August 23, 2007

Bangladesh under curfew: Day 1

An important Dhaka street looked like this today at 8:30 AM : Photo Shafiur.

Bangladesh was virtually cut off from the world during the night Here are some of the latest as the bloggers are reporting:

Journalist Arafatul Islam:
* The internet connections were out from 1:30AM at night. Limited connections were live at around 9:30 AM. Some say BTTB servers (state controlled internet gate away) were down. Some say the link to submarine cable was snapped. Some say ISPs ceased to serve their client on Government's instructions.

* Today even Rickshaws are not allowed. Journalists, employees or businessmen are not allowed to commute. So almost everyone is prefering to stay at home.
* Rumors are that curfew will be lifted by tomorrow.

Location: Shankar at Dhanmondi. Time: 5PM in the afternoon. Blogger Alexander Dumas [bn] points at the unruly mob caught on his camera. He asks do they seem as students? This poses the question are these mob here spontaneously or is there any force behind them?

Imrul Hasan reports:
"Today at around 11:30 PM a student was beaten to death by the Army. Students went out for protest rallies defying curfew. In Farmgate some labors assembled for protest rallies defying curfew. There are no TV coverage on these developments. Internet is very sluggish. I can't write."
Journalist Faisal informs:

Curfew has been relaxed from 4PM to 7PM today.
Brishti Manob reports:
*All mobile network started functioning fro 7:00 AM in the morning.
* Mirpur 10 to Pallabi looks like a dead zone. In the morning police beat some enthusiastic youths who gathered there. All transports have been blocked in Pallabi from 11AM.
Update I: Public holiday declared in Bangladesh today to cool curfew tensions.

Mostofa Monir reports from Dhaka: Mobile network has been snapped again.

Arafat is asking why BDNEWS24 is not updating, even the curfew relaxation information.

A commenter in Drishtipat:
Just got The message from Grameen phone network will be stop again 4pm-7 pm again. Current condition of Bangladesh Mobile network is whole day Average Success Rate is less than 7%.People are crazy to Connect relatives from abroad but can’t properly. Even after 7 Am also Network is partially opened. This is completely (a) violation of human rights.

Update II: BDNew24 is back in action. Its one of the reporters Omi Rahman Pial describes the scary situation last night when some of his colleagues were arrested by the security forces. He divulges BDNews could not update as Internet connection was disrupted.

BDNews has interesting News:
Bangladesh Telecom authority (BTTB) claims International telephony, internet and private international data circuits went down when the submarine cable link was "sabotaged" at 00:05am Thursday. It cut off Bangladesh from the rest of the world and intensified panic and confusion at home and abroad amid widespread violence across much of the country for days. Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB) has been trying to restore the country's only terrestrial overseas communication lifeline. "This underground transmission link has been chopped at two different locations of Chunoti under Lohagara upazila 79 kilometres from Chittagong towards Cox's Bazar," BTTB officials confirmed.
Question is who did the sabotage?

BDNews24 also reports that:
Army and BDR men raided the four upper floors of Aziz Supermarket at Shahbagh in the city Thursday looking for students. The law-enforcers took at least 100 students from different rooms and assembled them on the third floor landing of the building. They kicked and beat them with sticks, several witnesses said.
US Expat Lulu is worried but not feeling threatened in this situation.

There are mixed reactions about the incidents of the last 3 days. Freedom fighter Shah Zaman Mozumder analyzes the events:
* The continuation and spread of unrest suggests that the situation was being taken advantage by other quarters. Who are these?

* If the reform measures of the current government become successful, it will signal the death knoll of many of the corrupt professional politicians. The politicians must take advantage of any potential situation to topple the current government.

* A section of the business community was a partner of the politicians in the last 36 years pillage of the country. If the corrupt politicians are forced to leave politics, so will be the fate of the corrupt businesses unless they find alternate hosts to infect.

* A large part of the corrupt bureaucrats are also under equal threat.

* A large part of the student community, particularly those affiliated with the mainstream political parties are nothing but political touts...If student politics are banned from educational institutions, many of their corrupt aspirations will remain unfulfilled.

* Was financing coming from other sources? My intuition suggests that financing was coming from some unknown sources other then the political parties because now their accounts are being closely monitored. I suspect that a significant part of the financing was coming from the large business houses because it was very clear from the TV pictures that many of the slum dwellers also joined the rampage and these people need some money to make them act.
Update III: Listen to BBC Bangla Service News Analysis Probaho for details of todays Police atrocities and sporadic protests.

Update IV: Tasneem Khalil reports:
CSB and ETV — both TV channels — have been issued “show cause” notices for “violating the Emergency Power Rules by broadcasting disturbing and anti-government news.” Sources also hint that The Daily Star and New Age — leading English dailies — are next. New Age plans to cut down its pages to 8 instead of 24 as curfew is seriously impeding news gathering and productions.
Shada Kalo Blog is sarcastic on this censorship:
Daily star published a set of pictures, one of which showed a person kicking a soldier from the back, and the soldier fleeing. There are unconfirmed reports that the Army is retaliating against DS journalists and staff for publishing that picture. How dare they show that the mighty army's butt can be kicked. Of course, no army or police personnel was punished for kicking the civilian lying on the road.
Drishtipat Blog highlights one editorial from The New Age which says "solution lies not in repressive measures".

Update V: A Blogger requests frantically:
The students of Dhaka University, wherever you are, please go to a safe are being looked for. Please don't ask me anything.


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