Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Highlights 24th May 2006

A woman cries after her son, who was part of a protest Tuesday by garment workers, goes missing in Dhaka, Bangladesh



Bangladesh Civil Unrest: Detailed Report

Quick Comments From Taj Hashmi: Attacks on garment factories -- Who is Responsible?

Powerful minister’s son behind the scene!-Tk 1400 cr project to process nat’l security documents Responsive bidders excluded

It is commonly believed that BNP is a nationalist party and not pro-Indian. Since founded by Ziaur Rahman the party strongly opposed Indian hegemonies. It had organised Farakka Long March, took the Farakka problem to the United Nations, made the claim strong on South Talpatty island and vehemently opposed transit facility to India over the Bangladesh territory. Khaleda Zia did not hesitate implicating India in the recent militant activities of JMB that received arms and explosives from across the border. This being the stance of BNP, it is widely believed that the Indian intelligence agency RAW made inroad among the young leadership of the party.
Kuldip Nayar, a veteran columnist of India, has indicated to the covert link between RAW and Tarique Rahman. Writing for Gulf News early this month he said, "Sadly, some of the Indian leaders have reposed confidence on Tarique Rahman. Little do the pro-Tarique elements in Indian government realize that he is burning the midnight oil for getting the BNP back to power." He also predicted that the conflict between BNP and BAL may give way to intervention by the Army.....More

Bangladesh is progressively becoming fundamentalist and in many ways a failed state. Consequently, its people cannot help but look for greener pastures across the border. This would continue to be supported by the Bangladeshi leadership with the ultimate aim of getting adjoining states to secede to Bangladesh. It is unlikely that border fences would ever stop the tide of migration, as it is next to impossible to police the entire land, riverine and sea borders effectively. Here again the only workable option to resolve differences and to prevent them from turning fundamentalist is to hold discussions paving the way for economic activity and people to people contacts. With open borders, there will be more migration -- but surely that can be largely resolved by adopting a work permit system. The practice of looking the other way for the sake of vote-bank politics must stop. It also needs to be noted that the Army and some fundamentalists de facto rule Bangladesh......More

The country is on tap. World Bank president is due in town... a bomb explodes..and hartal starts. International cricket is being played....a journalist turns up in a rickshaw and wants it to pull into the playing ground...gets a rough treatment and all the journos go on hartal and write protest emails all over the globe.... Somepeople go on rampage over electricity and get the police to shoot and Kansat starts.. While the Germans are in town.... factories are burnt...The French are due in town.... and while the French delegation is in India they are fed endless diet of footage and lectures about "sorry state of Bangladesh".... NFB


In an explosive expression of her views, celebrated Indian writer Arundhati Roy told an audience here that ‘‘India is not a democratic country’’. ‘‘The biggest PR myth of all times is that India is a democracy. In reality, it is not,’’ Roy, the author of The God of Small Things told the 1,000-strong audience at a book reading function she attended along with Eduardo Galeano, one of Latin America’s most distinguished writers. With her aggressive speech, Roy, the 1997 Booker winner, dominated the event with Galeano playing second fiddle. She surprised the jampacked Town Hall as she stopped reading The God of Small Things midway and said she wanted to speak on an issue, which had been bothering her for quite some time.....More

A clandestine meeting of Ulfa leaders, scheduled to be held somewhere near Alipurduar at the end of this month, may be the reason why so many activists of the outfit have recently landed in Siliguri, Intelligence Bureau (IB) officers said today. IB officers came to know of this meeting from a top Ulfa leader picked up on Sunday night from near Phansidewa on the outskirts of Siliguri. Terming it as “quite a big catch”, IB sources said the leader would be handed over to police only after the bureau’s interrogators had found out all they could from him. Today, a team of plainclothesmen raided the house of Suman Sunar (27) at Dandabusti in Bagdogra and detained her for interrogation, said district police superintendent Rajesh Subarna. The wife of Arjun Sunar, an employee of the Gorkha Regiment posted in Jammu, Suman allegedly was in regular touch with Ulfa leader Bijay Kalita, who was arrested on Sunday. A cellphone was seized from her.....More

More than two years after the Royal Bhutan Army flushed out all ULFA and Kamatapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) cadres from the Himalayan kingdom, the two groups are now exploring possibilities of setting up bases in Nepal. Revealing this, sources in the Intelligence department said interrogation of senior ULFA leader Manoj Hazarika, alias Plaban Phukan, who was arrested in Siliguri in North Bengal, also indicated that the two outfits were trying to forge an alliance with the Maoists in Nepal. Hazarika, along with three other ULFA cadres, was picked up on the night of May 17 following simultaneous raids conducted in two hotels by the IB and West Bengal Police. Two more rebels were later arrested from the Naxalbari area on Sunday night, sources said.

Cracking down on Pakistan-backed espionage activities in the country, security agencies have neutralised 27 modules of the ISI and arrested over 40 of its operatives since 2005, the government said today. For tackling ISI activities, the government said it has adopted a well coordinated and multi-pronged strategy by strengthening border management to check illegal cross-border activities and gearing up the intelligence machinery. "During the period January 1, 2005 to April 30, 2006, 27 ISI backed modules were neutralised in various parts of the country resulting in the arrest of 41 espionage agents, including 15 Pak resident agents, some of who had infiltrated through the Indo-Pak border," Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal told the Lok Sabha in a written reply.


Hugh Barnes is a reputable British journalist who has written for Financial Times, New Statesman, Independent on Sunday, the Sunday Times and once was a senior correspondent for Agence France Presse. He is currently director of the democracy and conflict programme at the Foreign Policy Centre. In his lengthy New Statesman article on the ISI and Pakistan (which came out today) he makes a number of interesting points, including the following Pakistan is a dictatorship run by the army, whose intelligence wing sponsored terrorism in Afghanistan and Kashmir until Musharraf's 180-degree policy turn in the wake of 11 September 2001. Today Pakistan is teetering on the brink of chaos and the ISI is largely to blame. Many leading Pakistani politicians feel that the recent anti-Cartoon riots were being orchestrated by the army itself. They say he's using the riots to send a warning to the west - as if to say, 'Look, I'm the only person saving the country from Muslim extremism’. And the writer believes that to an extent Musharraf's recent behaviour seems to bear this out. In Kashmir, as in Afghanistan, Pakistan's intelligence services have found that controlling Islamists is an inexact science. Musharraf banned Lashkar-e-Toiba in early 2002, but he allowed it to create a domestic charity under another name, Jama'at-ud-Da'awah (the Preaching Society), with the same leader......More

Police have shut down 87 FM radio stations which were operating illegally from religious seminaries and mosques in various districts of the NWFP, officials said on Monday. Law-enforcement officials said they had shut down the radio stations after conducting joint raids with representatives of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on seminaries and mosques. They said they had earlier told the illegal radio station operators to cease their activities through official notices. Police have also confiscated the transmitters of the stations. "It is worth mentioning that there is serious tension among the listeners as well as among the clerics of various mosques and madaris in Swabi district," a police official said. 'Jamia Masjid' or main mosques and Madaris in Charsadda, Nowshera, Mardan, Swabi, Lower Dir and other districts, were running these FM radio stations without obtaining any licence from Pemra. Even one naib nazim in the Daggar Nari village of Karak was operating an FM radio station illegally from his Madrasseh or religious school, police officials said....More

We hear that for the first time in this country’s history, officials of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) will appear before the Senate body on defence to brief its members about the agency’s functions and covert operations. The briefing will apparently also include information on the agency’s infamous political cell and how it operates. The briefing will be in-camera. This is a good beginning, though not enough for two reasons. First, it does not seem that the senators will have the authority to grill the ISI brass; the tone of the report, based on information given out by the committee itself, indicates that the ISI officials will simply brief the members, not be accountable before them; second, the briefing is in-camera and not open to the media. This means we will not know the exact contents of what has been said or discussed.....More


During King Gyanendra's regime, India has not been able to contain ISI activities in Nepal. It is time India attempts to contain ISI's murderous activities aimed against India. It is now confirmed that Maoist rebels are being given subtle support by the ISI with tacit connivance of the Chinese Intelligence for strengthening the emerging political force. Such a contingency, Pakistan appreciates, will give rise to a new social engineering, which will witness considerable de-Hinduisation of Nepal. The immediate duty of Delhi is to checkmate the ISI and see to it that its influence in Kathmandhu is totally eradicated. If this is not done in time, Delhi may have to pay terrible consequences in the days to come. It is not enough for King Gyanendra to step down. It is important that the new Nepal government steps up containment of ISI ruthlessly and effectively. Too much time has been wasted in the past.....More

Civil-Military Relations and the Maoist Insurgency in Nepal


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