”Growing geopolitical interests push India to seek better relations nearer home” – An Act of Yellow Journalism

The honesty and integrity of a major British media has come under serious scrutiny in the recent past.  Australian Media Tycoon Rupert Murdoch has been compelled to close down his “News of the World” when charged for its unholy methods of tarnishing the image of leading personalities and smear nation’s image. Rupert Murdoch had to appear before a parliamentary probe committee and regret for the scam. Almost at the same time Another British media “The Economist” has published a highly controversial report questioning India-Bangladesh relation, the emergence of Bangladesh, the genocide by Pakistan Occupation army in 1971and the trail process of Criminals against humanity in Bangladesh for the alleged crimes of identified War Criminals of 1971.

The report without any credible evidence has brought out an allegation that Indian Government with money and advice paved the way for Awami League to win election of 2008. Congress led democratic government is in Indian state power. On the basis of historic link between Congrees and Awami League there has to good wish or even blessings of Congress as both the parties champion democracy. But how can a leading international media mention that Indian Government provided monetary support to Awami League? Do they have any credible evidence? Neutral observers and world media after election unanimously acclaimed the free, fair and transparent election of 2008. Even no party raised any major objection. But how after two and half years of the present government term “The Ecomonist” could bring up such a serious allegation? This report has definitely undermined and in fact embarrassed India and Bangladesh. The countries have every right to question validity and authenticity of the report. This is more pertinent at this moment since two friendly SAARC neighbor after years of mistrust and disbelief have started positive actions to resolved several outstanding issues – water sharing, enclave exchange, joint actions against terrorists, boundary disputes resolution ,regional connectivity , trade rationalization . Some issues were fundamentally agreed during Bangladesh PMs Visit to India and most of the others are at advanced stage for meeting of minds of the highest level at the upcoming summit of two PMs in Dhaka in September 2011.

In Bangladesh there are a group of people who in everything find some Indian smell. This group though do not hesitate to use Indian Garments, go for shopping to India or get medical treatment to India when required. They do not object to use dirty polluting Indian coal but they raise hue and cry when Government takes imitative to explore own sweet coal or explore for petroleum in the offshore. This group of people will be encouraged by such yellow journalism of “The Economist’’.

Economist report questioned Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi’s visit to Dhaka in a satirical manner. Sonia was in Dhaka on invitation of PM Hasina to attend an international seminar on Autistics Children and to receive the highest civilian award [Posthumous] on behalf of Late Indira Gandhi for her mother like peerless contribution during the liberation war. There cannot be any question if the chief of two ruling political parties share ideas and opinions on the regional politics and government affairs anytime anywhere.

The report also questioned the crackdown of militant groups and terrorists by Bangladesh Government. The section of the report may be quoted here,

“Ever since 2008, when the Awami League, helped by bags of Indian cash and advice, triumphed in general elections in Bangladesh, relations with India have blossomed. To Indian delight, Bangladesh has cracked down on extremists with ties to Pakistan or India’s home-grown terrorist group, the Indian Mujahideen, as well as on vociferous Islamist (and anti-Indian) politicians in the country. India feels that bit safer.”

We will be extremely pleased if Economist can provide the credible evidence of the bag of cash that it is alleging to have been provided by Indian Government. If not Economist owe an apology to both India and Bangladesh.

From 2002 – 2006 Bangladesh became safe haven of terrorists. Finance Minister SAMS Kibria, popular MP Ahsanullah Master was killed by grenade attacks. Attacks were carried out against British High Commissioner in Bangladesh, Mayor of Sylhet, and MP Suranjit Sen Gupta. Finally terrorist under state sponsorship killed several Awami Leaguers including wife of Bangladesh President in a carnage and mayhem in front of Awami League Central office at the heart of the capital city. The terrorists became so organized that they could carry out simultaneous grenade explosion in 64 places of the country at the same time. People were killed at court buildings, cinema hall. It was alleged that some country’s intelligence agency unfriendly to both Bangladeshi progressive force and India setting up safe training shelter within Bangladesh trained terrorists and provided deadly weapons to carry out subversive activities within Bangladesh and India. A huge arm haul was confiscated at CUFL Jetty of Chittagong which was allegedly transited through Bangladesh for a separatist group of India. Present government very courageously took appropriate actions against the group. Government has also initiated actions to authentically probe all acts of terrorism of the past.  Instead of admiring governments efforts Economist report has unfortunately criticized the admirable Bangladesh action.

The saddest part of the report is that it questioned Bangladesh imitative of conducting trials of identified war criminals. There can be any or many difference of opinion about the process of conducting the trials. But it is a long term legitimate demand of the Bangladeshis to try and punish the collaborators of Pakistan Army in carrying out Genocide, raping, looting and arsenal in 1971. Economist has unfortunately advocated for the alleged criminals under custody. The intent and purpose of the report is well understood.

The report also questioned about various outstanding bilateral issues resolution process. It has questioned regional connectivity. We cannot deny our geographical reality. We are surrounded by India from 2.75 sides. Any regional connectivity will benefit all nations. If India can connect its major regions with neglected Nagaland, Mizoram and Tripura through it how it harms Bangladesh? Why we are apprehensive that India will transport Army or Military gazettes through the corridor? This connectivity is for trade and commerce only. However, we are not fully aware about the details of the regional connectivity. It will not be wise to talk about it at this stage.

In conclusion we like to request the editor of “The Economist “to clarify the issues raised in the report and address the Bangladesh response. If such kind of reports are regularly published who knows some day it may have to embrace the same fate as Rupert Murdoch/s “The News of the World”.

Relevant links:
Repaying the debt
The government of Bangladesh responds
India and Bangladesh: Embraceable you
Photo Courtesy: Reuters
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About Engr Khondkar A Saleque

Khondkar Abdus Saleque, known to his friends as Saleque Sufi is a Professional Engineer [PE] of Engineers Australia and Life Fellow of Institute of Engineers of Bangladesh. He is Bangladeshi Australian and is now working In Afghanistan. Saleque graduated in Chemical Engineering from BUET Dhaka Bangladesh in 1977 and has undergone post graduation professional training on Gas Transmission from Netherlands, Gas Metering and Regulations from UK, Energy Sector Regulation and pricing mechanism at Calgary, Canada, Project Management at WB, Washington DC and ADB at Manila. He represented Bangladesh at various national and international seminars and workshops. Saleque was Bangladesh representative of SAARC Energy Ring Co-Ordination Committee. He has worked at all segments of Energy and Gas Value Chain from 1977 in Bangladesh, Thailand, Netherlands, Australia, and Qatar in planning, project management and system operation. He worked for 27 years In Bangladesh Gas Sector from 1978 -2005. His last assignment in Bangladesh was Director [Operation] GTCL. He is now working as Energy Specialist for an US Company AEAI [USAID Contractor] in Afghanistan. Saleque played cricket and soccer as professional. He is sports writer and edits a cricket Magazine Crickettomorrow [www.crickettoomorrow.com] published from Canberra Australia. Saleque also works as freelance Energy Journalist for several Energy Magazines [Energy & Power {www.ep-bd.com}, Energy Bangla, E-Bangladesh].
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One Response to ”Growing geopolitical interests push India to seek better relations nearer home” – An Act of Yellow Journalism

  1. Pingback: Bangladesh’s Political Insanity? | We are NRB

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