ISSN 2330-717X

Bangladesh Needs Support, Not Criticism – OpEd


It is unfortunate that an activist Nazimuddin Samad was murdered in Bangladesh in April, 2016, as he was returning from classes in Dhaka’s Jagannath University when the attackers waylaid him. This 26 year old law student was said to have been an activist and a blogger and was reported to have been killed by some Islamist groups., for his views against terrorism and religious extremism.

This incident has been preceded by a few more similar attacks in the recent past in Bangladesh. But, what is surprising is the media campaign as if Bangladesh have become an intolerant country and as if violence against those holding independent views has become the order of the day in Bangladesh .While some isolated incidents have taken place, it is absolutely wrong to paint Bangladesh as if it is a country in religious turmoil. On the other hand, Bangladesh, by and large, remains as a peaceful country, with a government that is committed to the freedom of expression for the people.

Immediately after the murder of activist Nazimuddin Samad, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has issued a statement urging the Bangladesh government to take urgent , concerted measures to ensure the protection of all those being threatened by the extremists “operating in Bangladesh”. U N Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh has also urged the authorities “to adequately protect” the online activists in Bangladesh. The US government has also conveyed it’s protest and promised it’s unwavering support to Bangladeshi people in their struggle against violent extremism.

Such knee jerk reaction of United Nations and a few other western countries and the so called human rights activists have not helped Bangladesh or cause of peace in any way, as the government of Bangladesh has itself promised to do it’s utmost to arrest the culprits and punish those responsible for threats and assaults.

Such violent attacks and murders have taken place not only in Bangladesh but in several other countries in recent times including India , Pakistan and United States also. The governments in these countries have taken several steps to put down violence with appropriate strategies but the human right activists simply blame the governments for the situation without proper and careful investigation. Such criticisms only spoil the reputation of the countries and demoralize the governments.

Extremists indulge in such acts of violence in many countries now and certainly well knit international terrorist groups are operating to spread such violence due to religious fanatism of the worst kind.

While condemnation of such violent incidents are necessary to build world opinion against those responsible for terrorist activities, it is necessary to realise that such violent acts have taken place in spite of the steps taken by the government of Bangladesh to protect law and order. Such violence have not been due to lack of efforts of the government to put them down but inspite of it.

What is needed by developing countries like Bangladesh , which is reconstructing the economy , is support to fight against the terrorists and not criticism and knee jerk reaction.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human rights ought to have gone to Bangladesh, discussed the matter with the government of Bangladesh and jointly evolved some strategy to overcome the problem. On the other hand, he has conducted himself like an arm chair critic. Certainly, the job of the Commissioner for Human Rights does not end up merely in issuing statements and getting some media space for himself.

The developing countries like Bangladesh need technological and other form of support to stand against the terrorists and not mere criticism that lead to nowhere.

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N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

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