Thursday, July 10, 2008

Quad Scripsi, Scripsi (3): The Badhan Episode

31st December 1999.

A young woman named Badhan went out to the university area to celebrate the coming-in of the new millennium.

She was stripped nearly naked by the student politicians of the ruling party, the Awami League. She somehow got away.

On January 25th, the subject came up in parliament – by means of an Awami League MP, a criminal called Joynal Hazari. The opposition was, of course, absent – that is what the opposition does in Bangladesh: it stays away from parliament.

"How could a Muslim woman go for an outing in the dead of night during the month of Ramadan?" he queried rhetorically. "Was it wrong that the drunk young men jumped on the lady who was dancing on the street with half her body exposed? It was natural that she was treated this way. (Star Magazine, February 11 2000, p. 22 "(That Muslim boys are not supposed to drink seemed to have slipped the MPs mind.)

Now, the above might seem to have issued from a rabid, Islamist political party. In fact, the Awami League is considered (and described as such by the western media) to be "the secular party".

"The Daily Star reported that Hazari finished his statement uninterrupted. Even the Chair, Professor Ali Ashraf, did not use his power to stop him under rule 270 of the Jatiya Sangsad's [Assembly] Rules of Procedure. Under the rule, a member is not allowed to use any offensive, abusive or vulgar expressions, or defamatory word."

What the Daily Star Magazine conspicuously failed to mention (the title of the article is "Badhans of a Male Chauvinist State") was the fact that there were thirty female MPs present, and not one of them uttered a word of protest, then or later.

Among them was – you guessed it – Mrs. Chitra Bhattacharya.

Party loyalty in Bangladesh comes before everything else – decency, humanity, morality....

I must credit my parents with having instilled in me such notions as that it is wrong to hang out with rapists, murderers and other criminals. But here was a woman I had regarded as a lady since infancy keeping the very company I was meant to abhor.

Joynal Hazari and his thugs later beat up a journalist within an inch of his life; another MP, Shamim Osman, had the prostitutes at Tanbazaar brothel evicted (after one of them was murdered to create the necessary crisis)to seize the property.

And then there was the rape and sexual assault of over 300 girls at Jahangir Nagar university by the student politicians of the Awami League – and again Mrs. Bhattacharya's deafening silence and continued membership of a barbaric party.

"Hasina, in fact, has been the biggest disappointment for even AL supporters. Throughout her term she showed incredible tolerance to her party-men, who virtually unleashed a reign of terror all over the country. She did not ask any of her cabinet members to resign even after knowing about their criminal activities. The student wing of AL the Chhatra League carried on the legacy of their predecessors, the Chhatra Dal, with equal zeal, occupying the university halls, controlling tenders and spreading crime across the country. One group became famous for their serial rape spree in Jahangirnagar University where a Chhatra League (interestingly former Chhatra Dal) leader celebrated his 100th rape on campus. Again Hasina remained silent."

Mrs. Bhattacharya should have resigned after this, for sure.

For details on the political parties abuse of students (and the rapes they committed), visit:

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