Paramilitary revolt in Bangladesh


by Rumbold
26th February, 2009 at 12:16 pm    

Paramilitary forces based throughout Bangladesh have risen up in protest against alleged plans to disband them, as well as pay and conditions. Known as the Bangladesh Rifles, they number around 40,000. The mutineers have taken a number of officers hostage, and the Bangladeshi Daily Star reports that they have begun executing some of them:

“Six more bodies of Wednesday’s mutiny at the BDR Headquarters were found this (Thursday) morning at sluice gate in front of Nawabganj Park near the headquarters in the capital. Five of them were identified as Lt Col Anisuzzaman, Lt Col Kamruzzaman, Maj Mahbub, Col Zahid and Col Touhid…

Earlier, bodies of the two officers — Col Mujibul Huq and Lt Col Enayetul Haq — were recovered from a sewage system outside the BDR headquarters.”

However, reports are already claiming that some (or all?) of the mutineers are surrendering:

“Home Minister Sahara Khatun today (Thursday) said the BDR mutineers have already surrendered their arms and got back to barracks. Talking to reporters at the home ministry, Sahara said a BDR jawan, Naser, told her at about 3:00pm over phone that they have already laid down their arms and got back to barracks.

“We are taking our arms back to the armoury,” a BDR jawan who was at the gate-3 of the BDR Headquarters told reporter at about 3:30pm. “We have decided to return to the barracks following the commitment by the prime minister to fulfil our demands,” he also said.”

Update (14:08): A number of news outlets are now reporting that the BDR mutineers have surrendered.


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  1. Pickled Politics » Life in the Frontier Corps

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  1. platinum786 — on 26th February, 2009 at 12:40 pm  

    Wow, how unprofessional.

    I’d sack anyone involved in the revolt.

  2. Sid — on 26th February, 2009 at 12:46 pm  

    TV news is reporting the rebellion is spreading across Bangladesh. Post your updates. Civilians are being urged to stay home and stay safe.

    * PM to Address soon (no time given)
    * There are reports of rank and file soldiers seizing control of their barracks and camps in at least 12 different towns and cities since early on Thursday.
    * The Bangladesh Rifles or BDR has 45,000 men stationed at 42 camps across the country.

  3. sonia — on 26th February, 2009 at 1:20 pm  

    oooh dear, what a lot of bloodshed..shouldn’t these guys have found some other way of negotiating pay rises???

  4. platinum786 — on 26th February, 2009 at 1:45 pm  

    Is it just BR or is the army revolting too?

  5. Rumbold — on 26th February, 2009 at 2:01 pm  

    The BBC are reporting that it is over, though the Daily Star was saying that hours ago.

    Sonia:

    I believe it is just the BR.

  6. damon — on 26th February, 2009 at 2:37 pm  

    I was in Bangladesh for a couple of weeks in April 2001, having crossed over from India where I was on a backpacking trip.
    Reading the Daily Star about the clashes between the Bangladesh Rifles and the Indian Border forces back then was quite shocking.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001_Indian-Bangladeshi_border_conflict
    Crossing the northen border back into India (and into the town of Shillong), was quite memorable – and went without complications – even though there were still reverberations about what had happened.
    Back in India, the newspapers, seemed to take a different view on what happened.

    The border is still disputed. It’s ridiculous that there is any need for the Bangladesh Rifles isn’t it?
    Surely India and Bangladesh should have very friendly relations.
    Blame partition perhaps?

  7. AsifB — on 26th February, 2009 at 3:04 pm  

    Damon you certainly have a point. Lot’s of history and one sided trade barriers on the part of the bigger state there – but that’s not reason not to hope for an EU Schengen style future – it works for Holland and Germany, why not BD and India?

    Some of the numbers reported killed have have been downplayed significantly by the government http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25113420-26103,00.html Lots of interesting tv footage on the Bangla satellite channels – reporters talking to soldiers and hostage takers, people commutting to work etc

  8. Sid — on 26th February, 2009 at 3:33 pm  

    Well said damon and AsifB.

  9. Ashik — on 26th February, 2009 at 3:36 pm  

    Bangladesh has a history of political violence, both military and civil party political.

    The latest round of fighting is due to years of military internal mismanagement which resulted in the higher echelons of the paramilitary BDR being appointed from the army. In addition to better pay and ancilliary bonuses the army officers seconded to officer the BDR treated their colleagues in the rank and file in the typical desi-style ie. with disdain.

    Naturally, years of their grievances being ignored added fuel to the fire when the officer commanding this particular cantonment allegedly shot at one of his men. This act lit the fuse. It incited his brothers to rise in arms against the officers.

    As for the hatred of India amongst right-wing and religious Bangladeshis, this is due to perveived ‘big brother’ attitudes taken by India and one-sided political support given to the Bangladesh Awami League. This party is often labelled ‘India’s lackey’. India needs to be more positive when BNP/Jamaat win elections (as they inevitably will as things stand politically, at every other election).

    ps. Bangladeshi news outlets are partisan and unprofessional.

    The english-language Daily Star newspaper is generally perceived as being close to the Awami League. It’s editor Mahfuz Anam is from a prominent Awami family. Just as Ittefaq is the BNP paper and Doynik Diganta the Jamaat I Islam’s paper. In terms of TV channels the state-run BTV is (blatantly) the mouthpiece of whichever party is in power. ‘Ekushey TV’ is owned by the Mujib family which runs the Awami League. Tareq Zia of the BNP is a financier of one or two channels.

    All these media organs put their own ‘spin’ on events. So everyone beware.

  10. Sid — on 26th February, 2009 at 3:48 pm  

    Ashik

    I’m not contradicting what you’re saying about bias, favouritisms and unfair practices internal to the army, but I should remind you that you have always posted here as a pro-Army and anti-democracy voice.

    These are the chickens of your support coming home to roost.

    The military will have hell to pay for this.

  11. Ashik — on 26th February, 2009 at 4:08 pm  

    I have always championed military governance as marginally better in Bangladesh than the ‘democratic’ window-dressing of thugs, murderers, rapists and the accompanying industrial-grade corruption of the Awami League, BNP, Jamaat etc. The parliamentary system has repeatedly failed (due to Bangladeshi conditions rather than weakness of the system). That’s why the army keeps coming back.

    It should be noted that many of the grievances of the BDR were apparently put to previous elected civilian governments who apparantly did nothing.

    More people have likely died from ALvBNPvJamaatvJP streetfighting (‘political activism’ Bangladesh-style) in the past couple of years than the sad events of the past couple pf days. Like I said above, both the military and political party’s have plenty of blood on their hands. Much of it of inncocent people.

  12. sonia — on 26th February, 2009 at 4:22 pm  

    “Surely India and Bangladesh should have very friendly relations.”

    well the “border control” is there because many indians think bangladeshis want to work illegally in india…

    the prob. of a richer country next to a poorer one, both with sizeable populations..

  13. Rumbold — on 26th February, 2009 at 5:14 pm  

    Sid (and Ashik):

    Is this really the fault of the military though? I find that normally paramilitary and military forces do not get on, as the latter see the former as upstart amateurs, and the former resent the latter for the same reason. Moreover, the army was deployed to surround the mutineers, while it was the mutineers’ officers who were targeted.

  14. Sid — on 26th February, 2009 at 5:16 pm  

    The parliamentary system has repeatedly failed (due to Bangladeshi conditions rather than weakness of the system). That’s why the army keeps coming back.

    The one and only reason why the army keeps coming back is because there hasn’t been a legislative body, a judiciary and institutions strong enough to counterbalance the executive who have largely been either incompetent, venal political dynasties or military dictators.

    But even European constitutional democracies tussled over a few hundreds years of struggle against monarchies and feudal institutions.

  15. Sid — on 26th February, 2009 at 5:21 pm  

    Rumbold

    I have no idea why the BDR are called “Paramilitary” since, to all intents and purposes, they are a specialied military deployed as border guards. They’ve always been regarded as a second-class military but I under the governance of the military. So this mutiny and the divisions, abuses and disgruntlements that have been revealed has come as a bit of a shock.

  16. Rumbold — on 26th February, 2009 at 5:24 pm  

    Sid:

    As you point out, they are a ‘second-class military’, which means that they are unlikely to get on with the proper armed forces, who don’t like them partly because they would rather have the money spent on themselves.

  17. Virkant — on 26th February, 2009 at 7:18 pm  

    well the “border control” is there because many indians think bangladeshis want to work illegally in india…

    Sonia, Bombay has a an entire slum called ‘the Bangladeshi slum’. And yes India DOES have a problem with illegal migration from Bangladesh!

  18. qidniz — on 26th February, 2009 at 8:18 pm  

    And yes India DOES have a problem with illegal migration from Bangladesh!

    The problem is massive. Exfiltration of “settlers” from BD into adjoining areas of India (West Bengal, Meghalaya, Assam, Tripura, etc – numbers as high as 20 million have been claimed) has had a significant impact on local politics. The long-term answer is still a ways from completion.

  19. Hannan — on 27th February, 2009 at 2:38 am  

    Dear qidniz,

    The problem today will be dwarfed by what’s in store:

    http://www.thedailystar.net/forum/2008/august/care.htm

    Kind regards.

  20. damon — on 27th February, 2009 at 9:58 am  

    AsifB said:

    ”Lot’s of history and one sided trade barriers on the part of the bigger state there – but that’s not reason not to hope for an EU Schengen style future – it works for Holland and Germany, why not BD and India?”

    I think that a Shengen style agreement would be a non-runner at the moment. Just like it would be in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations right now.
    I just heard a report overnight on the BBC world service, about how Malaysia, (which has grown rich on the labour of foriegn workers), now wants to deport over a million overseas workers, as the economy has shrunk.
    And lets not forget the dreadful reports of what might have happened to Muslim migrants from Burma in Thialand.

    Bangladesh and India have issues too. I was just looking at the population densities of the Indian states that surround Bangladesh.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/States_and_territories_of_India
    Bangladesh has 2,706 per square mile, while Assam has 881: Nagaland has 311: and Meghalaya has only 267.
    In 1983 there was a massacre of Bangladeshi migrants in Assam.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nellie_massacre
    When I visited the city of Guwahati in Assam in 2001, I remember reading a local English language newspaper in which a local (Hindu?) politician wrote an article that would shame the Daily Mail in it’s chauvinism and alarmist rhetorick about ”the flood” of migration of Bangladeshi’s across the border.

    But surely Qidniz, ”the answer” can’t be in thousand mile long fences, can it?

  21. qidniz — on 27th February, 2009 at 11:45 am  

    But surely Qidniz, ”the answer” can’t be in thousand mile long fences, can it?

    Believe it. Bangladesh, like every other Islamic nation except perhaps Tunisia, is trouble with a capital T.

  22. Sid — on 27th February, 2009 at 12:14 pm  

    Bangladesh isn’t an Islamic nation, you moron. It’s a Muslim-majority democratic nation which operates on a secular constitution. An Islamic nation or State is one which uses the shari’a as its constitution, a bank of jurist-scholars as the legislative as a counter balance to the executive – which is usually a dynastic monarchy.

  23. fug — on 27th February, 2009 at 12:19 pm  

    India’s border issues are also created by their game of changing the spatial demographics of the border regions, labelling muslims ‘bangladeshis’ willy nilly, trying to push them ‘back’ to bangladesh and generally being the regional ‘shining’ hegemon.

    I think the BDR spazzed out in a big way and I have no faith in any investigation. Its more a time for general social introspection about the political vocabularity in the country. Students, garments workers are normally quite restive but now this ‘character of activism’ has spread to the lower caste paramilitaries.

    Its hard to swallow legitimate greivances when such behaviour has happened. The PM seems to have handles it well, but her amnesty carrot is resented by the classes that feel closer to the officer caste than the jawan caste.

    Meanwhile the country is extremely vulnerable and has its eyes off the many balls juggling in the air. Shaytan and hostile neighbours must be laughing their heads off.

  24. Shamit — on 27th February, 2009 at 12:29 pm  

    “India’s border issues are also created by their game of changing the spatial demographics of the border regions, labelling muslims ‘bangladeshis’ willy nilly, trying to push them ‘back’ to bangladesh and generally being the regional ’shining’ hegemon.”

    Wow nice imagination but like all your comments once again this comment is based on your complete ignorance and bigoted mentality.

  25. fug — on 27th February, 2009 at 12:41 pm  

    or historical geographic research of west bengal over the past decades by a hindu bengali lady?

    http://www.sacw.net/article696.html

    of you can just thing with your lingum

  26. qidniz — on 27th February, 2009 at 12:46 pm  

    Bangladesh isn’t an Islamic nation, you moron. It’s a Muslim-majority democratic nation which operates on a secular constitution.

    Better check that constitution, son. Eighth Amendment, June 1988. HTH.

  27. Sid — on 27th February, 2009 at 12:55 pm  

    The Eighth Amendment does not detract from the fact that it is a secular constiution. The Chuch of England is still the state religion of the United Kingdom.

    Domestically, state support for Islam, including recognition of Islam as the state religion in the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution in June 1988, has not led to official persecution of other religions. Despite agitation by Jamaat e Islami (Congregation of Islam) and other conservative parties, there was no official implementation of sharia (Islamic law) as of mid-1988.

    I am hoping that this government can rescind the 8th Amendment, which was enforced by a military dictator who had the backing of both Saudi Arabia and the Reagan administration, just as Clinton and Bush did with Pervez Musharraf.

  28. qidniz — on 27th February, 2009 at 1:09 pm  

    The Eighth Amendment does not detract from the fact that it is a secular constiution.

    Are you really that clueless? Ershad’s 1988 travesty was the culmination of a process started by Ziaur Rahman in 1977 with an executive proclamation. See this or this.

    The Constitution as originally framed in 1972 explicitly described the government of Bangladesh as “secular,” but in 1977 an executive proclamation made three changes in wording that did away with this legacy. The proclamation deleted “secular” and inserted a phrase stating that a fundamental state principle is “absolute trust and faith in the Almighty Allah.” The phrase bismillah ar rahman ar rahim (in the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful) was inserted before the preamble of the Constitution. Another clause states that the government should “preserve and strengthen fraternal relations among Muslim countries based on Islamic solidarity.”

    Are you paying attention? They took the word “secular” out.

    O. U. T.

    And never put it back.

    HTH.

  29. qidniz — on 27th February, 2009 at 1:14 pm  

    The Eighth Amendment does not detract from the fact that it is a secular constiution.

    Ershad’s 1988 travesty was the culmination of a process started by Ziaur Rahman in 1977 with an executive proclamation. See this or this.

    The Constitution as originally framed in 1972 explicitly described the government of Bangladesh as “secular,” but in 1977 an executive proclamation made three changes in wording that did away with this legacy. The proclamation deleted “secular” and inserted a phrase stating that a fundamental state principle is “absolute trust and faith in the Almighty Allah.” The phrase bismillah ar rahman ar rahim (in the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful) was inserted before the preamble of the Constitution. Another clause states that the government should “preserve and strengthen fraternal relations among Muslim countries based on Islamic solidarity.”

    Are you paying attention? They took the word “secular” out.

    O. U. T.

    And never put it back.

    HTH.

  30. Sid — on 27th February, 2009 at 1:52 pm  

    Ershad was a military dictator. Zia is dead. So it is very possible to reverse the anomaly that the Eighth Amendment is, on the strength that it was not put through a democratic legislative process.

    Like I said, I am very happy that the new Awami League government elected in Decemeber have prmosied to reverse the Eighth Amendment, and it’s on their plans for this term.

    Which means that Bangladesh will, once again, be a more constitutionally secular country than the UK currently is. Brings a tear to the eye.

  31. qidniz — on 27th February, 2009 at 2:33 pm  

    Like I said, I am very happy that the new Awami League government elected in Decemeber have prmosied to reverse the Eighth Amendment, and it’s on their plans for this term.

    Dream on. AL are not likely to give the Islamists a ready made cause celebre when, left to their own devices, all they can do is go back to the favorite Islamic pastime of beating up on Hindus and Buddhists. The Islamization of Bangladesh is running apace: Hindus are now down to 9.5% or thereabouts, so a determined push should see them practically wiped out in the next 10 years or so. The Buddhists in the Tracts may be a tougher nut to crack, but there’s nothing like the Vested Property Act to help things along, as it always has. (“Official persecution” is such a red herring in this day and age: who did you think you could fool for more than, say, five seconds?) That ought to keep the Islamists not only busy and happy but also, if it goes really well, out of politics too.

  32. Sid — on 27th February, 2009 at 2:44 pm  

    Agreed, abuses of minorities have been a mainstay of Bangladeshi politics.

    The Awami League have probably been the only political agency who have tried thus far to abate the slide to encroaching Islamicisation of the polity. See their attempts to repeal the Vested Property Act in 2001 (under the ‘Repeal of the act’ section of the wiki page you linked to) and also the creation of the ‘Shanti Chukti’ or the Chittagong Hill Tratcs Peace Accord.

  33. Ashik — on 27th February, 2009 at 3:33 pm  

    As I understand it, the issue of cross border migration into India from Bangladesh is used by rightwing Hindu fundamentalist parties as political ammunition and figures of two million or even twenty(!!!) million are simply plucked out of the air. India cannot even quantify and deal with it’s internal economic migration eg. riots against Biharis in the north and West Bengalis in Assam. I doubt therefore that Indian society is mature enough to talk about migration from Bangladesh with any credibility without it turning into ‘Hindu v Muslim’ point scoring.

    In any case some of the migration that does occur is as I understand it simply a case of Bangladeshi Hindus voluntarily moving to India for economic betterment and to live in a Hindu majority country. God speed and good luck to them (they will likely be treated unfairly in India too, this is sadly the desi pattern). This isw presumably ‘ok’ for most Hindu Indians. Like Aliya for the Jewish people, no?

    Qidniz, Bangladesh is about as secular as India and Pakistan ie. some quaint piece of paper says the country officially respects all faiths but the dominant faith (Islam in BD/Pak and Hinduism in India) and more importantly the culture of faith determines govt policy. After all India has had the BJP rule it even after instigating various Indian Muslim massacres. THe masses in the subcontinent still value religious identity too much to completely separate religion and politics.

  34. Sid — on 27th February, 2009 at 3:47 pm  

    Qidniz, Bangladesh is about as secular as India and Pakistan ie. some quaint piece of paper says the country officially respects all faiths but the dominant faith (Islam in BD/Pak and Hinduism in India) and more importantly the culture of faith determines govt policy.

    For someone who professes to hate “immigrants like you” who indulge in the politics of SouthAsia, you seem quite keen to express your stakehold.

    That passage is quite useless by the way. You seem to be unable to distinguish between formal secularism and praxis. And also, India is formally secular, Bangladesh was and is making clear it’s intention to come back to it and Pakistan seem to have given up the ghost.

  35. Ashik — on 27th February, 2009 at 4:27 pm  

    Sid:

    ‘the Awami League have probably been the only political agency who have tried thus far to abate the slide to encroaching Islamicisation’

    It’s not April Fools Day, but I still appreciate the laugh Sid. :)

    To call AL secular is to call the BJP Muslim-loving liberals. Their commitment to secularism is patchy at best. AL politicians steal Hindu lands at times of political instability as much as BNP/Jamaat ones. And for your info Sheikh Mujib, Gen. Zia and Gen. Ershad were all the same, power hungry third world politicians. They cannot be compared to Western politicians. No need to distinguish the latter two dictators as being somehow illegitimate compared to your man ‘President for life’ Mujib.

    Actually, that statement about secularism isn’t so much about the politics of south asia (which some older desi immigrants in the West go on about ad infinitum) but an observation of our (BD/IND/Pak) cultural and religious leanings in our daily lives which often informs our identity and political beliefs. Even for secular desi folk, religion tends to inform more of the little decisions in our lives than we would like to admit. Therefore, distinctions between ‘official’ and ‘unofficial’ secularism does not exist in the subcontinent. Who better than a diasporan who despises South Asian dynastic politics to tell ppl whats what, eh.

  36. Ashik — on 27th February, 2009 at 4:41 pm  

    Rumbold,

    You are correct about the fraught relationship between the regular army and the BDR.

    However, an aspect not discussed is the class struggle inherent in the mutiny pitting the Sepoys of the BDR who come from humble backgrounds and limited or no formal education and the officer class of the army who are usually degree holders from the middle and upper classes. India and Pak probably suffer from similar problems.

    Reading between the lines of BBC reporting, many BDR chaps were also miffed that the BDR officers did not distribute a cut of the opportunities for corruption which these officers were taking advantage of at the border.

  37. Sid — on 27th February, 2009 at 4:42 pm  

    To call AL secular is to call the BJP Muslim-loving liberals. Their commitment to secularism is patchy at best.

    But the best of a bad lot, by far, if you look at the provisions made for the protection of minorities and a pluralist constitutional democracy.

    You undoubtedly will disagree but somehow I find your unconditional backing of military dictatorships rather than elected politciians whilst professing to be a Labour party supporter to be straight out of ‘Carry-On Up the Khyber Pass Takeway’.

  38. Ashik — on 27th February, 2009 at 4:51 pm  

    Last I checked the Labour Party was a political party operating in a Western social democracy lauded by many for being the mother of parliamentary democracy and not a tinpot unstable third world country where politics is only a means of getting rich (quick) like BD, India and Pak. The spirit of public service is something you’ve obviously not been acquainted with having been born and bought up in BD. No matter, I am here to make the acquaintance.

    Are you a member of the Awami League? Or just it’s UK branch ‘Drishtipat’?

  39. Sid — on 27th February, 2009 at 4:58 pm  

    Now explain how you think that supporting a political party operating in a Western social democracy in the UK is *congruous* to supporting a totalitarian military dictatorship in an unstable third world country, because, for the life of me, I just don’t see it.

    And then, whilst I can still keep a straight face, how support of said totalitarian military junta can ever be akin to “spirit of public service”.

    You’re the guy who also claimed the religious authority to proclaim that mixed-race marriages are banned in the Qur’an, right?

  40. fug — on 27th February, 2009 at 10:26 pm  

    A country has been humiliated, a vital institution decapitated, perhaps 150 people have died, thousand more face stern prosecution. tens of millions face a national security threat and you two are still waving you old tired and worthless willies at each other?

  41. Golam Murtaza — on 28th February, 2009 at 10:17 am  

    I understand the latest confirmed death toll is 75 with a further 60 officers still missing. (If they haven’t shown up by now, then they’re almost certainly dead).

    Apparently the killers buried their victims in several mass graves or dropped the corpses into drains and sewers.

    According to Al Jazeera there were about 9,000 Border Defence militia personnel at the base when the mutiny began, of which so far only about 300 have been detained. The vast majority ditched their uniforms and disappeared. I know how easy it is to do that in a city like Dhaka.

    I suspect many of these BDR people who have fled were themselves not involved in the killings. But they’re probably terrified of being blamed anyway. That’s understandable – the Bangladeshi police aren’t renowned for conducting fair, careful and forensic investigations. I fear in the coming months that some innocent guys are going to be convicted while some of the guilty will escape.

  42. qidniz — on 28th February, 2009 at 4:34 pm  

    Qidniz, Bangladesh is about as secular as India and Pakistan

    Thank you. You have just convinced me that you are utterly clueless.

  43. qidniz — on 1st March, 2009 at 7:18 am  

    The Awami League have probably been the only political agency who have tried thus far to abate the slide to encroaching Islamicisation of the polity.

    Don’t be silly. They are not against Islamization: they are just not as single-mindedly into it as the BNP or the Jamaat. In other words, they would rather sin by omission than by commission.

    See their attempts to repeal the Vested Property Act in 2001 (under the ‘Repeal of the act’ section of the wiki page you linked to) and also the creation of the ‘Shanti Chukti’ or the Chittagong Hill Tratcs Peace Accord.

    Both disastrous, of course. The WP article has a link to a 2007 report on vesting: no change, yawn.

    The 1997 Accord has been an utter travesty. Having mollified international aid donors with a show, the AL then sat on it for four years while they were in power, doing absolutely nothing, simply allowing the atrocities to continue, because that has been the long term plan all along: to create “facts on the ground”. The Shanti Bahini was formed after Mujibur peremptorily dismissed the Larma delegation in 1972: he was all for the eventual “Banglafication” and Islamization of the CHT, a process started in the East Pakistan era (e.g. the Jumma displaced by the Kaptai Dam project were not only never compensated but for the most part driven out of the CHT completely, into neighboring India.) Amnesty International and other NGOs have published multiple reports — in very hushed tones, of course, because it is so politically incorrect to show up Islamic agents as oppressors — to a reception of complete silence.

    Islamists all over must be taking particular satisfaction that it is Buddhists being systematically wiped out in the CHT, just like the extirpation of Buddhism in Central Asia centuries ago. Buddhism has always been the special target of the tender mercies of Islam: even the “but” of but parasti (idolatry) comes from “Buddha”.

    Radcliffe sealed the fate of the Jumma in 1947 when he awarded the CHT to Pakistan. And lo, the Muslim fraction of the population there has gone from under 5% in 1957 to over 50% today. Basically, it’s all over except for the shouting: maybe another 20-25 years and the Jumma will be history, like the dodo.

    The Awami League won’t do a thing to stop this.

  44. qidniz — on 1st March, 2009 at 7:22 am  

    The Awami League have probably been the only political agency who have tried thus far to abate the slide to encroaching Islamicisation of the polity.

    Don’t be silly. They are not against Islamization: they are just not as single-mindedly into it as the BNP or the Jamaat. In other words, they would rather sin by omission than by commission.

    See their attempts to repeal the Vested Property Act in 2001 (under the ‘Repeal of the act’ section of the wiki page you linked to) and also the creation of the ‘Shanti Chukti’ or the Chittagong Hill Tratcs Peace Accord.

    Both disastrous, of course. The WP article has a link to a 2007 report on vesting: no change, yawn.

    The 1997 Accord has been an utter travesty. Having mollified international aid donors with a show, the AL then sat on it for four years while they were in power, doing absolutely nothing, simply allowing the atrocities to continue, because that has been the long term plan all along: to create “facts on the ground”. The Shanti Bahini was formed after Mujibur peremptorily dismissed the Larma delegation in 1972: he was all for the eventual “Banglafication” and Islamization of the CHT, a process started in the East Pakistan era (e.g. the Jumma displaced by the Kaptai Dam project were not only never compensated but for the most part driven out of the CHT completely, into neighboring India.) Amnesty International and other NGOs have published multiple reports — in very hushed tones, of course, because it is so politically incorrect to show up Islamic agents as oppressors — to a reception of complete silence.

    Islamists all over must be taking particular satisfaction that it is Buddhists being systematically wiped out in the CHT, just like the extirpation of Buddhism in Central Asia centuries ago. Buddhism has always been the special target of the tender mercies of Islam: even the “but” of but parasti (idolatry) comes from “Buddha”.

    Radcliffe sealed the fate of the Jumma in 1947 when he awarded the CHT to Pakistan. And lo, the Muslim fraction of the population there has gone from under 5% in 1957 to over 50% today. Basically, it’s all over except for the shouting: maybe another 20-25 years and the Jumma will be history, like the dodo.

    The Awami League won’t do a thing to stop this.

    Edit: The spam filter didn’t like the link to an Angelfire site (reasonable, I won’t complain). I’ve taken it out. The path in the URL, for anyone interested is “/ab/jumma/”

  45. fug — on 1st March, 2009 at 11:44 am  

    qidniz, so what have bengladeshi party’s commitment and notions of Islam and posturing wrt secularisation got to do with anything wrt this incident?

    Muslim compositions of different tracts of bangladesh are none of your colonially invasive white-masked business.

  46. qidniz — on 1st March, 2009 at 12:20 pm  

    so what have bengladeshi party’s commitment and notions of Islam and posturing wrt secularisation got to do with anything wrt this incident?

    Nothing, really. This was just topic drift from Sid’s objection to my offhand description of Bangladesh as an “Islamic nation”.

    Muslim compositions of different tracts of bangladesh are none of your colonially invasive white-masked business.

    Eh? The numbers are public information. As are the atrocities. Systematic extirpation of non-Muslims is normal in Islamic polities. This is not “business”. It’s common knowledge.

  47. fug — on 1st March, 2009 at 1:21 pm  

    What you have is a lot of internal displacement and resettlement of the landless in the country. though dont let that ruin your pretty little picture, populated as it is by the usual suspects.

    you want to see geodemographic malevolence? look at the evolution of post partition west bengal.

    the communal problem was the defining problematic for british occupied india in the first half of the last century, and hindu domination was the a real fear amongst muslims back then. hence the ‘muslimising’ of nationhood. Little conceptual about it, nobody really understood what Iqbal was saying.

  48. Sid — on 1st March, 2009 at 2:33 pm  

    Don’t be silly. They are not against Islamization: they are just not as single-mindedly into it as the BNP or the Jamaat. In other words, they would rather sin by omission than by commission.

    Oh dear. I was willing to credit your views on Bangladesh as an “objective observer”. But after that statement, it’s apparent you’re flogging an agenda.

    Funny how the AL were accused of being anti-Islamic and willing to sell the country to the “Hindu state” of India by the BNP and Jamaat in the last election. And here you are saying that the AL are as Islamist as the Jamaat.

    Tell us then, why secularists such as Shahriar Kabir, to mention one, who has been jailed and tortured by pro-Islamist forces and shares the same platforms on symposia as Ibn Warraq and Ayan Hirsi Ali should count himself as a pro-AL voice if the AL “are not against Islamization: they are just not as single-mindedly into it as the BNP or the Jamaat”, as you say?

    AL may have failed to protect Bangladesh’s minorities but it also failed on many, many other fronts as well. Shoring up the economy, encouraging foreign investment, sorting out the beleagured energy problems, creating jobs for the impoverished 70% of the country’s population, decentralising government, electoral reforms, strengthening the judiciary are all part of them.

    But to say they’re as Islamist as the Jamaat is very skewed and you’re clearly not ignorant of the situation in Bangladesh. So why the agenda?

  49. qidniz — on 2nd March, 2009 at 5:51 pm  

    So why the agenda?

    Huh? I’m just extremely cynical about political parties.

    I had tried to post a comment earlier, but it got snarfed by the spam filter, for no reason that I could fathom, and put on some kind of approval queue. Maybe it will show up, maybe it won’t, no big deal either way. All that I’ll add is that the historical trends in the minority population not only point to their extinction but also need no great analytical powers to understand.

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