The Killings at Bangladesh’s Bihari Camp – Murder Mystery or Murder with Impunity?
By Nadine Shaanta Murshid
There are multiple stories. We are either to believe one of them or cast aside the whole incident as an accident. The stories are important to note, however, given that each story has a different set of perpetrators and actors, as well as a different motive behind the killings. What remains unchanged in all these stories is this: 10 Urdu-speaking non-Bengali Bangladeshi citizens who live in ‘Kalshi’ were killed, 8 of the deceased are from the same family.
A Place to Call Home
A young girl writes a poem where she asks a simple question — one which no one can answer. She asks, “Who am I?” Her forefathers were born in India, they immigrated to Pakistan, she was born in Bangladesh. India has given up on them a long time back, Bangladesh will not accept them as the children of the land and Pakistan will not take them back. She says that she has many names ‘Bihari’, ‘Maura’, ‘Muhajir’, ‘Non-Bangalee’, ‘Marwari’, ‘Urdu-speaker’, ‘Refugee’, and ‘Stranded Pakistani’. But she only wants one: human. This is the state of being of the 1.6 lakh camp-based Urdu-speaking community in Bangladesh.
The politics involving various minority groups have become a veritable concern. Well-meaning views, dialogues, and inceptions of new laws are very important. Yet, unless and until the complacent ‘majority’ makes a conscious effort, even causes an outcry to promote and protect their ‘minority’ siblings’ rights, real change is very hard to imagine. For their society to be ‘vaguely equal’, the ‘majority’ has to come out defending the rights of ‘minority’ protesting, condemning, and help in prosecuting the perpetrators of all forms of discrimination. The country’s proposed Anti-Discrimination law, hopefully would provide impetus for such collective actions.
[This] “death squad” was the BNP-Jamaat government’s gift to the nation, a gift that has been nurtured and defended by two successive governments [Caretaker Government 07-08, Awami League 09-14], each claiming to be vastly different to the previous one.
What immense power. Shoot, kill, no questions asked, that’s RAB’s modus operandi. A death squad. Period. Albeit, a highly vengeful one. As, also, are their apologists... Lonkay gele shobai Rabon hoy. The seat of power, makes everyone a demon.
From crossfire, to encounter, to cold-blooded murder. By members of the law-enforcement agencies. Accountable to none. Apparently carrying out government instructions to quell political opposition. Apparently hiring out their services, like mercenaries, to interested quarters who want their rivals finished off. Licence to abduct, to `disappear’ people, who are citizens of the state, are tax-payers.