Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for April, 2010

The democratic situations and its differences in Asia and Europe

By Jahangir Alam Akash: The nucleus of democracy is the people, people and people. The real appearance of the democracy is the rule of the people. The people’s representatives elected through free, unobstructed and transparent elections are the motor of the democracy. So people are the actual steering of the democratic rule. Regarding this, the sayings of Abraham Lincoln, President of United states of America can be quoted. With a very small sentence, such an elaborate explanation of democracy is rare: ‘Government by the people, for the people and of the people.’
In most of the countries now, democracy is established. But in Europe it is most powerful and effective. As per the historical facts, 4-5 hundred years, before the birth of Jesus Christ, the Philosophers, Aristotle, Plato etc. of Greece, first have given the outline of the democratic rule in Europe. In democratic and economic aspects, now in Europe, Germany and Switzerland are in the top position. In general, USA is now under Europe. Worst situations are in Asia and Africa. Especially, the condition of Bangladesh is very precarious.
Personally I am not a political expert or an active political worker. I am a common citizen of a 3rd world developing country. I want to tell something about the conditions of democracy in Europe and Asia. On the situations of German and Bangladesh democracy and lately, I have a little experience about the German people’s representative. On the politics of these two countries and with special reference to their members of the parliament, I want to make a comparative discussion.
What we can learn from the democracy and the people’s representatives of the greatest economic and rich country of Europe? In other words, how democracy and the representatives of Bangladesh can be benefitted from such experiences of Germany country and how they can be utilised in their own country.
The majority people of Bangladesh are victims of the absence of the rule of law, culture of democracy and the ill-politics. As a professional journalist, I am also a victim of this dark side. After many tortures and persecutions, I was compelled to leave my country. Truly speaking, I could come back from the door of sure death. I don’t want to discuss that here.
Let us come to the main point. There three pillars of democratic administration. They are: legislative, judiciary and public administration. One is dependent to the other. They control and co-ordinate each other and thus the democracy are active. All these three powers are to work with the same motive. This is people’s welfare and serving the people. One is related totally to the other. To steer these three components into the right direction is the responsibility of the politicians. Elected by the direct votes of the peoples, politicians are the upholder, career and the protector of the democracy.
Peoples get the democratic rights only when the above mentioned three systems work properly or be effective. But the in Asian countries, especially t our dear Bangladesh, none of these three does not seem to be working. If the systems were working, the situation of the human rights is not so deteriorated. Because of the electricity, water and gas, peoples have not to suffer! Political rivalry, envy and enmity are not present. To the political leaders and workers of all the parties, the interest of the people and the country would have the highest priority.
Recently, I have come to know a German Member of the Parliament who belongs to the present central government. How he can help in the progress of the human rights and the poor, persecuted and tortured people of Bangladesh, he has expressed his interest to talk with me. In the last December (2009), Reinhardt Stuart, on behalf of him contacted me through the Hamburg Foundation. Mr. Klimke is a political leader of the present powerful government party, CDU (Christian Democratic Union). I met him two times. The last one was on the last 1st April.
Why I should discuss this matter? Without personal relation, nobody in Germany goes and meets any official person without an appointment. Generally, without a prior fixing of time and date, anybody (unknown) annoys another without any ground. It is a very powerful social and administrative tradition, you can say. Before our last meeting, his Secretary has talked with me, before two weeks of the meeting, one date, place of meeting and time were fixed. But later, all were changed. That has happened two days before. The new time has been fixed as 1st April, at 10-30 mornings. I have already grasped some of the rules and courtesies of this country. So I reached to before the pavilion of the famous Café, Bar Alster of Hamburg before 15 minutes. It was then 10-24. Mr. Klimke has come also. We entered into the pavilion. But we found no sitting place there. We both waited. After few minutes, two places were vacant and we were seated there,
I hope, the readers can guess why I have detailed the above incidence. Let’s talk about an MP of Bangladesh. We have just observed the behaviour of a powerful German MP in this Café-Bar and can we imagine it in Bangladesh in a same situation? What would happen in Bangladesh? Mr. MP has come to a hotel or Restaurant. Would he wait because there is no empty place? How it can be? He is the representative of the people. It means he has purchased all the country and its rules-laws. In reality, we experience this always. If there is no place and if necessary, the restaurant-authority will immediately force the sitting guests to leave their places for Mr. MP and his companions. Thus they would be much obliged (a big service for MP!). He is also to save himself from the anger of MP (in case, he fails to take any action to accommodate MP and his persons in his restaurant). We must remember that Mr. Klimke is also well known here as a local MP. But Manager is a far cry; no bearer of the café did not run to him and receive or salute him. The sitting guests who knew him, they also did not say anything particular except normal saluting.
Do any MP in Bangladesh reach any place in the fixed time? Mr. Klimke has told me during the appointment- talk that our discussion would be of 30 minutes only. What is punctuality! When our discussion has passed the 27 minutes, he reminded me. Just on 29 minute, he said that our time was finished. We would now depart. Any Bangladesh MP has reached a place to meet a common person in the fixed time, I don’t know.
There is no difference between a minister and political leader with a common person here in Germany or in Europe. Amongst the politicians or high government officials there is no competition of showing their respective powers. Peoples are given here the highest priority. To the demands and the expectations of the people and for their every facility, politicians maintain always a keen attention. In Bangladesh, it is quite opposite. Except the time of election, politicians do not care about the public!
In General, the duties and responsibilities of the MPs both in Germany and Bangladesh are almost the same. To make new roads, foundation of the schools and other academic institutions, people’s welfare, social works, development, reforms and making of law. These are the main works of a representative. Before passing a new law, the opinions of the people is inevitable in Germany. As for example: a discussion has been started to make a new rule in the parliament. Immediately, the MP will go to his constituency. About the proposed new law, he will discuss with the people through meetings or personally. He will get the reactions of his voters.
If his voters think, the law is good and necessary, they will say in its favour. If they think this law is not good for the people (at least for their region), they will say it’s against. If people do not want, an elected MP goes even against his party on a particular matter. He will not cast his vote (neutral) or cast his vote against the bill, honouring the opinions of the voters of his area. This is the culture of political of Germany. For this, he is not to explain as a member of his political party. His obligations are first to the people and then to his party. If this would occur in Bangladesh!
There are different commissions in the German Parliament. These commissions are everywhere, where democratic government is present and also in Bangladesh. The three most important commissions in Germany are: To supervise the personal income and other economic aspects of the members, Defence and Intelligence. The chairmen of these three commissions are elected from the opposition parties. So the government party has no chance to manipulate these matters. Of course, no political person manipulates here. It is not found in Bangladesh. Here, an opposition member may be the chief of any commission but two thieves are cousins on the matters of corruptions and misrules. Our situations are so. We can not differentiate between personal and party-interests with those of the people’s welfare and principle.
What can I say about the human right? Here one convicted and recognised criminal is also behaved with courtesy. During the investigative interrogations, he is asked gently and with cool brain. While in detention, his personal wants are fulfilled as far as possible. Torture does not come in to question! But the similar pictures in Bangladesh are terrible, unbearable and disgusting. Every Bengali knows it well. I don’t think that I am to detail it.
The representatives of Germany are very much conscious about the human rights and they have adequate knowledge about it. They study much on this matter. It is very difficult to say how many members of Bangladesh Parliament have the knowledge or information about human rights. And if some are aware of it, how many of them try to materialise it? The number is not definitely so much.
At the last, I want to discus about a matter. As per the present newspaper reports, everywhere in Bangladesh, the electricity, water and gas situations are catastrophic. But in the areas where MPs and Ministers and diplomats live, electricity is available for 24 hrs. Out of 24 hrs, people do not get electricity even for 8 hours! It is quite unthinkable in Germany or in Europe. If Germany had now the situations like Bangladesh, what would happen? The government must fall! There is no discrimination here. Why there would be a difference between a common person and a MP? Why the Ministers live far away from the public?
Many Ministers here live in normal houses in general residential areas. After crossing the entrance, inside, 2-3 plain-dress security personals can be seen. But in our country, a Minister’s house is kept separated and from the 500/1000 yards distance, there are many obstacles to keep it away from the people.
A dear countryman of mine (he has been living here for many years) has told me that he had lived before in a small town in the southern Germany. In weekends, a provincial Minister of this town, used to come here to stay overnight in his personal residence from his Minister’s quarter in the provincial capital. He always came with his family. The main reason was to maintain regular communications with his local voters. My countryman used to meet him on Saturday mornings in a bakery as Minister also came there to buy bread. There were exceptions but it happened often.
Both of them used to visit the shop to buy their breakfast breads. Minister came sometimes alone. He never went to any place in his town with security. Sometimes, his wife and two sons were with him. In one Saturday Morning, the man from Bangladesh has not come to the shop, he was ill. After coming back home, Minister called him over telephone, ‘Why you have not come today in the bakery? Are you making breakfast today without bread? When he has heard about the illness, within a hour, Minister has visited him with whole family and flowers to express personally their wish for the quick recovery! My country man has commented, ‘In my 32 years of life in Bangladesh, I doubt, whether I have seen a MP within a distance one hundred yards! The possibility of meeting a Minister personally is very rare. He is the moon in the sky; you can only see but can’t touch!’
In the Bangladesh Constitution it is said that people are the owners of the state. And it is also said that people are the source of the power. My question, then, why people are so much suffering? I don’t know the answer. Translated from original Bengali by Abdullah Al-Harun.
http://www.eurobangla.org/

Read Full Post »


STRUGGLE FOR PEACE
The Human Rights Today report:
The editor of “THE HUMAN RIGHTS TODAY”, journalist Jahangir Alam Akash have written two new books in English. The books are “Struggle for Peace” and “Away from Home”. In the Independence Day of Bangladesh 26 March, 2010 these books have published from Adarsha publication of Bangladesh. We would like to share about the books of Akash. The subject of these books are press freedom, minority oppression, politics, extra judicial killings, Islamic militancy, extra judicial killings, torture and the human rights in Bangladesh. Now the books are available in Germany. If anyone would like to buy then please contact with the Author (jahangiralamakash@hotmail.com).
Flairs: It is now 38 years that Bangladesh is an independent country. But the rule of law, honest administration and the culture of democracy are still far cry! Common people are searching peace. Militancy, extra judiciary murders, maladministration, party-attribution, terror, corruption are closing the path of progress. Religious and indigenous minority killings-oppressions are hindrances to the amity. The murders of Journalists are robbing the opportunity of free Reporting’s. All these current problems and crisis are well depicted through the pen of Journalist Akash. This young writer is a courageous soldier of peace and democracy. ‘Struggle for peace’ is a reflection of Bangladesh-reality. The international community will definitely get a transparent picture of Bangladesh in the book.
Preface: Possibly the struggle for peace is the oldest struggle of mankind! Sometimes it seems to me that it is like a searching of a black cat in a dark room where there is no cat at all! Yet we do not (should not) abandon the try! In the modern chaotic world, it is a hope which can still render us the meaning of life.
Who wants to live in a society where there is no justice, rule of law, fellow-feelings? But more than 155 millions of our countrymen in Bangladesh have been living under such precarious circumstances and many of them have not given up the struggle, struggle for peace. Jahangir Alam Akash is one of them. With his 20 years of professional journalism, he has been fighting for human rights with his innumerable reports on state-terror, killings extra judiciary, corruptions. As the hundreds of rivers of Bangladesh, we have endless evils throughout the country. ‘No single person can be found in Bangladesh, who was not a victim of corruption at least once in his life!’ Akash has written in this book. It is like the air, it is everywhere but unseen and only to be felt.
Is there any formula of peace? I do not know. But the majority poor people of Bangladesh only expect daily 3 times food and a sound sleep at night, possibly that is peace for them. Unfortunately, this very tiny hope could not be yet materialised by any government after about 40 years of the liberation.
From his head to feet, Akash is a dedicated journalist, no doubt. He took unthinkable risks to gather information’s. His investigative and truth-searching reports are thrilling as well as tragic! While translating, I myself sometimes could not believe my eyes. Truth is really stranger than fiction. Reality may be sometimes very hard but it is known only when a courageous journalist like Akash brings the unpleasant truths but bare realities in front of our eyes.
I don’t know, if any day, like the mysterious city, ‘Shangrilla’, we would find peace for us, for our country and for the world! Freud has said, ‚who does not dream, he is lifeless!’ If it is true, why we shall not dream about peace? In our daily lives, from all directions, disappointments, deprivations, pains, injustice, poverty haunt us. We know, only peace can be the best remedy but where is it? Shangrilla is in the remote mountains in Tibet. But nobody could yet locate peace or find a formula of it! There is one Nobel-Prize for Peace. Every year, one time, the Nobel-Committee makes the world aware about peace but in true sense, all the prize-holders (almost 100 so far) could not give us any hint of peace, temporary or permanent. They have got the prizes and we have only seen their Photos in Newspapers. Even one from Bangladesh has got it. Was it a help for us to achieve peace?
Akash is now stateless. He was compelled to leave his country. For one year, he has been living here in Germany. He does not know where his next shelter is. He is trying to find and I hope he will get one, for him and for his family.
But he has not given up his dream. He is a reporter and human rights-worker. He believes, with these two weapons, if he can’t win peace, at least he can show us a way for us. So his ‚Struggle for Peace’ will be continued. This book is a clear sign.
I hope, it will encourage the reader to dream for peace.
Abdullah al-Harun
March 2010-03-14
Neu-Isenburg, Germany
Context: Peace, people’s government, real democracy and the rule of law are all golden-deer in Bangladesh. The religious fanaticism, innumerable superstitions, lack of education, poverty, corruption, immorality, have now strongly established the criminality everywhere. Disunity, unfairness, oppression, torture, killing-murder, terror, activities of the communal fundamentalists have crashed the people on the ground! Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Christians live here. People of all religions unitedly have fought for the independence of Bangladesh and shed blood. With enormous sacrifices under the leadership of Banganondhu (late) Sk. Mujibur Rahman, The nation got one nice secular constitution.
After only 4 years after the independence of Bangladesh, father of the nation, Sk Mujibar Rahman, was killed brutally with most of his family members. Through a planned way the following governments of General Ziaur Rahman and General H.M. Ershad have amended, revised and changed many times the original constitution of Bangladesh and have made it almost a farce! Islam was declared as the ‚State-Religion’. Although Bangladesh has people from four religions! But such a radical change of the former secular Constitution was a heinous dishonour to the holy constitution! Through these measures religious fanaticism and communalism were given a state Contour. In the name of Islam the religious fundamental militancy has become now the greatest problem of Bangladesh. It is about now about 38 years after the independence, but the war criminals of Al- badr, Al- Shams, Rajakars and the murderers who were directly related with the genocide during the struggle for independence have not yet been put into the trial. The Political Party, Jamaat Islam is regularly igniting the fire of communalism in the name of Islam. Communal-politics is not banned in the country. State-terror like killings extra-judicial is going on without end. All devouring corruption is the greatest obstacle for the fulfilment of the basic rights of the people. The afflictions of religious minorities are a day to day affair.
In the society, a privileged class is making mountains with money. On the other side, majority people, not less than 95%, are becoming poorer every day. Religious minorities and the indigenously people are deprived of constitutional rights. Including the father of the nation, hundreds of politicians, journalists, lawyers, judges, members and common people have been killed. Different state-controlled armed cadres have created an extreme fearful and inhuman situation by their killings of innocent people, tortures and oppressions. Within 38 years of independence, the country was under the military rulers for long 17 years. People were pushed to the dark-wild-administration and its persecutions. Torture-murders and planned genocide, crime and the incidences of the militancy are never enquired properly and effectively. Of course after the event, government announces for enquiry and committees are also formed. ‚Whoever is the criminal, he would be definitely punished’, such promises are heard from the top level of the government or from the concerned authorities repeatedly with arrogance. But they are never materialised. Shortly speaking, there is no ‘explanation’ in the country. In the history of human-civilisation, the self confessed killers who have committed utmost heinous murders are saved from the state level and any possibility to put them into trial is closed. Judges feel agony to perform their duties. The culture of the ‚absence of justice’ is increasing the criminal tendency day by day. All the state organs have been criminalised. The endless greed of making money of the upper class people are pushing the 70-80% common people towards the lowest level of poverty. By the most of political parties, specially the two big, Awami league and BNP have no headache for democracy. So the democracy in the state level is now beyond every possibility!
Fundamental militancy in the name of Islam is growing rapidly. Women-Children-tortures, giving of fake religious decrees (Fatwa of Islam), meanness, and religious fanaticism are expanding. Raids with Bomb and Grenades, suicidal-conspiracies, envy and malice, scrambles are in extremity. Brotherhood, mutual delight, solidarity, love and respect are being lost. Everywhere the humanity is hindered. Differences, dissimilarities between persons are growing. Kindness and humanity are decreasing and on the other side, selfishness and mercantile mentality are growing on an electric-speed! Every day million of peoples are hungry and so to say almost naked due to lack of clothings. Each year through flood, draught, dearth and tempest-cyclone millions of people suffer. Because of the change of river-flows, everyday innumerable people are losing their all possessions. The five basic rights to have food, cloth, education, treatment and dwelling are totally unknown to the vast majority of the people. Each year innumerable persons die on diseases and without treatments. Millions of children have no access to schools, but ‚Child-labour’ is everywhere! Women-Children-smuggles, rapes are very common matter in Bangladesh. Besides, there are labour-discriminations. For similar works as men, women get less remuneration. Crime and criminals are ‘pardoned’ by state and it is a big obstacle for the establishment of rule of Law in Bangladesh. A general statistics depicts that from 2004 till today, more than 1,500 persons were killed extra judiciary, through so-called ‘crossfire’, ‘encounter’ or in the name of ‘exchange of fires’. After the killing of father of the nation, the culture of impuning crimes has started. It is still going on, eve under the present new government.
My Publications
From February 2008 to April 2009, I have published four books on Islamic militancy, murders extra judiciary, state-terror and torture and bomb-grenade charges.
They are: ‘15 hours in total Darkness’, ‘Extra judicial killings and Revenge’, Militant-Godfathers and other Issues’ and ‘From Udichi to Pilkhana’. With few exceptions, in general Peoples-media actually nourish the interests of politicians and capitalists. In one case at least, the media of Bangladesh is quite blind. This is the ‘killings extra judicial’ by the state-army. After 38 years of independence, the tribal people have no constitutional-recognition. At least 1,50000 Indigenous children are deprived of education. Apart from this, about 27 lacs children of the coutry have no right for education. Still now the black law, ‚Land-vested-law’ is existing. Religious minorities and indigenous people are being persecuted. But why? Although from the independence struggle for the country to all democratic-progressive movements, their roles are very much significant.
The murders and tortures of religious minority and indigenous people and other oppressions are never redressed. As a result, one after another brutal incidences are happening. Criminals are encouraged! You can buy ballot papers in the name of democracy. Only during election, common people have some attentions. After election is over, nobody takes care of the voters. An unequal and unfair society can’t exist longer. To establish peace, democracy, justice and fair-administration, the total change of the state-structure is needed. For this a distinct political commitment and its effective successful materialisation are badly required. Without this, only Internet and digital technology can’t bring any development for the majority of the people. In true sense to establish in Bangladesh, people’s welfare, peace and digital, we need the change of total system and a new structure.
I have already finished another manuscript in Bengali, ‚Tortures on religious and tribal minorities in post independent Bangladesh’. Because of the constant threats from the Islamic militancy, one particular political- criminal clique and special state-force, I was compelled to leave the country. From the four published books and the 5th unpublished one, I have taken an attempt for an assimilation of an English-edition. Those who are helping in this effort, I thank them all. This is a book on events and convened information. I hope this book will be a document of the incidences of Bangladesh, past and present. From the book “Struggle for Peace”.

Read Full Post »

Away from Home


Away from Home

The Human Rights Today report: The editor of “THE HUMAN RIGHTS TODAY”, journalist Jahangir Alam Akash have written two new books in English. The books are “Struggle for Peace” and “Away from Home”. In the Independence Day of Bangladesh 26 March, 2010 these books have published from Adarsha publication of Bangladesh. We would like to share about the books of Akash. The subject of these books are press freedom, minority oppression, politics, extra judicial killings, Islamic militancy, extra judicial killings, torture and the human rights in Bangladesh. Now the books are available in Germany. If anyone would like to buy then please contact with the Author (jahangiralamakash@hotmail.com).
“AWAY FROM HOME”
Flairs: The thought for the society haunts him always. He sees man above religion and colour. In favour of the people, truth, and justice and with the professional mentality for social welfare, he has grown up. Akash is a professional and non-communal Journalist with a mind of free thoughts. To clean the society garbage and darkness, he himself was compelled to get out of the country. Though in exile, he thinks and feels for his country all the moments. This Journalist, in each article of this book, ‘Away from Home’, has told us about a ‘Golden Bangladesh’ where the communal harmony would be a bright example of fraternity.
Preface: The reasons of coming out of the motherland may be manifold but the pain is the same. An immigrant, a student, a businessman or a tourist leaves his country. Except the first, others go back. Which might be the cause to be fugitive, the life abroad is definitely a melancholy. After the initial surprises and curiosities are gone the motherland appears from behind. The pain begins.
In my over 33 years of living abroad, I came across to hundreds of my countrymen in Germany. With few exceptions, all of them were frustrated young from 80’s and between 20 to 30 years. The main driving force behind their crossing the Pacific Ocean to find an opportunity to earn money in the first world.
After the liberation of Bangladesh, the young generation from teenagers, found the mother country in total political turmoil and chaos. There were no perspective and hope. The country was instable and famine was knocking at the door.
After I entered into the then West Germany in 1978, the number of Bengalis were not even 2-3 hundred but within next 4-5 years it grew 10 times! It was a 100 meters’ Sprint, distance small but the runner must hurry as fast as he can! We sought here political Asylum and after having the so-called ‚temporary-stay’, searched out a job, either as dishwasher or lo-level labours in factories or cleaners. Next 3/4 years, earning money as much as possible and then the inevitable rejection of the case. Now either going back to the country or finding out a new country to earn again! Many have crossed Atlantic for USA-Canada. Most of them were scattered in different neighboring countries in Europe. The ages and faces were different but desire was the same. At any cost to stay and as much as possible to earn.
Three decades have gone by. Now I find here almost no contemporary of mine. In the meantime, hundreds from my known circle have left Germany, either for another country or have gone back to Bangladesh. About 3/4 thousands are here with normal stay-permits, citizenships with family. We have now here 3rd generation of the immigrants.
Were they all Asylum-seekers like me? No there are some exceptions. One of them is Jahangi Alam Akash, a journalist of Bangladesh. He is here since last year. He is living in Hamburg with a scholarship of Hamburg Foundation. The foundation has arranged his one year stay in Germany as a relaxation and cure from the persecutions, tortures, imprisonments in Bangladesh during BNP-Jammat Government and Interim Government (2001-2008). His profession was his enemy. What he has done, why he has risked his life in Bangladesh, the readers will be aware of it after they have read this book. Akash is now out of the country, return to motherland is most uncertain. He is trying to find out a permanent shelter in Europe with his wife and about 3-years son.
Akash is no economic refugee like hundreds of us but he is homeless now. His works for human rights and investigating journalism all sorts of lawlessness in our country have driven him out of the country and he is now looking for a second homeland. I wish he finds it soon.
Abdullah al-Harun
March 2010
Neu-Isenburg, Germany
Dedication:
To my dear Bangladesh
My Bengal of gold, I love
For ever your skies, your air set
My heart in tune
As if it were a flute

Short Biography of the Author
For the last two decades Jahangir Alam Akash has been writing intensively and courageously on the matters of Islamic Militancy, murders extra judiciary, state-persecution, tortures on religious minority and indigenous people, corruption, political terror, the women-mishandlings and last not the least for the common and helpless people who suffer without rights and justice. As a School boy he has entered the domain of journalism due to his conscious realisations of the superstitions of the society, corruption, injustice, lawlessness and affliction of strong over weak. His mission is to attract the attention of social and governmental machineries for the healing of these humiliations. Taking enormous risks for his own life he is advancing onwards with the strong belief to establish democracy, peace, human-rights, equality, and fraternity and for a secular society. Akash is strong in mind for an independent people’s media: Owing to this he has become victim of harassments and tortures many times by the state, Islamic militarism, independence-opposing circle, opportunist political groups and corrupt-gangs. Attempts were made to stop him through cases, physical attacks and Threats. On professional causes, with fictitious political and exasperated charges he was imprisoned two times so far. But he could not be tamed. He is writing till now as before.
He was born in far north nof Bangladesh where Himalaya begins. His birth place is village: Shatkhamar, under Balarampur Union of Atoari Upozila within Panchagharh District. His parents are father, Safiuddin Ahmed and mother, late Sahida Khatun.
They are 5 brothers and 3 sisters. His number is 7. Journalism is his profession and addiction! He has passed the Bachelor of Arts (B.A. honours) and Master of Arts (M.A.) in Philosophy from Rajshahi University. From the same University he obtained the degree of post-graduation in civic-journalism. He worked for the Foreign Service German Radio (Deutsche Welle, as a freelancer) in Bengali section, in CSB, the first 24 hours TV-Channel of Bangladesh. He took also the special trainings on TV and Radio and Newspaper-journalism from the Bangladresh Centre for Development Journalism Communication (BCDJC). His many works on Human rights were much praised. He attended various workshops of Asian Human Rights Commission, ‘Odhikar’ (Rights), Bangladesh Manabodhikar Bastabayan Shangstha (Bangladesh Human Rights Materialisation Organisation) and Bangladesh Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma-victims like different Human rights groups.
Presently he is editing the Web blog news portal ‘The Human rights Today’ in Online.This absolutely deals in Human rights. The spectral of his works: Dainik Sangbad, Dainik Bangla, Dainik Banglar Bani, Dainik Ajker Kagoj (4 Bengali dailies in Bangladesh), Radio German Deutsche Welle, The new Nation, The Newsday, The Morning Sun (3 English dailies in Bangladesh), Ekushey TV, CSB News (2 TV-Channels). He was also attached with Associated Press of Bangladesh, the Editor online Newspaper, Daily Testa, Daily Uttar Bangla (Daily Newspapers) and many other News media’s.
From 2004 to 2008, he worked as Free-lance journalist of German Radio Deutsche Welle from the Rajshahi Area of Bangladesh. He was the first journalist who first covered the activities of Islamic Militants and ‚murders without trials’ in Bangladesh and drew the attentions of national and international media. On these grounds he became the target of State and Militancy.
He got the ‚International Human rights-day prize of 2008’ sponsored by the the private organisation, Christian Development Alternative as a recognition of his courageous journalism and his special contributions towards the human rights. His research against the Islamic-Militants and fearless journalism, he got the ‘Nongor Shahitya Puroshkar (Anchor-Literary Award)’ in 2005. Besides, the European branch of Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Unity Committee has given him the 2010 Human rights award as recognition to his investigating journalism on the minority-oppression in Bangladesh. His Bengali books are: ‘Andhokare 15 Ghanta (15 hours in total darkness)’, ‘Bichar Bohirbhuto Hattyakando ebong Pritihingsha (Extra judicial killings and revenge)’, ‘Jongi Godfather o Annanya Prooshongo, (Militant Godfathers and other Issues)’, ‘Udichi Theke Pilkhana (From Udichi to Pilkhana)’. During the past interim-Government of Bangladesh an unusual Rule of Emergency went on. He became then a combined victim of the Rapid Action Battelion (RAB), Army and a vicious politically influential circle. He was arrested unlawfully and put to inhuman tortures.
In the Rajshahi Central Jail he passed 28 dark-days. After release, facing incessant threats to his life, he was forced to leave the country. As a politically oppressed journalist, he is now living in Hamburg through a scholarship of ‘Hamburg Foundation’ with his family.
He was a member of Rajshahi University Press Club, the elected General Secretary of Rajshahi Journalist Union and also an executive member of Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ)’ Association, the highest organ of Journalists. Apart from this, he was the Publicity Secretary of Rajshahi District Udichi, the forerunner cultural Association of Bangladesh. He has travelled to Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, India and Hong Kong.
Gratitude: State, political influential criminals-clique, Militants and side by side many national-international gangs were active with conspiracies against me. My moving struggles for the people, truth, justice and human rights were always opposed. I have passed a terrible and unbearable time facing an all-devouring intrigue. I have come back from the door of the sure death. A Bangladesh-opposing foreign spy and his partner through a joint plot, by giving wrong information, have spoiled my image in Deutsche Welle (Radio German). But no conspiracy could take me, also not in future, I hope. I did never compromise with any evil force on the questions of peace, democracy, people and human rights.
In bad days, only the real friends come to help. Fake-friends go away. During those intolerable black days, I had the rare opportunity to see from very near the in and out of many Human rights-personalities in Bangladesh, Advocates, Journalists and political leaders. The so-called human beings of the civil-society having no similarity of talks and acts, I have seen them, I have known them. I could gather many experiences, discover dualities of some persons. They are very much respected in the society. I have also seen many hearty-persons.
I specially thank Mr. A. B. M. Musa, the pioneer Journalist of Bangladesh who has helped, advised and always treated me with affections, Mr. (late) Bazlur Rahman, Editor, Daily Sangbad, Mr. Hasan Azizul Huq, prominent writer and Rtd. Professor, Rajshahi University, Mr. Sanat Kumar Saha, Tagore-expert and economist, Mr. Arun Kumar Basak, Professor-emeritus, Mr. A. A. M. S. Arefin Siddiqui, Vice Chancellor, Dhaka University, Advocate Sultana Kamal, Professor Anwar Hossen, Mr. Malay Bhowmic, Chairman Music and Dramatic Department, Rajshahi University, Mr. Iqbal Sobhan Choudhury, Editor Bangladesh Observer, Mr. Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul, Executive Editor, Daily Sangbad, Mr. Sohel Ahmed, Teacher Jahangirnagar University, Mr. Nazrul Islam, Proprietor Matiarmanush, Mahbubur Rahman, Proprietor Adarsha, Myriam Alexowitz (German Author), Fernando Buttice, Supriyo Banerjee (Journalist), Mahabubur Rahman Shipon, Mohammad Zahid Hossain, Shahidul Islam Shahid and Abdullah al-Harun.
I also remember Amnesty International, Asian Human Rights Commission, Reporters without borders (RSF), Committee to protect Journalists (CPJ), International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Global Human Rights Defence, International Press Institute (IPI), OMCT, BRCT, BFUJ, Rajshahi Press Club, Hamburg Foundation, Germany etc.
In my bad times, many were by my side. I remember them with gratitude. I express my special thanks to Wlliam Gomes, Executive Director, and Christian Development Alternative. He applied to the President of Bangladesh to kindly withdraw the political harassments-cases against me. I quote few lines from his application. The particulars of the cases and the related events have already been told in this book in various occasions. He began with, I, the undersigned, Executive Director of Human rights Organisation, Christian Development Alternative (CDA) …
As victim of the brutal state persecutions, a famous patriot Journalist and Human rights-worker, Jahangir Alam Akash has been burning with the fire of revenge … This courageous and an investigating reporter Akash possess free-thinking and conscious…. In the meantime, he has written three books on the extra-judiciary murders of RAB, tortures and Militancy. …
The last line- I think above two forged cases against Mr. Akash has been lodged taking the opportunities of the Emergency and on political motives. I request you to withdraw the above mentioned cases and to render Mr. Akash the chances to work on his profession normally and freely as an honest, responsible and popular journalist. But the harassing political motivated cases against me have not yet been withdrawn.
Appendix: The comments of intellectuals about the author and his book: The progressive journalist dear Akash has done much to unveil the truth. In all his writings the vehement courage has been well exposed. Through the black ink of his pen the he has built up a talking-document of the anarchism and terror. I hope, this book will inspire the people of the new generation and of all ages to build Golden Bangladesh on the conscious of secular and the war of independence.
Professor Dr. A. M. A. S. Arefin Siddique
Vice Chancellor, Dhaka University
If anybody anyhow anytime can be old and aged, he needs not to explain anything in Bangladesh. Huge piles of corruptions by malicious criminals never face trial or punishment. Specially in our country, rulers in power whom we because of our bad habits call the ‚Government’, and render them the total sovereignty of the country and when as part of that government, on is spontaneous shelter and indulgence, innocent peoples are killed, terrorised and oppressed by the miscreants, we have nothing to do! When these happen, no opposition occurs! If they can be ex, they are saved forever! From 2004 – 2005 the terrible and cruel militarism which grew in Bangladesh and as a result thousands of innocents lost their lives. There was a flood of plunder, robbery, rapes etc. like crimes was day to day affairs. All the 150 Million people of Bangladesh were victims of state-terror through the support of the government. This government is now ex! They can now stand before the people again far away from their sins. What justice shows now? That the justice itself covers all the misdeeds of them washes away their misuse of powers as rulers and the responsibilities of their partners in power. The reports of the bitter but facts of that period which Jahangir Alam has written, beyond doubt, that would render the sufferers like us much pain and affliction. But what else after?
Hasan Azizul Huq
Renowned writer Professor (Rtd), Department of Philosophy
Rajshahi University
Truth is coming out. Darkness is vanishing. Brave Akash is doing this noble work. He is not alone. Courage moves from one to another. Point becomes big circle. We are all in this procession of the brave people.
Professor Dr. M. Anowar Hossain.Ex General Secretary,
Dhaka University Teachers’ Association

Lesson to won the darkness
(To Jahangir Alam Akash)
Strength of arm
Foolish is coward
Shock of Electricity
Is it a hindrance for a long walk?
Search of manliness through hitting
What a hero!
Sight is obstructed with black
Can it snatch away the creation of light?
Court and Jail
No response is also there
Or the initiation by pushing into black hole?
There is the inspiration of wining the darkness.
November 15, 2007
Malay Bhowmic
Actor, Dramatist, Columnist

NB. During the interim Government controlled by the Army in Bangladesh, Mr. Malay Bhowmic, Teacher of Rajshahi University was arrested by RAB and became the victim of barbarian torture. An opposition of the system, this prominent playwright wrote this poem with dedication to Journalist Akash while he was imprisoned in Rajshahi Central Jail. At the same time, author of this book, Akash was also in the same Jail!

A letter written to an intimate person—
Dear….
Hamburg
February 24, 2010
Please take my good wishes and respect. Hope you are well. I am very much depressed now. I don’t know how more hits and shocks, I am to face in the struggle for my existence? From my School days, the blows have began, which has not yet been ended in 36 years of my age! I am afraid, till death, I am to walk on the same road! Sometimes, I am very much angry with myself. I feel to make my life apart from my body. But I can’t, my life appears before me. For this life, my intimate love is very great, like an ocean. Now it is grown many times more. My knowledge is from the books on journalism and my ideal is from the family-society. How I could mix the both in my life? This united stream does not want to flow down. Why always this ideal-tide flows upstream course? I don’t know. Conspiracy-falsehood and envy: What are the uses of these? My position to myself is very clean-transparent. Why they can’t see it? I have saved some from my scholarship-money here. But I am spending all only after the thoughts for my country. My dear ones, oppressed-persecuted religious-indigenous minority-friends of my country, how are you? At the same time, why I feel to cry again and again for the afflicted colleague and friend?
Last of all, the question was raised on my name; I am spoiling the image of my country with defamatory preaching against my country! It is a very dangerous allegation. If I tell the truth or describe an incident, does it unchaste the image? They want to turn the country into a hell, do they increase the image? On the internationally famous scientist, Arun Basak and his family, (they render) metal tortures. (I hear) the wailing-grief of Gopal Ram, the poor and helpless and the victim of oppressions from all sides. Not even in one decade, no justice for the murder of indigenous-Christian leader Alfred Soren and have the family of Doshorath Kabiraj been shattered? Not in 6 years, the corpses of young Shushanto and Shufol are not found! How Militancy is destroying the solidarity of the state and society? I have reported and I am writing on these.
I have told and I shall tell, please don’t kill a man extra judiciary. If he is a terrorist-convicted or criminal! Make the way of rule of law, good administration and the culture of democracy wide. Then you are not to murder anybody. The only way to suppress murder-terror-crime is the founding of rule of law. Remove disparity, poverty, unemployment and injustice from the society. You will see, progress has come back to the society. You have also told while you were outside the power that extra judiciary killings must be ended.
When I was in the country, the blame of ‘a big convicted-terrorist extorter’ was given to me. What an unbearable life I had? Due to their intrigues, tortures and endless threats, I was compelled to leave the country. Has exile-life happiness? It was the question of survival! But how I am tolerating the sufferings of the the loneliness of this life abroad, insult and shame? For the country, for the countrymen, comrades-friends and relatives, is not my mind anxious? But now is the murmur, I am doing bad-preaching on my country! I am spoiling the image of the country! Am I?
The same complain was raised against humanist Shahriar Kabir during the reign of terror of BNP-Jamaat. Then the government and its supporters have said the same. Even today ruling-class is changed and the mentality of their supporters. Only the hands of the power are changed.
Please tell me, after leaving the country, shall I live like a lifeless?
I remain,
Seeking your love, Akash
From the book “Away from Home”.

Read Full Post »

The prison and poor people: justice is a failure

By Jahangir Alam Akash, The people of Bangladesh are craving for justice, peace and indiscrimination. They don’t want to suffer under poverty, torture, corruption and inhuman social structure. But they are always surrounded by injustice, discrimination, oppression and persecutions. The main reason of this evil and inhuman situation is the state. The fundamental-militants, terrorists and political opportunists are also responsible but they are, more or less, supported by the state. They have also direct links with the different government machineries and the influential political groups. The poor and common people are always suffering from all these evil forces. Bangladesh has received thousands of billions foreign aids since its Independence internationally and non-government organisations. But most of the money have been misused through corruptions and nepotism. In the politics, in the government machineries and in the field of NGOs (non-government organisations) there is no democratic system. There may be some exceptions but they are very few.
In general, 80 percent people have no financial ability to get education for their children. The politicians are a tiny minority in the country. They are enjoying almost all the resources of the country. They can give teaching and arrange other facilities for their children. They send their children abroad for higher and better education. Most of the politicians and the members of the parliament often visit foreign countries with the public money. But they do not learn from their visits abroad and to introduce the positive matters, they saw, in our country.
No justice, no human rights, absence of rule of law and the practice of democracy have pushed our country to the total decadence.
People find everywhere corruption, dishonesty, immorality and discriminations. These horrible situations are not created by the people. Those who are running the state and both government and opposition-parties are responsible for this. Educated persons are also mostly corrupted. There might be some politicians, MP and academicians who honest. But they are mostly helpless (as they are minority) and can do nothing in spite of their good wishes and honesty. The reason is that the total system of the state is criminalised. The general people are quite helpless.
Genius or meritorious students are not staying in the country. After obtaining local university degrees, most of them go abroad. They find no scope in the country. They are not getting appropriate jobs. If anyone has a link with the influential politicians, MPs or Ministers, then he gets a good job. Or it can be possible with a huge amount of bribery. So the country is having brain-drains regularly. Though, the government spends a lot of money for educating one with various degrees, technical qualifications. Without money or influence you can’t get a suitable job..
As a professional journalist I have gathered some practical experience from Bangladesh. Personally I was in the prison twice. When I was staying inside the jail then I have seen the piles of corruptions there. The prison authority has been involved with money business. The authority has been collecting money from the general detainees. In this malfunction they have been misusing the oldest detainees or convicted people. Inside the prison there is no practice of human rights. The detainees are staying there under unbearable inhuman situation.
In 2007 I had the experience of Rajshahi central jail practically. Officially there was a prison capacity of about 1,300. But more than 3,000 detainees in that time were staying. There are 67 prisons in Bangladesh. Government sources tell the total prisoner-capacities to be about 28,668 people. But at present there are about 72,000 prisoners are in Bangladesh. So it is overcrowded and with an unimaginable situation. In the prisons there are no adequate bathrooms, toilets. The foods which are provided by the authority are not eatable.
The sleeping materials are unclean and dirty. So, most of the detainees have skin diseases. Personally I was in Jail for 28 days in Rajshahi. But after being freed from the prison I had also skin disease.
Every prison has a medical centre. But the doctors, Pharmacists and other workers in this centre are all corrupts. If you are ill and you have no money or you don’t agree to pay the doctor then you wouldn’t be admitted. On the other hand if you are not sick but you want to go to the prison hospital, with an agreement of payment, Doctor will admit you. The doctor takes a bribe of
4, 000, – taka per month. If you pay the amount to the doctor, you can get a permanent residency in the prison hospital as an ill-detainee. Every detainee wants to be admitted in the hospital. Because the authority is provide better foods to the sick in the Hospital than the others in the hospital. The prison- visit- system is not also appreciable.
It is the same in the government (Charitable) hospitals for the poor people. Most of the doctors do not care for their routine duties. They are not happy in the Hospital-service. Private practices are more lucrative. In the rural area, this picture is far more deplorable. The doctors do not come in hospitals or health complexes in due time. Most of the doctors think of working in the towns. There might be some few exceptions but it does not help the entire population.
The poor people have to suffer greatly in the court. They are to pay in the local courts. People are compelled to pay to the court-employees, police and others. Sometimes the lawyers are charging a big amount to the poor and illiterate people. Some lawyers take money from the poor people through different techniques, in the High Court, as official costs or to bribe the Bench officers.
Sometimes the people are to sell their land of crops, gold and other properties. So with the procedures of the court, they become beggars at the long last!
These are few of the common practice in Bangladesh where the “Poor people are like a plaything”.
Jahangir Alam Akash
Editor
The Human Rights Today
http://youtube.com/user/jaakashbd
thehumanrightstoday@hotmail.com

Read Full Post »

Continuously attacked on press freedom in Bangladesh

By Jahangir Alam Akash, Press freedom and freedom of speech have been attacking continuously in Bangladesh. More two journalists have attacked yesterday (4 April, 2010) by the ruling party men in the capital Dhaka. It was happened in front of a law enforcer office.
On the other hand on 22 March, 2010 there were attacked on a photo exhibition on RAB brutality organised by famous photo journalist Shahidul Islam at Drik Gallery in Dhaka. It was obstacle of freedom of speech. Though after the national and international intervening government has declared that no bar co continue with this exhibition. After that another attacked on press freedom were happened in Bagherhat. After then this event two journalists have attacked for their reporting.
According to the daily Star(5 April, 2010), a group of activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) beat up two journalists at Shahbagh in the city in the night of 4 April for publishing a report against the central unit president. The journalists were identified as Anis Raihan, staff correspondent of the weekly Saptahik, and Ahmed Fayez, staff correspondent of the weekly Budhbar. BCL is the student wing of ruling party Bangladesh Awami League.
Sources told, Chief reporter of the Saptahik Mohiuddin Niloy said some 20 to 25 BCL men attacked the journalists in front of Shahbagh Police Station around 8:30pm as per the direction of AGM Sabbir Jahan Saikat, president of SM Hall unit BCL.The journalists were walking towards Dhaka University through its Shahbagh entry point, he added.As they reached in front of Shahbagh Police Station, SM Hall unit BCL president honked his motorbike horn loudly from behind the reporters. When the reporters gave their identities and asked Saikat to explain the reason of honking the horn, Saikat got angry and called his fellows from the hall. Niloy further said that Saikat took away the professional identity cards of the reporters and charged Anis for filing a report against BCL Central Committee President Mahmud Hasan Ripon.
The reporters sought cooperation from policemen present at the scene.
The Saptahik published a report on Ripon’s recent activities in its last issue.
The injured journalists were rushed to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University and later shifted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
According to the daily Ittefaq (29-3-2010) on 27 March, 2010 three journalists have attacked by terrorists at Chitolmari in Bagherhat. The oppressed journalists are S.S. Sagor, general secretary of Chitolmari press club and the correspondent of daily Destiny, Salim Jahangir (daily Janmobhumi & daily Janata) and Ekramul Haque Munshi (daily Amardesh and daily Tortho). The terrorists have detained the injured journalists. They are rampaged the Grameen Enterprise shop and looted money and camera from the journalist. A Hindu minority school teacher Basudev Majumder has insulted by the cadres of Saheb Ali Farazi. Farazi is the Vice Chairman of Chitolmari Upazilla. In this connection some reports have published. After then this attacked on press have occurred.
Recently some of the oppressed journalists were expressing their painful history of persecution in a conference on press freedom in Dhaka.
Please see more report on press freedom in Bangladesh:
https://jaakash.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/press-freedom-and-journalists-killing-tortures-in-bangladesh/
In addition, three journalists have killed, 84 injured, 45 assaulted, 16 attacked, one arrested, two abducted, 73 threatened, 23 sued 19 were victimised by other violence in last year (2009). Source: the human rights report, 2009 of Odhiker.
If Bangladesh government believes democracy, rule of law then they should stop the violation of press freedom and freedom of speech.
Jahangir Alam Akash
Editor
The Human Rights Today
thehumanrightstoday@hotmail.com
http://youtube.com/user/jaakashbd

Read Full Post »

Press freedom and the statement of RAB DG!

By Jahangir Alam Akash, Every day, every moment the journalists are being oppressed in Bangladesh by various ways. Sometimes they are tortured by law enforcers. On the other hand the political terrorists are persecuting journalists.
According to the daily Ittefaq (29-3-2010) on 27 March, 2010 three journalists have attacked by terrorists at Chitolmari in Bagherhat. The oppressed journalists are S.S. Sagor, general secretary of Chitolmari press club and the correspondent of daily Destiny, Salim Jahangir (daily Janmobhumi & daily Janata) and Ekramul Haque Munshi (daily Amardesh and daily Tortho). The terrorists have detained the injured journalists. They are rampaged the Grameen Enterprise shop and looted money and camera from the journalist.
A Hindu minority school teacher Basudev Majumder has insulted by the cadres of Saheb Ali Farazi. Farazi is the Vice Chairman of Chitolmari Upazilla. In this connection some reports have published. After then this attacked on press have occurred.
Now I want to express my opinion on the speech of the DG of RAB. We seem that now they would kill without justice in the sky and water? Because the government has declared that they would get Helicopter for watching terrorists from the sky. And they have also getting other facilities from the government for sky and water ways. DG of RAB has told (Source: daily Ittefaq, 29 March, 2010) that they didn’t kill anybody without justice. I want to say him why RAB-5 (Major Rashid and Major Humayun) were torturing and electric shocking me? Not only that they also hung me with the ceiling and blind folded me for 15 hours (Please read the book “15 hours in total Darkness” and “Extra judicial killings and Revenge”). Though I was not a criminal? Mr. DG of RAB, Could you please tell the people what my “fault” was? (Please watch the history of my torture: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnyD9GFfZsU (Press freedom and Bangladesh) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saG7_iOcp3I (TIDE TV-Germany report)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1G8BUvZ_mc (Unbearable time)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xzaCRYCkqs (BIHR part-1)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BthGnl-WEGo (BIHR part-2)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnyyJHp3ET0 (BIHR part-3)
Mr. DG are you forgotten the brutal torture of journalist F.M. Masum (New Age)? Why the RAB torturing the journalists one after another? We demand the explanation of the cruelty on the media men. The people have deafer with your totally false speech on the RAB activity. People want to challenge you on this ground. Now it is very clear to the country people that what have doing RAB in the name of so-called ‘gunfight’? RAB is a black chapter of the history of Bangladesh. They are violating the rule of law, constitution, human rights and the international declaration of human rights.
Khondoker Hasan Mahmud also said that, more than 800 RAB men have gotten punishment. But what type of punishment they have got? He didn’t clear it. Those who are responsible for the brutal persecution of journalist Masum and Akash (me) are they gotten punishment? We don’t know. The people of Bangladesh want to see rule of law there.
Now I want to share with the readers of USA State Department report on freedom of press and speech: The constitution provides for freedom of speech and press, but the government occasionally did not respect these rights in practice.
Although public criticism of the government was common, newspapers depended on government advertisements for a significant percentage of their revenue. As a result, newspapers practiced self-censorship on some issues.
There were hundreds of daily and weekly independent publications. Although there were significant improvements over the previous year, newspapers critical of the government experienced some government pressure. Journalists perceived to be critical of the government and those aligned with the opposition alleged harassment from unspecified wings of the security forces and members of the ruling party. In addition to one official government-owned news service, there were two private news services.
Unlike in the previous year, the military’s Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR) office and the DGFI did not directly restrict newspaper ownership or content. However, journalists reported the military cautioned them against criticizing the government or the military, especially in the aftermath of the BDR mutiny. Matiur Rahman Chowdhury, editor of Manabzamin and host of two television talk shows, stated in the English language New Age that officials told him indirectly to refrain from inviting specified guests during the BDR incident. He also said tapes for a particular talk show were taken from station several hours before the show was scheduled to be broadcast.
The host of a popular Bengali-language current affairs talk show, Point of Order, alleged she received phone calls from individuals identifying themselves as DGFI officials who warned her against promoting “antigovernment and antistate propaganda.” She also said sponsors of her program had been encouraged to stop their support of her show.
The government owned one radio and one television station. The parliament passed a law mandating that the public television station, BTV, remain the country’s only terrestrial broadcast channel. An estimated 60 percent of the population did not have access to private satellite channels.
There were 10 private satellite television stations and three private radio stations in operation. There were two foreign-based and licensed satellite television stations that maintained domestic news operations. Cable operators generally functioned without government interference. The government required all private stations to broadcast, without charge, selected government news programs and speeches by the prime minister.
The 24-hour all-news television station, CSB, which the government shut down in 2007, purportedly for not having a proper license, remained closed at year’s end.
Attacks on journalists continued to be a problem. There was an increase in individuals affiliated with the government or ruling party harassing, arresting, or assaulting journalists. According to Odhikar and media watchdog groups, at least three journalists were killed, 84 were injured, one was arrested, 45 were assaulted, 73 were threatened, and 23 had cases filed against them during the year. According to some journalists and human rights NGOs, journalists engaged in self-censorship for fear of retribution from the government.
On January 1, following the parliamentary elections, activists of the AL’s student wing, the Chhatra League, harassed and threatened with death Dhaka University correspondents of the Bengali and English publications Daily Sangbad, Janakantha, BDNews24.com, Destiny, and Janatar Chokh. The activists ransacked the reporters’ rooms, destroyed their valuables, and threatened to kill them. No action was taken against the alleged vandals.
On September 1, according to Odhikar, two Chattra League activists attacked and ransacked a store owned by the Chuadanga representative of the daily Amar Desh, reportedly in retaliation for a report published in the paper criticizing an AL member of parliament (MP). The activists set fire to the store and burned copies of Amar Desh. Members of the Chattra League then ransacked the store owner’s home and assaulted his wife and children. Chattra League and Jubo League members also ransacked the business of the Chuadanga representative of the daily Janakantha and the home of the local representative of the daily Prothom Alo.
On October 22, officers of RAB 10 arrested F.M. Masum, a reporter for the English-language daily New Age from his home in Jatrabari, near Dhaka. According to New Age and the Asia Human Rights Commission (AHRC), RAB members beat Masum with iron rods, wooden sticks and the blunt sides of machetes and rubbed salt into his wounds, allegedly because he had worked on several news stories on extrajudicial killings committed by the battalion and its involvement in the fight against drugs. Staff from New Age alleged Masum was targeted because he had written about violence against journalists. The home minister ordered RAB 10 to release Masum, and RAB officials announced an investigation into the matter. After the incident, RAB officials gave varying accounts of the reason for Masum’s detention, including that he had been found in possession of drugs and that he was found with prostitutes. However, when Masum was released, RAB officials stated he had been arrested for not cooperating with the law enforcement agency. RAB headquarters released a statement expressing regret for the incident and transferred one of the officers involved. No further action was taken at year’s end. The government took no further action in the May 2008 assaults against Daily Star correspondents Mirza Shakil and Iasinur Rahman.
There were no new developments in the case of Jahangir Alam Akash, who reportedly was tortured by authorities in November 2007. Akash ran his own blog devoted to press freedoms and human rights during the year.
There were no developments in the case of the Jai Jai Din editor who was fired in July 2008 because he published a cartoon critical of the Army Chief General Moeen Uddin Ahmed.
The trial court dismissed charges against accused teachers and students in the 2007 attack on journalists at Dhaka University. Tasneem Khalil, former Daily Star journalist and researcher for Human Rights Watch, continued to live in exile in Sweden following his 2007 interrogation and torture by joint forces.
Unlike in previous years, the government did not subject foreign publications and films to stringent reviews and censorship. A government-managed film censor board reviewed local and foreign films and had the authority to censor or ban films on the grounds of state security, law and order, religious sentiment, obscenity, foreign relations, defamation, or plagiarism, but this was less strict than in the past. In practice video rental libraries and DVD shops stocked a wide variety of films, and government efforts to enforce censorship on rentals were sporadic and ineffective.
Unlike in the previous year, the government only rarely exercised censorship in cases of immodest or obscene photographs, perceived misrepresentation or defamation of Islam, or objectionable comments regarding national leaders.
There were no developments regarding the 2007 decision to ban Alpin, the satirical weekly magazine of the newspaper Prothom Alo, due to alleged blasphemy against Islam.
Unlike in previous years, the government did not use defamation charges to curb freedom of speech.
Dear readers please read the inhumanity of RAB which report has published by USA state department: Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Although the constitution prohibits torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment, security forces including the RAB, military, and police frequently employed severe physical and psychological abuse during arrests and interrogations. According to figures provided by human rights organizations, the use of such techniques dropped in 2008 but increased during the year. Abuse consisted of threats, beatings, and the use of electric shock. According to human rights organizations, security forces tortured at least 68 persons. The government rarely charged, convicted, or punished those responsible, and a climate of impunity allowed such abuses by the RAB, police, and military to continue.
On June 4, according to Odhikar, Kahalu police in Bogra arrested and tortured the president of the student wing of the BNP, Morshed Habib Bhuiyan Jewel, in Netrokona district. Jewel alleged that several times while in custody at the Netrokona Model Police Station three to four police officers blindfolded him, suspended him from the ceiling with handcuffs, and beat him with sticks from the waist down. According to Jewel, police also poured hot water into his nose and mouth. Netrokona police claimed Jewel was a suspect in a murder case and that they were interrogating him. Witnesses and the victim claimed police arrested him due to his political affiliation. Jewel remained in jail at year’s end.
There were no developments in the 2007 torture cases of Shahidul Islam, Mohammad Jamal Uddin, and Mohammad Kajol.
According to human rights organizations, there were at least three recorded incidents of rape and sexual abuse by law enforcement personnel.
For example, on February 28, according to Odhikar, four police constables gang-raped a member of an ethnic minority group in the Chittagong metropolitan area.
There were no new developments in the July 2008 rape of a 14-year-old girl in Sonargaon, Narayanganj, allegedly by RAB officer Abdul Gaffur. Gaffur was under arrest and awaiting trial at year’s end. There was no further investigation into the July 2008 rape of a young girl at Kamlapur Dhaka, allegedly by police subinspector Rezaul Karim.
Mr DG of RAB, please tell your speech to the nation. Remember that you are the servant of the state. So don’t tell a lie and violate the human rights.
Jahangir Alam Akash
Editor
The Human Rights Today
http://youtube.com/user/jaakashbd
thehumanrightstoday@hotmail.com

Read Full Post »

Freedom of expression and an exhibition on extra judicial killings

By Jahangir Alam Akash, An exhibition on extra judicial killings has closed by the government of Bangladesh. Prominent Photo Journalist of Bangladesh Mr. Shahidul Alam has organized this exhibition. And it was opened by the eminent rights activist of India Mahasweta Devi on 22 March, 2010 at Drik Gallery in Dhaka. After that the police have closed this exhibition. Now it is proved that in Bangladesh has no right to freedom of expression. At around 1,700 people were killed there in extra judicially since 2002 (from Operation Clean heart) to March, 2010 by army, RAB, police and so-called joint forces. Many journalists were tortured and harassed by the government forces. But the perpetrators have always got the impunity.
Bangladesh: Lift ban on extrajudicial killings exhibition (Press release of Amnesty International, 23-3-2010)
Amnesty International is urging the Bangladeshi authorities to lift a ban on an exhibition of photographs raising awareness about alleged extrajudicial executions carried out by a special police unit.
“Yesterday’s closure of the Drik Picture Library exhibition “Crossfire” in Dhaka is a blow to the right to freedom of expression,” said Amnesty International’s Bangladesh Researcher, Abbas Faiz. “The government of Bangladesh must act immediately to lift the police ban and protect the right to peaceful expression in words, images or any other media in accordance with Bangladesh’s constitution and international law.”
Hours before the “Crossfire” exhibition was due to open at a special ceremony in Dhaka, police moved in and demanded that the organizers cancel it. When they refused to shut it down police closed the premises, claiming that the exhibition had no official permission to open and would “create anarchy”.
The exhibition includes photographs based on Drik’s case studies of killings in Bangladesh, which government officials have portrayed as deaths in “crossfire”.
Hundreds of people have been killed in Bangladesh since 2004 when the special police force, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), was established.
In most cases, victims who die in the custody of RAB and other police personnel, are later announced to have been killed during “crossfire” or police “shoot-outs”.
Amnesty International and other human rights organizations consider these killings to be extrajudicial executions.
Human rights lawyers in Bangladesh see the closure of the exhibition as unjustified and with no legal basis. They are seeking a court order to lift the police ban on the exhibition.
Drik’s Director, Shahidul Alam says he has held hundreds of other exhibitions without needing official permission, and that “the government invoked a prohibitive clause only because state repression was being exposed”.
Abbas Faiz said:“By closing the “Crossfire” exhibition, the government of Bangladesh has effectively reinforced a culture of impunity for human rights violations. Amnesty International is calling for the government to take action against those who carry out extrajudicial executions, not those who raise their voices against it.”
The ban is also inconsistent with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s pledges that her government would take action to end extrajudicial executions.
Amnesty International is urging authorities to allow peaceful protests against the killings and to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Human Rights Watch release: Bangladesh: Allow Photo Exhibit of Crossfire Killings/Prosecute Officers Involved Instead of Practicing Censorship
(New York, March 24, 2010) – The government of Bangladesh should allow a photo exhibit about extrajudicial executions in Dhaka to go ahead as planned, Human Rights Watch said today. Barring the exhibit from opening was a serious violation of freedom of expression, Human Rights Watch said. There have been hundreds of such killings in Bangladesh.
The police in Dhaka closed down the Drik Picture Library on March 22, 2010, shortly before the exhibit was to open. The exhibit, “Crossfire,” by Shahidul Alam, features photographs and installations relating to alleged extrajudicial killings by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), a military-dominated crime-fighting force. Officers often contend that these are “crossfire” killings, in which they killed an alleged criminal in self defense, often to prevent an escape.
“The government should address RAB’s involvement in extrajudicial executions instead of trying to silence those who are promoting public debate about the problem,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “These killings can’t just be airbrushed from reality.”
Since the exhibit was closed, police officers have been stationed outside Drik, preventing the public from visiting the exhibit. The reason given by the Rapid Action Battalion and the police for closing down the exhibit, which had received international attention, was that it “lacked official permission” and would “create anarchy.” Shahidul Alam, who is managing director of Drik, told the news media, however, that Drik had organized thousands of exhibitions in the past, including some at which the present and former prime ministers attended the opening, without any requirement from the authorities for explicit permission to hold the exhibit.
Since the battalion was established in mid-2004, it has killed more than 500 people. As far as Human Rights Watch has been able to establish, no one has been prosecuted for any of these killings.
In December 2006, Human Rights Watch released the report, “Judge, Jury, and Executioner,” which documented that many of the victims of “crossfire” killings in a large number of cases reviewed had instead either been tortured to death or summarily shot. The report recommended that the battalion be fundamentally reformed or abolished.
The current government was elected on a platform that it would put an end to extrajudicial executions by security forces. However, according to its own statistics, 111 persons were killed by law enforcement officials in 2009 alone.
In recent months, the minister of home affairs, to whose ministry the battalion formally reports, has claimed that there have been no extrajudicial killings under the current government and that law enforcement officials have only fired their guns when attacked by criminals. However, investigations by human rights workers have found that the victims in many cases have been summarily shot and killed.
“The government was elected on promises of stopping extrajudicial killings and of upholding free expression,” Adams said. “Now that they are in power, they are singing a different tune. The prime minister should instruct officials not only to allow this exhibit to open, but to file criminal cases against RAB officers who act as judge, jury, and executioner.”
Bangladesh should uphold the right to freedom of expression and right to life for the interest of rule of law, democracy and for human rights. If they believe that Bangladesh is a democratic country.
Jahangir Alam Akash
Editor
The Human Rights Today
thehumanrightstoday@hotmail.com
http://youtube.com/user/jaakashbd
thehumanrightstoday@hotmail.com

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »