An Open Letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

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Dear Prime Minister,

On Friday the 14th of January 2011, an activist of your party from Sher-e-Banglanagar in Dhaka was shot dead. The media reports suggest that the cause of the murder could be rivalry among your party men of that particular area. We do not know if the police could have prevented that tragedy. However, what we know is that our police forces have been wrongly used and been treated as your party musclemen since you came to power. They have shown complete loyalty to you and your party affiliates.

Without any official investigation, you suspended the officer-in-charge, Reaz Hossain, and a sub-inspector, Kamaruzzaman, of Sher-e-Banglanagar Police Station. (For more details, please see:

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=170111)

I highly appreciate your quick action if that was intended to stop unlawful killings in the country.

However, the crime records of the country since you came to power do not persuade us to believe that your intention was crime prevention. Your party hooligans and government forces have killed dozens of opposition political leaders and activists (many of them in broad daylight). But no police officers have ever been suspended or terminated for those killings. In the border region, the Indian BSF has killed hundreds of Bangladeshis, including my younger sister Felani, since you came to power. You have remained totally silent!

Dear Prime Minister, kidnapping and the culture of ‘disappearance’ was never the practice in the political history of our nation. You started that on 25th of June 2010. Your forces arrested Dhaka City Corporation ward councilor and BNP central leader Chowdhury Alam at around 9:30 pm while he was leaving the party’s central office at Naya Paltan.

Dear Prime Minister, where is Chowdhury Alam? I know you have no satisfactory answer to this question. However, his family members now understand that he is no longer alive! We hear the stories of many other ‘disappeared’ opposition leaders and activists. We do not know whether or not they are still alive.

Dear Prime Minister, soon after you came to power, you established a good diplomatic tie with Tunisia, for which no previous governments felt any need. We comprehended very well the reason for that sudden diplomatic move. Tunisia has little to give to our country. The only thing Tunisia’s Ben Ali could give you was a model to remain in power undemocratically for a very long time.

Dear Prime Minister, such grip on power always brings tragic end for the power-wielders, especially the one at the top of the hierarchy.

Dear Prime Minister, we know that your main strength lies beyond Bangladesh. Big powers are now with you and using you. They are the beneficiaries for the time being. But I warn you, once people rise up against your totalitarian practices. Once your police forces and party musclemen are overwhelmed by the courage of the people, your foreign patrons will desert you. They will discard you and will try to find new ‘friends’. They discarded your father and his Iraqi friend Saddam Hussein. When your father was brutally killed, where were they?

Dear Prime Minister, France and America used to be Ben Ali’s patrons and main supporters. When people forced him out from power and he tried to take shelter in France, according to the BBC’s report, “President Nicolas Sarkozy had rejected a request for the aircraft to land in France.” And US President Barack Obama applauded “the courage and dignity of the Tunisian people” and did not stand by Ben Ali.

Madame Prime Minister, please do not torture your citizens and never think that big powers will remain with you for ever. Big powers will discard you after use, and only the people of Bangladesh will be there rain or shine. One last word: please do not pin too much hope on people around you. They appeared extremely coward when your father was killed.

Yours,

A Citizen of Bangladesh and Your Well-wisher