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Sunday 17 February 2013

Bangladesh fights to hang the war criminals, we just remain silent as we never know the war criminals!

Bangladesh fights to hang the war criminals, we just remain silent as we never know the war criminals!

Palash Biswas

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Skype ID: palash.biswas4


In Bangladesh, demands grow for execution of man convicted of war crimes during 1971 conflict.Bangladesh fights to hang the war criminals, we just remain silent as we never know the war criminals!Absence of democratic system in Indian aborigin indigenous humanscape  is highlighted by no one else than Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh!

At home, Rs. 100 crore package for Odisha's ultra-hit Nuapada district was on Saturday announced by Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh who remarked that Maoists are strong in state's where Congress is weak.He also took a swipe at the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD ministry, dubbing

"it as a "sleeping government".

"It wakes up like Kumbhakarna when I visit," he said.

"Maoists are strong where Congress is weak. Take the case of Jharkhand and Odisha. While Congress is weak in Jharkhand, the party is out of power for over 12 years in Odisha," Ramesh told a meeting of panchayati raj institution functionaries here.

However , he may not dare to mention about the ongoing war against tribal people deprived of the ensured constitutional rights under fifth and sixth schedule!Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi will visit Odisha Monday-Tuesday (February 18-19) and meet senior leaders, party sources said on Saturday.According to the sources, Gandhi will meet district and block Congress committee presidents, legislators, MPs and heads of frontal organisations on Monday morning at Balupalli in Sambalpur and will later meet elected Congress members of local self government (panchayati raj and urban local bodies).

On Tuesday, he will meet party leaders in Cuttack and attend an executive meeting of the state Congress unit.

Claiming that development work taken up by Congress governments in different states kept Maoists at bay, Ramesh said similar steps should also be taken by non-Congress governments to defeat the ultras.

He said that the Rs. 100 crore would be spent in the first phase on different heads like construction of 120 km of roads under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, Indira Awas Yojana, strengthening of women's self-help groups, watershed projects and tribal livilihood projects.

On the situation in Sunabeda Sanctuary, which he could not visit after the discovery of explosives, Ramesh said while Saranda was a liberated zone now, Sunabeda continued to remain under the control of Maoists.

"There is a lot of difference between Saranda and Sunabeda," he said.

He was obviously referring to the state government's Rs. 238 crore development plan for Sunabeda Hill Area ahead of his visit to the tribal-dominated backward district.

Asked about his relationship with Patnaik, the union minister said "Naveen as chief minister will get all support from my ministry. But as the chief of the ruling BJD, I will oppose him politically."

During his visit, Ramesh oversaw different projects being implemented by the rural development ministry and interacted with the people.

Ramesh's visit came barely two days before AICC Vice-President Rahul Gandhi's visit to Odisha.

Amid sharp criticism from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Left Parties over the move to hike the prices of petrol and diesel, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries Tariq Anwar has defended the Central Government's decision, and said that there are some compulsions.

"The government has some compulsions. As we all know that whenever prices in international market rise, it has an impact on the domestic market as well. We have to purchase fuel in international currency. The difference between the gap in international value and our domestic currency needs to be recovered," he said.

Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D. Raja on Friday hit out at the government on the issue, and said that this would have a cascading effect on the commoners.

"We strongly oppose this hike in the price of diesel and petrol. We demand that government should tell the oil marketing companies to roll back this. This is going to have cascading effect on the prices. Already the prices of all essential commodities are high, inflation is high. The Congress led UPA-II Government has completely failed to control the prices and contain inflation," he said.

BJP leader Prakash Javadekar also echoed similar sentiments, and termed the government's decision to be completely unacceptable and atrocious.

The government's decision to hike the prices of petrol and diesel has also not gone well with the common man.

Amrinder Singh, a resident of Kolkata, yesterday said that he would quit driving and opt for bullock cart, as affording petrol is indeed a challenge for commoners.

"The government is only raising petrol prices and it has become a burden for a common man and now we are thinking of buying a bullock cart!" he said.

Our demand that the government should decrease the prices of petrol, inflation is round the corner since the day Congress is in power," said Rakesh, a resident of Patna.

Petrol became costlier by Rs. 1.50 per litre and diesel by 45 paise from last night. The rates have been revised in tune with the rise in international rates. The increase does not include VAT or local sales tax.

The new rates for petrol sold at Indian Oil Corporation pumps will now be Rs. 69.0 6 per litre in Delhi, Rs. 75.91 in Mumbai, Rs. 76.62 in Kolkata and Rs. 72.16 in Chennai.

Diesel will now cost Rs. 48.15 a litre in Delhi, Rs. 54.28 in Mumbai, Rs. 52.04 in Kolkata and Rs. 51.23 in Chennai.

For many in Bangladesh, the "V'' for victory sign was more than they could bear.
They had waited more than four decades for justice in the mass killings and rapes during their independence war. But there was a smiling Abdul Quader Mollah apparently celebrating his life sentence — given in place of an expected death sentence — for his role in the killing of 381 civilians.
Within hours, thousands of university students demanding his death poured into the streets of Dhaka, the seeds of what has grown into a mass protest that has exposed again the unhealed wounds from the nation's 1971 war for independence from Pakistan.

"I could not take it. That was really insulting," Gazi Nasiruddin Khokon, a protester who works for an online newspaper, said of Mollah's victorious gesture after his sentencing last week. "If we don't get proper justice for such crimes, where would we stand in the future?"

Mollah was convicted by a special war crimes tribunal that was set up to hold people accountable for the first time for their roles in the civil war, where Bangladesh says as many as 3 million people were killed and 200,000 women raped by Pakistani troops and local collaborators.

But the trials are also seen as part of a long and bitter rivalry between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the main opposition leader, former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, who is allied with the Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami, many of whose leaders face charges before the tribunal.

Jamaat, which opposed Bangladesh's fight for independence, and Zia have called the tribunal politically motivated, while international rights groups have raised questions about the conduct of the trials. The head of one of the tribunals resigned in December over reports he had improper conversations with a lawyer about the panel.

Mollah, an assistant secretary of Jamaat, was found guilty Feb. 5 of killing a student and a family of 11 and of aiding Pakistani troops in killing 369 others. Members of his party took to the streets in anger at his conviction, exploding homemade bombs and clashing with police.

But they were soon overshadowed by thousands of protesters who flooded a major intersection in the capital, Dhaka, upset by what they said was a lenient sentence of life in prison, which actually means just 14 years in Bangladesh. They also were inflamed by the image of Mollah smiling at journalists and holding up two fingers in a "V'' sign as he was led from the court, apparently in celebration of his avoiding the death penalty.

Fueled by online posts, the protests grew until hundreds of thousands of people took over the Shahbagh intersection, which they renamed Projonmo Chattar, or New Generation Platform.
Many slept there, collecting donations for food. Others came after work and stayed late into the night, listening to chants for justice over loudspeakers. Some beat drums and wrapped their heads in scarves with slogans saying "We want death for the war criminals" and "Traitors have no place in this land."

The protesters also called for Jamaat to be banned.

The immensely popular national cricket team came to the site to express solidarity with the protesters, and on Thursday evening, organizers said more than 100,000 candles were lit at the site.
To counter any accusations that the protest was organized by Hasina's government, politicians were banned from the stage.

"This is a history. A new history is in the making," said Aminul Islam, a 30-year-old bank employee at the protest site.

"It is unbelievable," he said. "This is our fight, this is another war, not with rifles in hand, but with an unconditional urge to bringing those to book for killing our people and dishonoring our mothers and sisters."

Even though many of the protesters had not been born when the war raged, they were still scarred by it and the lack of accountability for those accused of crimes during the fighting, said Hassan Shahriar. To some that lack of accountability was reflected in the fact two members of Jamaat have served as Cabinet ministers.

"Generation after generation have seen no remedy, no punishment for the perpetrators. Rather they have become influential political actors, social actors, and the new generation has been silently frustrated," he said. "The wounds are still fresh."

The protesters are also fed up with corruption, nepotism and other perceived injustices and have seized on the tribunals to express their dissatisfaction, he said.

In response to the demonstrations, the government sent a bill to Parliament that would amend the law creating the tribunals, allowing the prosecution to appeal if it felt a sentence handed down was too lenient.

Law Minister Shafique Ahmed said the bill was expected to be passed by Parliament on Sunday, and the government has said it would use it to appeal Mollah's sentence.

One legal analyst, Shahdeen Malik, said the amendments would strengthen the law, and that the country's legal system could be counted on to give verdicts based on evidence and not simply in response to street pressure.

But New York-based Human Rights Watch criticized the proposed amendments, saying that passing retroactive laws to overturn unpopular verdicts violated the country's commitments to protect the rights of defendants.

"Convictions of those responsible for the 1971 atrocities is important for the country, but not at the expense of the principles that make Bangladesh a democracy," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

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