Killing One Bangladeshi Every Four Days: A Big Fat NO to India
Centre for the Studies of Contemporary Muslim Societies
School of Social Sciences and Psychology University of Western Sydney
Violence is not only an insult to human dignity; it is the greatest obstacle to sustainable human development.
Few years ago, there was a huge debate on boycotting anything from Denmark. The whole Muslim world was facing an emotional urge to boycott anything Danish as a Danish cartoonist insulted our Prophet in his cartoon. One of the logics to this boycott was that it is a means of protest and in this global economical set up, being economically boycotted by a significantly large community could be terrible. However, there were people who were saying that this type of boycott can do nothing; it’s rather childish and foolish.
Well, now what I’m going to do would also be regarded as childish and foolish to lots of people, but to me, it’s a decision from my heart. Yes, for the first time in my life I’m going to boycott a country and that is India. I’m not taking this decision based on any logic; rather it is based on my emotion, as a Bangladeshi, and above all as a human being. From now on I won’t buy anything Indian. This is my personal protest against the inhuman brutal torture and extra judicial killing by Indian BSF (Border Security Force) of Bangladeshi citizens in India-Bangladesh border.
Recently, there has been a well-spread online Youtube video that shows how a group of BSF’s 105th battalion personnel are torturing a young Bangladeshi named Habibur Rahman in West Bengal’s Murshidabad border, stripping him, tying him up, beating him while laughing, making jokes and drinking tea to enjoy the torture. Because of the excessive and indiscriminate use of force, arbitrary detention, torture and killing by Indian border guard at the Bangladesh border, HRW’s (Human Rights Watch) December 2010’s 81 page report named them the ‘trigger happy’ BSF.
Not long ago on 7 January 2011, a poor Bangladeshi teenage girl named Felani made national and international headline because of the degree of BSF brutality on her. Just one day before her wedding, she was caught by BSF in the border trying to cross the fence that India has made around Bangladesh. She got tangled on the barbed wires and screamed in panic. BSF noticed immediately and shot her. She kept asking for a bit of water until she bled to death, about 30 minutes after the shooting. Her dead body was hanging on the fence in the same manner for about five more hours before her killers took her away.
Felani is not alone in that long procession of murdered Bangladeshi citizen. According to HRW, in the year 2010, BSF killed 74, injured 72 and kidnapped 43 Bangladeshis. According to the statistics of aother human rights organisation, Odhikar, BSF killed more than 1,000 Bangladeshis in the past decade; and day by day their killings are getting creative. Instead of shooting, they now use fatal beatings, strangling, stoning, poisonous injections etc. Nowadays, they kill one Bangladeshi every four days, surveyed by Odhikar (find the report in www.odhikar.org)
With one side to Bay of Bengal and the remaining three sides surrounded by Indian barbed wire (locals call it the wall of death) and heavy powerful search lights; Bangladesh now looks like a World War II concentration camp. On 23 January 2011, Brad Adams wrote in The Guardian, UK that a single killing by US law enforcement along the Mexican border makes headlines, but the killing of large numbers of Bangladeshi villagers by Indian forces has been almost entirely ignored by the world community.
I’ve always dreamt to have a long travel all over India. There is someone said that If you travel all over the India, you do not need to travel the world, because India itself the world! I always tell one of our Indian family friends to get married soon so that we can take a trip to India on the occasion of his marriage. But after watching the online Youtube video footage of BSF’s brutal torture on Habibur Rahman, sorry friend, my desire to travel to India is gone. I won’t be coming to India on your wedding. I won’t buy anything produced in your country. From now on, I won’t watch Indian movies either, even though I love to watch movies from different countries, different cultures. I won’t buy anymore Indian music too. I’m simply boycotting your country, anything from your country. That’s my personal protest against the inhuman ongoing killings of BSF along Bangladesh border.
I know, I know very well that nothing would happen by my personal boycott. But I also know that the Great Wall of China is made from millions of single bricks. I’m one of those millions of bricks. If Egyptian Tahriri Square revolution can begin from one girl’s initiative on Facebook, then if I, you and we start to boycott Indian products today; I believe India will have to feel a shake tomorrow. However, this is my personal revolution as a Bangladeshi, and above all as a human being; a revolution to boycott India, to say a big fat NO to India.
Farjana Mahbuba is a PhD candidate on Islamic Gender Studies at the Centre for the Studies of Contemporary Muslim Societies, School of Social Sciences and Psychology, University of Western Sydney, Australia. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The human propensity to violence is sadly shared by all peoples and cultures. Violence is not only an insult to human dignity; it is the greatest obstacle to sustainable human development. The following are some recent examples:
WARNING The following videos contain disturbing and graphic images, not suitable for children.
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