Tuesday, 12 March 2013

More media bias and politicisation of Shahbag

Time for our daily helping of bias from the Daily Star:

Police excesses at BNP’s central office

Law-enforcers on Monday stormed into BNP’s central office at Nayapaltan and arrested some 200 leaders from there.  In their two- and-half hour raid, the police also reportedly confiscated papers and party documents.
But amid this worrisome development,  a bit of relief is that the next day (Tuesday), three of the arrested senior opposition leaders including the party’s acting secretary general Fakhrul Islam Alamgir were released.

On Monday, the police acted with vengeance and in an extremely highhanded manner. What is of utmost concern is what led them to barge into the central office of a major political party, break down doors and manhandle senior opposition leaders. It was outrageous, unprecedented and uncalled-for. We condemn their action in the strongest possible terms.

I don't remember the Daily Star being too bothered with the actions of the police just a few weeks ago which Odhikar termed a "killing spree"  - did I miss something?

As for Shahbag, here's the events over the last few days. First this:

Shahbagh protesters at a large rally at Uttara in the city rally on Sunday said that no threats could stop them from holding their scheduled rally in Chittagong on March 13.

Then Hefajat-e-Islaam (what a name) - reaffirmed their rally for Wednesday, which the government apparently tried to avert in order to make sure the local branch of Shahbag is opened without any annoyances:

In order of Government high officials,Chittagong District Commissioner and High officials of Low-enforces urged Hifazat-e-islam Amir , President of Qawmi Madrasah education Broad Shah Ahmed Shofi to withdraw Wednesday Chittagong Hartal .But Shah Ahmed Shofi instantly rejected the proposal to withdraw Wednesday hartal.

He informed the government officials that, Chittagong is the holy land of Oli-Auliya and Pir Masayekh , and they will resist  atheist anti-Islamic Shahbaghi to come on  that holy land.

He also added , On 13th March they will enforce a strict hartal and thousands of Touhudi Janata will be on the  street. He added they will do their best to resist Atheist Shahbaghi to come on this holly land .

Elsewhere, Hefajat denied any connection with Jamaat: “We do not have any link with Jamaat-e-Islami or are engaged in any activity to implement agenda of any political party,” Hefajat leaders claimed.

Their other demands include closure of blogs where ‘atheist bloggers’ are defaming Allah, Hazrat Muhammad and Islam, stopping ‘conspiracy’ to remove High Court Justice Mizanur Rahman Bhuiyan and withdrawal of the cases filed against Amar Desh acting editor editor Mahmudur Rahman.

The programmes also include long march toward parliament from all districts and grand rally at all divisional headquarters next month, special prayer for fall of atheists at all 4,50,000 mosques across the country, grand rally of Imams of the mosques and grand rally of 40,00,000 Olama Mashayekh.  

(if anyone can make any sense of these zeros and commas, I'd love to know)

Once it became clear to Imran H Sarkar and Co. which way the wind is blowing (and Hefajat-e-Islaam is certainly closer in their epistemology to being 'Taliban' than Jamaat, despite Shahbagi insistence that the latter are a terrorist organisation) the Shahbag-like rally in Chittagong was cancelled.

Note also the following from the Uttara rally referred to above:
Bangladesh Chhatra Union president SM Shubho, Chhatra Maitree president Bappaditya Basu, Bangladesh Chhatra League general secretary Siddiqui Nazmul Alam, JSD-backed Chhatra League general secretary Shamsul Islam, Samajtantrik Chhatra Front general secretary Mehedi Hasan, Biplabi Chhatra Maitree president Abdur Rauf, Chhatra Oikya Forum convener, Sohan Sobhan and Chhatra Federation office secretary Samia Rahman spoke at the rally.

Who can possibly believe this is a non-political movement?

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