'One China policy' and sensitive Taiwan



Dr. Mahfuz Parvez, Associate Editor, Barta24.com
Dr. Mahfuz Parvez, Associate Editor, Barta24.com

Dr. Mahfuz Parvez, Associate Editor, Barta24.com

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Taiwan is an island 100 miles off the coast of Southeast China. The island first came under Chinese control in the 17th century during the Qing Dynasty. After losing the war with Japan in 1895, the island was handed over to China. After World War II, Taiwan was again occupied by China.

Taiwan is a very sensitive issue for China. The evidence of how sensitive it is can be found in an incident in India on February 29. The fact is that an Indian channel aired an interview with a Taiwanese minister. And that made China very angry. The interview was immediately contradicted by a statement from the local Chinese Embassy.

The name of the minister giving interviews to the Indian media is Joseph U. He is the Foreign Minister of Taiwan. China lashed out at Indian channels for airing his interview. A statement from the Chinese Embassy in Delhi officially opposed the interview. The Chinese side also alleged that the aired interview was supporting Taiwan’s independence and serving "false information". The Chinese embassy also claimed that Joseph used the Indian channel as a propaganda platform for Taiwan independence.

Taiwan responded to China's statement almost immediately. In response to the Chinese statement from the capital Taipei, India and Taiwan are independent democracies. So they have the right to publish any interview.

Significantly, India follows the 'One China Policy' and India has no official diplomatic ties with Taipei.

In a statement issued by the Chinese Embassy in India, it is said, "On February 29, an interview with the Taiwanese minister was published on an Indian TV channel. This gave him the opportunity to promote Taiwan's independence and spread false information. It violates the 'One China Policy'. It's completely unintended.''

Even after the visit of top US administration figure Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan last year, China expressed a tough stance. Chinese President Xi Jinping even called for the use of harsh force. However, US President Joe Biden did not back down either. He clarified that if Taiwan is attacked, the United States will stand by.

Amidst these disputes, the 'one China policy' and the sensitive issue of Taiwan have come to the fore again. According to China's 'One China Policy', there is only one 'China' in the world. Taiwan is part of China. The 'People's Republic of China' is the only legitimate government of China.

Interestingly, India has not yet officially opposed this policy. But India also has relations with Taiwan. Again, the United States does not support Beijing's position in accordance with US policy. In fact, Washington also maintains an informal relationship with Taiwan. In addition, the US continues to sell arms to the island of Taiwan so that Taiwan can defend itself. Therefore, the United States has placed itself in the most important position for Taiwan's security. Because of this, Americans have tension with China on the Taiwan issue.

Significant information is that no country has recognized Taiwan as an independent country, not even the United Nations. China becomes permanent member of Security Council, gets veto power. Taiwan could not become a member of the United Nations due to China's opposition though they advanced in international recognition until 1971. Although successful in combating the global Corona pandemic, Taiwan could not be an observer in the World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization. However, due to the role of the United States, the G-7 economic alliance favored Taiwan in this regard.

In 1979, the US established diplomatic relations with Mao's successors and withdrew support for the Kuomintang. Taiwan became alone in the international arena. Currently, only 14 countries, including the Vatican, recognized Taiwan as sovereign. Although the United States has followed the 'One China' policy since 1979, it has also advanced relations with Taiwan. Taiwan is one of the biggest markets for their defense equipment and weapons. This was not taken lightly by Beijing.

According to the Taiwan Act of former US President Ronald Reagan, the US considers Taiwan to be part of China. At the same time arms sales, cultural and commercial contacts are also going on. The US is running on 'strategic ambiguity' around Taiwan.

US sold 18 billion worth of arms to Taiwan under Donald Trump. US Embassy in Taiwan cost 250 million. The United States has never been so close to Taiwan since 1979. Biden is keen to deepen that relationship.

It also goes through common nomenclature to participate in events and institutions such as the Olympic Games and the World Trade Organization. But despite all the odds, Taiwan has not lost everything. It maintains its economic and cultural ties with neighboring countries, and hopes to maintain long-term ties with the United States in particular.

In 1979, the United States made a clear commitment to relations with China. The joint statement on the establishment of this diplomatic relations was as follows:

"The United States recognizes the government of the People's Republic of China as the sole legitimate government of China. In this context, the people of the United States will maintain informal relations with the people of Taiwan in cultural, commercial and other areas."

According to the "One China Policy", there is only one China in the world, Taiwan is an integral part of Chinese territory, and the People's Republic of China governs all of China.

The only legal government representing this is China's positional diplomatic recognition, whereby other countries will accept that there is only one Chinese government in China. China insists that Taiwan is an integral part of China, which will one day be reunited.

To know the background of this policy, it is necessary to look at the history of the period of 1949 Chinese Civil War. The Kuomintang was defeated in this civil war between the Chinese Communist Party (People's Republic of China - PRC) and the Nationalist Party Kuomintang (Republic of China - ROC) and fled to the island of Taiwan. The victorious Communists began ruling mainland China as the 'People's Republic of China' and established their system of government there. Although the Kuomintang claims itself as the 'People's Republic of China', the Communists are ruling as representatives of all of China.

This principle was expressly recognized by UN General Assembly Resolution 2758 of 1971. Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, 181 countries have established diplomatic relations with China based on the 'One China Policy'. The 'One China Policy' has served as the universal consensus of the international community and a fundamental ideal of international relations.

Many countries, including the United States, initially recognized Taiwan because they could not accept China's communist government. But diplomatic relations began to change starting in the 1970s, when China and the United States felt the need to develop their mutual relationship. As a result, the rest of the world, including the United States, established diplomatic relations with Beijing and loosened their ties with Taipei. However, many countries still maintain informal relations with Taiwan, including trade and culture.

Beijing wants to subjugate Taiwan at any cost to implement the 'One China' policy. This conflict, however, is not new. China considers Taiwan to be part of them. However, Taiwan believes in its independence. They have their own constitution. They don't want to be part of China. They want to protect their sovereignty. At least 61% of Taiwanese citizens feel comfortable identifying themselves as 'Taiwanese'. 3 percent people consider themselves 'Chinese'. In 1994 this rate was around 26 percent. In addition, 33 percent of residents there consider themselves both Chinese and Taiwanese. China has no objection to Taiwan's autonomy and provincial government. But, the central control wants in their own hands.

As a pressure tactic, China has conducted several missile tests off the coast of Taiwan since August last year and conducted military exercises. 91 military aircraft flew over Taiwan during the exercise.

Currently, China is one of the leading countries in the world in terms of military power. Taiwan is far behind China in terms of military power. However, in preparation for protecting sovereignty, they are increasing spending on defense. Taiwan spent a record 19 billion dollars in this sector this year though the cost of China is 12 times higher.

China has adopted many other strategies to keep Taiwan under pressure. China has been accused of hacking the data of 10 government agencies in Taiwan in 2020 and at least 600 email accounts between 2018 and 2020. China has even banned tourism in Taiwan. The number of tourists there has decreased by almost half. Due to the pressure of China, many countries are not able to make trade agreements with Taiwan. They do not have trade relations with many developed countries except Singapore and New Zealand.

Another area of China's major interest in the Taiwan issue is semiconductors or 'chips'. Computers, mobiles, vehicles - this chip is not used anywhere. As of 2022, about 60% of the world's chips are made in Taiwan alone. So if China can take over it, they can monopolize its business

But Taiwan also has its own plans. They want to be known not by the identity of China, but by their own identity in the world of semiconductor business. It also played a role in the US wanting to stand by Taiwan, a major chip supplier to Apple and other US companies. In addition, the United States wants to build the chip market in its own country with the help of Taiwan. In fact, Taiwan is not only a sensitive issue for China, but also a very important character in regional politics and global economy.

[Dr. Mahfuz Parvez, Professor, Department of Political Science, Chattogram University; Associate Editor, Barta24.com; Executive Director, Chattogram Center for Regional Studies, Bangladesh (CCRSBD).]

   

Bangladesh must return to Earth from the social media planet



Boddhisatya Tarafdar
Photo: Barta24.com

Photo: Barta24.com

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It is obvious that the campaign of India-out or boycott India won’t be successful in Bangladesh. The reason for this is the high preference for Indian goods among the masses mainly due to the quality and affordable price of the Indian products. But the people who initiated this campaign through social media did not give a solution to the entire population of the country that how to cook without the Indian spices, onions from India, make finished cloths without Indian cotton, they only advised the people to avoid Indian branded products.

The social media influencers also advised the people not to visit India for medical tourism, as that is also a kind helping India economically. The whole thing started after the Awami League again came to power and the opposition kept on repeating their rhetoric that India has again helped Hasina Govt. to get into power and it is destroying democracy in Bangladesh. The most astonishing fact is the widespread support the campaign (at least through social media) by the masses, indicates something very serious. One may also say that a big section of the people always had anti-India feelings.

The support from the masses reached such a level that even the opposition parties like BNP were a kind of bound to join it officially and even one of their leaders publicly burnt his Kashmiri Shawl in public. Since then, the matter has been heavily discussed in the mainstream media and the anti-India statements are openly and very profoundly given. Importantly, no one (or no expert) could explain both on social media and on mainstream media that how India is helping Awami League to win elections and where is the proof?? It looks like that starting from the rickshaw-wala to eminent lawyers to politicians in Bangladesh is aware that India is destroying their democracy and India is against Bangladesh but nobody states HOW. As if, a big section of public is always ready for bashing India whenever they get an opportunity.

On the other hand, the largest opposition party BNP has shied away from contesting elections, as per them, the ruling party had the plans to sabotage the elections and there was no point in fighting an election. The party even before the elections asked for formation of an interim government to conduct the elections. But BNP must remember that they also denied such concept, when it was in power. And, a political party speaking on democracy and not participating in elections indicates that either it does not believe in the power of public opinion or it has not yet understood the very principles of democracy.

Rather it has chosen an easy way of fuelling popular anti-India sentiments among the masses and to be in public memory. The BNP should also remember that during their rule, Bangladesh had become safe-haven for anti-India insurgent groups and a huge consignment of arms and ammunitions (ready to be used by anti-India insurgent groups) was captured and it was Shaikh Hasina who had destroyed all the insurgent camps and she also ensured that the soil of Bangladesh is not used for anti-India activities anymore. This means, the BNP also could have done it however, they nurtured or helped anti-India groups who worked under their nose. BNP has always been pro Pakistan and pro-China, so it is obvious that India will be least preferred, though the nation is surrounded by India.

The intellectuals of Bangladesh has been objecting about a few things for decades, regarding the proper distribution of Ganga water, settlement of the issue related to Tista river water, killing of its citizen at the border areas by BSF and now, issues related to India getting more benefits than Bangladesh for easy transit of Indian goods transported to Northeast India through Bangladesh. It is also true that there are and there will be some issues with countries sharing huge borders. River water sharing is a real challenge between the two nations. But as far as the killing of people by BSF is concerned, people of Bangladesh must know this, as per the BSF this is due to illegal immigrations. Northeast India and the state of West Bengal has been facing the big problem of illegal influx of people from Bangladesh (both Hindus and Muslims).

The mass migration into India since Bangladesh's independence has led to the creation of anti-foreigner movements, social tensions in Northeast India and creations of accords, acts and rules for identifying the illegal migrants. In Northeast Indian states the fast demographic change could easily be understood with a large number of Bengali speaking population. The Hindu migration started from 1947 (year of partition of India) as it was East Pakistan and then during the military regime in Bangladesh it is understandable that Hindus felt insecure and came to India but how come the Bengali speaking Muslim population increased in such large numbers in Northeast India, causing huge social issues where the ethnic people of these states started to become almost a minority.

The reasons for migration of Muslims are economic in nature. In recent years implementation of NRC or National Registrar for Citizenship (applicable for both Hindu and Muslims) only for the state of Assam is self-explanatory. Importantly, Government of India assured Hasina Government that this is an internal matter of India and nobody will be deported to Bangladesh as a result of NRC. Then in a major breakthrough both the governments resolved the long pending land boundary agreement and the enclaves were exchanged, here Bangladesh got more land and India had to take more people, as the people living in these enclaves were given a choice.

During Covid situation, India supplied a big lot of free vaccines to Bangladesh when its own people were not fully vaccinated. In recent past, as per the government details, Bilateral trade has crossed remarkable level with the duty-free access given by India to Bangladesh for all items except 25. Two border haats are already operational with a few more on the anvil along the India-Bangladesh border. Investment by Indian companies (Airtel, CEAT, Marico etc.) in Bangladesh continues to grow with the signing of bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection agreement. For the first time in their post-independence history, India and Bangladesh have established inter-grid connectivity for the flow of bulk power from India to Bangladesh. A 400 KV line constructed by Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd and Power Grid Company of Bangladesh in the Eastern sector – Baharampur in India to Bheramara in Bangladesh with the load capacity of 500 MW has been established.

India has always stood by Bangladesh in its hour of need with aid and economic assistance to help it cope with natural disasters and floods. To express India's sympathy at the loss of lives and destruction as a result of cyclone 'Sidr' which hit the Bangladesh coastal areas in November 2007, the then External Affairs Minister, Pranab Mukherjee visited Bangladesh in December 2007. He also visited the cyclone-hit areas and expressed India's sympathy to the affected people of Bangladesh in their hour of need. Prior to the visit, India had declared an elaborate aid package. Aid worth over Taka 250 crore (over US $ 37 million), including supply of relief materials consisting of medicines, tents, blankets, ready-to-eat meals, portable water-purifiers, 1,000 MT of skimmed milk powder and 40,000 MT of rice was handed over to Bangladesh.

The Government of India also worked with the Government of Bangladesh for rehabilitation of ten cyclone-affected villages in the southern part of Bangladesh. India has also completed and handed over 2,800 core shelters in the affected villages in Bagerhat district in southern Bangladesh. Similarly, 2800 solar lamps have also been handed over to the beneficiaries of these core shelter houses. Similarly, Taka 230 million in the form of relief goods comprising clothing, water purification equipment and dry food was also supplied to Bangladesh after 1991 cyclone, which killed more than 1,35,000 Bangladeshi nationals. The Government of India has also been providing grant assistance to Bangladesh for various infrastructure projects including, construction of Akhaura-Agartala rail link, dredging of inland waterways in Bangladesh and construction of India- Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline.

Several intellectuals in Bangladesh has also been reacting on the Citizenship Amendment Act or the CAA terming it to be anti-Muslim but they must understand that this act is about giving citizenship and not about taking back anyone’s citizenship. It states about giving citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Christians, who migrated to India from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh (who are minorities in these nations), as the subcontinent was partitioned on the basis of religion. Therefore, this has nothing to do with Indian Muslims also who are already citizens of India.

This is of course a matter of political debate in India but Bangladesh and Pakistan has nothing to comment on it, who now has almost negligible minority population. Rather Bangladesh should introspect that how the minority population in the country has declined, which was about 30% at the time of partition, above 15% in free Bangladesh and is now below 8%, whereas, the minority population in India has increased from time to time.

Many social media influencers and the experts in TV debates do not discuss about all these aspects and are misleading the masses. These debates hardly have any Indian representation to put the Indian perspective. There were elements in Bangladesh, albeit to a limited extent, that supported Pakistan and were very anti-India, which led to the partition of India in 1947, it seems that the ghost of the two-nation theory of the 40s is still playing its part.

Boddhisatya Tarafdar: History Researcher & Geopolitical Observer from Kolkata

(Opinions and writings expressed in the Point-Counterpoint section are the sole responsibility of the author and are not associated with the editorial policy of Barta24.com)

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Pahela Boishakh in the cycle of time



Sayem Khan, Writer & Columnist
photo: Barta24

photo: Barta24

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King Shashanka was the first independent and sovereign ruler of the Gaud Empire in the 7th century and a unified state in the Bengal region. King Shashanka was the sole ruler of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa up to Bhubaneswar. Many historians also call him Gaudradhipati. He started Bangabda based on the solar calendar to commemorate the coronation of King Shashanka 1400 years ago today. On the first day of Bangabda, the first independent king of Bengal, Shashank, used to celebrate this day with his subjects through various festivals and arrangements around this coronation. That is why the twelve months of Bengali New Year are named after the stars. Visakha Nakshatra to Baisakh, Jayistha to Jayishta, Shar to Ashadha, Sravani to Shravan, Bhadrapad to Bhadra, Ashvaini to Ashwin, Kartika to Kartika, Agrahayana to Agrahayana, Pausya to Pausya, Falguni to Falgun and Chitra Nakshatra to Chaitra, so on. The month is named.

In the evolution of time, that revolution became history. Mughal rule began in India in the 16th century. The "Tarikh-e-Elahi" Hijri calendar was introduced by calculating the Arabic months based on the lunar calendar in the Mughal era. The names of the twelve months of "Tarikh-i-Elahir" were Qarbadin, Ardi, Bisua, Kordad, Thir, Amardad, Shahriar, Aban, Azur, Baham and Iskandar Miz. These words for the month are actually derived from Arabic and Persian words. But the Mughals and the subjects had problems in collecting taxes. During the administration of the Mughals, the Lunar year or Hijri year was followed for the collection of land and agricultural taxes in India at that time. Farmers cultivated on the basis of the solar year and the Mughal administration collected land and agricultural taxes on the basis of the lunar year. By following the lunar calendar, taxes could not be collected from the farmers at the time of collection because the common people would have lacked money at the beginning of the Hijri year. But the farmers are not hindered from paying the fair tax in cases where they have a supply of money at the beginning of the Bengal year after bringing home the crops in Navanna. Fatehullah Siraji, a famous astronomer of the Mughal Empire, was invited to the court of Emperor Akbar to solve this problem. He was asked to solve this problem by the order of the emperor. Fatehullah Siraji then created the rules of the Bengali year by combining the solar year (Bangabda) and the Hijri year. This year was named Fasli year for harvest and tax collection. Later it was changed to Bangla year from Bangabda. On the first day of Bengali year i.e. Pahela Boisakh, people used to come to the royal court to pay taxes. Sweets were distributed to them by Emperor Akbar and cultural programs were organized for the entertainment of the subjects.

This day of Mughal emperor Akbar's collection of subjects was transformed into the first day of the Bengali calendar as "Pahela Boisakh" as a symbol of the tradition and nobility of Bengali civilization. This festival is awakened in Bengali culture absolutely. This festival of Bengali New Year is celebrated irrespective of caste and religion. Although we still notice some differences regarding the observance of Pahela Boisakh. Pahela Boishakh is celebrated in West Bengal on 15th April according to the Hindu calendar. And in Bangladesh, Pahela Boisakh is celebrated on 14th April according to the Gregorian calendar according to the guidelines of Bangla Academy.

Pahela Boisakh Origin: Associated with the ancient Hindu New Year festival that corresponds to the Vikram calendar of Sanatan Dharma. Many historians believe that King Vikramaditya invented the Bengali calendar around 57 BC. However, many historians disagree about the emergence of Vikramaditya's Bengali calendar.

Since ancient times, Bengali New Year celebrations have been observed among different castes and religions in different parts of India. In the Indian state of Assam, Assamese people celebrate "Rangali Bihu" on this day, the beginning of the New Year. Bihu is a festival of rejoicing of the Assamese after harvesting the harvest which is similar to the Bengali New Year. Similarly, the Sikhs of India also celebrate a festival called "Boishakhi" on the first day of Boisakh. Similarly in Thailand, Varsh Baran is celebrated as "Festival of Water" or Pani Utsav which is called Sangkran in Thai language. We see the picture of celebrating the beginning of the year with a water festival among some of the ancient tribal communities of our country.

The modern Pahela Boisakh started in 1917 by worshiping the British for victory in the First World War. In the 21st century, we see a commercial trend in New Year celebrations. This age-old festival has no personality as before. Under the pressure of corporate culture and capitalism, Pahela Boishakh is nothing more than a means of business gain. Irrespective of caste, religion, caste, let the new day and the New Year begin with a happy passion by celebrating Pahela Boishakh together. 

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Chhatra League is responsible for creating a 'level playing field' in Buet



Kabir Ahmed, Assistant Editor, Barta24.com
Photo: Barta24.com

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The Chhatra League of independence movement and democratic movement - this identity is not embodied now. The current identity is only Bangladesh Chhatra League, the fraternal organization of the ruling Awami League. As the name of the ruler is connected with the identity, there are many unfair acts including misuse of power, usurpation and trade. Now therefore the name is uttered with as much reverence as with fear. Such is the reality.

Every campus in the country is occupied by Chhatra League. They themselves are again divided among themselves. The only exception was Buet. In Engineering University, Chhatra League is viewed with hatred like a student camp. Chhatra League is banned there. The cause is not unknown. The atrocities of the recent past in the Chhatra League have led them to this place. In 2019, after the brutal killing of a student named Abrar Fahad in the campus, the organization came to be known as an organization of fear among the students. Although there has been a case and trial in the case of murder, the wound has not healed.

After the murder of Abrar Fahad, there was a student protest. It has spread across the country. The BUET authorities then decided to ban student politics on the campus in a very emotional decision. The decision of the Buet administration is more emotional than logical, it can be said to be over-emotional. Student politics is not banned in most campuses of the country, but it is banned in Buet. Through this, the ego of the University authorities has been revealed as well as arbitrariness. Where the Buet administration was supposed to express calmness on the matter, it also became over-emotional. Because of this, students have been disgusted with student politics for more than four years. The idea that the purpose of politics is public welfare has drifted away from them. 'Hate politics' has taken root among students. Young students, who are preparing to concentrate on building the country after completing education, come to see an environment where politics is viewed with hatred. However, in their working life, they will again be engaged in 'public welfare' managed through that politician. There will be recruitment, but it is very difficult to find applications.

In the last four years, the students of Buet related to politics were looking at them in such a way that they are forbidden objects! This year's movement or various programs started mainly at night when some people, including the central president of the Chhatra League, Saddam Hossain, entered the Buet. Although the Saddams said they took refuge there for a time because of the rain, there was no political agenda. However, the agitators are not willing to accept this statement of the Chhatra League president. No one from Chhatra League will be able to take shelter anywhere in the hostile nature of Buet campus - such an outpouring of hatred; It can be thought! However, even if the Chhatra League president had lied even though it was a political program, the students should have accepted it as their own victory and not raised the issue. But they didn't do that. Bursting with over-reaction or excessive hatred, they demanded the cancellation of the seat of Buet student Imtiaz Hossain Rabbi and his expulsion. Surprisingly, the Buet administration also canceled Imtiaz Rabbi's seat.

These over-reacted, juvenile decisions have backfired. Imtiaz Rabbi challenged the decision to ban student politics in the High Court and won. The High Court stayed the Buet-administration's decision to ban politics. Now, like other campuses in the country, student politics can be done in Buet. Although the protesting students said - they will fight the legal battle. But it is difficult for them to win the legal battle here, as two policies in one country are unlikely to be accepted by the country's highest courts.

Buet students are against formal student politics. But informally there are several organizations active there. All of them are responsive. From Jamaat-Shibir to the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir, it has been reported by various media that Buet is active in the campus.

In this movement, there is a big voice saying 'I don't want student politics in Buet'. But those who are behind it are they really out of politics. It is said that this movement is fueled by the student camp-Hizbut Tahrir; But so far it is not visible that any investigation is going on to find it out. However, Education Minister Mahibul Hasan Chowdhury Naufel said on March 30, 'Many people had complained some days ago that some militant groups were secretly conducting (Buet) activities there. We will investigate the matter in depth. But his call to all parties, the environment of education should not be destroyed in any way. And at the individual level, if someone has such a mentality that it seems to be like condoning the activities of fundamentalist or militant groups, it must be stopped and resisted. Law enforcement agencies who are there, who are investigating, will also deal with them. That applies not only to one organization but to all organizations.' When the minister said it is hopeful that it will be investigated, and if any militant group is active in Buet, it will be rooted out.

Over the past few days, we have seen that a large section of Buet students have taken a stand against student politics. They can take it. They have the right to decide to stay away from student politics. But they should not make an arbitrary claim that no one can do student politics in Buet. Some of the students will do politics if they want, if they don't they won't - that's how it should be. It can be assumed that they are in the middle of Chhatra League. Especially since the murder of Buet-student Abrar Fahad in 2019 a trauma has become deep rooted. Many people are unable to get out of there.

This trauma or pressure didn't come just like that. The incident of a student being tortured to death in his own University, the past achievements of the fraternal organization of the ruling party Awami League are turning many students away from politics. The tradition of Chhatra League, the previous role of Chhatra League in the country's independent and democratic struggle, remains unknown to many students of this generation. The gray present hides the past of tradition. It will take time to get out of it; let's But such an aversion to open politics is in no way dignified.

We want politics everywhere because if there is systematic politics in the true sense, the importance of people increases to the ruling party, to the opposition party, to all political parties, to the administration. Without overt politics, the importance of people gradually diminishes. It applies to all fields of education or mass politics. No one should be in favor of blocking the path of student politics here.

Awami League has been in power for a long time. No student organization can survive in Buet because of the Chhatra League, a fraternal organization of the ruling class—other student organizations should not back down or oppose the introduction of student politics for fear of this. They have to proceed with their own power. It is important to remember that if there is no student body, the 'assassins of darkness' will be stronger in Buet. So the field cannot be left empty. Chhatra League should also create a level playing field for other student organizations, especially left-wing organizations, to overcome their negative image in Buet. Not only to make their demands in the press conference, but also to call various student organizations for dialogue or discussion in order to build widespread public opinion in favor of systematic student politics. It never will or can be done, not because it has never been done before; At least take initiative no matter what. Whatever the outcome of this initiative, it can at least help restore their image.

After the order of the High Court, it can be assumed that student politics is returning to Buet. After this order of the High Court, if the Chhatra League does not find a way out of the gray present and thinks they are victorious, then there is nothing to gain. Rather, there is a dark cloud of fear. Let the clouds pass; Return light!

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Bandarban Bank Robbery: What Message Armed KNF Forces Sending?



Dr. Mahfuz Parvez, Associate Editor, Barta24.com, Dhaka
Photo: Barta24.com

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Two large-scale bank robberies in less than 24 hours are certainly a very sensitive and sensational event in terms of security. Although the incident was termed as a 'bank robbery', it was not just a petty crime by a thief-robber. Behind these attacks are specific ethnic grievances, the failure of elite-controlled politics in the Chattogram Hill Tracts and ideological incentives, on the basis of which the armed group Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF) is carrying out these terrorist activities to destabilize the Chattogram Hill Tracts. In these armed ways they have occasioned robbery, but their main aim is greater and far-reaching.

What message does the KNF want to send through such an attack when the government's peace talks with this anti-peace organization are ongoing and an agreement is expected to be signed on the 16th? What disloyalty to peace and agreement did they show through this massive operation? Moreover, although in the past they have attacked individuals or neighborhoods, this is the first time that the KNF has launched a concerted attack on the administration and government facilities. They have taken a large number of people hostages. They have looted government weapons and bank money. They controlled the activities of mosques and markets. It was also possible for the KNF to do something big if it wanted to because, preventive security measures were not satisfactory at all.

After the bank robbery in Ruma on Tuesday (April 02) night, the administration demanded special security, but it was nothing. In fact, the junior officers and employees of the upazila level are not supposed to understand the importance and depth of the incident. As a result, the next day (Wednesday, April 3) two more bank robberies and robberies took place in the afternoon. It has also exposed the weaknesses of security systems in border-adjacent and conflict-prone areas.

The KNF has carried out sabotage in the past as well. They have been meeting in stages to bring them into confidence through discussion and compromise. KNF has not deviated from its main goal even though it has slowed down for a while. This time the KNF demonstrated its strength by openly organizing large-scale attacks and challenging the administration and institutions. They dared to attack mosques, markets and public places. Even within a day of the attack, such a second attack, robbery, looting of weapons and hostage-taking took place. That they are ready and undeterred, this message is easily read through the analysis of KNF's actions.

One thing is very clear that these attacks prove that they have no faith in peace talks with the government. If there was, the KNF would not have taken an offensive role during the ongoing negotiations and during the holy month of Ramadan.

Their purpose is greater. To build a large-scale unity and achieve greater political objectives with the Kuki-Chin ethnic groups of India and Myanmar parts of India and Myanmar bordering India or Bangladesh.

In the ongoing ethnic armed conflict in Myanmar, the Kuki-Chin or their cohorts are active. These groups are being strengthened politically and militarily by fueling domestic and foreign forces. In Myanmar they are displacing the government military making India's Manipur and Nagaland conflict. Bandarban in the Chattogram Hill Tracts of Bangladesh is freely carrying out armed threats.

As a result, KNF is active not only in Bangladesh, but also internationally. Many countries are facing security threats due to them. And KNF is not a national organization, but a regional organization. As a result, these issues should be kept in mind when discussing with them and suppressing them.

In particular, without a clear understanding of their political intentions and military strength, the possibility of a larger-scale disaster in the future cannot be ruled out. Because, this time, during the Bandarban series of robberies, KNF has committed crimes without interruption. The administration lacked the preparedness and energy to counter them, prompting the need to strengthen the security system.

Policy makers also need to rethink mountain politics and security strategies. It should also be considered whether it is possible to bring the KNF into the fold like other organizations in the mountains in the traditional way. Within days of a former minister holding a royal farewell party with military-civilian people in Bandarban, the KNF launched a large-scale public attack. As a result, there is no reason to believe that hill power politics can handle this radical force.

Dr. Mahfuz Parvez, Professor, University of Chattogram and Executive Director, Chattogram Center for Regional Studies, Bangladesh (CCRSBD). 

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