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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Independence won, not liberty

Update : 15 Dec 2016, 09:03 PM
It was perhaps the spontaneous impulse to protest discrimination and disparity that sowed the seeds of what later became the Liberation War. That seed took root over the years as the sense of deprivation grew stronger among the people. And they rose up to rid this land of those injustices. The injustices that give off a sense of violation in the guts. It was not so much a question of affluence or power as it was about opportunities and equality that caused the gut feeling. The war would liberate this land of those ills. People would not suffer just because they spoke a certain language, prayed to another god or had different features. Prosperous or not, this would be a land where people lived free. Where they would live equal.Shattered glass cover and frame of a Lord Krishna illustration lies on top a broken furniture and other unfocused illustration in similar state. The photo was taken on Friday, November 4, 2016; after the second wave of communal attack in different villages of Brahmanbaria's Nasirnagar upazila, triggering fresh panic among the Hindus in the upazila Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune  Shattered glass cover and frame of a Lord Krishna illustration lies on top a broken furniture and other unfocused illustration in similar state. The photo was taken on Friday, November 4, 2016; after the second wave of communal attack in different villages of Brahmanbaria's Nasirnagar upazila, triggering fresh panic among the Hindus in the upazila Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka TribuneIt is that same gut feeling of violation that one gets from even a cursory recap of the last six months in Bangladesh. A very dubious Facebook post led to violence against Hindus in Brahmanbaria. The local administration and police simply sat by and watched while 100 of Hindus were injured, their homes destroyed and temples ransacked. In the middle of all this, research — although hardly robust — suggested that tens of millions of Hindus have fled Bangladesh over the last few decades and crossed over to India. A more recent video of a policeman setting fire to Santal huts in Gaibandha only to evict them from what had been their ancestral lands leaves little doubt about how low the government may sink to secure an end. Reports show that law enforcers clearing a Santal village acted in a move planned long ago evidently with the endorsement of policymakers. [arve url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvtsSAoeUA8&t=44s"/] In the heart of Dhaka, the Korail slum caught fire leaving several hundred people stranded under the sky. While slum fires are not uncommon, murmurs about the government planning to build an IT Park where the slum stands today only strengthens the misgivings.After losing everything in the devastating fire on December 4, 2016;  slum dwellers  are living under open sky Dhaka Tribune After losing everything in the devastating fire on December 4, 2016; slum dwellers are living under open sky Dhaka TribuneThen there are the desperate Rohingyas, fleeing death in Myanmar, being turned away from our borders. We are telling them to go where the government has turned against them. While our government fails to assume a humane role, our border guards send them back whenever possible. Which is far from accepting them with open arms and offering them refuge. To those Hindus whose homes were wrecked, to those whose fathers were wounded, to those who had to flee their homes, this government is as communal as that 45 years ago. To the Santals who were persecuted, to those who suffered at the hands of law enforcers, this government is as cruel as that 45 years ago. To them justice is as elusive as it was 45 years ago. This government fails to emulate the kindness and warmth that our people relied on when they crossed the border 45 years ago. It is not good enough to be a Bangladeshi to be an ‘equal’. One has to speak the right language, bow to the right god and have the correct looks to be an equal. As for prosperity, it remains reserved for the same classes that enjoyed it 45 years ago. The peasant farmer’s son is still doomed to become a sharecropper as he was 45 years ago. Some are more equal than others, just like they were 45 years ago. In hindsight, it appears we had only won a battle 45 years ago. We had won independence but not liberty. One is tempted to say the Liberation War was never won but it is only human optimism to hope that it continues still.
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