www.sacw.net | February 6, 2005

[A statement issued by 74 women in Dhaka, on 30 January, 2005 following the assassination of Shah A M S Kibria and five members of his audience (Abul Hossain, Farid, Manjurul Huda Manju, Siddiq Ali, Abdur Rahim) in a grenade attack on a public meeting in Habiganj, Sylhet, Bangladesh ]

We, the Citizens of Bangladesh Demand Security . . .

The latest in a series of bomb attacks occurred on 27 January 2005 at
an Awami League public meeting in Habiganj, Sylhet. In this attack
Shah A M S Kibria, member of Parliament, internationally renowned
economist, freedom-fighter, language movement activist, member of
Awami League's Presidium, the former Finance Minister and 5 others (
Abul Hossain, Farid, Manjurul Huda Manju, Siddiq Ali, Abdur Rahim)
were killed. According to newspaper reports, nearly a hundred persons
were injured. The targeted killing of a high-ranking leader of a large
political party has shocked people at large. Citizens are now fearful
that bomb attacks may occur in the most unsuspecting of public places.
They are also distrustful because of the administration's failure to
take action against the perpetrators of previous bomb attacks, or to
take adequate security measures. The situation is leading to
increasing desperation, and encourages criminality and violence. We
think the present situation is highly dangerous for the nation as it
signals an absolute breakdown of political and social morals.

In the last 5 years, from March 1999 to January 2005, over 140 persons
have been killed in 21 bomb and grenade attacks. These attacks have
targeted political public meetings, cultural activities, including
theatre performances (Jatra and Baul singing), and even homes of
political or cultural activists. We do not think that these incidents
are unconnected; on the contrary, they appear to be systematic and
well planned. This is why these incidents of bomb and grenade attacks
are very alarming. We are concerned with the administration's failure
to prevent these attacks, to carry out proper investigations, to make
public investigation reports or to bring the perpetrators to justice.
What is most alarming is the inefficiency, incapability and lack of a
clear political will on the part of the government to stem the tide of
political violence.

Information available from different news sources - government and
private - reveals that after these bomb or grenade attacks,
investigations have remained inconclusive, evidence has been
destroyed, enquiry commission reports have not been made public and
perpetrators have not been caught. Instead a few arrests made on
grounds of suspicion have been a source of harassment, and only once
has the accused been charge-sheeted. So far no trial has been held.
The inquiry reports that were published after the grenade attack on
the Bangla New Year celebrations in 2001 at Ramna, Dhaka, (which
killed 10 persons including 1 woman) and the bomb attack on a large
Awami League rally on 21 August, (which killed Ivy Rehman and 20
others including 4 women) were incomplete and lacking in credibility.
After each such incident the Prime Minister, Cabinet members and
high-ranking officials promised to bring the culprits to justice.
These promises ring hollow to the citizens of Bangladesh, as
successive grenade attacks and bomb explosions have led to the killing
of Ahsanullah Master, a member of Parliament from Ghazipur and a
popular Awami League leader, several well-respected journalists, such
as Manik Shaha and Humayun Kabir and political activists.

In the name of quelling terror attacks and law enforcement, officially
commissioned forces such as RAB, Cheeta, Cobra and the police have
killed alleged suspects in custody, without giving them the benefit of
a trial, and referred to their deaths as "crossfire" killings,. There
has been no enquiry into the causes of these "crossfire killings". On
the other hand, the administration has remained passive in the face of
the vigilantist killings (of 20 persons) and torture perpetrated by
Siddiqul Islam aka Bangla Bhai's and his gang in the name of
suppressing Shorbohara members. Bangla Bhai remains at large inspite
of an order of arrest from the Prime Minister reported in the media in
2004. Several ministers and relevant police officials have dismissed
Bangla Bhai as a figment of media imagination despite clear evidence
to the contrary.

Irresponsibe acts by those in the highest seats of government and the
lack of sincere, committed, and sustained measures for law enforcement
has created tremendous insecurity for citizens and is a cause for
deep social unrest. The growing tendency to extra-judicial killings
has created an alarming deterioration in the law-and-order situation.
It has curtailed citizensâ· rights to freedom of political
participation and cultural activities. We demand an end to this
situation. We also demand that the administration take immediate steps
to ensure security for all public and private functions, political and
cultural activities (such as the traditional Jatra), and women's
sports (wrestling, swimming, football), and to create an environment
for the practice of citizen's rights.

We grieve for each life that has been lost, for each life that has
been maimed or injured. At the same time, we condemn the terror
attacks in the strongest possible language.

We demand:

- an independent and transparent investigation into each bomb blast
and grenade attack (free of government intervention);
- medical care for those injured in such attacks and compensation for
their families;
- the culprits be identified, and tried and that those found guilty be
duly punished
- steps be taken to improve the law and order situation,
- that newly constituted forces stop using methods that are leading to
custodial deaths or other forms of torture in the name of law enforcement,
- that measures be taken to reinstate public faith in the law, courts,
judicial system and in public institutions
- an environment conducive to the performance of cultural activities
(Jatra, Baul singing), to women's sports events (wrestling, swimming,
football).

Coalition of Outraged Women
Join us in a silent procession to protest bomb attacks, on 2 February,
2005 at 3 pm
starting from Muktangan to Shahid Minar

Signatories:
1. Hena Das
2. Laila Kabir
3. Ayesha Khanam
4. Farida Akhter
5. Shirin Akhtar
6. Hasina Akhter
7. Shamim Akhter
8. Shahin Akhter
1. Prof Nasrin Ahmed
10. Khursheed Erfan Ahmed
11. Rubina Ahmed
12. Rehnuma Ahmed
13. Nahar Ahmed
14. Hasina Ahmed
15. Aasha Mehreen Amin
16. Dr Sonia Amin
17. Rabiya Sultana Anju
18. Advocate Salma Ali
19. Shaheen Anam
20. Fatema Sannaiya Ansari
21. Nasima Akhter Banu
22. Supriya Bari
23. Suraiya Begum
24. Maleka Begum
25. Bilkis Nahar Biju
26. Kanak Chapa Chakma
27. Ila Chanda
28. Rekha Chowdhury
29. Protiti Debi
30. Aroma Dutt
31. Nina Goswami
32. Dr Sadeka Halim
33. Mita Haq
34. Adv. Sigma Huda
35. Minu Haque
36. Adv. Rezwana Hasan
37. Sara Hossain
38. Dr Hameeda Hossain
39. Fatema Hussain
40. Tasmima Hussain
41. Naseema Islam
42. Salma Jebin
43. Nargis Jaffar
44. Rounaq Jahan
45. Roushan Jahan
46. Shamshunahar Joshna
47. Umme Hasan Jhulmul
48. Shirin Kabir
49. Joshna Kabir
50. Sultana Kamal
51. Saeeda Kamal
52. Saeeda Gulrukh Kamal
53. Khaleda Khatoon
54. Khushi Kabir
55. Dr Naila Khan
56. Dr Nasreen Khondker
57. Iti Koro
58. Hameeda Akhter Laily
59. Mahbuba Akhter Lipi
60. Tayyaba Lipi
61. Shirin Banu Mithil
62. Dil Monwara Monnu
63. Munira Murshid Munni
64. Shukla Pal
65. Roushan Jahan Parveen
66. Ferdausi Priyobarshini
67. Faustina Pereira
68. Malika Perveen
69. Shahrukh Rahman
70. Shamshunahar Rahman Rose
71. Roqaiya Rafiq
72. Fahmida Rakhi
73. Dr Makhduma Nargis Ratna
74. Rasheda Begum Rekha
75. Afroza Haq Rina
76. Adv Sultana Akhter Ruby
77. Zafreen Sattar
78. Mina Sarkar
79. Masuda Akhtar Shefali
80. Hajera Sultana
81. Shimul Yusuf
82. Sara Zaker
83. Fareha Zeba


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