Latif Quader

What killed Biswajit?

December 10, 2012

December............Nine 34

The day probably started normally for the 24-year-old young man, who had been making a living in Dhaka for the last few years. Youngest of the three siblings he also had parents living in the village, and he took up a straight trade, which was setting up of a tailor shop in an area, considered to be safe, for the minority religious group to which he belonged. These pockets of areas have traditionally been particular religious minority hubs. They are unlike ghettos, which have been read about, where people of particular faith or ethnicity or immigrant groups gather around to live. Where they seek comfort and safety in numbers, homely in the sparks of culture, find easier to redeem their pain and sorrows among fellow travellers and regain their strength for another day’s battle in a society that treat them differently.

Where Biswajit lived, was no ghetto. He couldn’t be visibly identified as belonging to any religious group; and therefore was insusceptible from being on sight prejudiced; paradoxically, now that he is dead, it seemed, that it would have been better, if he could be traced as such, by some evident badge, say a turban and beard, or another brand of headgear, clothing and beard, and better still, a tuft of uncut hair on the back head and saffron coloured sartorial. For, the perception that prevails among the common party operatives who hacked him to death would recognise him as supporter, for whatever they need support for from ordinary people. Be it by voting for their party or getting conscripted to join their party political marches or joining in a nominal rung of the cadre system that would uphold their tag of secularism. They care little if that support is the result of a conscience choice — a cautious one to have a safety valve, at least when the said party is in power, or choosing lesser of the evils. The choice: whether to shield the community from their property being looted, their women getting raped and in general being driven out of the country with the help of state apparatus; or choosing to put up with social subjugation and sporadic violence from party apparatuses, sans state support.

When the young man was passing by a mob of party cadres sloshed with the smell of blood, something blasted nearby, that was taken as an attack or threat of violence by the variously armed mob members. The panicked man ran for shelter and rode stairs to the first floor of a nearby building, forgetting the crucial law of self-preservation, which is to remain as inconspicuous as possible, during chaos and anarchy. For, on the first floor he was alone, and could be singularly identified as someone who was fleeing, or has fled. It then needed just one ignition from a blithe and chirpy cadre, in pointing to him as such: fleeing or has fled. The mob logic worked at spit-second speed to conclude that since it was a young man like them, who was obviously not one of them because he was running, as it looks, from them, then he must belonged to one of the others with whom they were at war that day.

He pleaded to the mob for his life, explaining his non-involvement in anything that was going on. He ran to escape the beating, and they chased him and got hold of him, repeatedly. He was hacked; and in matter of hours, he bled to death. The cameramen, video clippers, photo journalists and general public watched the debacle; either in horror; or with the indifference of herd animals, watching from running distance, as one of them gets pulled down by a pack of predating carnivores and being gobbled up. For dumb animals it is incapacity; for the evolved ones it is callousness beyond human comprehension.

No doubt, some of them gathered enough material to describe the gory details later in media or news mediums, to friends, to post in the facebook pages and post a moving status update in their facebook. His life story will be published; pictures of his wailing relatives will flash, as will be the visit by political bigwigs to his family, with a donation from special fund. Already, the opposition party secretary general has laid a claim in the media that the dead man belonged to his party, and therefore was a victim of the vendetta of the ruling party against his.

Sometime in 1962 a student protest march, to revoke the odd education policy proposed by Ayub Khan, was being dispersed by police with baton charge on a street of Khulna. I remembered to have witnessed it, with shock and disbelief, the incident that became lead news in next day’s newspapers. The earlier state sponsored violence was that of police firing during the Language Movement. In 1969, public violence took a massive leap and spread amongst people’s psyche as something acceptable for social justice system where government was failing to ensure it. In 1971, when humanity plunged into darkness, the horror of human atrocities against fellow humans took root in our collective sub-conscience. We have now been waiting for a generation for its scars to fade, yet no signs of abating.

Who this young man was victim of? These are metaphorically the same people who killed six students in Amin Bazar. The same gang who carry out these acts day in day out in the streets, villages and towns all over the country. For, when they are in numbers they become powerful beyond their own comprehension who can face or punish an individual or two at their mercy; but when the law enforcing agencies are ineffective, either by their apathy or instruction, and they themselves are armed with lethal weapons, all they need is a plausible cause, no matter how flimsy the logic behind it is. And what happens, when these acts are sanctioned by the society, or more appropriately, those who are presumed to be at the helm of the society, and the chances of being taken to tasks are remote? It would take an incurable optimist to expect that their conscience would take hold of them and restrain. Conscience and self- restrain do not reside in the hearts and minds of Bangladeshi youths which have been darkened by indoctrination, fanaticism, hopelessness and wrong education and ethos. For, to those they look up to for enlightenment and guidance are the ones who are hardened up in their pursuit of power and wealth, driven by turpitude of all kind.

Biswajit is also a victim of our indifference and cowardice; inability to take a moral stand in the face of adversity. This self-oriented behaviour pattern is also the outcome of a society where morality has taken a downward trend ever since we lost our faith in the social system to set things right. When everything that is good, morale and perceived to be right are being manipulated and abused for personal gain and it continues to be so unabatedly, and then wrong becomes right. Inwardly we build self defence mechanisms that keep us silent and ineffective without losing our sleep.

Otherwise, how come there were so many people who saw in front of them the occurrence, and yet did not intervene to save a fellow human life? This is manifestly a sin, this apathy I mean. That is the worrisome aspect of this tragedy.

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Latif Quader is Fellow Chartered Accountant and a businessman.

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43 Responses to “ What killed Biswajit? ”

  1. Rana on December 14, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    I hate narrow politics. I think we can be more open. We can’t keeping sleep any longer. Please let us come forward and vote an actual honest person, not some party.

  2. Sixth Sense on December 13, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Biswajit is dead.The writer knows what killed him but is unwilling to say so.Why the writer is silent about the powerful person who let the beastly killers loose in the street on that day?We are all Bangladeshis irrespective of everything else.We therefore need not follow any dress codes for visibly identifying the religion we follow as has apparently been suggested by the writer.We shall not forget Biswajit ever.Long live Biswajit.

  3. heesham uddin on December 12, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    Thank you Latif Quader for this timely post. We all are responsible for this killing. Awami League, Chhatra League, BNP, Jamaat, the on-lookers, everyone. But the one party which is solely to be blamed is the GOVERNMENT. They have failed to protect its citizen from the Chhatra League thugs and haven’t been able to bring any of the culprits to justice till date.

    • anonymous on December 13, 2012 at 9:19 am

      When the govt is withdrawing cases against murder, even the president is forgiving convicted murderer; the country is supposed to see scenes like these more frequently.

      We, the mass, are peace-loving but I doubt if our our politicians are. A can’t see any radical regime change in near future!

  4. CCU on December 12, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    These Chhatra Leaguers must be brought to justice. But does the government has the guts?

  5. Tony on December 12, 2012 at 10:03 am

    You are searching for the killer? It is the person who called Hartal in the name of a political party. Everyone knows that during Hartal vehicles get vandalised and people get hurt and killed. They always say it should be a peaceful demonstration BUT it NEVER is. This is murder and the party leader should be convicted. If I drink and drive and kill someone cause of the alcohol then I get tried for it, it is my fault. If you send your people on the street and someone gets hurt or killed it’s your fault. YOU need to face the consequences for your action. STOP trying to promote your political parties by pointing out what the opposition is doing wrong, instead do something good for the people so that they vote for you in the future.

  6. Olok Gupto on December 11, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Ohh what a return to the Hindus by AL, it’s time to understand the national feelings by the Hindu, AL doesn’t respect shidur/temple/purohit, what we saw is the barbarian act of AL, this time people saw blood of a man, earlier we saw bleeding in people’s heart and mind due to share scam. What’s awaiting us, only Allah knows.

    • Mozammel Haque on December 15, 2012 at 4:36 pm

      It’s not about Hindu-Muslim, it’s about humanity.

  7. Karabi on December 11, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    I’ve started to hate myself as a citizen of this country as I didn’t make any protest. Are we living in a civilised country? No we are living in a jungle and we are the…

  8. Imran on December 11, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    সারাটা দিন একটা খবর পাবার জন্য অপেক্ষা করতেছিলাম। মনের গহীন কোনায়ও প্রত্যাশা ছিল না, তারপরেও ভেবেছিলাম আমাদের দেশের নেতৃত্বে কোথাও না কোথাও একজন মানুষ রয়ে গেেছ যে ব্যাপারটাতে আমাকে ভুল প্রমাণ করবে। না, শেষ পর্যন্ত তাদের কেউ আমাকে ভুল প্রমাণ করার জন্য এগিয়ে আসে নি। বিশ্বজিত নামের যুবকটিকে কেউ বা কারা হত্যা করেনি। কারো নাম, পরিচয় রাষ্ট্রের জানা নেই। রাষ্ট্র বিশ্বজিতের মত মূল্যহীনদের জীবন বা মৃত্যুর নিশ্চয়তা দেয় না।

    ১৯৯৯ সালে দিল্লিতে ভারতের হরিয়ানার তৎকালীন মুখ্যমন্ত্রীর ছেলে নিজের খামখেয়ালীমত প্রকাশ্যে হত্যা করে জেসিকা নামের এক নারীকে। ৬ বছর ধরে চলা বিচারকাজ শেষে দেখা যায় খুনীদের সবাই নিরাপরাধ। No One Killed Jessica – এই ছিল খবরের হেডলাইন সেদিন

    জনরোষে ফেটে পড়ে দিল্লীবাসী। শেষ পর্যন্ত পুনঃবিচার শেষে যাবজ্জীবন কারাদন্ড হয় খুনীর।

    আমাদের দেশে আমরা এর চাইতে অনেক ভাল আছি, খামোখা কোর্ট-কাচারী করে কি দরকার। বিশ্বজিত মরে বেঁচে গেছে। সুতাকৃমীর জীবন বেঁচে থাকার জন্য রেখে গেছে আমাদেরকে। এই খুন নিয়ে কেউ বিচার পাবার চেষ্টাও করবে না। ২৪ বছরের তরতাজা যুবকটি তার মায়ের মনেই শুধু থাকবে।

    আমরা ভুলে যাব, আমিও ভুলে যাব- No One Killed Bishwajit.

    • Mozammel Haque on December 15, 2012 at 4:38 pm

      Probably death like this was written on his fate. A heinous crime!

  9. Sajol on December 11, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    We want to see the arrest and punishment of the killers of Biswajit. It is our right to demand it and hope the government will take necessary steps as as it is their responsibility.

  10. Shibli on December 11, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    The appalling and tragic incident of the murder of this young man Biswajit is a vivid reminder of how our country seems to have slipped into an age of barbarism. God help us.

  11. khokon on December 11, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    I should like to thank first the writer for this piece. The death of this poor young man brings out a question from the farthest reach of my heart –where are we heading towards? I saw as student of Dhaka University this kind of sights in the mid-’90s, my brother saw throughout the ’80s the same brutality. In Bangladesh we have reached a stage where death (the extreme loss) matters very little. We are blessed with the great ability of forgetting anything, whatever big it may be, in a space of just days. How many of us remember the Tazreen garments tragedy today? Bishwajit will be well and truly forgotten in the next few days.

    But this death surely leaves a few questions for our collective conscience that will keep haunting us for many many more years to come.

    Firstly, our politicians have chosen not to change.They would wait for dead bodies two decades back, they wait for dead bodies even now, because the dead can give them some mileage. Both the ‘Begums’ play with religious card. Please do not forget Hasina’s headgear or Khaleda’s apprehension of mosques being converted into Hindu place of worship. And we the people have never chosen to dismiss them from our lives. Shall we ever do so?

    Secondly, We have a home minister who is adept in making things worse. He openly invites the Chhatra League to take arms and eliminate the opponents. Then who can stop them? May I ask the home minister: Will you take the moral responsibility of this wanton death? I am sure he will not. Nothing can stop him. He destroyed the civil service. But his arrogance continues. So long we are presented with (?) this kind of home ministers we are bound to suffer. Shall our PM ever understand it?

    Thirdly, this poor young man begged for his life repeating that he was Hindu. This brings up a grave moral question. At what stage does a man do so? He thought that the so-called ‘Hindu-friendly’ goons will spare him. But they did not do so. It only means that Chhatra League needs blood, no matter whose blood it is. May I ask the ruling party and our leftists: Have you ever believed in secularism? No. You believed in power and dead bodies and you will continue to do so.

    Bishwajit, to me is the symbol of an impotent state. I have a personal fantasy — that is — the PM took the responsibility of this death and resigned!

  12. Parvez on December 11, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Let’s get rid of those monsters — their parents, siblings, offspring and their so-called political leaders. I can’t see any other alternative other than getting rid of this dirty lot.

  13. Iftekhar Hossain on December 11, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    লুপ্ত বিবেক
    ******

    বিশ্বজিতের ঘর ছিলনা
    আর ছিলনা বিত্ত
    শুধুই ছিল জীবন যুদ্ধে
    হার না মানার চিত্ত।

    শক্তি, দম্ভ, অহংকারে
    উচ্চ ছিল বিশ্ব
    বিশ্বজিতের মৃত্যু তাকে
    বানিয়ে দিল নিঃস্ব।

    অন্ধ জগত, মিথ্যা বিচার
    সুস্থ বিবেক সুপ্ত
    আন্ধকারের কালো ধোঁয়ায়
    আলোর শিখা লুপ্ত।

    ইফতেখার হোসেন
    ১১/১২/২০১

    • Tasnim Siddiq on December 12, 2012 at 10:41 am

      Lupto alor shikha tumi kore dao dipto,
      Manush abar jege uthuk, jege uthuk chitto.

    • Nizam Al-Hussainy on December 17, 2012 at 9:31 pm

      Excellently written kobita!
      But will the killers be punished?

  14. khujeci on December 11, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    “better still, a tuft of uncut hair on the back head and saffron coloured sartorial. For, the perception that prevails among the common party operatives who hacked him to death would recognise him as supporter, for whatever they need support for from ordinary people.”

    If you think being Hindu means automatically supporter of AL, you have not paid attention to how Hindu community was neglected by AL. I think the days of auto vote bank are long over.

  15. Yamuna Zaman on December 11, 2012 at 11:48 am

    First thing’s first.
    What killed Bishawjit is secondary here, at this point of time.
    Who are the culprits behind this merciless killing should be the primary focus.

    The author indeed has a misleading mission.

  16. Sajjad on December 11, 2012 at 11:25 am

    It does appear that there are many by the same name and the moderator has no mechanism in place to differentiate this in public.
    It’s a pity that we prose on the sad and shameful incident and point fingers at the silent observers. Wonder what the author would do from a cozy distance?
    There can be only one demand, the persons is identified. They should be immediately punished, setting clear example.
    We want to hear no more, and let the media help in raising that in a unified voice, not with intellectual caricature diffusing the key issue.

  17. sorryforyou on December 11, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Is the author a ‘dalal’ of AL? Is he trying to cover up in this article the heinous crime by Chhatra League ‘goons’ by trying to theorize on this killing and shift the blame on “abstract” causes rather than on the Awami thugs who are on record in the video footage?

  18. Kalam Ahmed on December 11, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Would the writer have intervened to save Biswajit if he had been there?

  19. Tasnim Siddiq on December 11, 2012 at 2:02 am

    ….because we are no more human being…..

  20. Saeid Hassan Khan on December 11, 2012 at 1:06 am

    “In 1969, public violence took a massive leap and spread amongst people’s psyche as something acceptable for social justice system where government was failing to ensure it. In 1971, when humanity plunged into darkness, the horror of human atrocities against fellow humans took root in our collective sub-conscience. We have now been waiting for a generation for its scars to fade, yet no signs of abating.” Would you please explain these lines for me? Your points are not quite clear to me. By calling “public violence” which incidents are you referring to?

  21. DR MUHAMMAD SHAMEEM HASSAN on December 11, 2012 at 12:56 am

    Shocked with profound dismay….humanity…where is humanity? no words to express my feelings…..

  22. DR MUHAMMAD SHAMEEM HASSAN on December 11, 2012 at 12:37 am

    Shocked with profound dismay….please do not drag the matter to any community……humanity…… please say humanity is at stake. We must stand together….for the sake of humanity…Biswajit is my brother too.

  23. MBI Munshi on December 11, 2012 at 12:29 am

    Although Biswajit could not be identified by his religion or political affiliation, his attackers have all been identified as belonging to the student wing of the Awami League but nevertheless remain free. Why has the writer obscured this point?

  24. Green on December 10, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    Where do all these stop? No one takes the responsibility; who is there to console the victim’s mother?

  25. adnan on December 10, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    Why you are telling us what killed Biswajit? Tell our government and our opposition parties that they are the ones who killed Biswajit, literally.

  26. Sajal Jajabar on December 10, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    He was killed by the so called politics of Bangladesh………Just hate the politicians for their inhumanity…..

  27. sajjad on December 10, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    No point in giving comments.
    BDNEWS24 does not print what it does not like.

  28. Abdur Rahman on December 10, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    It is a very shameful act that a man was beaten to death. Are we living in a civilized society? The question is haunting my mind. I am very upset .

  29. Md. Zahirul Hoque Mozumder on December 10, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    The truth that came out through this writing — “Biswajit is also a victim of our indifference and cowardice; inability to take a moral stand in the face of adversity. This self-oriented behaviour pattern is also the outcome of a society where morality has taken a downward trend ever since we lost our faith in the social system to set things right. When everything that is good, morale and perceived to be right are being manipulated and abused for personal gain and it continues to be so unabatedly, and then wrong becomes right. Inwardly we build self defence mechanisms that keep us silent and ineffective without losing our sleep.” No doubt, unbearable, naked truth. Thanks to the author for a good piece of writing.

    • Zahid on February 16, 2013 at 11:17 pm

      Biswajits never die. He is in our mind. We want justice….

  30. Dr Kishaloy Sur on December 10, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    All silent at the Western-front! Who cares if a Hindu (minority) was killed!

    • Nupur Das on December 10, 2012 at 10:27 pm

      Dr. Sur,
      Don’t play the minority card here. Biswajit died for being a commoner. Our inaction and incompetence killed him, not his religious identity.

      • sajjad on December 10, 2012 at 11:04 pm

        Oh yes, no minority card playing please. No effort to find out who killed him, even from clear pictures published in several newspapers today, confirms what we thought. We are back to the ruling party’s killing spree.

        • DR MUHAMMAD SHAMEEM HASSAN on December 11, 2012 at 12:58 am

          no minority….it is humanity that is in stake.

        • goat watcher on December 11, 2012 at 4:03 am

          Sajjad, you’re so sure that it’s the ruling party, that it stinks. You obviously are biased, and as such, blind. Was it the ruling party that called the blockade? Was it them that started the burning and assaults early on in the day? Please say AL if you want to call them out, and are trying to blame it on AL. But don’t call them “the ruling party” and try to exploit this sad death. It is people like you with ulterior motives that try to benefit from both worlds, but give the least of your own; who shouts a lot, but are the first to hide when the $hit hits the fan!

      • Tuhin on December 10, 2012 at 11:24 pm

        I can empathize with Dr. Sur’s frustration. Regardless, what’s important is that a serious effort should be under taken to bring the perpetrators to justice irrespective of their party affiliation. This will perhaps give Biswajits family some consolation.

      • DR MUHAMMAD SHAMEEM HASSAN on December 11, 2012 at 1:02 am

        Those goons who killed Biswajit has no religion…cannot have…they don’t have even any caste too…and they don’t belong to any society either…

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