All eyes are glued to the courtroom, be it following the George Zimmerman or the War Crimes trials. Every other news falls below the radar. Have a confession to make? Now is the time. It will surely go unnoticed.
But here's a piece of news that must be pulled out of the cracks. BSF compensates Beauty Khatun with Rs.5 lacs three years after her husband is killed by them. Turning over a new leaf? Not so fast. A few days later, BSF picks up three Bangladeshi cattle traders.
What really makes BSF tick? BSF, the 'Border Shooting Forces'? Or is it 'Bangladeshi? Shoot First!' Maybe it's BSF, 'The Guards (Darwans) of the Border' -- following Darwan's Theory of Persecution? Or perhaps BSF, 'Securing Peace at the Border' (actual results may vary).
Is it a sporting entity striving to maintain a strong shooting average? Or is it a profit maximising business with targets (no pun intended) to meet and projections to pursue? “In the fourth quarter, BSF is expected to be bullish on beating analyst expectations on its kill rate.”
Or is it plain wrath for losing cows to Bangladesh? Perhaps BSF is under the notion that the Indian ice cream industry is taking a hit as Bangladesh milks Indian cows and directly gets ice cream (chocolate ice cream from the brown cows) -- especially evident during the past frigid January. What follows is a surge in BSF shootings.
The statistics indicate that it is perhaps the Bovine Theory that drives the BSF.
My fellow comedian Shammi Huda proposes a win-win solution -- BSF stops shooting cattle traders. There's a tsunami of cows entering Bangladesh. The carnivores here eat all the beef that most in India would not have eaten anyway. Bangladeshis clog their arteries. Then go to India for medical treatment. Boost the Indian economy.
Note, no hilsa smugglers are shot at. Who wants to shoot down the prospect of getting cheap, fresh (sorry, cannot guarantee formalin free) 'eeleesh'?
But the powers-that-be have taken heed. In 2011, the Indian home minister said: “The message [to not shoot] has gone down to the last jawan.”
All at BSF hear this loud and clear. The only problem -- the 'Last Jawan' is deaf.
So, the BSF continues to maintain a positive attitude about its destructive habits.
Remember when BSF tortures a Bangladeshi for not having a mobile phone and Rs.1,000 when demanded? That raised hopes -- traveling to India would simply mean taking a mobile phone, Rs.1,000 and just showing up at any BSF check post. Surely an easier alternative to waiting for three weeks to get an appointment at the Indian Consulate in Dhaka for a visa.
But BSF commanders claim that complaints are drastically down. That's part of the new programme called 'There's No Use Complaining.'
Let's be fair. It's not that BSF has never helped Bangladesh. Cyclone Mahasen first aims for Chennai then veers off towards West Bengal, fearing Rajinikanth. The BSF field commander barks: “Mahasen is coming!” The 'Last Jawan' hears “Mohseen is coming” and starts firing. A weak Mahasen then makes a benign landfall in Bangladesh. Thank you.
Here's a PR suggestion. How about a BSF Facebook page? Maybe not a good idea. Facebook still has no 'Dislike' button. Till Facebook gets a facelift, BSF will continue to see Bangladesh as a Corridor -- whether it be Teen Bigha or Teen Koti Bigha.
The writer is an engineer & CEO turned comedian (by choice), and the host of NTV's Grameenphone Presents The Naveed Mahbub Show.