlier a report said the amount of the property of Abdul Mannan Khan rose from Tk. 10.33 lakh to 11.03 crore in five years. The income of Abdur Rahman Bodi, MP, AL, had risen by 351 per cent and neat property by 19 per cent , according to affidavit submitted to the Election Commission (EC) prior to the parliamentary election. (The Independent, dated January 23, 2014).

Various crimes
Another report said Abdur Rahman Bodi sought nomination from the BNP (Bangladesh Nationalist Party) in 1996 election. But the BNP high command did not give him nomination because of his involvement in various crimes. Even he assaulted Abdul Halim, Executive Engineer of Roads and Highways department for not doing work as per his instruction. He then got nomination from the AL and became MP (Member of Parliament. (Ajker Surjodoy, 21 – 27 October 2014 issue)
Earlier a report said police dropped names of all principal accused from charge sheet in a case over illegal Yaba trade in Cox’s Bazar region, allegedly controlled by Abdur Rahman Bodi, MP, who had recently been jailed for massive corruption but came out on bail after a few weeks. Illegal yaba trade worth crore of takas is run by a gang of criminals mostly members or close to the ruling party AL especially its Cox’s Bazar MP Abdur Rahman Bodi and his brothers and relatives.

1,250 pieces of Yaba drug
The report further said Bodi forced police to drop notorious Yaba traders’ name from the charge sheet. The police arrested four students of Dhaka University, reportedly members of BCL (Bangladesh Chhatra League) student wing of ruling party AL with 1,250 pieces of Yaba tablets on December 7, 2014. The use of Yaba, a narcotic drug, has increased in the country by 77 times (7621 per cent) over the past six years, the report said. (The Daily Observer, dated December 10, 2014)
Another report said while Abdur Rahman Bodi, MP, came out on bail, he was given a royal reception by his party men. Many leaders and activists of his party i.e. AL in a motorcade of a thousand cars went to the airport to receive him. Some 200 arches and five stages were built in 60 kilometres road on Cox’s Bazar – Teknaf highway to welcome him. Bodi sarcastically thanked Chairman, ACC and journalists to justify his popularity in the area by filing case against him and to make him popular all over the country. (The Daily Naya Diganta, dated November 6, 2014).

200 parents killed by their drug addict sons
A report said at least two hundred parents were killed by their drug addict sons in the last 10 years. At the same time more than 250 women were killed by their drug addict husbands. Some days ago, adolescent girl ‘Oishi’, a drug addict, murdered her parents in the capital. His father was a police officer. (The Daily Naya Diganta, dated April 22, 2015).
Youth and Sports Minister Biren Sikder told Parliament that at present 19 lakhs 51 thousand educated youths are unemployed in the country. (ibid, dated December 1, 2014). Needless to say, a large number of uneducated youths are also unemployed. If the job seekers could be provided with jobs by the government then they would not be the victims of human trafficking. Top priority should be given to solve unemployment problem in the country.
The Daily Star in its May 7, 2015 issue reported that it estimates around 2.5 lakh Bangladeshis took sea journeys in the last eight years, but the actual number of the missing, murdered, jailed or dead on way to Malaysia or Thailand is still unknown. However’,The Daily Star’ reported on May 12, 2015 that four boats carrying some 1,400 migrants were rescued off the coast of Indonesia and Malaysia on May 11, a day after nearly 600 migrants had been rescued from a wooden vessel off Indonesian’s northwestern province of Aceh.
Human trafficking and smuggling of drugs should be stopped at any cost. The godfathers of human trafficking and drug smuggling should be brought to speedy trial and exemplary prosecution in the interest of the country.


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