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Days after the murder of Niladri Chatterjee Niloy who said he was refused a complaint, the inspector general of police (IGP) has advised the bloggers not to write blogs that may hurt religious sentiments.
Days after the murder of Niladri Chatterjee Niloy who said he was refused a complaint, the inspector general of police (IGP) has advised the bloggers not to write blogs that may hurt religious sentiments.

I started this article to write about all the talking that the Prime Minister, The Home Minister and all the mini ministers have been doing about catching the murderers who have killed four talented bloggers and writers.

They simply talk, talk, and talk. I assumed the talk is just a way to hide the incompetence and the impotence of the government and Law Enforcement agencies. Incompetence itself is not a crime but holding on to positions of power while being incompetent is probably a close cousin to criminal behavior.

But, today my naiveté was shattered. There was this Press Conference by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) AKM Shahidul Hoque in Dhaka. What he said is both stunning in terms of shifting blame and also reveals the underlying philosophical construct which takes their lack of action from mere incompetence to a studied absence of action.

This means they let the killings go on with a wink and nod. Based on the interview it is clear to me that these murderers of the bloggers including Avijit and Niloy will never be caught. No one is looking for the killers, period.

There will always be free thinkers. I have enough respect for them. But we need to remember that hurting religious sentiments is a crime according to our law. Any offender of religious beliefs may get the highest punishment of 14 years (in jail). But killing someone for that offence is never acceptable”, so said the IGP, trying to shift the blame to the victim.

He equates the victim to an offender in order to hide the unmitigated incompetence of the Bangladesh Police Force. What a shame! Mr. Hoque is of course referring to Section 295A of Bangladesh Penal Code (1860).

The code states, “Any person who has a deliberate or malicious intent of hurting religious sentiments is liable to imprisonment”. That is the Law that the IGP is invoking to shift the blame and cover the incompetence of his force. Before we look at the IGP and his rants on victim-blaming, let’s take a quick look at this Section 295A.

It says anyone who has a malicious and deliberate intent will be liable to prison terms. The keyword, of course, is intent. There is a wide world of interpretations for intent. Let us take a look at few examples:

  • In 2007, the government banned the Eid issue of the weekly Shaptahik 2000because of a blasphemous reference in an autobiographical article by Daud Haider.
  • In 2005, Mohd Rafiqul Islam Rony, MP laid a complaint against professor Ali Asghar for causing hurt to religious sentiment by his alleged remark that religious instruction need not be compulsory.
  • In 2002, the police arrested the members of an amateur theater group in Faridpur, among whom were Hindus, for “causing hurt to religious sentiment” by their play.
  • In 2002, the Bangladesh Censor Board banned Tareque Masud and Catherine Masud’s film Matir Moina (The Clay Bird) because its setting is a Madrasa.
  • In 2000, criminals killed Monir Hossain Sagar (of Delduar in Tangail), the author of the book Nari Tumi Manush Chhile Kobey. The killers claimed that the book had indecent remarks about Allah and Prophet Mohammed.

So, religious sentiment is hurt if someone says, there is no need for compulsory religious education, or if you are Hindu participating in a play. In the book by Monir Hossain Sagar, I could not find any indecent remarks about Allah or the Prophet. I found the thing to be boring and interminably meandering. Must be an interpretational issue!

So, who decides what is intentionally indecent to religion, Allah, and Mohammed? The IGP and his force is going to go hide behind this silly law and shift blame to the victims.

There is, of course, the issue of incompetence and the Police’s inability to catch these murderers. All of the killers that killed Avijit, Oyasiqur Rahman, and now Niloy, are trained in the very specific art of killing people using the Bengali version of machete. They know to go for the neck, head, and other vital areas of the body. These killers are trained, their targets are selected in advance by their handlers, they are given the place of attack and they do meticulous intelligence gathering.

These are not random criminals who commit crimes of opportunity. They are driven by ideology. The Bangladesh Police Force is obviously not equipped to handle these sorts of ideological criminals.

It takes courage to accept one’s weakness and ask for help. I think the Government of Bangladesh needs to acknowledge that it has a huge capability deficiency in terms of pursuing these criminals. As opposed to shifting blame to the victims it is time to ask for and accept help.

Bangladesh needs an intelligence gathering unit singularly focused on these murderers and their handlers. This is an intelligence gathering game as opposed to press conferences and RAB-like random brutality. What needs to happen is for Bangladesh to sign on to the long game. It took some 13 years to hunt down Bin Laden and it took FBI and NY Police 30 years of intelligence gathering, arrests, and disruptions to dismantle the MAFIA in the US.

The one thing FBI and other agencies excel in is gathering intelligence and connecting the dots. In order to confront the murderers who are killing people in order to silence their voices, Bangladesh Law Enforcement should seek help from acknowledged experts in the matter of intelligence-gathering and hunting down of these murderers.

I am sure the US government will be more than happy to train, equip, and partially fund such a group if the Bangladesh government would request such help. It is time to abandon false pride and accept that the burden is too heavy to carry and get some professional help.

The danger is that, any group or agency which work in the shadows and have fair amount of power can easily turn their power against the very people it is supposed to protect. Herein lies the quandary. We must insulate this agency from the partisan influence that is so very pervasive in Bangladesh but at the same time have tight oversight on the activities of the group. The only way that can be ensured is some sort of International oversight committee.

That may bring out the nationalists among us to condemn such as arrangement as impinging on Bangladesh’s sovereignty. However, it is the probably the safest way to get things moving. In short, I am proposing that Bangladesh seeks help from the US in forming a highly trained specialised group with a time limited mandate (10 years) to hunt down the Jihadists. In order to avoid Human Rights violations, this group will be under International supervision for its duration. Yes, this is not ideal but we need to annihilate the Jihadists who will not stop short of destroying the fabric of the country.

Kayes Ahmed is a businessman running multi-national operations from Colorado, USA.

14 Responses to “Talk, talk, talk, do nothing, shift blame”

  1. Akteruzzaman Chowdhury

    I think our Police and Army people already have cooperation and training programs with US or other countries and they may be willing to do more of the same. You have the opinion that cooperation will improve the situation. But when we see some other countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, we see that the US and NATO strategy is not very effective. Jihadi mentality is something which increases when the enemy is in hitting range and US and NATO are the chief enemies of the Jihadis. A policy of “live and let live” may be better.

  2. Syed Imtaz Ali

    We indeed are inexhaustible talkers, and know well how to pass the buck. Examples; although I can not quote exactly only recall from memory:
    1. At the end of his visit to Dhaka once, Mahathir was asked about how would Bangladesh make progress. He had kept brief and said you have to control and stop Corruption. So, he is familiar with our ever increasing epidemic.
    2. On his departure, Anwar Chowdhury was asked about his experience of posting as British HC in Bangladesh. He said that Bangladeshis can talk and wants to ‘DO’ very little.
    So, those who are supposed to take action only takes orders instead.
    Thank you Kayes Ahmed. Your postings are well thought out and almost always creates a stir and responses amongst readers. Keep connecting!

    • Kayes Ahmed

      Imatiaz Shahb: Thnak you for your supoport and more importantaly reading my rants and raves. I only write about things that bother me. Corruption, Talking Guys,The Arstocracy of Pull etc. bother me to no end. I will keep on doing what I am doig but I hope some powerful folks would start to address the root causes an soon.

      Kayes

  3. Zina Tasreen

    An excellent read as always! Sadly, most people in this country think like ‘Khan’ and hence the intolerance towards us seculars. And I’m also in agreement with ‘Sumit Mazumdar’: our police force is highly competent if they can be arsed, that is. I’ll give you an example: our neighbour’s eight-year-old was kidnapped on his way back from school and would you believe that the police found the kid? It took them nine days, but they got there in the end. The parents got their son back in one piece and didn’t have to part with a hefty sum as ransom — now if they have greased the palms of the policemen, that I don’t know. To cut a long story short, our police force aren’t a bunch of bumbling fools; it’s just that they have been instructed not to act.

  4. Khan

    I really support 100% to IGP’s below comments. No one has right to insult other religion, infact his own religeon. If someone does not like his /her religeon they can creat a new one or be atheist but not insult or make fun with others about the religious matter. To me this is same kind of offend like racism, to insult a black men saying that he is like a African Negro.

    But at the same time no one has right ot kill someone only because of his / her insulting about other religion.

    ”There will always be free thinkers. I have enough respect for them. But we need to remember that hurting religious sentiments is a crime according to our law. Any offender of religious beliefs may get the highest punishment of 14 years (in jail). But killing someone for that offence is never acceptable”, so said the IGP, trying to shift the blame to the victim.”

    • Kayes Ahmed

      Khan sahib: OK, let us agree for argument’s sake that no one has a right to insult religion. Could you please define what constitute “insult”. The problem is the no one has defined it, as such it is left to interpretation and muscle! The Takfiris declare many Muslims to be Qufr (hence sujbect to righteous killing) just because these Muslims do not agree with their version. The list goes on.

      What is really amazing to me is that, how fragile this Allah of ours is. Why would He get insulted if someone said something bad about Him. Isn’t Allah the ultimate Power in the world and hereafter? Why a mere mortal’s attitude would tweak His and His followers. Isn’t Allah the merciful. Almost all 99 names relate to power and/or mercy. So, why be so thin skinned. My Allah is no Donald Trump

      The IGP is hiding behind a silly law. His force simply do notg want to catch the murderers.

      Kayes

      • Sumit Mazumdar

        “Why would he get insulted if someone said something bad about Him.” Rightly said!!

        I agree 100% and more. There is a very similar statement in the Hindu Gita about our soul: “Nainang chhindanti shastrani, nainang dahati paboko”. Weapons cannot penetrate it (the soul), fire cannot touch it.

        Allah does not need help or protection from silly humans! In fact, any human who takes it upon himself to protect Allah’s honor, is showing serious disrespect; first by assuming that Allah cannot take care of the world, and second by attacking Allah’s creation.

  5. Faisal

    Dear kayes bhai,

    Nothing will happen and in the long run this country will be run by power mongers and religious blokes who know nothing about religion. Our fate to become a second Afghanisthan or pakistan is sealed unless some string willed leader comes along which is impossible in a country where talk shows are the way of the world.

    • Kayes Ahmed

      Faisal Bhai:

      I am not so pessimistic. The country has come a long way since independence. It is now a lower middle income country. I think we do not need a tyrant, what we need is more income and more transparency.

      Kayes

  6. sundar swapan

    This is not a new disease that has afflicted our politicians and police, but it is true now a days it has taken the form of an incurable epidemic. It amazes me to see that when this country is immersed in wholesale crime including random killing and murder and suffering from acute shortage of man power in law enforcing agencies to contain it ,our police personage are found to attend on regular basis in TV talk shows in innumerable channels doling out unwarranted advice to the viewers as if all of them have turned into national professors.In the meanwhile the killers are carrying on their killing missions with complete impunity. Don’t they have any sense of shame ? Possibly this is why Kushum Kumari devi one of our poets of by gone days raised the question in one of her poems ” Sei sele amader deshe kobe hobe kathai na boro hoie kaje boro hobe”.

  7. baffled

    while going on and on about how incompetent bd police force is you forgot to mention that FBI came to assist with Avijit murder. similarly they have extended their wish to help this time as well with the latest murder. if FBI is so capable then why their ‘expert’ team failed to catch the assailants? FBI is not familiar with the bd crime scene and the religious sentiment that motivates some to carry out such inhumane act of cruelty. probably Scotland Yard would be a better choice to figure out who the bad guys are because they are familiar with the colonial history. may be bd police force wasn’t able to catch them because they are protected by Pakistan’s radical Islamists. possible. I think other than that bd police force is doing a fine job in keeping law and order to a level where people are relatively safe.

    • Kayes Ahmed

      Dear Baffled: It is not about FBI or about Scotland Yard. It is about resources and focus. You are absolutely right that FBI is not familiar with BD. That is why I am proposing a special unit that will be funded by the Us war on Terror (let us take their money, it has no smell) and training.

      Back in 1971 we formed special teams that kept track of all the collaborators. These teams did not fight in the paddy fields of Sylhet. They had a vast network in the villages and towns. When opportunities arose they took out the collaborators, period. The thing that made these teams so fearsome and effective was their singular focus on the collaborators. We would let Pakistani Army move on if there was a chance to get a collaborator. My only regret was is that there were excesses and violation basic human rights. You need the same thing here but under adult supervision. A focused and long-term effort to eliminate the Jihadists and Takfiris. In this we make common cause with the US. I have nothing against the Yard except they are poor, part of poor country and a fading force. Hitch your wagon to the most muscular horse if you will.

      Thanks for reading. I enjoy the comments and counter rants.

      Kayes

  8. Sumit Mazumdar

    It is not incompetence but lack of will that is preventing BD law enforcement for catching the murderers. I find it impossible to believe that simple-minded products of Madrasa education are outsmarting BD police.

    • Kayes Ahmed

      Sumit Da:

      It may be a deliberate choice not to do anything. At least that is how I read the refernce to the Law. However, silence is not an option. If the Police does not do anything they surrender their power and authority to vigilantes. I am afraid ruind lies that way.

      Kayes

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