Hiren Pandit: Bangladesh is an independent sovereign state. The independence of the judiciary of Bangladesh is also universally recognized. Bangladesh is working by upholding democracy, independence and human rights. But seeing many so-called foreign friends interfere in the internal issues, a question is coming up they are all crossing the boundaries set for them?
Our Prime Minister has made it clear that the people of Bangladesh will not bow to any conspiracy. If the people vote in the election, she will come back to power. She has left everything to all the people. Sheikh Hasina said everyone should be careful. No one should tamper with people’s right to vote. The democratic process should not be disrupted. The people of Bangladesh will no longer bow to any conspiracy.
Commenting that all the elections held during the current Awami League government have been free and fair, Sheikh Hasina said that as many elections as by-elections, local government elections have been held during the Awami League period. Every election is a transparent and peaceful election. When was the election in Bangladesh more peaceful? or in any country of the world.
In this context, she said, ‘the election in many countries has not yet meant the election of their opposition party. There are such cases. Still, we have to hear a lot of rumors about the election. Today, when we are conducting fair elections, only question the elections. What does it mean? Today, when the country is moving forward economically, why the question of the election? Today, everyone is vocal about the election, and transparency in the election. Ask those countries who are talking about the elections of our country and talking about free and fair elections. I do not know why this conscience did not shake them.
Regarding the election of January 5, 2014, the Prime Minister said that the people voted for us in the 2014 election. Even then, to prevent the election, the BNP-Jamaat started arson and burning polling stations. It was as if a festival of fire had started. People did not accept it. After that, elections are held and we form the government again. Then in 2018 elections were held. They come to the polls. It seemed that they came to the election to trade that nomination. BNP traded 700 nominations for 300 seats and there was confusion among them. At one point they withdrew themselves from the election’.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that the recent adoption of the resolution in the EU Parliament interferes with the internal affairs of Bangladesh. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs considers the discussion and adoption of resolutions in the Parliament of the European Union (EU) on the human rights situation of Bangladesh centered on the ‘Odhikar’ organization to be interference in internal affairs.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs said in a press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Shahriar Alam said, “This is interfering with internal affairs.” Hope everyone will act based on common sense. We think we have a mature relationship with the European Union. From the place of that relationship, any matter internal to us is again a matter for the courts, where the judiciary is functioning completely independently. At that time, he also said, we hope the European Parliament will not turn a blind eye to such activities, and the European Council will not take it into account.
Eight people spoke at Wednesday’s meeting, he said, adding that two of them made it clear they were not in favor of it. One of them also said that such behavior of the European Parliament could incite new colonialism. It is not right to treat developing countries like this. Another speaker also said that such an initiative from the European Parliament could be counterproductive. “On the one hand, we will take it into account, because it is propaganda against Bangladesh. If there is any such activity, we cannot sleep with our eyes closed.
Ours’ has become a culture that is historic if any verdict is in favor; If it goes against it, it is called motivation. It is our responsibility to protect the dignity of the court. “If they get information about corruption, the media will report it, this is normal. Where is the opportunity to ban? However, there are specific laws and provisions to judge whether published reports are true, false, or motivated. Everyone should follow the rules.
Anti-Corruption Commission lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan said, ‘Media reports are one of the sources of ACC. About 50% of our inquiries are based on media sources. For this, if the media is banned from publishing the news, it will affect the ACC.
Various domestic and foreign parties have expressed concern about the recently passed cyber security bill in the National Parliament. However, the foreign minister said some are opposing the Cyber Security Act (CSA) to gain sympathy from foreigners. Regarding the Cyber Security Act, the Foreign Minister said, “Many are obstructing for the sake of obstruction. But when he gets into trouble, he will again seek the government’s help. First, read and see what kind of law it is, then complain. What do you do when someone writes bad things about your parents? Then you will say abusively, that the government cannot control them.
Diplomats of Western countries are conducting various activities to ensure that the upcoming National Assembly elections are participatory. Various countries including the United States of America, European Union countries, United Kingdom are now having regular discussions and meetings with various stakeholders including politicians, election commissions, and civil society. In all these talks, the obstacles that exist for free, fair and impartial elections are also being looked at.
The Cyber Tribunal sentenced Adilur Rahman Khan Shubhra, the secretary of the human rights organization Odhikar, and ASM Nasir Uddin Elan, the director of the organization, to two years in prison. A case was filed against them under the Information Technology Act for spreading confusion about the number of deaths in the operation to remove the leaders and activists of Hefazat Islam. The United States expressed concern after the verdict in that case. Earlier, Amnesty International issued a statement after the verdict.
On September 14, Judge AM Zulfikar Hayat of the Cyber Tribunal of Dhaka announced the verdict. Observers from several countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia, were present in the court while the verdict was read.
When asked about the opinion of foreign observers after the verdict, they said, “We have come to observe the verdict.” Journalists asked various questions, but without giving any answer, they said, “We have only come to the court as observers.”
Earlier, after presenting arguments in the case on August 24, he fixed September 7 as the day of judgment. However as the judgment was not ready, the tribunal postponed the judgment and fixed September 14. On May 5, 2013, Hefazet Islam held a rally at Shapla Chattar in Motijheel. Later, the leaders of the organization announced a night stay at the gathering place. Law and order forces conducted a joint operation to remove them from there.
Odhikar claimed that 61 people were killed in that operation. However, according to the government, no one was killed in the night raid. A general diary was made by the then DB Sub Inspector (SI) Ashraful Islam at Gulshan police station on August 10, 2013, after the Shapla Square raid. After the investigation, a charge sheet was submitted against Adilur and Elan in Dhaka court on September 4 of that year. 32 people were witnessed in it. On September 11 of that year, the Cyber Tribunal of Dhaka took the complaint into consideration for the trial of the case. Then in 2014, the court ordered the trial to be started by forming a complaint against the two defendants.
It is said in the charge sheet of the case that the accused Adilur and Elan tried to disrupt law and order by creating and circulating reports with ‘fabricated, purposeful and false’ information about the death of 61 people. The image of the law-and-order forces, the government and the state are extremely damaged in the country and abroad. Besides, they create prejudice against law enforcement in the minds of devout Muslims, which is an offense under Section 57 (1) and (2) of the Information Technology Act. Similarly, the accused have purposely tried to aggravate the law-and-order situation by creating tension among devout Muslims and trying to bring the government into disrepute with another state, which is an offense under Sections 505 COD and 505 A of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Adilur Rahman Khan was working as a lawyer in the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court. He was involved in left-wing politics since his student days. Director Nasir Uddin Elan is said to have been involved in the profession of journalism before serving as the director of Adhikar.
The initial investigation report of the law enforcement agencies found several important discrepancies. For example:- Names of 5 persons multiple times, the addition of 11 fictitious names, the addition of names of natural deaths due to physical ailments to the list, the addition of names of 6 persons who died outside Dhaka etc.
After the publication of the said report, the Ministry of Information was instructed to send a report containing detailed information on the list of ‘Odhikar’ under the Right to Information Act on July 10, 2013, but Adhikar refused to do so. Besides, they did not send the main data of the report to the Bureau of NGO Affairs Bureau on the pretext of confidentiality. As a result, on 10 August 2013, a case was filed under the Information Technology Act (Case No-01/2013) against Odhikar General Secretary Adilur Rahman Khan and Director Nasir Uddin Elan.
However, it would be better if the interference of the biased so-called friends in these internal affairs of Bangladesh is an interference in the governance system, democracy and judicial system of this country. The real intention of all these so-called friends is to disrupt the development and progress of this country. The people of Bangladesh are good and happy and these so-called friends cannot bear to see them, so this is the reason for their burning. The economy of Bangladesh has reached many promising milestones. The country is moving forward overcoming various obstacles. The government has taken up several mega projects. The government has provided 100% of the country’s COVID vaccination by spending 20 thousand crore taka.
Bangabandhu Satellite-1 provides comprehensive telecommunication services to all citizens (direct home TV, radio, telemedicine, education, and internet access), Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, Dhaka Metrorail Project, Matarbari Project are contributing to boosting the country’s economy. Deep Sea Port Construction Project, Rampal Coal Based Power Project, Bangabandhu Tunnel Construction Project, 100 Economic Zones are in progress, an Elevated Expressway, more than three dozen Hi-Tech Parks and IT Villages have been constructed. Villages are being equipped with all kinds of civic amenities. Today we have become a country where it is time to hold our heads high. Padma Bridge and Metrorail are serving as development milestones.
The government is implementing the 8th Five-Year Plan. So far 5,55,617 families have been sheltered through the Ashrayan scheme. Around 14,500 community clinics are at people’s doorsteps to provide healthcare at people’s doorsteps. The government is providing scholarships and stipends to more than three crore students, various allowances to six lakh people, tk. 10 lakh rice to 50 lakh families, and subsidies to farmers in the agricultural sector.
Now Bangladesh is the third largest rice-producing country in the world and is also self-sufficient in fish, meat, eggs and vegetables and second in terms of growth rate of fish production in inland waters. The benefits of ‘Digital Bangladesh’ are spreading from urban to rural areas through Aam Gram Aam City. The United Nations has made final recommendations to make Bangladesh a developing country. According to the World Economic Forum, Bangladesh will be the 24th largest economy in the world by 2030. According to the second vision plan, in 2031, there will be no one in Bangladesh who can be called extremely poor.
Per Capita Income Human Resources and Economic Fragility – These three indicators determine the eligibility of developing countries. Bangladesh has almost achieved the desired qualification in these three indicators. Bangladesh’s per capita income now stands at 2765 despite COVID-19 and has shocked the world by maintaining economic continuity. Which has increased the acceptance manifold.
There have been positive changes in women’s education, women’s empowerment, health care, and maternal and child mortality. Women are now contributing at all levels including social, political, and economic. Rural women are not behind in the touch of technology. They are also progressing on an equal footing with men. In this, the image of Bangladesh has been brightened in the world. Bangladesh is moving forward on the path of building the golden Bengal of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s dream.
The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow. Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEM) education is being widely introduced to turn the young generation into human resources. Career-oriented education is essential in the contemporary world. The country must move forward by giving due value to the knowledge, skills, experience, aspirations and opinions of the youth. These are the reasons for the so-called defenders of human rights to cry and cry about Bangladesh.
The Prime Minister has set four milestones for the country to achieve. The first is the vision of digital Bangladesh in 2021 which has been implemented as expected, the second is achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in 2030, the third is building a developed Bangladesh in 2041 and the fourth is Delta Plan in 2100. All citizens must work for a developed Bangladesh free from hunger and poverty (SDG-1 eradicating poverty and SDG-2, achieving zero hunger) and upholding the spirit of liberation and secularism that Bangabandhu dreamed of. Bangladesh has limited resources; population is more than land. Despite that, Bangladesh is a role model of development to the world today.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is committed to protecting democracy, freedom of speech and human rights and is working tirelessly. The judiciary and Election Commission are working completely independently. The Government and private institutions including the National Human Rights Commission, national and development partners, civil society, media, employers and labor organizations are working tirelessly. Bangladesh’s success in protecting human rights is universally appreciated. 1.2 million Rohingya refugees who fled to Bangladesh after brutal persecution in Myanmar have been given shelter.
The benefits of the government’s development are also being enjoyed by the grassroots people of the country. The current government’s zero-tolerance policy is playing a strong role in upholding human rights in creating a society free from drugs, terrorism and corruption. After 52 years of independence, Bangladesh stands tall in the world today. After going through many ups and downs in 52 years, the country has come to a place of recovery. This achievement of turning around is the result of the tireless efforts of 17 crore people.
Improvement in education, communication infrastructure, women’s education, health care, distribution of free books to students, provision of social safety net support for socially disadvantaged, destitute, elderly, widows, persons with disabilities, universal pension scheme, support for widowed women, autism, Prime Minister’s Govt. has played an important and major role in the development of Bangladesh. Giving status to freedom fighters as national heroes, shelter scheme, Amar Bari Amar Khamar scheme, women empowerment and overall development of various sectors is the contribution of the present government. A secular, democratic and modern Bangladesh has been built in the spirit of liberation war as a modern state, this is the hope.
Many people expressed concern about the political situation in Bangladesh, human rights and the upcoming elections. Bangladesh should hold credible, transparent and peaceful elections so that voters can freely cast their votes. Stakeholders concerned with elections, various institutions, political parties and civil society have been called upon to work together so that people have confidence in elections.
The government is working very closely on these. The independence of the judiciary of Bangladesh is also universally recognized. The Election Commission is working very independently. Bangladesh is working by upholding democracy, independence and human rights. But everyone should cooperate in the progress of Bangladesh without interfering with the independence of the judiciary unnecessarily and without biased behavior. No one should cross the agreed limits.
The writer is a columnist and a researcher