This dancing ground of assassins is not my country

You have just ventured out on way to your office or court, or you may be returning from your place of work – to the safe corner of your sweet home. Where, like every other day, waiting eagerly for you, are your loved ones. Your parents, your

sweet heart, your dearest children. You will return and kiss your children, greet your parents, your wife will hand you cloths to change, just like every other day.But you are not returning – on your way back you are kidnapped at gun-point, leaving your car behind, your driver also disappeared with you. Information reached your home that your car is lying abandoned but no trace of you, perhaps abducted. Your children breaks into heart-rending cry, wife repeatedly faints, your parents struggles to stop continuous gush of tears. Your siblings and friends runs to the people in power, some pleads with the high ranking police officers, some begs clapped-handed to government ministers or approaches the journalists – but you are not returning.

Can you imagine?

Yes, it is no longer a matter of imagination – this is now only fear, only nightmare that engulfs the entire thought process of every citizen of Bangladesh. Am I going to be abducted? Will my children return home safely? Will my near and dear ones be abducted today or even killed?

Narayangonj and Ghazipur are now cities of terror. An invisible mercury called ‘fear’ is weighing heavy in the minds of the people of Bangladesh. Twenty four hours of the day now enveloped in the darkness of fear in cities after cities. ‘There comes the kidnappers ‘– is the fear that forces night time to descend even before sunset. Children are forgetting to cry, not in fear of ghosts, but in fear of abduction, hijack and murder. Birds abandoned their songs, as if pregnant cattle may even pre-deliver their young – in fear.

What could be more frightening then this? Yet, today this valley of death, this dancing ground of assassins is my country – Bangladesh!

The memory of frightening abduction and release of Abu Bakr Siddique, the husband of prominent environmental activist  Sayeda Rizwana Hasan is still raw in our memory. Meanwhile, stream of information of new abductions and disappearances are reaching daily.  Panel Mayor Nazrul Islam and lawyer Chandan Sarkar were abducted in the same manner in Narayangonj. Then their corps found floating in the Shitalakha river. Bodies of all seven disappeared persons found floating together, their faces disfigured and bricks tied with their bodies. Nazrul’s mother is crying and his children and the wife of Chandan Sarkar and the relatives of their abducted and assassinated drivers are crying, and the relatives of all seven victims, indeed all the citizens of Narayangonj are crying. Flame of fury ignites in the hearts of millions. Hundred and sixty million human beings suffers in blind terror of helpless insecurity.

A long trail of disappearances, abduction and kidnapping are happening daily. Even journalists are struggling to keep a count of how many people disappeared so far in Narayangonj, Gazipur and the rest of the country. But where is the government? Where is the administration? Where are the police? Why there is no formal statement from the government? Who will reassure the public? Who will say, ‘ We will ensure the safety of the general public’. ‘We are here – we are taking measures’. Who abducted  A. B. Siddique? Why no one is saying anything?

Narayangonj has become a city of terror for some years now. The people of the city made loud protests against the godfathers. Yet, torture camps are still discovered there. Now people of the city are furious about a commissioner who is instrumental in the atrocities, they have set fire to his offices. But why indeed the government is mute about it? At least this time the abducted and subsequently assassinated Panel Mayor Nazrul Islam is from their party – Awami League.

One recalls Kabir Suman’s song in line of Bob Dylan’s lyric, “Yes, how many deaths will it take till he knows that too many people have died?” One feels like saying,  how many deaths, how many empty laps of grieving mothers, how many fatherless child’s supplication to Almighty or appeal to the prime minister will make us say- enough! Now the police and administration must take a firm stance against forced disappearances, against abduction, against murder and against the murderers. Ah! It pains me to think of Taki, the teen-ager who used to write poetry, loved to read the works of great authors. They murdered that angel-faced youth and left his lifeless body floating in Sitalakha river. Now crops floats in Shitalakha as if a cluster of dead fishes.  Will the authorities now remove their safety-net that protects these godfathers? Millions are marching the streets of Narayangonj, demanding highest possible punishment for these murderers, same demand is burning in the hearts of millions more around the country. Even then would there be no orders from high-above, ‘ Stop these enemies of humanity !’

What else it needs to declare that the law and order situation has deteriorated drastically?

We know Bangladesh is making progress in some areas, in economy, social welfare and some other development indicators. But all of it will be reduced to zero if people lose the sense of security. As some time ago, Muhammad Zafar Iqbal wrote about multiplying by zero in this newspaper, ‘no matter how big the sum is, the result will always be zero when it is multiplied by zero.’ Whatever improvement we make, the government makes = in other fields all of it will be reduced to zero if the terrorist godfathers, abductors and assassins are not stopped. Will the government fail to see its own welfare as well?

Note: This article was published in Daily Prothom Alo written by Anisul Hoque on 1st May 2014. We have translated the original article from Bangla.

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