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Liar, Liar

Lying is a serious sin. This was taught at a tender age, sometimes with the help of fable and sometimes through mild scolding for telling a lie . Lying is considered to be mother of all sins. Extra care is taken at the very young age so that kids despise this sin and do not pick up this bad habit.

When people holding govt positions and government institutions commit this transgression, the whole nation suffers.

Recently, World Bank said Bangladesh’s growth forecast was overestimated. Damage to crops, stemming from frequent floods, was not taken into consideration.

Govt did it deliberately to project a well functioning economy. But now we see this “well functioning economy” hardly creates any job. Moreover, businesses go through a tough time since there is no more a business friendly climate.

And the lie can also be detected in country’s balance of payment. A former Bangladesh Bank economist in his column noted a mismatching growth between import of capital machinery and export of manufactured goods. He fears the huge gap in the growth of import expenditure and that of  export earnings indicates capital flight from Bangladesh. Cronies and dishonest businessmen took resort to over invoicing and under invoicing.Result is obvious: draining out of $ 9  billion in 2016.

Our neighbors could compete with us in lying. Myanmar’s minister for repatriation  said Rohingya’s leaving of their homes was pre-planned. The exodus was engineered so that   ethnic cleansing conspiracy could gain ground. Half a million people took a precarious journey to rehearse a tragedy! Even a heartless butcher would have laughed at his claim.

Former UN chief to Myanmar and Bangladesh was a skilled liar. She paved the path for 2-year-long caretaker government rule. Her office issued a letter to Bangladesh govt in a bid to stall the 2006 election. The letter bearing her signature threatened to stop recruiting Bangladeshi  peace keepers if the Bangladeshi govt failed to comply. Later it was proved that the letter was fake. However, she did not speak a word about it during the rule of caretaker government.

This year an ILO staff claimed that UN had prior knowledge on Rohingya repression in Rakhine state.
However, UN chief, the same person in Dhaka, overlooked the internal report. On both occasions lie , fake letter  and wilful suppression of unfolding calamity, brought misery to millions of people. Thousands even lost their lives.

Moreover, World Food Program of UN held back from disclosing a critical report on malnutrition among Rohingya population in Rakhine state in order to comply Tatmadaw’s instruction, as The Guardian reported. It also agreed to do a joint review with the Myanmar govt instead. The agency did it to generate more funds convincing the donor agencies that it got along well with the Myanmar govt and had access to all the parts in Myanmar. The proposal on joint review work however fell through since the beginning of Tatmadaw led clearance operation in Rakhine state.

A recent squabble exposes another Bangladeshi government lie. Govt wanted to get rid of Chief Justice whose frank remarks and deeds put the government into serious troubles. Recently CJ took a leave and left  the country for Australia. Govt keeps saying that CJ’s leave is due to health grounds and produced a letter bearing his signature before the press. CJ made it absolutely clear that he is not sick and he will be back.

This angered the government so much that it initiated a process of  investigation on corruption allegations swirled around CJ. Attorney General even said that fellow judges refused to sit with him. For this reason, he took a leave.

The nation does not know how much truth lies in these allegations. But government deliberately hid his alleged transgressions till he dared to go against government desired path. What the government is doing is black mailing.

To prove how evil the CJ is, it sets partisan judges and lawyers on him. They swipe at him every now and then and disseminate his corruption details in public forum.

Did  the ruling party back the judge to rise to this key position all these years knowing that this is a corrupt person? Will it retract its allegations if there is any understanding between the two?Will it apologize to him and compensate him if he is found to be clean? It is pretty evident that on both instances the party lies to people to secure its political position.

CJ drama is spilling over. Recently, management board of state-owned Rupali Bank fired two of bank’s trade union leaders on disciplinary grounds. Shipping Minister took it upon himself to intervene in bank’s internal dispute. He said,”Everyone knows what happened to CJ. Find an acceptable solution to the dispute with trade union leaders. Or else flaws of the top brass of this bank will also surface.”

When  powerful party keeps lying about important issues, grassroot rank and  file party activists take up the habit.

Those try to find out the truth face odds. A group of Australian journalists were trying to probe the murder of Maldivian model. Forensic report submitted by Police claimed she committed suicide at the dormitory of the medical college in Rajshahi. When they started to question the forensic report, local authority threw them out of Bangladesh. Even if the report is true why did the authority not allow them to carry the journalists’ own investigation work? What did the authority want to hide?

This lying culture and hiding truth from people corrode trust. Trust is the bedrock of any understanding, agreement, friendship and relationship. Its erosion makes an agreement void and weakens relationship and friendship. How can we expect unity, peace, assimilation and prosperity in a country where relationship crumbles and agreement turns void due to lack of trust?


La Semaine Dernière A Mes Yeux

( 6 octobre — 13 octobre)

Une explosion dans un fourneau d’ une aciérie a blessé 11 ouvriers à Chittagong.

La société grecque Theon Sensors a remporté le contrat de livrer appareil de vision nocturne pour l’armée de la terre. L’armée de la terre a aussi fait un appel d’offres pour acheter des chars légers . Par ailleurs, l’armée de la mer a mis en fin pourparlers d’acheter deux hélicoptères dédié à la lutte de l’anti-sous-marin avec AugustaWestland.Gendarmerie maritime a envie d’acheter aéroglisseur. A cet égard, elle demande l’aide de la gendarmerie maritime de I’Inde. Le blog militaire «bdmilitary» a corroboré les nouvelles.

Selon un reportage de Dhaka Tribune, l’armée de la mer va acheter deux appareils de Dornier  228. L’ armée de mer déjà opère deux exemplaires de ce «camion du ciel ».

Police koweïtienne a arrêté un Bangladais et un Pakistanais pour mener une maison close au Koweït.

Les lycéens de 7 lycées sous les auspices de l’Université de Dacca ont bloqué les rues principales de Dhaka pour publier les résultats. Un accrochage entre Université de Dacca et Université Nationale est responsable pour le retard de publication de résultat. Le blocage a causé embouteillages dans toute la capitale. Le traffic a été sévèrement perturbé.

L’ exode de Rohingya s’amplifie le Lundi. Comme les soldats de Tatmadaw embrasent nouveaux villages à proximité de Maungdaw,Haut Commissariat des Nations Unies pour les Réfugiés travaille avec Bangladesh pour accueillir presque 11.000 Rohingyas .

Naufrage d’un bateau plein de Rohingya a laissé 24 morts. Plusieurs restent encore disparus. La tragédie s’est déroulée le dimanche.

Gouvernement bangladais a interdit opération de 3 ONGs. Les ONGs sont identifiés comme Muslim Aid Bangladesh, Islamic Relief and Allama Fazlullah Foundation.Le gouvernement les a accusés d’avoir mené opérations qui ne justifiaient pas les opérations humanitaires.

Open Letter To Communist Party Of China

Mirpur 13, Dhaka ,
October 7,2017.

Dear Comrades of Communist Party of China,

Greetings from Bangladesh! I am a humble citizen of Bangladesh , devote my time to maintain my own website living a Spartan life,who cannot help writing this letter in a bid to draw your attention to an issue that deeply disturbs our everyday life and pushes regional peace and security on the brink of collapse.

I know you are having a busy time preparing yourselves for the next party congress where you will elect members of the next central committee.

I know you people do not like arguments or debate on important issues, particularly when these are related to China, and expressing free opinion in open media.
But scant hope motivated me to raise the issue to you.

You may have noticed that in response to coordinated attack on security installations and murder of dozens of security personnel, a brutal Army crackdown in the Rakhine State cleanses of the Rohingya population and forces them to take refuge in neighboring country of Bangladesh.

Overwhelming number of the Rohingya refugees puts tremendous pressure on local resources and livelihoods, engendering flora and fauna of local forests and environment. Moreover, their stay may alter the internal politics of Bangladesh.

Dear Comrades,

You may be wondering what China can do to resolve the Rohingya crisis. It is first of all an internal issue of Myanmar and then a bilateral matter between Bangladesh and Myanmar. I myself is a strong advocate of bilateral negotiation. However, it has been widely reported in the press that China invested heavily in Rakhine State and in a security council hearing stood by Myanmar. China also has tensions with Myanmar. However, due to Chinese strategic investments in Myanmar, the ups far outweigh the downs of Sino-Burmese relationship.
I have came to learn that China is building a pipeline across Rakhine state to transport oil all the way to China. It will reduce China’s dependence on Malacca straits. Presence of this minority Muslim population frightens China a lot, as I have been told, since it views them as a potential threat to its interests.

Dear Comrades,

Just couple of years ago, I watched a docu on People’s Liberation Army’s skill in implementing projects. I was enthralled by how PLA removed every brick of a historical palace, identified as an obstacle to implement construction of a huge dam. Later PLA reconstructed the  palace brick by brick far down from its original site. It resembles a lot to the old one, but it is no longer the original one.Nevertheless, local population and tourists revere it as before they did.

Humans are not like that reconstructed historical palace. People who have gone through violence carry scars and grudges years after years unless the inflicting party comes forward with measures to assuage them. It is always difficult to win back people’s  confidence and trust.

Dear Comrades,

I know China is on good terms with the Armed Forces of both the countries. Most of their warhorses are made in China. Heavily upgraded tanks, frigates, corvette, interceptors, artillery systems and munitions are of Chinese origin. These were not free, China charged prices for them. For instance, Bangladesh’s Navy procured two upgraded Ming submarines at a cost of Tk 16 billion. A friendly country already offered us two of their phased out submarines at free of cost back in 2005. China could have followed that step.

Moreover, both countries receive  technical assistance and licenses to manufacture Chinese-built weapons. Military intelligences and surveillance techniques follow handbooks and guidelines that are similar to the ones exist in your country. You may have noticed that shocking disappearance and murder are being taken place in Bangladesh. In your country, many journalists and individuals were shot dead or incarcerated in suspicion of being foreign agent. In Bangladesh, individuals, free thinkers and foreigners were murdered or detained in recent years. The incidents have stark resemblance to those take place in a closed country.

Dear Comrades,

I have heard China sells weapons to countries that face arms embargo by western countries as they failed to respect democratic values.

This kind of weapons sale often does not follow a transparent procedure and may inflate the pockets of individuals or regimes who are hostile to democracy.

Dear Comrades,

China has huge influences over the Armed Forces of these two countries. If it wants then it can exercise its influence over them to put an end to this crisis.

Dear Comrades,

China often goes to extraordinary length to assert its influence over other countries when events or actions of these countries irk it tremendously. For instance, in February 2016, an art exhibition ” Chhobi Mela” displaying works of self immolating Tibetans drew the ire of local Chinese embassy. The ambassador threatened the organizers of unimaginable consequences  and ordered them to remove the works. The organizers complied. Yet a series of unfortunate events haunted the man behind the exhibition and his institutions. A director of his art gallery was abducted and murdered. His journalism training school was deliberately targeted by a certain section of the media. Since then , the school’s operation has been frozen. The organizer in question rarely appears before public programs.

Even the developed countries are no exception. Chinese Studies Department of Oxford University withheld hundreds of scholarly articles deemed critical towards China following strong protest from China. Decision of the University drew a lot of flak in the media. Later the University changed its decision and made the articles available for public access.

People of Bangladesh expect similar stance from China to resolve the Rohingya crisis.

Dear Comrades,

Development practitioners often tell that a region grows not a country. I could not agree more with that. Can we make a corner of oasis in hell? Will that sustain? I recently heard this story at a tea stall. A gentleman shared an incident of robbery at his native village. A migrant worker built a one storey building that has access to sanitation and electricity. Surrounding villagers are poor peasants. During slack period they remain unemployed. There was a bad year, flood did a tremendous blow to the crops. Off season employment opportunities were scanty.  Hardship fell on the village.  Robbers started to rob wealthy migrant worker’s house. In a week, they robbed it thrice. Migrant worker’s family members vacated the house and left for the city to find a secure accommodation. Moral of the story is when a place turns into a hell, there is no safe place. Even if there is one it will not sustain long.

Dear Comrades,

Are you cent percent sure there will be  prosperity in Rakhine State when homeless Rohingyas will live in destitution in the camps across the border?

Dear Comrades,

I would like to request you to reread the history of  the fall of the Roman empire. A bunch of “barbarians” like  Goths, Vandals and Huns made incessant attacks on the Roman empire and ensured its decline. Romans had superior knowledge on everything and they did not treat these “barbarians” on a par with them.  The barbarians who were not stakeholders of Roman empire  followed the tactics similar to “death by a thousand cut” and made sure demise of a great civilization.

Suspicion and paranoia are signs of weakness and nervousness. Stakeholders never become a threat. This is what history teaches us.

Dear Comrades,

I have heard some of you spend millions of dollars in US to secure your kids’ future. You buy properties so that your kids finish their education without hassle and do not need to borrow money to finance their education.

The kids of Rohingya refugees hardly read or write. Nobody bothers about their education. What future does lie ahead them?Will there be a bright future of this region by keeping them illiterate?

Dear Comrades,

The world has become unsafe place with too many insane people as heads of state. A single misstep by any of them may bring doomsday. We look forward to you and hope that there must be sanity the decision you take. You stood by us to realize our big infrastructure projects. I hope you will be beside us resolving the Rohingya crisis. Both the countries are your good neighbours and China has huge stakes in them. You know the pain of starvation. You know the pain of being uprooted from your home and taking refuge in jungles. You know the pain of getting crushed under the authoritarian boots. Please think for the moment of those Rohingyas who have been going through similar ordeals. Please exercise your influence over Tatmadaw to put an end to Rohingya’s sufferings.

I  wish the congress will be a complete success and you will elect the best among you in the central committee. I also hope the new committee will play a greater role to make the world a saner place and to stand by the  vulnerable communities.

Truly yours,
Rezaul Hoque

La Semaine Dernière A Mes Yeux

(29 septembre — 06 octobre)

Un dirigeant de la succursale du parti en exercice a enlevé un prêtre d’une église et lui a demandé Tk 300.000. Des gens l’ont secouru. Police a appréhendé le dirigeant.

Le ministre indien des Finances s’est rendu au Bangladesh dans une  visite officielle. Il va finaliser le crédit indien de $4,5 milliards pour réaliser 17 projets en 7 ans.

Des voleurs ont dérobé Tk 600.000 à un agent de service financier de portable. Ils lui ont tiré un coup de feu, laissant le blessé.

Police malaise a appréhendé un Bangladais et ses complices pour avoir mené un racket de prostitution en Malaisie.

UNICEF a demandé $76.1 million pour aider les Rohingyas qui passent au travers des violences en Birmanie.

Le chef de Programme Alimentaire Mondial a aussi demandé $75 millions pour nourrir les Rohingyas pour six mois.

Un hélicoptère s’est écrasé à cause de mauvais temps à Pabna. Les passagers ont subi des blessures légères.

Selon un reportage, on n’entend plus les nouvelles d’atroces dans Rakhine State depuis les « journos-portos» qui utilisent leurs portables pour enregistrer les crimes perpétrés par Tatmadaw. Opération militaire dans Rakhine State met un frein à diffusion de nouvelle par « journos-portos» rohingyas.

Selon un reportage de l’Irrawaddy, Police birmane a arrêté deux soldats de Tatmadaw pour posséder «ya ba»,amphétamine de la soirée très populaire dans la région.

L’armée bangladaise fait un appel d’ offres pour acquérir 155 mm obusier automatique, selon un reportage.

Selon un autre reportage, Khulna Shipyard, une filiale de l’armée de la mer, a fini construire deux patrouilleurs de lutte anti-sous-marine (ASM). Ils sont baptisé «Nishan» et «Durgam». La construction a coûté Tk 8 milliards. Les patrouilleurs sont équipés de JMA 3336 radar de navigation, SR47AG radar de recherche aérienne et sur sol, TR47C radar de poursuite et ESS 2B radars, installé dans la proue, pour détecter sous marin. Ils sont armés de 1 cannon de 76,2 mm NG 16-1, 1 cannon de 30 mm CS/ AN2 et 2 triple tubes lance-torpilles pour lancer TCU 24A torpille. Le lancement de deux patrouilleurs prévoit le 8 novembre.

International Organisation for Migration a fait une requête à tout le monde pour $120 millions de relief. L’agence de migration en a besoin pour soutenir les Rohingyas en détresse.

Challenges The Rohingya Crisis Leaves Before Us

How does a modern day subhuman live? Just look at the images and footage of squalid camps scattered across the Cox’s Bazar. Thanks to satellite news channels, people get a first hand account of suffering the Rohingyas have been going through in these camps.

Torrential rainfall makes the matter worse. Most of these camps are stripped of basic amenities. They even lack the proper sanitation. Only local NGOs came forward with whatever resources they have. However, these efforts appear to be little drops to the ocean of urgent needs.

One  month after the onset of this crisis, the challenges gradually appear on the surface.

World Health Organization warned that unlivable conditions of the camps may lead to cholera outbreak.
As 60% of refugees are children, who are more vulnerable than grown ups,  any outbreak of diseases may take a heavy toll.

Luckily International Coordinating Group on Vaccine Provision responded positively to WHO’s plea. The Group will provide 900,000 doses of cholera vaccine.

Since the Army takes over the duties to take care of the Rohingyas, it is expected that relief operation will go on smoothly and sanitation problem will be resolved.Moreover, leakages in this relief operation will also be minimal.

But one thing is sure longer the crisis lasts, greater the challenges Bangladesh faces.

Already there is a debate on whether Rohingya refugees pose a threat to our food security. The current size of the Rohingyas does not pose that threat. It was reported on the press for 6 months the camp dwelling Rohingyas would need 30, 000 tonnes of rice. Rice price has fallen in countries like India, Thailand and Vietnam from where Bangladesh imports rice. If we consider prices like $385/tonne and $408/tonne, feeding the Rohingya refugees rice for a year will cost us $23.10 million and $ 24.48 million respectively excluding other logistical and administrative costs. This spending is based on prices of imported rice; spending, however, will be much less if domestic harvest is taken into account.

Moreover, international community will provide support for the Rohingyas. World Food Program has already decided to create a fund of $75 million to feed the Rohingyas.

Since the trickle of Rohingya refugees continues, it is hard to say what will be the total number of refugees taking refuge in Bangladesh at the of this month.

Donor organizations and Aid agencies reported that they received lukewarm response to the aid plea they made. At this snail pace, they fear,they could not be able to meet the aid target they prepared at the preliminary stage based on current number of refugees.

However, if negotiation between Bangladesh and Myanmar enters into a deadlock the fate of the stranded Rohingyas will remain undecided for indefinite period. A contingency plan should be put in place in any such eventuality.

Apart from that, the ongoing Rohingya crisis also manifests the challenges of a mass exodus. This time we got the Aid agencies on our side since internal tension is the cause of this exodus. What if there is internal displacement due to natural disasters or migrant Bangladeshi  workers coming back to home due to deteriorating political situation in Middle East? Are we ready to meet those logistical challenges? Are our health facilities ready to cope with overwhelming number of service seekers? Do we have ample stocks of medicine and food to meet crisis demand?

The Rohingya crisis augurs ill for Bangladesh democracy. Press reports suggest that dogmatic parties start recruitment process among the Rohingyas while distributing relief. If the Rohingya crisis prolongs, the ultra rights may take over the politics of center rights. Hawkish voices will be heard louder than those of liberal ones in the strategic community. All efforts to build a close and connected Asia will be ruined.

1991 tornado still evokes the memory how dogmatic parties played with the emotions of Middle Eastern donors and bagged millions of dollars of aid to strengthen their position in Bangladesh politics.

The terrorist outfits may use the issue to strengthen themselves as well. This year Al Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent has plan to expand its operation in this region, as news reports indicate. Violence in Rakhine State helps AQIS tremendously to recruit more personnel and to grow their fund.

It is imperative  that Bangladesh and Myanmar hold talk to resolve this crisis and send back Rohingyas to their homeland at the shortest possible time.

Rohingyas’ dignified return and their right to live inside Myanmar as citizens have to be ensured.

The solution to Rohingya crisis lies in Myanmar where it has its origin. If it is not seen in the horizon for the moment, Myanmar may provide temporary shelter to the refugees inside Myanmar under UN supervision. All the aid efforts should be diverted to Myanmar. Bangladeshi NGOs can help Myanmar to facilitate humanitarian assistance.

For a permanent solution, Myanmar may set up a university, Rakhine Mohammedan University, in Rakhine State or in any other states in Myanmar. It will dilute influence of separatist groups over the Rakhine Muslim.

When a separatist movement swept across the Bengal during the early years of the twentieth century, this is what the British government did. They built Dhaka University to keep  the separatists quiescent.

Rakhine Muslims’ right over their properties have to be ensured. If necessary special laws should be passed to protect their rights. In any kind of state acquisition of their lands, they have to be properly compensated or they have to be relocated in other states where people of other ethnicities are more friendly towards them.

Myanmar govt may allow Rakhine Muslims to get govt jobs. The govt can introduce quotas to ensure their participation in central and provincial governments.

Tatmadaw can recruit directly Rakhine Muslims or create a special brigade, Rakhine Mohammedan Brigade,  consisting mainly Rakhine Muslims, which may be deployed in other restive parts of Myanmar to restore law and order.

Bottom line is Bangladesh cannot accommodate this huge number of  Rakhine Muslims indefinitely. Flow of Rohingya refugees should be stemmed immediately. Myanmar must take back its citizens and integrate them into Myanmar building process. If it takes time, then it may set up temporary relief camps within its territory and allow relief operations under UN. Aid pleas should be met without any delay. This is our backyard and both the neighboring countries should not allow any party to go fishing in our troubled waters.


La Semaine Dernière A Mes Yeux

(22 septembre — 29 septembre)

L’armée bangladaise est chargé de faire une base donné de Rohingyas. A cet égard  elle a entamé enregistrement biométrique de Rohingya. L’armée de la mer développe petite île «Bhasaner Char» pour abriter les Rohingyas.

Turquie va  construire logement pour 100.000 Rohingyas. Coordinateur d’ une organisation turque des Affaires étrangères et coopération a exprimé sa désir à ministre de Relief.

Organisation mondiale de la santé a mis en garde contre une éruption de choléra dans les camps de Cox’s Bazar où habite 430.000 Rohingyas.

National Accountability Bureau de Pakistan a appréhendé 3 dirigeants  de National Bank Of Pakistan suite à    ordre de la Cour , selon un reportage de Dawn. Ils sont rendus responsables pour Tk 13,95 milliards crédits mauvais, donné par les succursales de la banque au Bangladesh.

Un reportage par journaliste indien Subir Bhowmik a causé polémique dans la presse bangladaise. Il s’agit d’un complot de tuerie. Selon le reportage, apparu d’abord dans le quotidien birman mizzima et puis dans le site indien news18, des membres de la force SSF, qui protègent Premier ministre bangladais, ont tenté de tué Premier ministre Sheikh Hasina le 24 août pendant qu’elle faisait une promenade dans sa résidence officielle. Les renseignements bangladais ont déjoué l’assassinat et ont appréhendé les coupables. Néanmoins le bureau de Premier ministre bangladais a mis en question le reportage et a revendiqué qu’il n’y avait pas de tentative d’assassinat contre Sheikh Hasina.Dans son compte de Facebook, Subir Bhowmik s’est dit qu’il avait raison et a divulgué identité d’un major de SSF, tué pendant l’assassinat raté selon le reportage, qui accompagne le PM Hasina aux États-Unis maintenant. Dans une interview accordée à un journal numérique bangladais, le père de major s’est dit que la vie sociale de son fils était perturbée par le reportage.

3 soldats bangladais des casques bleus ont été tués au Mali par une bombe piégé. Le porte-parole de l’ armée bangladaise ISPR a corroboré la nouvelle et ajouté que 4 soldats étaient aussi blessés. ISPR a attribué l’attaque aux terroristes maliennes.

Secrétaire général du parti en exercice se méfie des Rohingyas, selon un reportage. D’après lui, il y des personnes dangereux parmi les Rohingyas. Ils ont «tenté d’aggraver l’ordre publiques.» Mais Police et BGB l’ont déjoué. Il a assuré que son parti serait toujours à côté des Rohingyas passant au travers de violence dans Rakhine State en Birmanie.

Des dirigeants supérieurs du parti en exercice font visite officielle en Chine. Ils ont rencontré Vice Minister des affaires étrangères du parti communiste chinois. Le Vice Minister les a donné son parole que la Chine exercerait son influence sur Birmanie pour entamer négociation avec Bangladesh. Il a mis accent sur rapatriement des Rohingyas. Dans une soirée au ambassade de Chine à Dacca, l’ambassadeur chinois a divulgué que Chine avait envoyé deux navires, pleins de relief, atteindraient à Chittagong le  mercredi, pour les Rohingyas, selon un reportage de Prothom Alo.

Le maire de Sarishabari Municipality, Jamalpur, reste disparu depuis le 22 août. Des gens inconnus l’ont kidnappé depuis Uttara où il habite et il a un atelier de confection.Il a été trouvé à Moulavibazar le mercredi.Un bancaire, travaille dans Prime Bank, est resté disparu pour 24 heures après il s’est trouvé à Savar. Selon un reportage, il a de dispute financière avec ses collègues. Dès qu’il leur a remboursés les argents, il a été abdiqué par des gens inconnus.

Dans une interview accordée à France 24, un dirigeant de groupe Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army s’est dit que le groupe n’appartenait aucune filiale d’al Qaida. Par ailleurs, il serait prêt accueillir fonds depuis tous les souverains.

Price For Rice

Price of rice has long been a sensitive issue in political arena since the colonial times. Being the main staple of millions of people, keeping its price within people’s reach is at the heart of government policy.

Hungry population is a game changer. Volatile price of rice is the barometer of government popularity. This holds true for other essential commodities like fuel.

Unusual rise in rice price causes worry in the government. It leaves no stone unturned to fix it.

Crazy time for Bangladesh. Severe flood hampered its food production. Global rice production also took a hit. Huge influx of Rohingyas further complicated the situation.

The coarse price is selling between Tk 50 and 54. In general, prices of all kinds of rice have registered a 51% increase. Even the government-run Open Market Sale (OMS) program doubles the price of rice. However, people are reluctant to buy the sunned rice of OMS since they are more accustomed to boiled rice.

There is a saying—extraordinary circumstances demand extraordinary measures. Perhaps for this reason govt turns to Myanmar , against which public frets for the ongoing violence in Rakhine State, which does not export rice abroad. Govt was initially interested to import 300.000 metric tons of rice. But finally settled to 100.000 tons of sunned rice because of higher prices charged by Myanmar. Negotiations are underway with Thailand and Vietnam.

Why do soaring prices of essential commodities cause so much concerns in the government? Price hike of essential commodities triggers movement that brings to an end to regimes. Empirical evidences are there.

The May 1988 riot in Indonesia ended up toppling Suharto regime. Coping with Asian Financial Crisis, Indonesian govt raised gasoline prices by 70 percent and tripled electricity price. Soaring food prices had also made lives of people difficult.The decision  outraged Indonesians. Students assembled protests in campuses that turned violent. Soon the violent movement culminated into the resignation of President Suharto.

Food inflation was also one of the preambles to Arab Spring that swept across the Maghreb and the Middle East and resulted in deposing regimes ruling their countries for decades.

In neighboring Myanmar, back in 2017, govt decision to halt subsidy in fuel translated into widespread protest, known as Saffron Revolution. Within a week of removal of subsidy, diesel and patrol prices were increased by 66%—100%. Price of compressed natural gas, used to run buses, was risen by 500%. Ordinary citizens, students, Buddhist monks descended into the streets and protested against government decision.

In brief, price hike of essential commodities is part and parcel of the factors that contribute to regime change. For this reason, governments around the world take some measures whenever prices of essential commodities start to rise.

Ours here is no different. In addition, govt mastered the art of taking advantage of the crisis. Initially it blamed the businessmen and hoarders for price hike. Series of raids were conducted in storehouses across the country. Magistrates even fined the hoarders.

In Kushtia , a big rice trader who owns 4 rice mills and 15 storehouses in northern part was fined twice. Later he appeared to be a ruling party loyalist. Similar stories surfaced from other parts of the country. Those tried to make some quick bucks appear to be ruling party members.

This political link is perhaps the reason why various government initiatives, as publicized by the press, do not translate into fall in food prices.

The drive runs the risk of possible harassment of petty wholesalers, who store goods for local retailers, by political thugs and corrupt law enforcers.

At the same time, a certain group spreads rumors like neighbors halt rice export , Rohingya crisis etc to inflate farther the rice price.

Truth is that major exporters, i.e. India, do not stop exporting rice. Yet it raised the price following a reduction of import duty by Bangladesh government. Rohingya relief includes food items  and there are pledges to send more aid to the Rohingyas.  So 400.000 Rohingyas will not contribute to the rise in food prices.

Govt initially tried to label rumor mongers as opposition activists. But over the course of time it has apparently become clear that rumor mongers just up the uncertainty in the market and help floating prices at a higher level. The beneficiary group is identified as the government blessed businessmen.

Downside of the ongoing drive is that it may frighten the petty wholesalers with no political link. To evade harassment, they may think cautiously in storing rice in future ahead of any crisis.

There is a strong possibility that this may happen. So the government should double its efforts to make sure govt distribution channels like OMS programs offer rice at affordable prices for the next 3/4 months.

People are smart. They can read dual moves by the government. Government tries to garner public support by blaming the hoarders for inflated rice price. At the same time a section of the govt tries to  sell the argument “market is fed with information that hints an uncertain time ahead. This contributes to unwarranted price rise. Hoarders have nothing to do here.” The extra rent earned during the crisis period will be shared by politicians and the cronies.

In a country where politics mixed with business  and becomes a toxic concoction, where businessmen cannot do business without making happy the ruling party, how do the hoarders store rice and make quick bucks leaving in the dark the political goons?

Media have become a savior.Widespread media coverage , which led to drive against the hoarders, starts to yield results. Coarse price has fallen by Tk 2—3 in the wholesale market.

Famine is synonymous with the ruling party. When the Bengal famine of 1943 struck, Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardi , one of the founding fathers of Awami League, was a minister under Khaza Nszimuddin’s East Bengal Government. He did little to prevent severity of the famine that perished millions of Indians.

In 1974  when another famine struck , the ruling party was in charge  of governing the country. Its mismanagement of rice stocks, post flood relief failure, distribution failures, restriction on rice transportation , corrupt officials were the reasons among others for that deadly famine that killed 1.5 million Bangladeshis.

Wrong policy implementation,  mismanagement and frequent natural disaster turn out to be the common causes of those famines.

Ruling party general secretary however ruled out any possibility of famine this time. People are however appalled by its mismanagement.

There has been report that victims of several flood hit areas have not received yet the due compensation. Peasants wait for seeds and fertilizer.

Rare are the occasions when government is tried for mismanagement or wrong policy. I hope this time its mismanagement does not turn worse. Price of mismanagement is borne by the people. None other than the Bangladeshis grasp it in the last 8 years.