No debate is acceptable on the question of genocide recognition



Dr. Milton Biswas
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

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Dreadful night on March 25, 1971 is a period of emotional flow. On March 11, 2017, the National Parliament unanimously accepted the proposal to observe the barbaric and brutal killings of the Pakistani invading forces on the black night of March 25, 1971 as 'Genocide Day' and to take necessary actions to recognize this day internationally. Earlier, there was a demand to observe March 25 as 'International Genocide Day' from people of all walks of life in Bangladesh.

It is clear to all that there can be no debate about the martyrdom of 30 lakh people in nine months. Because Robert Payne has quoted Yahya Khan in his book Massacre, The Tragedy of Bangladesh like this - 'Kill three million of them and the rest will eat out of our hands.' Due to this decision of the Pakistani rulers, more than six thousand people were killed on an average in Bangladesh every day. For this reason, in 1971, US Senator Edward Kennedy visited the refugee camps in India and directly accused the Pakistani army of genocide. In the 'Guinness Book of World Records', the massacre in Bangladesh has been mentioned as one of the 5 worst genocides of the 20th century. In 2002, George Washington University's 'Security Archives' released their declassified documents. There, the hellish killings in Bangladesh were identified as 'genocide'.

US diplomats based in Dhaka then sent messages to Washington describing the massive massacre by the Pakistani army. Journalists who were eyewitnesses of the war of liberation wrote a number of articles and editorials of the world-famous newspaper Time, New York Times etc. strongly reacted to the massacre of Pakistanis. In addition, the 'Hamadur Rahman Commission' formed in Pakistan in 1972, while investigating their defeat, found evidence of massive killings and torture of women by Pakistani soldiers in Bangladesh. And the world conscience was shaken by this terrible massacre. George Harrison and Pandit Ravi Shankar organized 'Concert for Bangladesh'. The 'International Brigade' was formed under the leadership of the philosopher Andre Malraux. Humanist leaders gathered in Paris and London. The genocide committed by Pakistanis in Bangladesh still shocks the world as a document of massive and brutality.

In fact, the 20th century itself has killed millions of people. The planned and terrible killings of World War and Genocide are called 'Genocide'. From Hitler's concentration camps to the internment camps of Pakistanis in 1971, the brutal history of that genocide is told. Anthony Mascarenhas wrote in his book 'The Rape of Bangladesh' chapter on 'Genocide' that 'the systematic pattern of killings throughout the province closely matches the dictionary definition of the word genocide.' He knew from direct experience and from the mouth of a Pakistani army officer that the targets of the genocide were- a) Bengali soldiers, police, Ansar etc. b) Hindu community c) Awami League people d)College, university students e) Professors and teachers - who belong to the intellectual community. But he also noted that the army's brutality was indiscriminate.

They considered innocent, common people as enemies. Moreover, their genocide was a 'purification process' which the ruling class considered to be a solution to political problems. Along with this barbaric way to colonize the province was also one of its objectives. The Pakistanis commented - 'We are determined to sanctify East Pakistan forever to save it from the threat of secession. For that reason, if 20 lakh people have to be killed and the province has to be ruled as a colony for thirty years, still.' The people of the West were united with this mentality of the rulers. And that is why Prime Minister Tajuddin Ahmad said on April 17, 1971, "The people of West Pakistan are silent spectators of the genocide."

In Bangladesh in 1971, the Pakistani rulers and their henchmen Albadar, Alshams and Razakar forces planned massacres, widespread destruction, rape, arson, extermination and expulsion of Hindu communities, torture of political dissidents, indiscriminate killing of freedom fighters. Their 'Operation Searchlight' on March 25 started out of hatred and hatred towards the Bengali nation. Planned massacres and ethnic cleansing are considered genocide. The Pakistanis treated the Jews and Russian POWs with the same brutality that Hitler's Nazi forces did. Cruelty, brutality and sectarianism were just like the Nazis towards the Jews. The Nazis considered the Jews to be inferior and wanted to solve Europe's problems by exterminating them.

Similarly, the attitude of Pakistani army officers was that Bengalees have been cleansed and selected properly for at least one generation. Nazis started extermination by killing young, young and able-bodied men first, but started killing children, old people and women indiscriminately from the Balkan region in 1941. They reached the extreme limits of human rights violations including killing prisoners of war and other cruelties. The Pakistan army has more in common with their atrocities in Hindu massacres.

In 1971 the attitude of the rulers towards Hindus was deliberate and ruthless because they legalized religious killings. They believed that Pakistan was born out of a Muslim revolt against the Hindu domination of the subcontinent for a separate homeland. This anti-Hindu sentiment has been nurtured over the years has arrived that is why Hindu annihilation in genocide became inevitable. In the words of a researcher - "After the attack of the Pakistan army, not only a war between a rising and a declining state, but also multiple ethnic conflicts started in the whole country." This led to torture on both sides but it started after the 25th March attack. Two communities are the most affected by the Pakistani government's plans.

Its first victims were the Hindu community, who were not only persecuted but also had their social, economic, political and family foundations damaged and even destroyed. Hindus could never recover their lost position even in Bangladesh. Communally they were the most affected people in 1971. Even rape was considered legal by them. Rape by the Japanese army in Nanking, China, the Nazis in Russia and the torture of women in Armenia and Bosnia are all related to the rape of Bengali women. The purpose of Pakistani rape of Bengali women was to emotionally injure and cripple the family, community and nation. Defeated in the guerilla war with the freedom fighters and unable to subjugate the Bengali nation, they rape women. It was terribly depressing. Serbs raped Muslim women as a means of ethnic cleansing. These brutal realities of the war have been exposed in the writings of domestic and foreign researchers and journalists.

Pakistan is one of the perpetrators of genocide in the 20th century because they wanted to maintain their power that day in exchange for the lives of millions of Bengalis. But the Bengali ethnic group did not oppress West Pakistan before March 25, 1971. Yet the barbaric and brutal behavior of the rulers of West Pakistan towards the Bengalis exposed their abominable mentality to the world.

The attacks and killings of Pakistanis were like fascists, so they harbored caste or sectarian hatred; killed innocent people. That planned killing made our March 25 demand even more significant. March 25 'International Genocide Day' will be the only hope for future generations to raise their voices and speak out against genocide to save the world's human population from brutal slaughter. Hopefully, the spirit of this day will unite everyone against genocide.

Author: Bangabandhu Researcher, Professor and Chairman, Department of Bengal, Jagannath University. Email: [email protected]

   

Mild tremor in Chattogram, no damage



Special Correspondent, Barta24.com Chattogram bureau:
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photo: collected

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Chattogram and its surrounding districts were shaken by moderate earthquakes. The earthquake was felt at around 10:46 pm on Saturday (April 21).

Earthquake monitoring website Volcano Discovery confirmed this information. It is said there, the magnitude of this earthquake was 3.7. And the depth of the earthquake was 10 km. The epicenter of the earthquake is 43 km north of Chattogram in Kaptai upazila of Rangamati district.

However, no damage was reported in the earthquake. But people felt some tremors. Then some wrote about the earthquake on social media Facebook. 

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Sports teaches discipline, loyalty and patriotism: PM



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com Dhaka:
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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that sports give people physical and mental strength. Also teaches discipline, loyalty and patriotism.

She said this at the prize distribution ceremony after the final of the Bangabandhu and Bangmata Gold Cup football tournament at the Bangladesh Army Stadium on Saturday (April 20) afternoon.

Along with other sports, Sheikh Hasina has urged to promote domestic sports as well. She also shed light on the steps taken by the government for the development of sports.

Sheikh Hasina said that whenever she came to power, she tried to encourage more children in sports because sports give people physical and mental strength. Also teaches discipline, loyalty and patriotism.

The Prime Minister said that she wants the children to develop into suitable citizens through sports, physical exercise and cultural activities along with education.

Sheikh  Hasina said by giving instructions to the concerned, that our children should be more interested in participating in sports, we should give equal opportunities to our domestic sports as well because our children will have more opportunities to develop their talents through local sports.

The Prime Minister said, today we can take the country forward through this sport. I can introduce the country to the whole world. I am really happy that not only our boys but also our girls are able to go abroad and show their talent. Since the formation of the government in 2009 when we started this primary school football tournament for boys and girls, Bangmata Gold Cup and Bangabandhu Gold Cup, Our boys and girls are showing excellent skills even when they go abroad across the borders of the country. Most importantly, SAFF Women-2022 has earned the opportunity to become the champion. It is our girls who have brought this achievement.

The head of the government said that the government is making one mini stadium in each upazilla, so that sports opportunities are created in each upazilla. Sheikh Hasina said, I want our boys and girls to make themselves suitable through sports, physical exercise and cultural practices along with education. All education and sports will be better in all aspects, we will walk with our heads held high all over the world. Our today's golden boys and girls will build the golden Bangladesh of the Father of the Nation's dream. My congratulations and blessings to all, she added.

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Biodiversity of Haor threatened by temporary beauty



Saidur Rahman Naim, Upazilla Correspondent, Barta24.com, Katiadi(Kishoreganj):
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Alpana inaugurated this road with fanfare from administration, public representatives to Bangla New Year. But no one thought that this temporary beauty would become a threat to nature. After a few days, new water will come to Haor. And now there is a heated discussion about how much damage this color will cause.

On the occasion of Bangla New Year, a beautiful Alpana was painted over 14 km from Mithamoin Zero Point to Ashtagram Zero Point on Haor all-weather road recently. Environmentalists have expressed fear that if these colors of Alpana are washed by rain and mixed with the water of Haor, it will harm the reproduction of fish in Haor.

Environmental experts said that any color naturally contains various chemical components. The amount of paint used in the Alpana on Haor road will harm the aquatic plants, fish and other aquatic animals there due to the chemicals contained in it.

Digital service provider Banglalink Digital Communication, Asiatic Experiential Marketing Limited and Berger Paints have jointly implemented the world's longest Alpana painting on Haor's all-weather road. Asaduzzaman Noor, a cultural personality and Member of Parliament, officially inaugurated the work of drawing Alpana by scratching Rangtuli at Zero Point of Mithamoin on April 12. It is known that 16,000 liters of paint has been used on the 14 km road to paint this Alpana. And a large amount of turpentine is mixed with the paint. This turpentine is more dangerous than kerosene.

Since then, environmentalists started protesting on social media, claiming that this Alpana, painted with a mixture of paint and turpentine, will have an adverse effect on crops and fish. They said that Haor is a very safe place for fish. In the first rains of Baisakh, various native species of fish including Tangra, Batasi, Punti, Mala, Boal, Shoal, Gajar, Pabda, Gulsha, Kai, Shing, Magur usually lay their eggs. If it rains, the paint used here will wash off and get mixed with the water in the Haor. This color will dissolve in the water and kill the crops, aquatic animals including fish, grasses and insects. Soil and water will be polluted and the food chain of the ecosystem will collapse.

Saiful Islam Jewel, general secretary of Kishoreganj district branch of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (Bapa), told the media, "We will dress up in Alpana colors on Baisakh, this is the traditional custom of Bengalis. But the authorities should have kept the environmental disaster in mind first. The worst thing is that the paint contains toxic chemicals. Biphenyl in particular contains endocrine disruptors, which in water will cause serious adverse reactions in fish. Whenever aquatic animals including fish are exposed to this high level of biphenyl, aquatic animals including fish will not lay eggs, they will not be able to fertilize the eggs.

About 14 percent of the country's fish demand is met from Haor. For this reason, Haor region of Kishoreganj is also called as one of the fisheries big source of Bangladesh.

According to the sources of District Fisheries Office, 28 thousand 21 tons of fish are produced from Haor in Kishoreganj in the fiscal year 2022-23. On the other hand, as the soil of Haor is very fertile, a lot of paddy is grown here. 25 percent of the country's rice demand is met from the Haor area. In the fiscal year 2022-23, 4 lakh 82 thousand 283 tons of Boro and Aman rice were produced.

Professor Ahmad Qamruzzaman Majumder, dean of the Faculty of Science of Stamford University and an environmental expert, said that the common elements that are in the color (such as benzene, diclovision, tetraclovision, toluene, cadmium, chromium); they contain many types of chemicals. The amount of paint used on the 14-km road in Haor will naturally affect the wetlands, aquatic plants, microscopic aquatic animals and even small fish.

Bangladesh Agricultural University Faculty of Fisheries Professor Dr. Haroon Or Rashid said, "Any type of chemical is a threat to aquatic life. Alpana has been painted over a large area; That must be somewhat harmful to fish and other animals. We have laws to protect the environment, like various mill factory effluents are harmful to rivers. And in that case the environmental law is also applied. Everyone needs to be more careful considering the environment before doing these things.

Environment Department Kishoreganj District Assistant Director Md. Abdullah Al Mateen told the media that the next steps will be taken by talking to the higher authorities.

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'Developing countries like Bangladesh are the first victims of the Middle East crisis'



Ashraful Islam, Planning Editor, Barta24.com, Dhaka
Pic: Barta24.com

Pic: Barta24.com

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Israel-Iran conflict has again become a great threat to the stability of the entire Middle East without the end of Israeli brutality in Palestine along the path of Israel-Hamas conflict. International relations expert Professor of International Relations department of Jahangirnagar University Dr. Shahab Enam Khan thinks so. He said, developing countries like Bangladesh will be the first victims of instability in the Middle East. Referring to this ongoing crisis as 'long-term', Bangladesh should not only rely on garments and remittances to deal with the possible situation, but should prepare international trade diplomacy. The Professor said these things in an exclusive interview given to Barta24.com. Planning Editor Ashraful Islam spoke.

Barta24.com: How to assess the recent tense situation in the Middle East? What kind of global challenges is this creating, especially for developing countries like ours?

Dr. Shahab Enam Khan: The situation in the Middle East is completely unpredictable and this unpredictability will continue for a long time. This unpredictability is not just like Israel or Iran jumping for a few days and then stopping again. This unpredictability will continue for a long time and will be at the center of Israel. The relationship between the Arab and Western world revolves around Israel. So here is the volatility centered on Israel. And the crux of it is that the Western world handles it. To be clear, the Arab world has no role here except to wage war of words. There is another point - in view of these events, there is now a big polarization between Russia-China-Turkey-Iran, centered on them. On the other hand, there has been a polarization in the Western world around Israel. This polarization will have a huge impact on the global economy. They would like the West to not be able to do this, which would put a huge strain on the global economy and monetary system. The first victims will be the developing countries.

Barta24.com: Does that mean it is becoming clear that the Western monopoly on the world order has collapsed?

Dr. Shahab Enam Khan: Absolutely. That is why polarization has been created in the world. The Western world has a monopoly on Israel but not Iran. But what will happen to Israel's relationship with the West, how they handle this relationship will depend on how the days ahead will be. What Israel's relationship with the Arabs will be does not matter here.

Barta24.com: Can't we see some kind of contrast between the speeches and statements of the Western countries, especially the United States, and their internal stand...at least when assessing the situation?

Dr. Shahab Enam Khan: That's right. I will add one more thing, that is - the upcoming election in the United States is also an important issue. Because of this, the Israel-West relationship will remain unstable for a long time. It is precisely because of this that the world economy and monetary system are under great stress which will have an impact on developing countries like Bangladesh.

Barta24.com: What kind of impact do you think?

Dr. Shahab Enam Khan: First of all, different types of sanctions, alternative currency pressure will come. Secondly, there will be a lot of strategic diplomatic pressure at this time. We have a kind of constitutional commitment to stand by Palestine, we have been showing it. We have taken the same stand in the case of Rohingyas. Stand up for endangered humanity.

Barta24.com: What kind of precautions should we take in terms of reality?

Dr. Shahab Enam Khan: We need a complete rethinking of international trade. It will not be possible to depend only on garments and remittances. India has not been hit as much by the current world situation or as much as we were by the Ukraine crisis because of the diversity of the Indian economy. I think we have to work hard on four areas. First: Energy security, more precisely we have to achieve self-sufficient energy, which is directly related to national interest. It needs to be mentioned here that many people confuse the national interest of our country with personal interest. In national interest we have to ensure our energy security from indigenous sources. We will not have it with inefficient energy institutions. The entire energy system needs to be overhauled.

Second, our trade diplomacy should not only be verbalized, but trade diplomacy should be strengthened in a practical sense. Among these will be the number one priority, 'Diversity'. That is, various sectors of the economy should be strengthened.

Thirdly, existing relations with Arab countries should be deepened. Also, it is important to create strong alliances with other developing countries that will be affected by this global tension and conflict. We may not be interested in going to BRICS and try to do something ourselves, where our own interests will be prioritized where many countries like Bangladesh are worried about the existing situation. If Bangladesh can bring many economies together to create a collective voice, it will also bring effective results.

Many countries will tell us a lot, but we have to think about how effective it will be in practice. Bangladesh has been talking about trade multi-lateralization for at least a decade, but there is no action on what to export, what to have. Indigenous people are not creating any industry here, nothing much has been done with the potential jute. That means not only words, but a practical effort needs to be taken in the practical sense.

Fourth is to strengthen and expand the internal market. At the moment, the domestic market of Bangladesh is largely dependent. A Cadbury chocolate in India manufactured by themselves to British standards and offered to consumers. There is no more trouble with foreign currency. People are eager to buy old cars in Bangladesh. With such a large market, why is the indigenous car industry not happening here? If it was a country with a small population like Bhutan or the Maldives, one would think so, but that is not the case. We are very relieved to ride in an old car, because the reality is that a car is a necessity. Where economic productivity has increased, scale has increased; Human mobility will naturally increase. But here the productivity and safety of people are being minimized by importing with 200-400% tax.

There is a lot of talk about transitioning into a developing country in 2026, but what will happen to the pharmaceutical industry here? Let the government create APIs with subsidies, let them create commodities - but apart from all this, we are filled with thoughts of impossible adventures which should not be done at all.

Barta24.com: Is excessive bureaucratic reliance a barrier to discouraging possibility and diversity?

Dr. Shahab Enam Khan: Of course, the economy can never be bureaucratic. Here the private sector needs to be brought into more policy making. Private sector believes in profit. So they always want variety. If bureaucrats could understand export diversification, why did the jute industry fail? I think creative industries should be brought in here by reducing bureaucracy dependence by going for extensive privatization. It will help the country's economy a lot in the current global crisis.

Barta24.com: The tension on the border of Myanmar is not stopping, do you see a sustainable solution?

Dr. Shahab Enam Khan: Sustainable solution will come only when Arakan is stabilized. Bangladesh needs to play a leading role in stabilizing Arakan. It can be done in many ways - single support or contribution to infrastructure development. Steps can be taken to strengthen their civil society, political society. It will be seen that the Americans from across the Atlantic are doing it right. Bangladesh is talking about democracy and then Bangladesh can work to restore democracy there. We need to engage with the actors that are active there, not just the Arakan Army because without them the repatriation of Rohingya will not be possible. The Tatmadaw (Myanmar's government military) will not solve this. Nor will the Rohingya crisis be resolved even if the Tatmadaw takes root in Rakhine. If the Tatmadaw cannot stay, the Arakan Army comes; it will not be a solution if they are not engaged. Although Bangladesh has made a lot of progress on the Rohingya issue in the past year, nothing has happened before.

Edited by: Mahmood Menon, Editor-at-Large, Barta24.com 

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