Wednesday, November 25, 2009

An Investigation

Media Policy on Defense conflict with Democracy

Media policy, especially on defense? Isn’t it to make army personnel’s happy? Why in a democratic country we have to make another different media policy for the defense? Whereas, we don’t have any specific media policy for the country yet? We, Bangladeshi people vote for the political parties and they make the government and we pay taxes to run that government! This political government runs the country and spends our taxpaying money to run the government. Out of many, spending money on defense affairs is a part. We have the right to know how and where our money is being spending. We are happy that after a long struggle we were able to pass the law for right to have the information! Doesn’t media policy on defense separately bar that right we have? We still have the act in the constitution that is called ‘official secrecy act’! If beside this official secrecy act we make new defense media policy that will bar our progress to democracy one more step. Child Democracy that may be wounded by the use of that policy. Question might arise- how? Have we forgotten the authoritarian regimes in 70’s and 80’s? Have we forgotten the attempt to murder the child democracy by generals in 90’ and 1/11 of 2007? If we have then after implementing this decision, I mean after enacting a different media policy especially for defense, one day it will remind us again, what we are going to do!!

To the readers of this article, I believe, I don’t need to define the term Democracy, what it does mean. But in a democratic country we have “Official Secrecy Act” as a colonial heritage. Because of these law we don’t know how much of our tax money were being spend on defense budget. “This Media Policy for defense” will hide that amount behind one more screen. It will help the non-democratic force to come up and show down the arms barrel. What we have seen 75, during the 80’s and 2007. Media policy for defense will conflict with the new enacted law ‘Right to Information-2009’. We can mention that the right to information is now being considered as the basic human right in democratic countries in the world and uphold by their constitutions. In a democratic system where these basic rights are being upheld by constitution there act like ‘Official Secrecy Act’ and media policy on defense will conflict with democracy. But let us try see – why are we heading to form a special media policy for defense? What are the reasons behind the Formation Commander Meeting? Few days ago some army officers were dismissed with the charge alleged by the government to attempt to murder of the ruling Awami League lawmaker Fazle Noor Tapash.

Before going to find the fact I want to remind a report that was published in the daily star on May 28 of this year. It says “After working for about two and a half months, the probe committee headed by former bureaucrat Anisuzzaman Khan submitted the 309-page report to the home minister on May 21. Yesterday, however, the home ministry distributed a seven-page summary of the report among journalists at a press briefing held at the ministry.”

The report published on the daily star says –“The summary report under a sub-head ‘Plan of the mutiny and earlier efforts’ says, ‘Centring the election [ninth parliamentary election] a section of BDR personnel started uniting for their demands and got an opportunity to meet political personalities.’ It says unrest was instigated among BDR members after failing to get expected response from the political leaders. The summary report does not mention the names of the political leaders the BDR members met. However, replying to a question, committee Chairman Anisuzzaman told reporters that the BDR personnel met with Awami League lawmakers Fazle Noor Taposh and Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim before the election. ‘We have interrogated Taposh in this regard,’ he said. In the summary, the committee has recorded statements of 107 people including BDR members, family members of army officers, detained mutineers, local civilians, media personalities, former BDR directors general, politicians, chiefs of different forces and agencies, ministers and lawmakers.”

In the same news the daily star published on same day says “Replying to another question, probe committee member Mohammad Golam Hossain said these political leaders are State Minister for LGRD and Cooperatives Jahangir Kabir Nanak, State Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs advocate Kamrul Islam, Awami League Whip Mirza Azam, Jatiya Party lawmaker Sheikh Golam Reza and AL lawmaker Taposh.”

Now let us come to the point to the attempt to murder to Tapash. In a report published on the daily star dated on October 22 says “assailants hurled a bomb at ruling Awami League lawmaker Fazle Noor Taposh's car in front of his law chamber at Motijheel dated on October 21 while he was leaving and at least 13 people injured. MP Taposh survived the incident. Nur-e-Alam, personal secretary to Taposh, said, ‘The lawmaker survived the incident with minor injuries. He managed to get away from the scene on the damaged car and went directly to the prime minister's Jamuna residence on Minto Road.’

In a report published dated on October 23 on the Daily Star says “the nature of the attack has similarities with that of Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh, but there are also some dissimilarities that imply involvement of some other group, experts say. It is possible that no militant group carried out the attack as the strength of militants has diminished in the last four years, they added.”

The same report says “Investigators believe that the incident is a wake-up call for the Awami League that a group is still active in unleashing chaos and anarchy in the country. Supporters of the killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman may have had a role in the attack since Taposh is one of the prosecutors in the Bangabandhu murder case trial now going on at the Supreme Court.” It says “Taposh is the son of Sheikh Fazlul Haq Moni, nephew of Bangabandhu, who was slain on August 15, 1975, along with other family members of Bangabandhu.”

It also says “In another reasoning, investigators suspect a link between the attack and the February 25-26 BDR mutiny. Taposh drew attention of many when it was reported that a few BDR personnel held meetings with some political leaders including him before the mutiny. After the mutiny was over, a section of aggrieved persons pointed fingers at Taposh and some other ruling party politicians, accusing them of instigating the mutiny.”
Now let us see another report that was published dated on November 10. Which says “Five army officers detained for interrogation have named six of their former superiors as masterminds behind last month's bomb attack on Awami League lawmaker Fazle Noor Taposh, said intelligence agency sources. They have also claimed Lt Col Saiful Islam Joarder, one of the six, provided funds for the attempt on Taposh's life. Saiful has been on the run since he lost his job on November 5 for suspected links with the blast. He had been posted at the Jessore cantonment. Besides him, three other lieutenant colonels--Abdur Rouf, Zahid and Afzal--were dismissed that day. The rest two of the six--Brig Gen Habibur Rahman Rukon Uddin and Major Zakir Hossain--have been sent into retirement.”

The report says “meanwhile, the five army men, hauled up for questioning five days ago, are still being quizzed. Of them, four hold the rank of captain and one major. Following up their information, the six army officers were removed from the services. The bomb attack in front of Taposh's law chamber at Motijheel on October 21 left 13 persons injured. The ruling party lawmaker, also nephew of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, escaped unhurt. Investigators claim Habibur Rahman Rukon Uddin has been a rokon (full-member) of Jamaat-e-Islami, while Saiful Islam Joarder had close relations with sacked Brig Gen Abdullahil Aman Al Ajmi, son of Jamaat's former ameer Golam Azam. Contacted, Habibur's wife however dismissed the claim as rubbish. She also said there's no question of her husband having involvement in the attack on Taposh. Detectives have traced 35 cell phone numbers that were used by the suspected plotters and attackers. Some of those who had used the numbers have been detained and interrogated by intelligence officials, said sources close to the investigation.”

The reports also says that the “Investigators believe the attackers sought to destabilize the government by creating anarchy. They suspect the blast might have something to do with ‘Taposh's handling of things before and during the February 25-26 BDR mutiny’. It might also have been made to halt the trial process of the war criminals. Disrupting the proceedings of Bangabandhu murder case might be another motive. Other sources say the attack might have been designed to scotch any possibility of the government taking measures against some army officials accused of corruption during the last caretaker rule. The Detective Branch (DB) of police has so far arrested seven persons for suspected links with the bomb attack. Of the arrestees, five are from among the families of Bangabandhu murder convicts.”

Now let us see another report that was published in the daily star November 11, with the title ‘Attack on Tapash’ and sub-title ‘Army probing a few officers alleged link’ and urged to the ‘media not to carry unconfirmed info’ says: Bangladesh Army is investigating the allegations of a few of its officers' involvement with the bomb attack on Awami League lawmaker Fazle Noor Taposh.

This report refers to the press release inserted by the Inter Services Public Relations ISPR that “ ‘Any kind of indiscipline in the army is controlled as per army rules. The issue of army officers' involvement with the incident of bomb attack on barrister Taposh is being investigated properly,’ a press release of Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said yesterday”. The army headquarters assured that if found guilty, stern legal actions would be taken against the army officers concerned. The ISPR issued the statement following media reports on some army officers' alleged involvement with the bomb attack on Taposh, a nephew of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and a prosecutor in the Bangabandhu murder case trial now going on at the Supreme Court. “The press release also said, ‘The army headquarters sincerely expect that the media will refrain from publishing news regarding the army based on assumptions and without being confirm about the incident. Bangladesh Army, the symbol of national sovereignty, is fully aware of and committed to discharge the responsibilities and duties assigned to it,’ it added.” the report says.

So, can we say that Awami League lawmaker Fazle Nur Tapash is one of the parts out of many who were involved in BDR mutiny? Fazley Nur Tapash, Sheikh Selim, Jahangir Kabir Nanak and Reza are those who were the mastermind of BDR Mutiny and after the army officer came to know that they reacted on Tapash. And that is the reason for the sudden Formation Commanders Conference. Or, it may be some other force that has attacked on Tapash. And Awami League wants to take revenge against some Army officers those "who were arguing with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Shena Kunja Drabar" just after the mutiny. And Prime Minister take the revenge by saying these army officers are involved in Tapash incident. And the Army officers of all garrison got embarrassed due to this propaganda. As a result Formation Commanders Conference had to call on.
Which resulted to create the special media policy on defense? Directly contradictory to the freedom of expression, that is upheld by the constitution of Bangladesh in Article 39. Isn’t it conflicting with the democracy? Off course if we know the term name Democracy!

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