Connect with us

South Asia

Community movement to fight against COVID-19

Published

on

Community movement is nothing but the accumulated response to any social issues through the community people. It is divided into four segments like individual, family, kinship and community. Each and every segment have distinct role towards alarming epidemiological issues COVID-19. The article’s tries to sketch the role and responsibilities of each and every segment of community movement to prevent COVID-19.   

Introduction

COVID-19 is nothing but the name of dangerous threat of death in the world. 207 973 people have already been died in 213 countries[1].  Bangladesh has been facing a devastating situation for COVID-19 from the last 08 March, 2020 to till date. Total 168 people have died for the virus among the 7667 identified cases within the last 8 weeks (8th week is not completed yet). The infection rate is increasing in every moment.

Figure 1 : Week wise confirmed cases

Government has warned that the virus will be spread in the whole country and community infection has been started[2]. The world famous scientists are constantly working to fight with the virus but they have been failing to stop the caravan of death in the world. Social scientists are also producing scientific write-ups to make policy in which respective country can take proper initiatives to tackle the harsh social breakdown. But no initiatives are working properly to fight against COVID-19. As a student of Anthropology, the researcher has been thinking to come up with a pragmatic measure to cope up with the natural pandemic of COVID-19. The researcher found that, Jayaprakash Muliyil is one of India’s foremost epidemiologists, said about the most acceptable way to fight against COVID-19. He talked that Community participation—not lockdowns—is key to fighting coronavirus in India[3].The researcher agrees with the epidemiologist. The researcher think that only behavior change can make difference to fight against COVID-19.  Now, it is a big question’s how can we change behavior of people? The answer is only community movement can help to change the behavior of mass people. The researcher think that community movement should ensure through the changing behavior of the following levels of any community of the world. 

Sensitization of Individual and Family

This is the most important and first step in changing behavior. The will of the individual is sufficient to change the behavior of the person. Yet it is important to follow the overall norms of society and the state. In all religions, we are told to abide by religious discipline to prevent the Corona virus. That is, “cleanliness is part of the faith.”Cleanliness is the main tool for the prevention of corona virus. Corona virus is infectious. The person spreads the virus through sneezing, cough, colds and breathing. When a healthy person comes in contact with an injured person within 3-5 feet, the risk of panic is overwhelming. If the victim is holding something like door handle or new, locks, water bottle / glass, lift button, stair handle, ATM booth button, water faucet, commodity flask / sitter, paper, pen, pencil, bag, bag, money, money, etc. And then after touching a healthy person, the person can be infected. If a healthy person uses all the substances used by the infected person, that person can be infected. This is why changing the behavior of the affected person is very important. The victim must be kept separate from other family members. The affected person must be prepared to change all his / her previous habits / behaviors and follow the advice of a specialist physician. This condition is called isolation / dissociation in medical science. Those who were or remain in contact with the affected person should be kept for 7 days. The distance from one person to another will always be 3 feet. No one will be able to touch anyone or use any of the materials used, and must follow the advice of a specialist physician. This condition is called quarantine in the language of medical science. It is important to assure some rights of the individual while in the quarantine. Quarantine’s obligations are as per the Siracusa policy-1984 of the United Nation are as follows:

  • All those who have the basic needs of the disease will have to make all the prevention.
  • There should be ample opportunity for communication with loved ones and caregivers.
  • Workplace, job, as well as financial loss should be taken into account, there should be compensation system.
  • Everyone should have equal opportunity in all aspects of social status.
  • Quarantine must be seen as necessary for society and the people.
  • It should be done to prevent the transmission of disease.

The elderly of the family have to take responsibility for changing individual and family behavior. They will monitor the daily behavior of all members of their family. It is important to remember that if an attack occurs, everyone in the family will be in danger. It is important to follow the World Health Organization’s specific policies in this regard.

  • Stay separate from other family members.
  • Stay in a separate room with light and air. If possible, stay at least 5 feet away from others. Use separate beds at night.
  • Use a separate bathroom, toilet. If it is not possible to reduce the number of places you have to use with others and arrange for adequate lighting in those places.
  • Breastfeeding mothers can breastfeed their baby. But before approaching the baby, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and use a mask.
  • Use a mask when staying in the same room with other members of the house, especially if you need to get within 5 meters / 5 feet or when you need to get out of the house when needed.
  • When exposed to colds, coughs, vomiting, etc., immediately remove the mask and use a new mask. After using the mask, cover the lid with dirt and rinse with soapy water.
  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and use hand sanitizer if necessary.
  • After soap-water use, dry your hands with tissue. If there is no tissue, just use a towel / towel to wipe the hands and replace them when wet.
  • Do not touch eyes, nose, face with unforgiving hands.
  • Adhere to cough etiquette. Wrap tissue paper / medical mask / cloth mask / arm during coughing
  • Cover your face and nose and clean your hands according to the above rules.
  • Do not share personal items with anyone else.

In both isolation and quarantine, it is best to remain engrossed in the prayer of the Great God and Creator. For this reason, government-declared holidays should force all the family members to maintain social distance. Social distance is the home away from all kinds of public meetings[4].

Kinship[5]sensitization: It is the culturally defined relationships between individuals who are commonly thought of as having family ties. All societies use kinship as a basis for forming social groups and for classifying people. All the kin groups’ leaders should take responsibility to aware their ken members about COVID-19 as early as possible. They should implement the all government’s rules, regulations, prescriptions immediately, in which all kin members are ready to obey the health instructions regarding COVID-19. 

Community Sensitization

It is the most important part to fight against COVID -19. The change in group behavior refers to the behavior of the victim and his / her family to other people in different neighborhoods. In this case, the head of each locality/ counselor of the local governments have to take responsibility for changing the behavior of all the people of his/her locality. People of all sectors of the community should come forward to extend their hands in this regard in which they can fulfil the minimum basic needs of community people. We can do it through the following comprehensive efforts.

Community Support Group (CSG) will be a key tool to fight against COVID-19 in the community. This group will be formed through one Diploma Doctor, two Nurses (one male and one female), one Counselor, and three aid workers (two males and one females). All staffs of community clinic and Community Family Care Center will be deployed to form this CSG. This CSG will be responsible for the following duties and responsibilities but not limited

  • To search the suspected persons who are suffering for COVID-19 symptoms
  • To refer the general patients to general health care center
  • To refer the suspected COVID -19 people for quarantine and isolation
  • To identify the COVID-19 patients
  • To refer the COVID-19 patients immediately
  • To follow-up the cure, quarantine and isolation completed people
  • To counsel the family members of suspected COVID-19 patients
  • To assist to get minimum all basic needs of the family from local government representatives
  • To identify the disadvantage people of the community
  • To assist to get minimum all basic needs of the disadvantage family from local government representatives
  • To distribute the Behavior Change Communication (BCC) materials among the community 

Community Volunteer Group (CVG): We need to form a Community Volunteer Group. It is essential to make the community people aware against COVID-19. This group will solely responsible to sensitize community people through Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials. From the above data it is indicating that males are most affected group. To control movement of males’ member of the community, this CVG will play a key role in the community gate. A representative of each and every family will allow to go out of the community in response to the basic needs of the family. Community leaders of each and every community both in the town and village should extends their hands to form the CSG and CVG as early as possible with the help of local government’s representatives. The local government’s representatives will need to take the responsibility to provide IEC materials as well as all kinds of logistic support to the members of CVG. The chief of local government representatives will act as a facilitator, monitor and supportive supervisor to accomplish the duties and responsibility of CVG and CSG.  Experiences of the cured patients will need to document as early as possible. The respective local government should take initiatives to explore the illness episode of these patients among the community people in which they can boost up themselves to fight against COVID-19[6].

Ensuring food-goods and medicine of community people: It is important to count total family as well as family members of each and every community. After counting all family in the community we need to identify the types of household of the community such as

  • Hand-to-mouth households: The household which runs through hand-to -mouth.
  • Needy households: The household which is needy but ability to run independently with some savings more than one months. The income source is totally stopped due to COVID-19.
  • Well off households: The household which is well of and ability to run independently with savings more than three months. The income source is totally stopped due to COVID-19.
  • Rich Households: The household which is rich and the house owner is the employee of Government or non-government organization.
  • Wealthy households: The household which is wealthy and ability to donation for the wellbeing of the community.

Now, we need to form a Community Aid Bank. The bank will be governed by the community people with the direct facilitation of local government representatives. The duties and responsibilities of the bank will

  • To make a data base of the community households based on voter lists.
  • To prepare a need assessment of the community
  • To introduce barter economic system (An example of a barter exchange may involve swapping a bag of nuts for some fruit or meat) among the community
  • To collect fund/aid/relief from the local government
  • To collect fund/aid/relief from the wealthy households of the community
  • To distribute the fund/aid/relief equally among the households based on needs
  • To supply essentials medicine based on needs through exchange of money

[1]WHO, “Coronavirus,” Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pandemic, April 30, 2020, https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019.

[2]Institute of Epidemiology Research (IEDCR) Disease Control and, “করোনা ইনফো,” accessed April 17, 2020, http://www.corona.gov.bd/.

[3]Arunabh Saikia, “Community Participation—Not Lockdowns—Is Key to Fighting Coronavirus in India,” Quartz India, March 24, 2020, https://qz.com/india/1824059/india-shouldnt-respond-to-coronavirus-with-only-lockdowns/.

[4]Md Nasir Uddin, “আচরণ পরিবর্তন: করোনা প্রতিরোধের একমাত্র উপায়,” March 28, 2020, https://www.deshsangbad.com/details.php?id=99624.

[5]“The Nature of Kinship: Overview,” accessed April 17, 2020, https://www2.palomar.edu/anthro/kinship/kinship_1.htm.

[6]Maksuda Khatun, “A Tool to Fight against COVID-19,” accessed April 17, 2020, https://en.deshsangbad.com/details.php?id=573.

Md. Nasir Uddin, Ph.D., is a professional who has been working in the field of research and analysis. Bangladesh. He has obtained his Ph.D., MSS and BSS degree in Anthropology from the University of Rajshahi respectively in 2015, 2005 and 2004. He has several journal publications in the field of qualitative social research. He can be reached at nasiranthru[at]gmail.com, https://rubd.academia.edu/MdNasirUddin and https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Md_Uddin_Phd.

South Asia

The Khalistan nightmare

Published

on

 After several postponements, the “Punjab Referendum Commission has announced to hold the “Punjab Independence Referendum on October 31, 2021.  The Commission has been appointed by the US-based Khalistani separatist group Sikhs for Justice. The Commission” consists of “non-aligned direct democracy experts” who are to organise and hold a referendum on whether Punjab should be independent. The referendum will start in London on October 31 and then take place in other countries, including the US, Canada, Australia, and the region of Punjab, the commission stated.

Commission’ chairman M Dane Waters, based at the University of Southern California clarified that the commission’s role is to “help the SFJ conduct a referendum that is as consistent with international norms as possible”.  He added, ‘Although a non-governmental and non-binding referendum, the result will be used as the basis for the Sikh community to request an official binding vote from the United Nations on establishing the Indian governed region of Punjab as an independent homeland for the indigenous people of whom Sikhs are the single largest group’. India is irked y the date of referendum,  October 31, as on this date anti-Sikh riots, following Indira Gandhi’s assassination by his body guards, erupted, leaving 3000 to 17000 Sikhs dead.

India fought tooth and nail to forestall the intended referendum. It sent a dossier to the British government blaming Pakistan and Paramjit Singh Pamma, “an ordinary criminal”, for sponsoring the event. The UK rejected the request.

SFJ has promised help and assistance for those seeking visas to come to London to attend the rally. The organisation has booked rooms in a hotel in South all for participants travelling from outside the UK. From Britain’s Green Party, which has a lone MP in Westminster, Caroline Lucas and George Galloway, a former MP and former broadcaster respectively, have registered their support for the rally. Lucas said, `Sikh people have a right to determine for themselves whether they want to establish an independent Punjabi state’.

Why India fears the non-binding referendum?

Indian High Commission has planned a counter demonstration at the same venue few hours before the ‘Referendum 2020’ rally. India is worried that the referendum would open wounds of 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

The riots resulted in genocide of thousands of Sikhs. Not only the Congress Party leaders like Sajan Kumar and Jagadish Tytler but also police colluded with the killers. India’s then foreign minister and later prime minister Manmohan Singh said , ‘If then home minister Narisamha Rao had paid to IK Gujarat’s suggestion to call in the army, the 1984 Sikh riots could have been avoided’.(1984 Sikh riots could have been avoided if Narrasimha Rao had listened to IK Gujaral: Manmohan Singh, India Today December 5, 2019).

Desire for autonomy

Guru Gobind Singh asked Sikhs to adopt Khalsa way of life. At the gathering of 1699, Guru Gobind Singh founded the Khalsa Vani – “Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh“. He named all his followers with the title Singh, meaning lion. He also founded the principles of Khalsa or the Five ‘K’s, kara, kirpan, kachha, kais, and kanga (a wrist bracelet, underwear, long hair and a comb). The five K’s have spiritual connotation.

Sikhs have a long history of fighting repression. In 1973, Akali Dal put forward the Anandpur Sahib Resolution to demand more autonomy to Punjab. It demanded that power be generally devolved from the Central to state governments. The Congress government considered the resolution a secessionist document and rejected it.

 Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, a prominent Sikh leader of Damdami Taksal, then joined the Akali Dal to launch the Dharam Yudh Morcha in 1982 to implement the Anandpur Sahib resolution. Bhindranwale had risen to prominence in the Sikh political circle with his policy of getting the Anandpur Resolution passed. Others demanded an autonomous state in India, based on the Anandpur Sahib Resolution.

India used iron fist tactics to gag the demand. The high-handed police treated the protesters (Dharam Yudh Morcha) as ordinary criminals. The Sikh youth retaliated by starting an insurgency. By 1983, the situation in Punjab was volatile.

Operation Blue Star

It was launched (1 June) “to remove him and the armed militants from the Golden Temple complex. On 6 June Bhindranwale died in the operation. The operation carried out in the temple caused outrage among the Sikhs and increased the support for Khalistan Movement.

Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi killed

Four months after the operation, on 31 October 1984, Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her two Sikh bodyguards, Satwant Singh and Beant Singh. Public outcry over Gandhi’s death led to the killings of Sikhs in the ensuing 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Convictions

Very few people were punished. In Delhi, 442 rioters were convicted. Forty-nine were sentenced to the life imprisonment, and another three to more than 10 years’ imprisonment. Six Delhi police officers were sanctioned for negligence during the riots. That month, the Karkardooma district court in Delhi convicted five people – Balwan Khokkar (former councillor), Mahender Yadav (former MLA), Kishan Khokkar, Girdhari Lal and Captain Bhagmal – for inciting a mob against Sikhs in Delhi Cantonment. The court acquitted Congress leader Sajjan Kumar. But, upom revision, he was sentenced to life imprisonment.  In the first ever case of capital punishment in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case death sentence was awarded to Yashpal Singh convicted for murdering two persons, 24-year-old Hardev Singh and 26-year-old Avtar Singh, in Mahipal Pur area of Delhi on 1 November 1984. Additional Sessions Judge Ajay Pandey pronounced the Judgement on 20 November 34 years after the crime was committed.

Investigations

Ten commissions or committees were formed to investigate the riots. But, most of the accused were acquitted or never formally charged. The commissions or committees include Marwah Commission, Misra Commission, Kapur Mittal Committee, Jain Banerjee Committee, Potti Rosha Committee, Jain Aggarwal Committee, Ahuja Committee, Dhillon Committee,

Narula Committee, and The Nanavati Commission, The most recent, headed by Justice G. T. Nanavati, submitted its 185-page report to Home Minister Shivraj Patil on 9 February 2005; the report was tabled in Parliament on 8 August of that year.

The Marwah Commission was appointed in November 1984. As Marwah was completing his inquiry in mid-1985, he was abruptly directed by the Home Ministry not to proceed further. The Marwah Commission records were appropriated by the government, and most (except for Marwah’s handwritten notes) were later given to the Misra Commission.

The Misra Commission was appointed in May 1985; Justice Rangnath Misra submitted his report in August 1986, and the report was made public in February 1987. In his report, he said that it was not part of his terms of reference to identify any individual and recommended the formation of three committees.

 While the commission noted that there had been “widespread lapses” on the part of the police, it concluded that “the allegations before the commission about the conduct of the police are more of indifference and negligence during the riots than of any wrongful overt act.”

The Kapur Mittal Committee was appointed in February 1987 at the recommendation of the Misra Commission to enquire into the role of the police; the Marwah Commission had almost completed a police inquiry in 1985 when the government asked that committee not to continue. Although the committee recommended the dismissal of 30 of the 72 officers, none have been punished.

The Potti Rosha Committee was appointed in March 1990 by the V. P. Singh government as a successor to the Jain Banerjee Committee. In August 1990, the committee issued recommendations for filing cases based on affidavits submitted by victims of the violence; there was one against Sajjan Kumar.

The Jain Aggarwal Committee was appointed in December 1990 as a successor to the Potti Rosha Committee. The committee recommended the registration of cases against H. K. L. Bhagat, Sajjan Kumar, Dharamdas Shastri and Jagdish Tytler.

The Ahuja Committee was the third committee recommended by the Misra Commission to determine the total number of deaths in Delhi. According to the committee, which submitted its report in August 1987, 2,733 Sikhs were killed in the city.

The Dhillon Committee, headed by Gurdial Singh Dhillon, was appointed in 1985 to recommend measures for the rehabilitation of victims. Although the committee recommended ordering the (nationalised) insurance companies to pay the claims, the government did not accept its recommendation and the claims were not paid.

The Narula Committee was appointed in December 1993 by the Madan Lal Khurana-led BJP government in Delhi. One recommendation of the committee was to convince the central government to impose sanctions.

Khurana took up the matter with the central government, which in the middle of 1994, the Central Government decided that the matter did not fall within its purview and sent the case to the lieutenant governor of Delhi. It took two years for the P. V. Narasimha Rao government to decide that it did not fall within its purview.

The Narasimha Rao Government further delayed the case. The committee submitted its report in January 1994, recommending the registration of cases against H. K. L. Bhagat and Sajjan Kumar. Despite the central-government delay, the CBI filed the charge sheet in December 1994.

The Nanavati Commission was established in 2000 after some dissatisfaction was expressed with previous reports. The commission reported that recorded accounts from victims and witnesses “indicate that local Congress leaders and workers had either incited or helped the mobs in attacking the Sikhs”. Its report also found evidence against Jagdish Tytler “to the effect that very probably he had a hand in organising attacks on Sikhs”.It also recommended that Sajjan Kumar’s involvement in the rioting required a closer look. The commission’s report also cleared Rajiv Gandhi and other high ranking Congress (I) party members of any involvement in organising riots against Sikhs.

Role of Jagdish Tytler

In March 2009, the CBI cleared Tytler amidst protests from Sikhs and the opposition parties.

Concluding remark

At present the Sikhs are distraught by farmers’ prolonged protest and pettifoggery among political leaders. Former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh’ rivals remind  him that Pakistani journalist Aroosa Alam, his sweetheart, is a Pakistani agent. Still, the referendum may gain momentum in future.

Continue Reading

South Asia

Did India invade Kashmir?

Published

on

Friday prayers in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir. © John Isaac

Pakistan has decided to observe 27th October as Black Day. This was the day when, according to India’s version, it invaded the disputed Jammu and Kashmir State.  India says that Pakistan had earlier entered a lashkar (irregular forces) into Kashmir on 22nd October. But, it is eerie that India never approached the International Court of Justice, as pointed out by Josef Korbel  (the author of the Danger in Kashmir), or the  United Nations (under Chapter VII of the UN Charter) to get Pakistan declared an aggressor. It approached the UN under Chapter VI of the UN charter (mediation). India’s invasion of Kashmir is based on myths .

Myths

India claims that ‘Maharaja Hari Singh signed the treaty of accession with the Indian Dominion on October 26, 1947’. As such, India was justified in marching invading Srinagar. . As for the ‘accession instrument’ argument, curious readers may refer to Alastair Lamb’s ‘Incomplete Partition, Kashmir – A disputed legacy 1846-1990’, and ‘Birth of a Tragedy’.

On the question of who the ‘aggressor’ was, the factual position is that India marched its troops into Kashmir without Maharajah’s permission – a blatant act of aggression (Alastair Lamb, ‘Incomplete Partition , Chapter VI: The Accession Crisis. Lamb concludes: ‘According to Wolpert, VP Menon returned to Delhi from Srinagar on the morning of October 26 with no signed Instrument of Accession. Only after the Indian troops had started landing at Srinagar airfield on the morning of October 27 did VP Menon and MC Mahajan set out from Delhi from Jammu. The Instrument of Accession, according to Wolpert, was only signed by Maharaja Sir Hari Singh [if signed at all] after Indian troops had assumed control of the Jammu and Kashmir State’s summer capital, Srinagar.

Lamb regards the so-called Instrument of Accession, ‘signed’ by the maharajah of Kashmir on October 26, 1947, as fraudulent. He argues that the maharajah was travelling by road to Jammu (a distance of over 350 km). How could he sign the instrument while being on the run for the safety of his life? There is no evidence of any contact between him and the Indian emissaries on October 26, 1947. Lamb points out Indian troops had already arrived at and secured Srinagar airfield during the middle of October 1947. On October 26, 1947, a further airlift of thousands of Indian troops to Kashmir took place.

The UN outlawed the ‘accession’; the accession resolution, passed by the occupied Kashmir’s ‘constituent assembly’ is void. Aware of India’s intention to get the ‘Instrument of Accession’ rubber-stamped by the puppet assembly, the Security Council passed two resolutions, Security Council’s Resolution No 9 of March 30, 1951, and confirmatory Resolution No 122 of March 24, 1957, to forestall the ‘foreseeable accession’. It is eerie to note that the ‘Instrument of Accession’ is not registered with the United Nations. India took the Kashmir issue to the UN in 1948 under article 35 of Chapter VI which outlines the means for a peaceful settlement of disputes on Jammu and Kashmir State, not under Chapter VII dubbing Pakistan as ‘aggressor’. India knew at heart that she herself was an aggressor.

In his books, based on Nehru’s declassified papers, speeches and correspondence, Avtar Singh Bhasin debunked Nehru’s perfidious failure to hold a plebiscite. In Chapter 5 titled Kashmir, India’s Constitution and Nehru’s Vacillation (pages 51-64) of his book India and Pakistan: Neighbours at Odd he makes a startling revelation. Nehru discarded Maharajah’s and Kashmir assembly’s ‘accession’; in a letter dated October 31, 1947, addressed to the disputed state’s prime minister, he shrugged off ‘accession’. He said in the letter, ‘after consideration of the problem, we are inclined to think that it [plebiscite] should be held under United Nations’ auspices’ (p. 28 ibid..). He reiterated in New Delhi on November 3, 1951, that ‘we have made it perfectly clear before the Security Council that the Kashmir Constituent Assembly does not [insofar] as we are concerned come in the way of a decision by the Security Council, or the United Nations’(SWJ: Volume 4: page 292, Bhasin p.228). Again, at a press conference on June 11, 1951, he was asked if the proposed the constituent assembly of Kashmir ‘decides in favourof acceding to Pakistan, what will be the position?’ he reiterated, ‘We have made it perfectly clear that the Constituent Assembly of Kashmir was not meant to decide finally any such question, and it is not in the way of any decision which may ultimately flow from the Security Council proceedings’. He re-emphasised his view once again at a press conference in New Delhi on November 3, 1951. He said ‘we have made it perfectly clear before the Security Council that the Kashmir Constituent Assembly does not [insofar as] we are concerned come in the way of a decision by the Security Council or the United Nations’. Bhasin points out, ‘at a press conference on July 24, 1952, when asked what the necessity of plebiscite was now that he had got [accession by] the Constituent Assembly, he replied “Maybe theoretically you may be right. But we have given them assurance and we stand by it. Bhasin points out Nehru made a ‘tactical error’, one ‘of committing himself to the UN’.Accession documents are un-registered with the UN.

Concluding remarks

India’s prime minister Modi cartographically annexed the disputed state, spurning the UN resolutions and the Simla Accord. Let India know that a state that flouts international treaties is a rogue state: pacta sunt servanda, treaties are to be observed and are binding on parties. Mushtaqur Rehman elaborated why Kashmir is the most dangerous place in the world (Divided Kashmir: Old Problems, New Opportunities for India, Pakistan and the Kashmiri People, 1996, pp. 162-163).No talks, no mediation. That is an open invitation to war, perhaps a nuclear Armageddon.

Continue Reading

South Asia

Bangladesh violence exposes veneer of Indo-Bangladesh bonhomie

Published

on

image source: Focus Bangla /dhakatribune.com

Protests in Chittagong, Comilla and elsewhere left 10 dead, besides loss of property. The protests were sparked over an allegation of desecration of the Holy Quran in a temple. The Holy  Quran was found resting on the thigh of a Hanuman statue in a Durga Puja pandal near a pond in Comilla called Nanua Dighi. A raft of issues from water disputes to religious tension mask mistrust in the relationship. Let us look at some of them. Broken promises indicate that India looks to its own interest.

CAA/NRC

India’s Citizenship Act and the national Register of Citizenship  does not confer citizenship on the Bengali immigrants at par with non-muslim refugees. In one of his speeches, India’s minister Amit Shah even called Bangladesh immigrants “termites”. The BJP leaders quote from Sheikh Mujibur Rehman’s book to say that Mujib, as an East Pakistani national, wanted to annex Assam into East Pakistan (Bangladesh). Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Telangana T. Raja Singh Lodh demanded `Illegal Bangladeshi settlers and Rohingya should be shot if they do not return to their countries like gentlemen’. He made the statement in the context of the Supreme Court-monitored exercise to identify genuine Indian nationals living in Assam. A legislator from Goshamahal in Hyderabad, in similar vein, roared in a video message on a social networking site: “If these people, illegal Bangladeshis and Rohingya, don’t go back with ‘sharafat’ (like gentlemen) then there is a need to talk to them in their own language. They should be shot. Only then India will be safe. Such illegal settlers were “shot and driven out” from some other countries.

YS Chowdary of the Telugu Desam Party Said illegal immigrants from Bangladesh had settled in Assam as part of a “conspiracy to destroy India”. It is the responsibility of the government to send them back to Bangladesh, he added.

 “Shoot on sight”

Indian Border Security force has orders to “shoot on sight” if any Bangladeshi citizen living near the  4,096 kilometer (2,545 mile)alluvial/shifting border,   happens to cross over. Regarding border killings, Brad Adams, Executive Director of the Asia Department of Human Right Watch state that, “Routinely shooting poor, unarmed villagers is not how the world’s largest democracy should behave” (Adams, Brad  “India’s shoot-to-kill policy on the Bangladesh border” The Guardian. London). According to a report published by Human rights organisations, around 1,000 Bangladeshi civilians have been killed by Indian Border Security Force (BSF) in a period of 10 years (from 2001 to 2010). The report also states that Indian paramilitary forces routinely threaten, abuse arbitrarily detain and torture local Bangladeshi civilians living along the border and Bangladeshi border guards usually don’t help the Bangladeshi civilians. Odhikar, a Bangladesh-based human right organization, allege that acts of rape and looting have also been perpetrated by BSF at the border areas.

Bangladesh Border Guards hate the BSF so much that a soldier, accompanying his commander for a flag meeting with DG was shot dead.

Onion export banned

India suddenly stopped exporting onions to Bangladesh. While addressing India-Bangladesh Business Forum, in Delhi, Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina expressed grief on the onion crisis in her country. She taunted that she asked her cook not to use onions in her food. Hasina said, ‘We are facing crisis on the onion issue. I don’t know why you have banned onion export. Maine cook ko bol diya ab se khana mein pyaaz bandh kardo.” Indian Government had banned export of Onions on September 29 (Times of India ).

India is the biggest supplier of onions to Bangladesh, which buys a yearly average of more than 350,000 tons. India abruptly slapped a ban on onion exports to Bangladesh. Following the export ban, onion prices in Bangladesh jumped by more than 50 per cent, prompting the government to procure supplies from elsewhere.

Vaccine export contract cancelled

India backed out of its agreement (December) with Bangladesh to supply 30 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, developed by Oxford University in cooperation with the Pune-based Serum Institute of India. The Institute announced that India had barred Serum from selling doses on the private market until everyone in India had received the vaccine.

Later, Salman F. Rahman, a Cabinet minister and co-founder of the Beximco Group, a Bangladeshi conglomerate, took over the responsibility to distribute three million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Bangladesh.

Concluding remarks

The ruling Awami League itself is mired in charges of corruption and nepotism. Its army chief also is being besmeared. It cracked down hard on its opponents  with the army chief’s help. The persecution of Muslims in India and laws like the citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizenship turned Bangladesh into a simmering cauldron of resentment.Demand for expelling all Bangladeshis from various Indian states is gaining momentum. The onslaught against Bangladeshi Muslims in India is part of Hindutva (perverted Hindu nationalism) frenzy to harass Muslim community.

Bangladesh is tight-rope balancing China and India. Many cabinet ministers think that Bangladesh’s future lies with stronger rapport with China. During her visit to China, Bangladesh’s Prime Minister discussed a broad spectrum of issues and signed several memorandum of understanding. They cover the power sector, riverine matters including Brahmaputra River, commercial loans and formation of various working groups. Bangladesh has also accepted the Belt and Road Initiative.

Bangladesh has contracted Chinese in a proposed $300 million project downstream of Teesta River.  Turkey also is improving relations with BD.

Continue Reading

Publications

Latest

people art people art
Reports3 hours ago

Global Wealth Has Grown, But at the Expense of Future Prosperity

Global wealth has grown overall—but at the expense of future prosperity and by exacerbating inequalities, according to the World Bank’s...

Africa Today8 hours ago

Climate Change Could Further Impact Africa’s Recovery

The World Bank’s new Groundswell Africa reports, released today ahead of the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties...

African Renaissance12 hours ago

The Cemetery Of The Mind

This is me. The voices are inside my head. Calling me. Speaking in ancient tongues. They talk and talk and...

USA China Trade War USA China Trade War
Economy15 hours ago

The US-China Trade War

Trade deficit with China became a major issue in 2016 American election. Touching the sensibilities of American working class, Donald...

Defense17 hours ago

ASEAN has the ability to counteract AUKUS’ Cold War strategies

Authors: Raihan Ronodipuro & Hafizha Dwi Ulfa* The United States’ new tripartite defense alliance with the United Kingdom and Australia,...

Intelligence19 hours ago

Chaos Maker: Bernard-Henry Levy video in Panjshir and the chaos making in the Middle East

First: The Israeli-French intelligence maneuver deliberately displaying the video of the French-Israeli Jewish chaos maker “Bernard-Henry Levy” globally to form...

Southeast Asia21 hours ago

The 38th ASEAN Summit Meeting: Agenda and Outcomes

The 38th ASEAN summit meeting is held from October 26-28th and the list of areas to concentrate for the ASEAN would be far too many which includes...

Trending