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Photo: bdnews24.com
Photo: bdnews24.com

The quote “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it” seems to have been the motto of Adilur Rahman Khan, a former Deputy Attorney General of the BNP-Jamaat coalition and the secretary of Odhikar before being incarcerated.

Adilur’s organisation, Odhikar, in a report titled “Assembly of Hefazate Islam and Human Rights Violations” published on June 10, claimed 61 Hifazat activists died in the law enforcement operation aiming to evict the Taliban like Hifazat-i Islami from bustling Motjheel area of Dhaka on May 6, 2013. But, when approached, Odhikar initially could provide the account of only thre deaths. Later, the organisation refused to provide any further discloser citing security reasons. The refusal led to the arrest of Adilur Khan.

On the death figure, on May 6, 2013, Daily Amar Desh, citing Hifazat leaders, reported, death toll to be between 16 and 24. On May 11, Human Rights Watch citing independent sources put the death toll at 50 which also included several law enforcing agency members killed by the Hifazat activists.

Adilur’s arrest have made a big hue and cry among the human rights organisations and merchants across the world. Dubbing him as the champion of human rights, the human rights organisations have demanded his release.

Now, let’s look at how committed Adilur had been in defending human rights while serving as the deputy attorney general under the BNP-Jamaat regime. Since 1990s, four elected and one unelected governments have ruled Bangladesh. Among all these governments, the BNP-Jamaat led coalition government of the 2001-06 period broke all records of human rights violation.

The post-2001 election violence led by BNP-Jamaat cadres against the Hindus, killing many members of the community, raping children including 16 years old Purnima Rani Shil, evicting many Hindu families from their ancestral homes, crossed the limits of uncivilised acts one can think of.

Then, a series of bomb attacks by the militant outfits JMB and Harkatual Jihad, aimed at obliterating opposition voices, killed one former-minister, several senior opposition political leaders, one elected representative including many opposition, cultural, and progressive activists.

Never did before, in the post-1971 period, so many senior political leaders and intellectuals got killed in atrocities patronised by the government. As table 1 shows, a total of 113 people died and 1458 injured of a bombing campaign perpetrated by two militant groups the JMB and Harkatul Jihad between 2001-06. Both organizations were created under the auspices of the leaders of BNP-Jamaat coalition.

abm nasirFor example, on January 27, 2004, former finance minister ASM Kibria was brutally killed in Grenade attack in Habiganj of Sylhet.

On May 24, 2004, the Awami League MP Ahasanullah Master was assassinated by the BNP activists.

On February 27, 2004, Harkatul Jihad militant brutally stabbed Dhaka University Professor Humanyun Azad in front of the Bangla Academy.

On May 14, 2004, a grenade attack injured the former British Ambassador Anwar Chowdhury at the Shrine of Sufi Hazrat Shahjala in Sylhet.

On December 24, 2004, Professor Yunus of Rajshahi University while survived several attacks by Jamaat-Shibir cadres eventually had to succumb to brutal attack by the same group belonging to the coalition government.

On August 21, 2004, a heinous grenade attack on the opposition rally killed 24 Awami League leaders and activists including the member of the presidium, Ivy Rahman. The attack severely injured the current prime minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina, former Dhaka City mayor Mohammed Hanif and more than hundred party leaders and activists.

Fact of the matter is that Adilur Khan served as the DAG under the BNP-Jamaat coalition government even while being aware of such egregious violation of human rights during the coalition government. But, he did nothing! He utterly failed to take any initiative to ensure credible investigation to find the masterminds and culprits behind the attacks. Many of the cases had never addressed and resolved before the BNP-Jamaat coalition left political office. Even, he is accused of being instrumental in fabricating cases against the activists of the anti-government and fundamentalist movements. To hide/protect the perpetrators of August 21, 2004 grenade attack, the George Miah drama was staged during his tenure. Renowned historian and Dhaka University Professor Muntasir Mamun was charged with bombing incidence at a Cinema Hall in Mymensing and jailed. Renowned author, journalist, film documentary producer Shahriar Kabir was jailed in sedition charges.

In addition to bombing campaigns killing hundreds and injuring thousands, as table 2 shows, extrajudicial killings, border killings, journalist killing and death in political violence were the highest during BNP-Jamaat government of all post 1990s governments. The regime ranks even worse when considering yearly average of human rights violation.

abm nasir 2One may ask how a deputy attorney general can ensure justice going against the mighty state apparatus. But, his inaction speaks louder than rhetoric. As a DAG, Adilur Khan may not have been effective in ensuring justice in a rather predatory state. Yet, he knowingly continued to serve under the predatory state while such violation kept going on. His association confirms his complicity.

How could a man of conscience, claiming now to be a human rights defender, not protest such relentless campaign of terrorism aimed at disseminating activists of opposition political parties and progressive movements! Is this the political ideology? If political ideology triumphs over human conscience, then his conviction for human rights must have been fake. Did Adilur Rhaman Khan ever protest the atrocities committed by the goons of the same government he was representing? Is there any record showing his sincere efforts in prosecuting the creators of Bangla Bhai and bringing the masterminds behind the bars? Had he been unable to do so, did he offer to resign from his position?

Adilur Khan seems to change his position as political wind shifts. When he was a lawman of the country, he condoned the atrocities against his opposition. Now, out of power, he clads in humane garb, proclaiming himself as the champion of human rights. Adilur has engaged in a campaign of falsehood. He speaks of human rights of the BNP-Jamaat-Hifazat coalition, but not of those died during 2001-06 when Adilur Khan was a lawman of the country. Using a human rights organisation as his political pulpit, serenely standing on it, he keeps spreading false and distorted information. By spreading lies, he seems to plan to replace the perception of the people, by erasing their memories off the atrocities perpetrated during BNP-Jamaat regime, with a fake perception of egregious violation of human rights against the Taliban like fundamentalist group Hifazat-i Islam.

No doubt, Adiulur has been doing all these to maximise his personal and political agenda: a dishonest trait of any human right activist, but a great trait of a business person. By failing to act against the human rights violation of the opposition when he had some power to do so and later by promoting falsehood when in opposition, Adilur Khan has lost his credibility and moral rights to claim himself to be a champion of the human rights.

Yet, I demand that Adilur Rahman not be subjected to unlawful detention, torture and harassment, which he failed to extend to the victims of his regime. Don’t make a martyr out of him. Don’t repeat the mistakes he and his regime made. Let him give a chance to repent. Doing so would be immensely beneficial to promote democratic values and human rights.

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ABM Nasir is an associate professor of Economics at the North Carolina Central University, USA.

30 Responses to “Human rights activist or human rights merchant!”

  1. Moyna Rahman

    KMAK : I have told you the truth only (no if and what). Thanking you.

  2. Zohurul

    Great human rights violations after 2001 election led by BNP-JAMAAT. What action had been taken by Adilur Rahman as a Dy.Atty.Gen. and his ODIKHAR? He has no moral rights to say things about 5th MAY activities.

  3. Anwar A. Khan

    Because of Adilur’s report, some people including Adilur might feel plenty of joie de vivre considering it a big scoop to enliven a certain vested quarters for their interests who were already on the verge of decaying because of their wrong course of conduct but Adilur has taken the latitude to make the report based on rumours, speculation, and innuendo. Hence, all his statements are mendacious and he didn’t do so out of a sense of noblesse oblige, that is sure.

    Inaction to such a matter of great importance will help encourage other malevolent people and people of degeneracy to do higher degree of harm to us all. Swift action in such matters will also send a clear-cut message to the bad kind of people to refrain from committing any bitchy and harmful acts. And aspersion can thus be assuaged.

    Nobody is above the law. Addilur is no exception to it. Law has taken its course of action. I hope he will lawfully be dealt with till the final disposal of the matter.

  4. Rashedur Rahman Bhuiyan

    I did politics of BNP and its student front. I voted BNP–Jamaat Jote in 2001 to come to power. But to my utter shock, I could not forget those horrible days after the 2001 national election that they unleashed a reign of terror throughout the country leading to communal riots; looting and burning of houses of many people of minority community and killing of many people of that community. Many Hindu girls/women were dishonoured by them.

    More than that, I can also cite an incident which happened in my life : one morning sometimes in October, 2002, I was going to a clinic near Shamoli, Dhaka. As I reached near Suhrawardy Hospital, 4-5 men aged around 30, surrounded me with pistol and daggers and asked for a big sum of money for running their nearby office, indentifying themselves as workers of BNP. I was financially insolvent, told them about BNP involvement and asked them to pardon me. But being furious, they slapped me cruelly, snatched away that small bag which contained stool and urine and my moneybag. Since then, I lost all interests in BNP and its politics and decided not to do politics any longer. Those black days still haunt me. I repent for doing BNP politics. I hate them and its partners especially Jamaat-e-Islami like anything because of their past misdeeds and the crimes they are still committing.

    My family members will not vote for them in the days to come and shall advise everybody not to vote them because they will bring the country to the dark days from where we may not be to come out.

    • Mahmud Hasnain

      Rashedur Rahman Bhuiyan, Bravado! Thank you very much for exposing the ugly faces of the activists of BNP and its allies hereinafter referred to as BNP. We pray to Allah for your well-being. No need to do politics. We also do not do politics. If we love the country, we can serve it in many positive ways.

      We shall neither support Awami League nor BNP. And no vote for them (we are new voters) and that shall be our pledge.

      We shall have to be very strict with regard to Jamaat-e-Islami and all its outfits because it is a party where all war crimes criminals are residing. ‘Lord perish us’ (according to the language of Golam Arshad) before we lend any support to them. Instead, we should lend our all out support to the ICTs so that they can complete their trial processes smoothly, and the perpetrators get due punishment, And Final Execution Of All Verdicts Are Happened, At Least, For Those Who Are Now In Jails. Thereafter, peace will definitely come back, we shall work for peace, live in peace and amity and maintain the same through our utmost efforts. Thus the nation can also be unified which once Zia divided.

      Regards.

      All Students :

      Zinat, Nabendu Chakma, David Das, Srabanty Barua, Nikhil, Masum, Animesh Khisha, Sanjit, Shakil, Minu, Moriom, Shushil Garo, Rea, Jakir, Badrul, Samir Barua, Antony, Jalal, Bashar, Shisir Shaozal, Nandita, Mahmud, Nasir, Bernard Sarkar, Ashish, Mohiuddin, Amalendu Khisha, Rajib Ali, Reza, Arunima Dutta, Shuvashis Dewan, Munir Mohiuddin and Jhony Gupta.

  5. KMAK

    Bdnews24 moderators have mangled my earlier post. So much for freedom of expression and respect for truth.

  6. akku chowdhury

    those involved in Human Rights organization can’t and shouldn’t be part of any political parties or pressure groups as it reflects in their neutrality to report human rights violations.

    • Rupali

      Are you blind, look at the data properly, AL date was for 3 years on a row, from 2009 to 2012 which is 3 years, and BNP data was from 2002 to 2004 which is only 2 years data, and they still managed to kill more than half within a short period of 2 years, and Awami number of years not even half of what BNP accumalated during their government for 3 years.

      I think you are telling a Porki Pie, basically you are either blind or a blind supporter of the the BNP/Jamaats.

      4 times more deaths occured during the BNP/Jamaats regime.

  7. Anwar A. Khan

    There is huge abracadabra being heard, albeit Mr. Nasir has presented the truth along with facts and figures so niceish. But somebodies are singing absonant without comprehension of its substance. Read the article paying right attention before begin to affray amain. Actually, Adilur’s report is a load of bunkum. It is nothing but a canard which is ill- disposed to spread deliberately to do harm to the country, its people and so forth.

    A human rights acvitis must posses the philosophy of dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions. Being a human rights activist, Adilur might have been be out of that line. Thus his action is more of a felony.

    Adilur might have thought his report would be a highfalutin but it would back-fire as hocus-pocus.

    However, peace, amity and forgiveness are for human being only, not for any beasts.

    Allah bless us all. Ciao.

  8. Fazal

    Please, do not misunderstand me. I am neither a BAL supporter nor BNP supporter, but very disappointed at this very poorly written propaganda piece by a faculty member of a North American University. Stats are not correctly collated (BAL calculated on 3 years stats while that of BNP on 4 years!). It shows the mindset of the author.

  9. Alhaj Samia Chowdhury

    I live at Arambagh anigh to Motijheel Shapla Circle. ABM Nasir has accentuated the facts and so, he is being abashed. But nothing has happened like that of the claim made by Adilur Rahman Khan (ARK) as some commentators are trying to biff him.

    ARK is a besmirch, a trouble-monger, according to the diktat of their Guru with mala fide motives, has cooked a story of 61 Hifazatis death by the law enforcers and passed the same down to several overseas organisations to drum up support for his so-called claim whereas it seems to us that he doesn’t know his country; he doesn’t want to recognize his root; when the government asked him to provide them with any such information, he didn’t make a showing. Look at his audacity! I have read his report. Can he present such a fake document being a human rights activist? It is a planted black propaganda, nothing else. I must say Nasir is correct when he says human rights merchant and those overseas donors who donate funds for such an organization like Adhikar should put it under serious scrutiny. ARK has committed an agrestic offence. It would definitely strike the amour-propre of conscience guided people.

    Mr Nasir, it is a brilliant piece with relevant data and information and a true statement. I thank you very much from the core of my heart. Many days back, you wrote about “Our very own Hydra” and I think ARK is like a Hydra belonged to that nefarious group.

  10. Adnan

    Perhaps Mr. Adilur Rahman has not been a stellar performer.

    But this article is a joke, a travesty. I can’t believe an assistant professor – that too of a North-American university – doesn’t know better than to refrain from a media-trial in such a high-profile case. “Human rights merchant”? Really?

    “If political ideology triumphs over human conscience, then his conviction for human rights must have been fake” – Mr. Nasir has formed his own premise and passed his own judgment without regard for proof, evidence or judicial process. None of the data presented in the article helps reach those conclusions.

    Even paid slanderers have disguised their cases better.

  11. Tamim Akhter

    The writer is perhaps too naiive or too committed to BAL politics. The statistics he has quoted are way out of line – just seeing the number of border killings.
    Living in the security of North Carolina allows him privileges that hapless Bangladeshis cannot claim.
    Please get real.
    Adilur was a Charter member of Ghadani Committee and a DAG – perhaps you did not know !
    Adilur has given his info to Ain O Shalish Kendro, it is now Hasina’s turn to disprove him.
    Let us not try to justify BAL misdeeds by justifying them with BNP misdeeds – popular perception is not swayed by this line of argument.

  12. Samir Chowdhury

    Ruining the country’s image in the name of human rights is indeed a crime. And should have been tackled legally. But instead this arbitrary arrest took place which will make a hero out of Adilur Rahman. This not that way to handle things.

  13. Dukkho Bilash

    But I see the table the writer has used is Odhikar’s where it shows that AL’s track record is better than others as regards HR issues. Then why is the writer blaming Odhikar for remaining inactive? They did their part. Pointed out the picture.

  14. afnan Sami

    I quite agree with the writer. Just because he works for a human rights organization, doesn’t mean that he should be above any scrutiny and will be allowed to distort information at will or refuse the government to provide with important information on flimsy grounds.

  15. Golam Arshad

    What as shot from the “Deceptive Line Of Action”. Charged in the magic mixture of Partisanship! Keep up ranting !! The jittery saga of “You and They”!!

    • Shotto Roy

      Were you not part of the BNP-Jamaat government, Mr. Golam Arshad? As far as, I know you were. You have the same vested interest as Adilur Rahman Khan. So, I don’t expect objective statement from you. So, writing meaningless innuendos won’t work, Mr. Golam Ershad!

      I wish Dr. Nasir knows your identity.

      bdnews24.com team please don’t block this comment. Readers have the right to know identity of the commentators. My comment will come out anyway!

      Well done Dr. Nasir, exposing the hypocrisy in your human right face. Now, you should also turn your attention to other side to maintain your objectivity.

  16. Carlos Danger

    So, he failed to wipe out all the Human Rights violations when he was a DAG, therefore he lost all his credibilities and he needs to be imprisoned if he ever utters the words “Human Rights Violations” and anything he says regarding that matter will be deemed as propaganda. A sound argument indeed. *sigh*

  17. Waqil Ahmed

    Much as I hate to agree with the writer of this article since unknown to me he could be a paid hack of the ruling party, his basic assessment of Adilur Rahman is correct. Odhikar too, like a good many organizations in Bangladesh, is a partisan one with hidden sympathies and links to the BNP, and it is to be doubted whether its figures of the deaths in the ‘Hefazat clean-up’ even approximate the truth. Adilur Rahman is a tainted figure and he has no business being in the human rights universe.
    All that having been taken into account, however, it does not mean he should have been arrested. The government should not have risen to the bait and made Adilur a national figure. This is the sorry state of our politics.

    • siddiqua Islam

      My, my, you know adilur rahman khan soo well? what proof do you have that he totes the opposition line or is dishonest? If you had a milligram of humanity in your blood, you would not be making such sweeping statements with no proof.

      • Waqil Ahmed

        Dear Ms Islam, may I point out that everybody knows everybody else in the human rights business. Whose political bias is where, which project money has been won by who, who is connected where. It is a small world there in Bangladesh human rights NGOs. Everybody knows now that Adil has ‘earned’ it with the cooked-up Hefazat death figures and arrest leading to this regime’s discomfort, if the BNP comes to power he has a good shot at the Attorney General’s position. Also, it’s very telling when the ex Deputy Attorney General of the previous regime suddenly becomes a big defender of human rights: either he is bent on correcting his negligence while in office, or he has found a good position from which to serve his political masters. It is nothing to get upset about, these are just facts of political life in Bangladesh.

  18. Muha

    Yesterday there was an incident where Awami league men threw bomb in a house belonging to a man who is BNP affiliated. Two people died in that incident . Now i read in the daily news paper that the police gave the statement that those were killed when they were making bomb. As it happened close to my house i know the fact. Now tell me in your statistics where will those two deaths land? We( my family)voted for AL throughout our lives. During the last AL government my father in laws land was grabbed by AL men, this time my land which i bought in 1998 is almost grabbed by a couple of AL men. We are not getting any cooperation from the court because of Party influence and looks like if AL comes to power we will lose the land for ever. Now my only wish only desire is to oust this regime(looter) and my only promise is never ever vote or support Awami League. I am not saying that BNP is perfect but our expectation from AL was much higher than other parties.

    • Golam Arshad

      Correct! Correct!! The Whiplash of Arrogance will wither out in wrath of remorse! Oppression and Suppression, in stroke of BLOOD ends in annihilation. AL streaming out in the oblivion in note of
      OPPRESSION!

      • Moyna Rahman

        Jamaat exponent (Golam Arshad) is here again. Anarchy and violence creators, traders of lies and their lords shall be taken to the ambit of law and this is quite natural. Everyone will want that to keep peace and order in the society. Oppression and suppression are immaterial here which you trying to dig out. Hejabis and their friends will soon be out from our society because of their misdoing. I pray to Allah for that.

      • KMAK

        “Hejabis and their friends will soon be out from our society because of their misdoing.”

        Your society? If anything, you’re a minority considering that according to the recent PEW data the majority of Bangladeshis believe the Hijab to be a matter of choice. So, Ms. Moyna, how does it feel knowing how out of touch you are with the rest of the population? Do us all a favor and move to Calcutta.

      • Moyna Rahman

        KMAK : You are mistaken. It is not a hijab as you meant. I also wear hijab. Hejabis= hefajat-jamaat-bnp.

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