Where is Bangladesh heading to?

On 22 December 2012, around 30 young and innocent but visibly tortured students were produced before a lower court in Dhaka Bangladesh. Most of these students were arrested in a special operation by the elite police team called SWAT a few days back. None of them had any case filed against them prior to their arrest, nor were they ever known to have involved in any sort of criminal activities. According to news reports most of these young men had undergone inhumane and barbaric torture at the office of the detective branch (DB) of the police force for several days before being produced in court, though the law requires producing before court within 24 hours of arrest. When produced, some of them could hardly walk due to broken limbs, some had their eyes poked at and most had their fingernails uprooted. Their only crime being members of a Bangladesh Islami Chatra Shibir (BICS), the largest and oldest student's Islamic organization.

According to media reports, some other students have been missing since the above mentioned special operation. Neither have they been produced in court, nor have their arrest been acknowledged. Their families are fearing the worse, especially given the fact that a number of key opposition leaders/activists (Ilias ali, Chowdhury Alam) have earlier gone missing under the current regime.

Here are some excerpts of media reports describing their inhumane and barbaric treatment: "One of them had his whole body smashed and yet he was alive & made to walk. Five of them had their eyes poked into and severely injured. Most of them had their nails pulled out." (CNN ireport). "One of them had his hand crushed with a hammer, another had his whole body smashed. Most of them were given electric shock" (daily Sangram).

Worse yet, the court ordered the police to interrogate these students in the name of remand for three days, which in recent years have become a synonym of police brutality and torture. These poor student fell so ill after the three days remand period that the court was forced to accept their appeal for medical treatment, including one for psychological treatment. Shockingly however, the presiding judge did not shy away from accommodating further remand on 26 December 2012 (effective after getting medical treatment).

Such news of inhumane and brutal torture of political opponents at the hands of the government makes one ask, 'where is the country heading to?'. It is saddening, and even shocking, to see young students being arrested and tortured arbitrarily just for their political belief and activisim. Worse still is the near silence of the mainstream media, the local human rights leaders and the so called shushil shomaj (civil society). These people rush to shed their tears when an innocent by-stander (Limon) was mistaken for an opposition activist and was tortured by the police, but are totally mum over the current middle-age styled brutal persecution. I wonder where is the humanity of these so called human rights activists?

I suppose, it will not be out of place to quote the famous German poet father Martin-Niemöller:

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionist,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.