Thursday, April 02, 2009

Phone calls, ailment and mystery unfolded in BDR massacre case

Photo Amdadul Huq/DrikNews: A candlelight vigil to mourn the dead in a park opposite the BDR headquarters

SUNITA PAUL

RULING PARTY MP, state minister and a very active members of Bangladesh Awami League, Jahangir Kabir Nanak, on whom, arrows of investigators are already trigged with series of questions and doubts, suddenly fell sick on Tuesday evening with reported chest pain. This reminds me with similar ´pain tactics´ of several political leaders and figures in Dhaka, when past interim government continued massive offensives against corruption and nabbed many of them.

The first case of chest pain and ailment was of former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia´s son Arafat Rahman Koko. When Koko´s elder brother Tareq Rahman was arrested from their residence inside Dhaka Cantonment, he (Koko) was seen picturing the entire episode of arrest with his video camera. Anyway, intelligence personnel took away the camera from Koko. But, in several days, when Koko was arrested, he continued to place his right hand over left chest thus making an expression of severe health condition.

One of my very good friends, who coincidentally was flying in the same flight with Koko surprisingly saw that, as soon as the aircraft took off, Koko burst into laughter and was jumping like a kid with other members of his family who were on board with him.

Awami League´s general secretary Abdul Jalil, from being a healthy-energetic man, just sat on wheel chair as soon as he was arrested with the excellent performance of, as if he was partially paralyzed. Bangladeshi media was reporting Jalil´s health condition to be extremely critical. But, as soon as his party came in power, Jalil virtually jumped from wheel chair to political dais as well his luxury four wheel drive jeep. No one can even imagine that this very Jalil was performing like a person with severe physical ailment just a few weeks ago.

I do not want to raise a valid question here on the source of huge expenditures, Mr. Jalil and many of his political colleagues borne while getting ´treatment´ abroad. But with no doubt, one point is clear, this theory worked for him as well many others in somehow escaping the judicial complications, imprisonment or many other forms of complications.

The latest episode of ´sickness´ of Jahangir Kabir Nanak has two dimensions. One, this will give him a chance to leave the country even during the investigation into the BDR Massacre case, where Nanak´s name is coming prominently as one of the suspected planners and collaborators. Secondly, by proving to be a person with cardiac problem, his interrogators will now have limitations in interrogating him in proper manner to extract important information.

Why Nanak is suddenly ill? Possibly many of the people in Bangladesh and elsewhere are yet to know the fact. But, let me put here some facts, which may at least open the window of finding some replies.

According to several facts, Jahangir Kabir Nanak and Mirza Azam were having contacts with some of the renegade BDR men almost for three weeks prior to the February 25-26 bloody massacre. Criminal Investigation Department (CID), for obvious reason is ignoring this fact and the chief investigator Abdul Kahar Akhand, who is known to be a Awami League loyalist is doing everything to salvage leaders of his ´loving´ party from entering prison or facing manila rope for their involvement behind this notorious brutality.

There are at least 68 conversations between Nanak and mutineer troops including Deputy Assistant Director (DAD) Towhid. Towhid is a child-hood friend of Jahangir Kabir Nanak and he visited the residence of this Awami League leader several times before and after the December 29 election. Although Towhid confessed this fact to the interrogators, CID people were always active in suggesting one of the kingpins of February massacre to ´avoid´ such statements. But, of course, other probe teams have already noted this fact.

Another man who was arrested on massacre case is Torab Ali Akhand, a former soldier in Bangladesh Riffles. Torab is a close associated of Barrister Fazle Noor Taposh. His (Torab) son, listed criminal in Bangladesh, Harunur Rashid aka Leather Liton was able to get released from prison after seven years, with the direct help of Barrister Taposh.

Barrister Taposh was accorded a huge reception at Hazaribagh area by Torab Ali Akhand and Leather Liton just two weeks before the BDR massacre. Ali´s residence was a meeting place for the mutineers and members of the ruling party.

Bangladeshi investigators although are checking the cell phone conversation of the BDR men and politicians, they are mostly concentrating on declared phone numbers. But, in Bangladesh or India, it is even possible to have several phones in various names or even without names. A voice very similar to that of Nanak (Jahangir Kabir Nanak has serious throat complications), has already been tracked by the interrogators, which was communicating with a number of BDR men before and during the massacre and were even giving provocative instructions.

On the other hand, Mirza Azam, who is the brother-in-law of Islamist militancy group kingpin Shaikh Abdur Rahman, had direct hands behind the brutal murder of Colonel Gulzar and another former officer of Rapid Action Battalion, who were also sent on deputation by the present government.

Earlier I wrote that both Nanak and Azam were waiting for chance to leave the country, in fear of getting entangled in the massacre case.

Most of the political figures, which are suspected to be involved in the bloody massacre, are greatly concerned about the investigation conducted by Bangladesh Armed Forces, and that is the only one, which is expected to be neutral, unbiased and true. Although there are rumors that the ruling party is actively trying to manage the high-commands in the armed forces too in somehow getting a favorable report. With this goal, the government reportedly is buying time. But, it is opined by many that, none of the members of the Bangladesh Armed Forces will ever compromise with the blood and dignity of their brother officers and their families.

Sheikh Hasina Wajed reportedly has assigned Major General (Retired) Tarik Siddiqi, who is her brother-in-law and defense advisor to continue all out efforts in salvaging the ruling party from any political disaster due to a real and neutral probe report. But, how far he will be successful is a point we only can see after the report is published.

There is growing speculations as to what would happen once the probe teams finally can disclose the ties between heavy-weight politicians and ruling party men and the BDR men. Many analysts even believe that, the delay in probe will in no way help the government in changing the contents. Rather a delayed investigation will increase anger in the minds of the members of Bangladesh Armed Forces and the bereaved family members of the martyred officers.

One final point! Some politicians and political activists, naturally belonging to the ruling party, are collecting money from various entrepreneurs and institutions in Bangladesh in the name of ´Fund to help the bereaved family members of the army officers´. There is no crime in doing so, if there will not be any financial irregularities or even extortion by using the title of such noble cause. #

First published in The American Chronicle, April 01, 2009

Sunita Paul was born in Kochin, India. Born as a deaf and dumb, Sunita Paul decided to use pen in expressing herself. She is considered as an expert of South Asian affairs, counter-terrorism and international relations