Thursday, July 1, 2010

Bangladesh (June 30 2010)

Jamaat stalwarts land in jail
Comments: What a big news from Dhaka. Sheikh Hasina government is going hammer and tongs on the J-e-I for orchestrating much of the violence in BD during the misrule with BNP. I would nt be too far if I held the failed assassination attempt on SHW as the final nail in the coffin of the J-e-I. For thirty-plus years, folks in J-e-I had learned to live with the 1971 aftermath and if all of a sudden, SHW is going nuts on J-e-I today, J-e-I has noone else to blame but themselves. As the pithy saying goes: don't go after the snake unless you are willing to get the job done.

For those new to this saga (few, I guess), J-e-I honcho Golam Azam was well-documented to have goaded his men (the razakars, the al badrs, the al shams, etc.) to murder Bengali intellectuals (a significant fraction of them being Hindu) during the 1971 war, rape and maim children and women in hundreds of thousands. Folks such as Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury (who is now a member of the BNP!) and his father and many many others have taken a gleeful part in this genocide with no other parallels, the other side of World War II. Many of these slalwarts were motivated by the ideas of Maulana Bhasani and his war-cry for a greater Bangassam (Bengal + Assam with a Muslim majority of course).

To nail J-e-I ameer (chief) Motiur Rahman Nizami, secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammed Mujahid and nayeb-e-ameer (vice president) Delwar Hossein Sayedee in some unrelated charge of hurting the sentiments of Muslims must still require some balls. Kudos to SHW's government. There are still many floating around such as senior nayeb-e-ameer Abul Kalam Muhammad Yusuf, Muhammed Rafiqul Islam Khan, AHM Hamidur Rahman Azad, Mohammad Iqbal, etc. Here is the official charge:
The three were present at a meeting on March 17 when Dhaka city JeI Ameer Rafiqul Islam Khan compared Nizami’s perceived persecution by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government with sufferings of Prophet Muhammad. This had hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims, as per a complaint lodged with the police by Syed Rejaul Haque Chandpuri, secretary general of the Bangladesh Tarikat Federation. Bangladesh, an Islamic Republic, has an overwhelming Muslim majority population. Nizami and Mojaheed, both ministers in the government of Begum Khaleda Zia (2001-06) are also on the list of “war criminals” — those who targeted unarmed civilians in the run-up to the 1971 freedom movement.
Sweet comeuppance, if you ask me!

The other giant tasks of the SHW government are:
a) to bring back the killers and conspirators in the Sheikh Mujib assassination case. Easier said than done. Recall that five of them have been hanged on Jan 28, 2010: Syed Farooq Rahman, Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, Bazlul Huda, AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed, and Mohiuddin Ahmed.
One, Abdul Aziz Pasha, died in Zimbabwe in 2001. There are six of them on the run outside Bangladesh: Khandaker Abdur Rashid, Shariful Haque Dalim, Noor Chowdhury, Rashed Chowdhury, Abdul Mazed, and Moslehuddin Khan. Of these,
1) Noor Chowdhury is believed to be in the US
2) Shariful Haque Dalim is in Canada
3) Faruk’s brother-in-law Khandaker Abdur Rashid is in Pakistan
4) M.A. Rashed Chowdhury is in South Africa
5) Mosleuddin is in Thailand and
6) Abdul Mazed is in Kenya.

b) complete the Pilkhana massacre case and punish the guilty cadres of BDR. The study of this will follow at a later time.
Two other developments are happening in Bangladesh side-by-side without many in India noticing it. Both are in some sense related. One has to do with the visceral fear of Burma. The Bangladesh government has often exhibited a perennial fear of Burma, even though Burma is only 1/4th the population of Bangladesh (Burma pop \approx 42m, BD pop \approx 160m). My feeling is that a proportionate fear is not exhibited against India (even though India is 8 times the size of BD). One could say: there is only so much that the Bangladeshis can be paranoidal about India, and it caps after a certain point. But then the real reason may lie elsewhere. Burma is equally (if not more) brutal than the civilian as well as military regimes in Bangladesh. This despite Burma being a so-called Buddhist nation. Gen. Ne Win and after that, Gen. Than Shwe have ensured that the Christian minorities in the Shan and Karen provinces have bowed down to the ethnic Burman community. With due measure, the Karen and Shan rebels have not only fostered insurgencies in Nagaland with their fellow Christian Naga brothers (NSCN-K and NSCN-IM have long taken refuge in Burma using the porous Arunachal border districts of Tirap and Changlang, as well as Nagaland border districts), but also acted as pawns in the hands of western interests. The Burmese generals have gone hammer and tongs and the Bangladeshi government fears them, somuchso when the Na Sa Kha (the Burmese border guards) went fishing (pun intended) in the uncalibrated Burma-Bangladesh maritime border, there was such a giant whinefest in Bangladeshi media.

Now, the Burmese are running after nuclear power. And the Bangladeshis truly fear such an eventuality. In fact, read this editorial in the daily star:
Myanmar and nuclear weapons
Now, from an Indian viewpoint, Burma going nuclear should make one ponder. Is it in India's best interests? As articulated by the diplomats, it is a clear no. We in India do not want to handle yet another nuclear power in our neighborhood. We already have enough idiocy vis-a-vis pakistan and china. The other giant neighbor of Burma is china. Is it in china's best interests to allow Burma to go nuclear? Only if the Burmese would always be subservient to the chinese in future strategic considerations. But what if the chinese wanted to open a second axis on India and contain India within the subcontinent by making Bangladesh go nuclear in response to Burma going nuclear. The fall of the dominoes will eventually help china, that could well be the calculation. But the Burmese, despite the silence against the chinese, are not afraid of the chinese completely as the Kokang incident showed. The Burmese are diligently buying and using china and will one day bite back against china, when push comes to shove. What if the Burmese going nuclear will make the Thais fear their future and push them closer towards their fellow brothers in Yunnan, the Dai peoples? And what if that makes Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia go nuclear because each one fears the other. In short, all these possibilities are not too far-fetched. But, as we well know, the chinese are more afraid of the U.S. than they are of the consequences of any nuclear proliferation mission. The big game plan of the chinese could well be to make the whole region go down in flames just to ensure that once the dust settles, the U.S. would be out of South China sea and they will lord and master the naval flotillas in that region. What is abundantly clear is that, we are sitting on a keg of nuclear warfare, with de javu all over again written in crisp and clear red ink (pun intended).

The other issue is the hiring of a company by the Government of Bangladesh to fight its maritime boundary case at the UNCLOS mission. There have been many recent reports in the daily star on this:
1) Maritime Disputes with Myanmar ---
Dhaka sends documents to int'l court to end disputes
Bangladesh goes to court
3) India, China plot Bangladesh woe
4) Bangladesh sea boundary examined through UNCLOS III

My take on this matter will be at a later time.

Some other reports that found my fancy today
1) Maldives government resigns!!
2) Nepal PM resigns!! {Is someone plotting for mayhem in "South Asia?" Can feed many conspiracy theorists with these coincidences}
3) J&K burns, courtesy the L-e-T
4) On the mayhem front, something close to home, but then this was always inevitable. Told you so. Wait for more mayhem.
India's mobile market nightmare

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At July 1, 2010 at 5:32 AM , Anonymous Al said...

Thanks, Stan saar. Please keep posting.

At July 1, 2010 at 6:48 AM , Blogger Pax-Indica said...

Thanks, Al.

At July 1, 2010 at 2:34 PM , Anonymous Rudradev said...

Congratulations on the new blog Stan! Given the wealth of information you post on BRF about the "other neighbours", I will be a regular visitor here.

At July 2, 2010 at 5:26 AM , Anonymous JE Menon said...

Wonderful initiative Stan. Keep fighting the good fight!!!

At July 18, 2010 at 2:29 PM , Blogger powerslave said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At July 18, 2010 at 2:43 PM , Blogger kittoo said...

Great Blog Stan Sir. Good to have another place to read your wonderful posts.


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