The Awami League government is yet to respond to two recent ‘reports’, either officially or unofficially, published by the unpopular Sri Lanka Guardian. Surprisingly, the reports accuse the government for aligning with neighbouring India as its political ‘guru’, it also claims that 100 ‘crusaders’ of the Awami League were trained by the Indian intelligence agency to ‘clear away’ over 80 politicians, media personnel and members of the civil society who are opposing the regime’s activities through secret killings and abduction.
The ‘reports’ reached a good number of people being circulated over social media like Facebook and Twitter. The report published on April 23 headlined ‘The Bengal Tigers in the R&AW Cage’ names Ilias along with some others who were in the ‘83-men list’ of the Sheikh Hasina government. The ‘list’ reportedly includes political leaders Amanullah Aman, Mirza Abbas, Sadeque Hossain Khoka, Goyeshwar Chandra Roy, Habibun Nabi Sohel, Abdullah Al Noman, Barrister Abdur Razzaque, Shafiul Alam Pradhan, ASM Abdur Rob, Mufti Fazlul Haque Amini and Moulana Fazlul Karim. BNP also claims that Ilias, who went missing in the early hours of April 18, was abducted by the government agencies.
The report says Awami League and Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) have decided ‘clearing’ the listed names latest by December 2013, which they consider to be ‘vital’ for the ruling party in Bangladesh in returning into power. It claims the team – codenamed ‘Crusader-100’ – went to India during end September 2009 and stayed there until mid June 2010, where brilliant commando trainers of Indian Army gave extensive training to these people under the disguise of ‘training few young commandos of Bangladesh Army’. The entire project was originally conceived by RAW and was coordinated directly by the Bangladeshi prime minister and her defense advisor Maj Gen (retd) Tarique Ahmed Siddiqui.
If it were true, it is a matter to be worried of; even though there has been merely any chance to verify the report, which has no source quoted. However, if it is proved by the government to be false or fabricated and was prepared or pushed with the help of opposition BNP and its allies to demean the regime, it should be done within the shortest possible time. Otherwise, people as well as countries and stakeholders concerned may get confused when may also be harmed.
Another ‘report’ published by the Sri Lankan website the next day titled ‘Rouge Regime Smashing Democracy in Bangladesh’ says, “The long-cherished dream of India turned true with the victory of Bangladesh Awami League. It is authentically proved by various sources that India aspires to see the current government in Dhaka to continue in power at least up to 2021, when a submissive Bangladesh can be totally ensured.”
The apparently motivated ‘reports’ suggest that Bangladesh is “heading towards another playground of Marxists and Stalinists, who grabbed power through an engineered election in 2008 with the help of military junta. Many of the political experts on South Asian affairs fear, Bangladesh could become the second Communist ruled nation after Nepal within the span of next two years. The current regime of Bangladesh Awami League led leftist coalitions have already exhibited tendencies of totally ignoring the West, including the United States, thus aligning with neighbouring India as its political guru.”
Here comes an odd: the reporter might not know that even though it’s a coalition government, no leaders other than the top brass from the single major Awami League know beforehand about any serious issue—whether it’s regarding a local, regional or global issue. And, in terms of relation with India, it’s true that the present government feels easier to communicate with it (no matter which party rules there) and vice-versa, other than maintaining good relations with the Islamic countries in the middle-east. No Indian government, however, felt easy when it was the now-opposition BNP in power for two terms since 1991.
The reporter might have considered the visit of Hasina to Delhi in January 2010, when she agreed upon a number of issues (50-point joint communiqué was signed), to boost bilateral relation with the next-door neighbour including opening dialogues over some controversial and unresolved issues. Soon after, India extended a $1 billion credit line to Bangladesh amid conditions that much of the procurement of machinery must be from India. Seeing the developments throughout the year and Awami League’s over-zealous publicity over the “success”, UK-based Economist ran a report in mid-2011 claiming that the present government came to power with “sacks of money and advice from India”. The government though protested the report, labelling it as biased and motivated, but no clarification was provided by the magazine.
The Sri Lankan report criticizes the Awami League governments of 1972 led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and that of by his elder daughter Hasina, saying that Awami League “continued committing series of political and diplomatic blunders while Mujib opted for establishing one-party rule thus banning freedom of expression, rights of citizen as well as encouraging secret killings of the political opponents. He also attempted for making stronger ties with anti-West nations such as Cuba or Palestine for example, with the ambition of becoming another Fidel Castro in South Asia.”
“It was known that Sheikh Mujib never accepted any criticism against him,” states the report. “He was widely accused for the responsible of 40000 killings by his Rakkhi Bahini (the para-militia force created for cleansing political opponents of the ruling class). On January 25, 1975 Mujib declared a state of emergency and his political supporters approved a constitutional amendment banning all opposition political parties.”
Even though the formation of BAKSAL has long been criticised at home and abroad, the reporter here clearly dodged the context of taking the decision, and it evidently is a sign of counter-attack on the ruling government now—the Awami League—from a vested quarter. Surprisingly enough, Hasina too can’t stand criticism, especially by the media and the civil society members in public.
Political analysts describe the reports as a dispassionate approach by anti-Indian forces including the BNP, and radical Jamaat-e-Islami, top leaders of which are undergoing trial at the war crimes tribunal for their siding with the Pakistani Army during the Liberation War of 1971. Some say it could be the Pakistani intelligence agency which was recently criticised, especially by Hasina, for allegedly funding the BNP ahead of 1991 polls. There could be other reasons too, but the concerns arise with the reliability of the reports, mainly over the crusader’s training and the list of people opposing or criticizing the government’s misdeeds.
What ever might be the reason behind such ‘reports’, the readers should keep these words in mind while reading: “The information provided on this site is offered as-is without warranty. The reader of the information provided by this assumes all risks from using the information provided herein. This site owners, operators, editors, reporters, writers, authors, and partners disclaim any and all liability from the information provided herein.”
That is the disclaimer on the much-talked-about Sri Lanka Guardian website. Yet should you credit the site as a news site! It’s up to you. This website was rated below a Bangla blog (Amar Blog) few days ago. Only after publishing the “fabricated” reports, it got some traffic. It is ranked 1600 in Bangladesh. And in Sri Lanka? It’s 6500.