The ‘politicide’: dissenting Journos, politicians may be killed


Given that as many as long 18 days have elapsed after the most sensational 11 murders allegedly committed by RAB officials in complicity with a section of police officials, civil administration, alleged notorious godfather and underworld hoodlums in Narayanganj, and a rather nonchalant government’s lackadaisical, cavalier dilly-dallying attitude towards bringing the three RAB officers to book—chances are, citizens including independent, dissenting journalists, political leaders/workers may be picked up in broad daylight or at night from anywhere.
Some four years ago veteran columnist and newspaper editor the late A B M Musa expressed in unambiguous terms that he was apprehensive of being a victim of enforced disappearance or abduction and murder. So did many others. As enforced disappearances, abductions and killings are pervasive, so the mass psyche is now gripped by the constant dread of being kidnapped anytime anywhere. And the Bengali daily Amar Desh editor Mahmudur Rahman, a prisoner of conscience, has been languishing in jail for the last one year; and Sagar-Runi journo couple murder case is still in limbo after three years because this regime does not want to probe.
Prevaricating with a cunning stratagem of mendacity as a malevolent goal of politicking not only goes amiss to serve any damn purpose; machination often backfires. In the most monstrous abduction and cold-blooded murder in the country’s crime history of as many as 11 persons by the three much vaunted RAB elite force officers and their subordinate personnel said to be for Taka 6 crore.
As is its wont, the government indulges in misguided disinformation to divert public attention from a core issue, without becoming conscious of boomerang effect in the long run. Interestingly, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina — who also holds the very important portfolios of Home and Defence ministries — held the main opposition BNP for all the incidents of recent abductions and murders, as reported in an English daily dated May 2, 2014.
History tells us how tyrants like Stalin, Hitler, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Rezâ Shâh Pahlavi of Iran and so on bloodied their ugly hands through their defence forces taking lives of people who demanded democracy, rule of law and human rights. With the exception of the 1971 Liberation War, never before in Bangladesh’s history under the British and Pakistani rule, ‘politicide’ was ever unleashed. Politicide, which means “systematic attempt to cause the annihilation of an independent political and social entity”, has taken place in Bangladesh under the Awami League regimes in independent Bangladesh from 1972 to 1975 (when Rakhkhi Bahini was active), and from 2009 during Sheikh Hasina’s present reign killing many times more people that the Pakistani regime did until 1970.
Baruch Kimmerling uses the term in his book “Politicide: Sharon’s War Against the Palestinians” and in various articles. He defines “the politicide of the Palestinian people, a gradual but systematic attempt to cause their annihilation as an independent political and social entity.” Professor of Political Science Emerita, US Naval Academy, Maryland, uses the term ‘politicide’ to describe the killing of groups of people who are targeted because of “their …political opposition to the regime and dominant groups.”
It is no exaggeration to say that Bangladesh is virtually a police state where the police force is composed mostly of the commanding officers who have been recruited from former Chhtara League activists, or trusted men from particular districts. The law enforcers here hark back to the Nazi Police and the Gestapo that developed a policy of intimidation; fear became a by-word for those who did not support Hitler.
With the blessings of two foreign powers — India and USA — and Caretaker Government (CG) backed by the Army headed by Gen. Moin U Ahmed the blue-eyed boy of Delhi, Hasina had extraordinarily comfortably come to power. Since 2009 till now, and particularly in the later months of 2013, Hasina’s sole and singular target of attack using police, RAB, BGB and other agencies in the form of “politicide” has been the popular main opposition BNP and 17 other parties headed by Khaleda Zia — twice prime minister — through thousands of fabricated criminal cases, repression, intimidation, custodial deaths, abductions, enforced disappearances, secret killings etc. (Recently the BNP named 272 opposition men who were either killed or forcibly disappeared by law enforcement agencies and Awami League men in the 14 months since January 2013. Opposition BNP’s fault? It demanded reinstating of the CG. There is a famous aphorism: Fascists cannot argue, so they kill.
The non-party CG system, for which the AL launched violent demonstration and enforced 173 Hartals, was instituted in mid-1996 in response to the demand of then opposition leader Sheikh Hasina by the then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia to remove the possibility of an incumbent political government influencing or manipulating electoral processes — indeed the outcome was superb. Through this system the two big political parties, the AL and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) came to power in succession. To sum up, the ruling AL has unsettled the settled issue of the CG system by rescinding it.