The 25th of May was like just another normal day to the many in the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh. The day was cloudy; the temperature was down; it was cloudy and the greatest fact of all, it was a government holiday. But what seemed a nigh perfect day for meeting up with friends and family turned into a nightmare for some. The true meaning of the ban on any type of congregation, as announced by the home minister of Bangladesh on the 19th of May, 2012 was observed. Here is what the news agencies turned up.
Police said that they had arrested 35 leaders and activists of Shibir, the student front of Jamaat-e-Islami, from King of Chittagong Community centre under Pachlaish Police station here on Saturday, as reported by the UNB. Police conducted a drive and arrested them from the community centre during a reception programme of the students of Prabaha coaching centre. The programme had been arranged to felicitate the meritorious students who had obtained GPA-5 in the recently concluded SSC examinations. The arrested students were taken to Pachlaish Police station. Other accounts narrate of 20 arrests (bdnews24.com) and 40 arrests (Daily Star) respectively. They were allegedly preparing for meet to plan acts of sabotage, police claimed while locals said a reception of successful SSC candidates of ‘Probaho Coaching Centre’ was being held there. Chittagong Metropolitan Police DC Abdur Rauf said the detainees were being interrogated. Anyone found unconnected to planning mischief will be released, he said. He said none of the students attending the programme had been harassed. Sadly, he failed to mention why 40 students were arrested for previously unheard of crimes such as ‘prize ceremonies’, highlighting the law situation in a country which has become notorious for increasingly violent extrajudicial killings and where tales of indiscriminate force used against protesters have become part of everyday police stories. Just a few days ago, RAB had killed a previouslyabducted Shibir member, claiming that he had been killed in crossfire.
At Brahmanbaria, two Shibir activists, including Brahmanbaria Zila General Secretary Amir Hossain and Cosba upazila president Nasir Ahmad were arrested at 8 pm in the evening from the premises of Cosba T.Ali College. Police have muttered the presence of cases against them.
That is not all. Eight students had gone on a picnic at Mohishakhola village, Gangni upazila, Meherpur. Police claim they had arrested them on Friday evening. Today afternoon they were sent to a Meherpur court. When contacted, Gangni thana OC Alamgir Hossain informed the press that the police had obtained information that a group of Shibir activists were holding a ‘secret’ meeting in the name of attending a picnic. He claimed that police chased them and managed to capture eight students from the scene.
All this in a day’s work. The night is still young as I write this post. Who knows how many more have been arrested or are on the verge of being arrested?
In Bangladesh, it is an unofficial crime to be a part of a registered students organization called Islami Chatra Shibir.
And the tale of oppression goes on and on…………