January 30, 2005


Bangladeshis were astounded and sparked with anger with the news of another grenade explosion at an opposition rally in Hobiganj (northeastern Bangladesh) last Thursday, which had killed at least five people including the country's former finance minister, and wounding dozens of others. The bomb was aimed at Mr. Shah AMS Kibria, a Member of Parliament, former finance minister, career diplomat (his tenure includes representative of Bangladesh at UN) and a Awami League think tank and he was killed while he was being taken by a car after being referred to a better hospital in Dhaka (about 100 km away). He was so bright as a person that I cannot summarize his achievements in a few words (try this instead).

Since last year, 3 Awami league top leaders were killed in Bomb and gun attacks. No one has been found guilty for grenade attacks on Sheikh Hasina, the opposition leader, British Ambassador to Bangladesh and Awami League leader Suronjit Sen Gupta. The government has taken the help of Interpol and other agencies but the investigations remain buried for some reason. I have wrote about the Arges model grenades used in the attack against Sheikh Hasina. The same model was used in the attack on Mr. Kibria as per security experts.

Now why would he have to die in a country for which he fought to liberate? He was a freedom fighter and language movement (1952) activist. Inam Ahmed & Zayadul Hasan writes:

No-one can say exactly what has been happening, but everyone fears about where Bangladesh is heading for. The death of SAMS Kibria has once again made it clear what can happen to a country when the government is in a self-denial mode, when lies are concocted to bury the truth, when propaganda is woven to protect the perpetrators and when truths are told halfway to lend meaning to meaning.

The spate of killings of AL leaders has definitely greatly reduced the party's capacity to undertake organisational preparations for the next election. Political observers are speculating on the impact of these killings on the opposition's capacity to mount a serious challenge to the ruling coalition.

Even senior government ministers think that Kibria's death will tarnish the image of Bangladesh abroad. But what the government is doing? The local investigations are not being held properly and even many of the injured who were close to Mr. Kibria during blast were not questioned. Yet the government has asked for the help of FBI, Interpol & Scotland Yard. What a farce!

The public reactions were staggeringly strong and the opposition cashed on in declaring a three day long strike which has paralyzed the country. The government reacted in battering many opposition activists. My cousins wedding reception got postponed and my daughter missed her vaccination date. All in all a pretty disgusting situation.

Enayetullah Khan writes:

The 60-hour unremitting hartal called by the AL and its allies is a corollary to the drastic events overtaking the government. It will have to be endured by the public and business at a cost but not at that of the political class on either side of the political divide. Nor does it bring Ivy Rahman and SAMS Kibria back to life. But that's how it is and how it will be.

Meanwhile, Bangla Bhai will continue to haunt the north-western district, blackening the country's face all the more. The Aminis will shout blue murder to Ahmadiyas. The succession drama in the BNP will have its twists and turns, including some comic relief of Hasina's son joining the race come elections in favour of his mother.

Till then, we may keep our fingers crossed, be on guard for staying alive, and condemn the killings, including those of Ivy Rahman and SAMS Kibria, with our anger burning within.

How more helpless can you feel?

Update: Kibria's Protest website (www.sams-kibria.org) has been launched. Go and have a look.


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