12:00 AM, June 27, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 27, 2010

Amar Desh

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Shafiqul Islam, NY

There was countrywide buzz on sudden closure of a Bangla daily, the Amar Desh and arrest of the paper's acting editor Mr. Mahmudur Rahman. This humming noise was mostly against the government's sudden closure of the daily.
Most people including the editors and newsmen of the country condemned the government for such move calling it undemocratic, a threat to freedom of speech and denying the government's election pledge. I think the government has over-reacted and taken a wrong decision. Well, a person may have committed some wrong but that does not warrant closure of a paper in any democratic country. In this case the government has actually shown intolerance.
According to the government version, the acting editor was arrested for what it called findings of traces of his links with Hisbut Tahrir, a banned organisation in Bangladesh. If there is truth behind this doubt, he could be arrested without closing down the paper. Today he came out with his own statement, reportedly he gave to the court, without any assistance from his lawyers. At this moment we will not believe him 100% because all accused men plead not guilty and bring his witnesses to prove his innocence. If the court finds him not guilty, if the government fail to prove charges brought against him in the court, well, it will be too bad.
We can assume right now that Mr. Rahman will be bailed out soon and will be a free. But the government will not be able to prove his guilt or innocence in many unknown years. This government started re-investigation of 21st August grandee attack on an AL meeting, 10-truck arms haul case and some other notorious cases immediately after assuming power. The date of submission of reports of those cases are being extended at the end of each extension, and I doubt this very much, whether this government will be able to start the trial of those cases during their 5 years tenure.
The ill-advised decisions will create issues for the opposition from within no issues. We want freedom of speech, freedom of opinions. The government should immediately allow the Amar Desh to start its publication. This will rather help the government earn credibility.

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