12:00 AM, June 20, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, March 08, 2015

Opportunities and their shelf life ...

Opportunities and their shelf life ...

Shah Husain Imam

NUR Hossain's arrest in Kolkata has raked up a whole series of details centering around Narayanganj seven murder case. The critics of the government say that certain quarters had quietly allowed his exit from the country into India with a new tag of identity. But this claim is diluted when the government had notified the Interpol, an action that moved Kolkata police to ferret Nur Hossain and his associates out and send them to the local court.
Also, as truth unfolded in a blaze of publicity, the government promptly suspended alleged Rab officials and sent them on to premature retirement. But in the face of serious incriminating evidence they had to be taken into custody. All of them, in so many words, have admitted to having had a role in the killings.
Although accused under different charges in Kolkata (illegal entry), Nur Hossain for his part at first denied and then reportedly confessed to his involvement in the Narayanganj serial murder -- on the sidelines of course.
Now the test for our government lies in how soon Nur Hossain is extradited from India and made to face legal proceedings in Bangladesh. In a general atmosphere of hush-hush, whether he would spill all the beans is something one has to watch out for.
This leaves Shamim Osman high and dry despite a recorded conversation that evoked an amount of finger pointing at him. But with the PM praising the loyalty of the family to the AL going back into years, Shamim may have been dropped off the radar screen.
This is not the only marker of internal feuding in the AL bursting out in the open. There may be other instances, overt or covert, that the party needs to keep a tab on and purge the undesirables before they rise as Frankenstein. No party is endangered as gravely as does the one which lowers its guard over a spoil system that  engulfs a party which has been long in power.
The ruling party has a way of chameleons or criminal elements gravitating to it with ulterior motives to get-rich-quick and climb the power ladder on the sly. It is through them that politics is criminalised and governance seriously impaired. The incumbent party cannot absolve itself of any responsibility about the abuse of power by such opportunistic elements in the party ranks.
If Narayanganj incident has brought anything into a sharper focus it is the collusive mafia-like guild between the law enforcers and even the elected political elements in the commission of worst type of crimes.
The prime minister, may I suggest in all humility, would do well to hold her party meetings out of Gono Bhaban to reach out to the grassroots to gauge the pulse of party men across the country at first hand.
Narendra Modi in his Lok Sabha speech, after President Pranab Mukherjee's inaugural address, made it clear that MPs accused in criminal cases, (and there is a substantial percentage of them in the Lower House) will have to clear their names to stay as MPs or else lose their seats. Incidentally, during Modi's speech Rahul Gandhi was seen 'fiddling with his cell phone,' so noted M.J. Akbar, shining a sidelight on the liberal Indian democracy.
Modi is emerging as a tough taskmaster, one party follower even said that he had never seen a 'headmaster' like him. The new PM expects the cabinet to work long hours like he does (18 hours a day), so you have yawning, languid-eyed colleagues trying to keep pace with the PM on the next day. He has ruled against touching the feet as a mark of respect or sycophancy, if you like, and keeping APS from amongst relatives of the ministers, so the words have been making rounds in the corridors of power.
Turning to the home front, part of the prime minister's hold on power comes from AL's distinguishing itself from extremist and far right elements. If her own house has any poisonous malcontent such an advantage of hers may be squandered. Our profile abroad is reliant on our constitutional and democratic identity on the one hand and religious moderation and cultural homogeneity on the other. We cannot allow any inroad to be made into this twin identity of ours.
One has to pinch one's skin to realise that such words could have been uttered by our prime minister: She reportedly said recently whilst reacting to the foreign dignitaries meeting BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia that the latter does not represent legitimate opposition in parliament (so why meet her?). For all one knows, very few have met Rowshan Ershad, the official opposition leader. And as reported, though not firmly yet, Sushma Swaraj, Indian external affairs minister, may meet Khaleda Zia during her important trip to Dhaka, preceding, one would hope, a transformative visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Bangladesh.

The writer is Associate Editor, The Daily Star.
E-mail: husain.imam@thedailystar.net


Leave your comments