Bhaumik was named in a chit fund scam and was grilled for his role in a newspaper of the company linked to the scam
For a news portal that hardly had any recognition only a few months ago, The Eastern Link has now garnered plenty of attention -- albeit almost all negative -- from both Indians and Bangladeshis alike, after launching what appears to be a die-hard mission to affect the relation between the two neighbours.
Kolkata-based Subir Bhaumik, a former BBC correspondent and analyst of eastern and northeastern India whose journalist bona fides have been called into question on more than one occasion, is allegedly behind the ruckus, reports Bangle Tribune.
The four-and-half-months old The Eastern Link says it focuses on an important region in Asia: Eastern and Northeastern India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. The Bangladeshi and Indian journalists apparently writing for the portal are hardly household names, to say the least.
Indeed, many suspect that Bhaumik himself reportedly pens most of the articles that are published.
Subir Bhaumik, in the first stage of his career, was the Agartala correspondent of Kolkata’s Anandabazar Patrika. He has since been covering different issues of Northeastern India.
At that time, he reportedly developed contacts with several local separatist outfits.
In several articles, Bhaumik narrates how Assam-based separatist organization United Liberation Front of Assam (Ulfa) or Ulfa’s chief Paresh Barua would call him from abroad in the wee hours of the night, waking him up.
Later on, he joined BBC as its Northeastern India correspondent. Upon retirement from BBC, he worked for many news outlets including bdnews24.com in Bangladesh and Myanmar military junta-linked “Mizzima.”
Bhaumik was named in a chit fund scam and was grilled for his role in a newspaper of the company linked to the scam.
The Eastern Link is the latest venture in his “colourful” career. But throughout his career, Bhaumik faced one allegation: writing stories fed by security agencies.
Many journalists, who have known him for years, told Bangla Tribune that the “complaint has suited” him so much that no one takes his news reports or articles seriously.
His questionable intentions became clearer after he recently published a photoshopped picture showing Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina apparently shaking hands with her Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan.
Needless to say, the picture was clearly doctored.
The malpractice is also greatly evident in the stories Bhaumik published in The Eastern Link over the past few months.
Reading some of the stories it is hard to escape the suspicion that they were written with the aim of serving the interest of a vested quarter.
A reporter identified as Shamsun Nahar Khan wrote an article styled “Regime Change Alert in Bangladesh,” which was published on June 29.
The article suggests that a “big power” of South Asia is outraged over the recently growing diplomatic and economic intimacy of Bangladesh and China. To this end, that very power wants the changeover in Bangladesh, the article adds.
The allegations in the article are so scurrilous that they do not deserve the dignity of discussion let alone refutation.
Bhaumik himself wrote on April 25 in the portal that tension emerged in Bangladesh’s military and security agencies following a report of France24 stringer Nirmala Saha.
He claimed that some senior officers of Bangladesh Army were trying to oust the force’s incumbent chief Aziz Ahmed before his tenure was over.
One and a half months later, he wrote an identical piece for renowned Kolkata-based daily, The Telegraph, in which he described how a conflict between the army chief and Sheikh Hasina’s security adviser Tareque Siddique led to a tension between the military and security agencies.
The write-up also hinted that Aziz could be sent to a European country as an ambassador of Bangladesh before his tenure expires.
In addition, the news outlet in question has also been regularly publishing articles relating to Lt Gen (retd) Chowdhury Hasan Sarwardy, who has become controversial recently.
Nearly three years ago, Bhaumik wrote in Mizzima that some disgruntled officers in Bangladesh Army, instigated by Pakistan, were trying to assassinate Sheikh Hasina.
At this time, Bangladesh was locked into a diplomatic dispute with Myanmar over the worsening Rohingya influx. Such an article during such a crucial period suggests that his aim was to serve Myanmar by deflecting Dhaka’s focus towards Pakistan.
Using The Eastern Link, Bhaumik is now apparently working in full swing to serve the interest of a vested group that evidently does not want Indo-Bangla ties to remain strong and free of tension.