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New Year’s Realization

April 16, 2014

Few days before Bengali New Year, AL found, better say (re)discovered a new friend in Hefajet-e-Islam. Hefajet chief set forth this startling discovery. He recently said,” AL and BCL are our friends.”

New friendship is yielding benefits. Hefajet managed to get permission from govt. for a 3-day-long gathering at Chittagong. For its ‘new friend’ govt. also edited textbooks, which are about to be introduced in Qaomi madrasas in an attempt to bring them to mainstream education. Hefajet knows their statement will fetch a hassle free opportunity to do politics. Following l’affaire IBBL, AL’s latest action indicates that it gradually sinks into politics of opportunism.

To consolidate its power, just like authoritarian regimes, AL is making new amendments to laws, some of which were made to contain AL when it was in opposition.

It gave a fresh life to special speedy trial law, which was introduced by BNP-Jamaat in 2002,for another 5 years. The law prevailed throughout the last term of AL regime. But despite its existence, it failed to prevent Ramu violence and post-Sayedee verdict attacks. Moreover, such law was never applied to perpetrators. In another move, an amendment was made to ICT act 2006 in September 2013. The amendment was done to prevent Ramu like communal violence. Rights Groups, bloggers and online activists voiced concern about the oft-criticized clause 57. The Act dubbed the acts of “publishing fake, obscene or defaming information in electronic form” as criminal offenses. The clause reads:

“If any person deliberately publishes or transmits or causes to be published or transmitted in the website or in electronic form any material which is fake and obscene or its effect is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it, or causes to deteriorate or creates possibility to deteriorate law and order, prejudice the image of the State or person or causes to hurt or may hurt religious belief or instigate against any person or organization, then this activity of his will be regarded as an offence.”

The amendment also upped the penalty, 14-year imprisonment instead of 10 year; in addition, law enforcement personnel may detain a suspect for an indefinite period without showing any legal documents.Furthermore, the detention is non-bailable. Arrest of two innocent bloggers from Chittagong is already calling the ICT law’s true intention into question. According to news reports, their arrest was largely due to instigation of one of hate campaigners whose rise the very ICT 2006 act intends to stop. Clearly, a vested quarter is misusing the law.

Now we have just laws, at first glance it seems, but they were never applied to culpable persons. Their prejudiced application makes them less effective to curb the offenses for which they were actually made.

No opposition is heard so far from BNP about this law. Rather, it has embarked on a trivial historical misadventure, which is simply delaying its post-election recovery. Using logical illusion, one can prove 2 plus 2 equals to 5. But one cannot alter historical truth.

Exile Prince’s historical (mis)readings (and his subsequent effort to put it about) are not only embarrassing his party (or private limited company), but opening up new fronts of confrontation. Yet there is no sign of imminent Nor’wester in political arena in this month.

Like the scorching summer heat of late April and early May, following closely the political developments wears you out very quickly. There are plenty of abrupt turns and too many twists. The first day of Bengali New Year, starts with optimism, provides a little comfort and an occasion to celebrate. There are no personal resolutions to make in this Bengali New Year; however, I have some realizations after analyzing the incidents and they are as follows:

Realization #1: One can have strange bedfellows even when one is in power. [Earlier, I thought opposite ideologies can get along with only when they are in opposition.]

Realization #2: Effectiveness of a law does not necessarily depend on how just it is and nor depends on the application of the law; it rather depends on the force in charge of applying it and on what purpose the force applies the law.

Realization #3: History is abused in a shocking way when fabricated facts, based on willful misreading, tend to alter truth.

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