Joint Security Operations Wreak Devastation in Satkhira

satkhira

Three days of joint force’s operations in Satkhira have given the district a look of utter destruction. An uninformed observer can be forgiven to think a mighty earthquake has stricken the border district. It is hard to believe the level of destruction without witnessing with one’s own eyes. Scattered fires are raging in the localities. Wails of anguish can be heard everywhere. Many are close to losing their sanity following the destruction and looting of the properties they have spent a lifetime to acquire.

Thousands of people have become homeless. People are fleeing at the sight of the joint force. Even women, children and old are not escaping their wrath. Men and young boys are leaving their homes at dusk in fear of the joint force. Arsons are taking place every night. Homes are being set on fire and looted.

216 cases have been filed in Satkhira against the members of Jamaat-Shibir, BNP and its affiliated organizations during the Awami League led 14-party grand alliance government’s tenure. 4,500 leaders and activists have been accused in these cases by name and 73,977 others have been accused as unidentified. 1,449 opposition activists have been arrested so far in these cases.

People who have lost the roofs over their heads are spending the winter nights with their families under open skies in constant fear. Even their relatives are not being able to reach them to offer any assistance. Many women and children had to face the wrath of police and armed members of the ruling Awami League when they tried to inquire about their loved ones. The protectors of the people are keeping themselves busy in persecuting the people in this border district. Human rights activists are not being able to document the persecution and the journalists are not reporting the events factually due to the lack of safety of their lives.

Opposition activists of Satkhira, a stronghold of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, had strongly enforced the recent rounds of countrywide blockade programs called by the BNP led 18-party alliance. Communication between the sub-districts and the district proper ceased during these blockades.

Since the beginning of the joint force’s operations on the night of December 15th, at least 57 leaders and activists of the opposition parties have been arrested. 7 others were shot to death. Beside the arrests and killings, the joint force has bulldozed and set fire to hundreds of homes, shops and businesses belonging to opposition activists and supporters including Satkhira district Jamaat’s Amir (President) and former MP Moulana Abdul Khalek, Nayeb-e-Amir (Vice President) Rafikul Islam and BNP leader and Agordari Union Parisad Chairman Anarul Islam.

Locals alleged that armed Awami League members are taking part with police in attacking and persecuting opposition activists. As a result, many Awami League members have been forced out of their localities by the locals. However, they are assisting the joint force in attacks in their areas. Leaders and members of Awami League’s youth affiliates Chhatra League and Jubo League were even seen carrying the arms of the police during these operations.

Shefali Begu, a university student from Ashashuni’s Batra village, said, “Joint force and Awami League members enter localities chanting ‘Naraye takbir, Allahu Akbar’ (a slogan mostly used by Jamaat and Shibir). They then beat those who come out and sometimes even shoot people and leave them there. Some people get taken away after being gagged and blindfolded. I do not know where they end up in the end. Many people also do not go to hospitals to treat their injuries out of fear of getting arrested. Young girls have left villages to take refuge with their relatives in towns to save their honor. And those who have no other place to go are giving their body to those beasts.” Expressing anger, she added, “I have heard about the torture perpetrated by the Pakistani occupying force. And now I am witnessing how our own country’s government forces and ruling party members are carrying out ghoulish torture on the general people.”

When asked how killings, arsons and lootings are taking place amid ongoing operation of the joint force, Satkhira’s SP Manjurul Kabir dodged the question.

Officer-in-Charge of Kaliganj Police Station Ali Azam Khan, however, said, “Those who lost their properties in the arson attacks used to rule this area for a long time. Angry people got agitated and ransacked their homes, shops and businesses.” When asked whether anyone from Awami League was with those angry people, he himself got agitated and said, “Time has come to take revenge on those who ruled this area all this time. That is what is happening. Nothing more than that.”

source: Daily Manab Zamin – See more at: http://www.bdchronicle.com/detail/news/31/3225#sthash.DRrnG0wR.dpuf

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