DGFI’s ‘Protective Custody’ For Sarwardy !

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RWITABATI BHATTCHARYA |

WHEN DGFI officers burst into the Banani DOHS to whisk away retired Lt Gen Chaudhury Hasan Sarwardy on Friday night, they were not doing what people would imagine them to do.

■ Lt Gen Chaudhury Hasan Sarwardy

If Sarwardy was picked up by CTTC, NSI or RAB, those agencies would have gone after him hammer and tongs to get at the bottom of the Major Power driven regime change plot (reported by EASTERNLINK and LOOKEAST) that seems to have been spearheaded by a pro–Pakistan adviser of the Bangladesh government.

 

Bangladesh’s arch conspirator conveniently placed inside the government and capable of using his growing influence in civil and military administration was keen to ensure Sarwardy was taken into ‘protective custody’ by DGFI so that he could be shielded from hard interrogation over the regime change plot

 

This adviser had tipped off a pro–Pakistani caucus in the DGFI to take Sarwardy into ‘protective custody’ over five phone calls from various mobile numbers during Friday, as the word spread about Sarwardy‘s arrest.

Sarwardy had been involved with this adviser in the 2010 Bangladesh stock market scam and the Pakistan lobby headed by this business magnate had tried to promote him as army chief when Gen I K Bhuiyan retired.

But his Pakistan connections and links to this shady business magnate had alarmed India and Gen Abu Belal Muhammed Shafiul Huq, a non–controversial general, was the compromise candidate made army chief to be followed by Gen Aziz Ahmed.

 

If Sarwardy was picked up by CTTC, NSI or RAB, those agencies would have gone after him hammer and tongs to get at the bottom of the ‘Major Power’ driven regime change plot that seems to have been spearheaded by a pro–Pakistan adviser of the Bangladesh government

 

Sarwardy had pitched his case hard with India during his visit to the country and in his meeting with then Indian army chief Gen Dalbir Singh but Indian military generals don’t advocate causes of fellow generals from neighbouring countries with their government.

Sarwardy‘s furious diatribe against not only the Hasina government but also against India is therefore understandable. Grapes are sour.

Now Bangladesh’s arch conspirator conveniently placed inside the government and capable of using his growing influence in civil and military administration was keen to ensure Sarwardy was taken into ‘protective custody’ by DGFI so that he could be shielded from hard interrogation over the regime change plot which the Government has tasked other agencies to probe, not the DGFI.

The entire Dhaka press was silenced from running the story, raising real concerns over the freedom of press in Bangladesh and even efforts were made by DGFI using its consulate–based networks in India to stop Indian media from running the story.

■ Victory Day Parade | Bangladesh Army

It however ran in top media outlets like Zee and copiously in EASTERNLINK and LOOKEAST.

The idea was to keep Sarwardy into ‘protective custody’ (Sir, lunch ki neben, dinner ki cholbe kind of atmosphere) until the storm over his controversial interview with social media host Kanak Sarwar had died down.

So though these social media output modelled on the Ukrainian Orange Revolution and were part of the Regime Change plot in Bangladesh, the influence of the pro–Pakistan adviser ensured Sarwardy is shielded because his interrogation by other agencies would have led to ‘the head coming forward if the ear is pulled’ (Bengali proverb).

“The pro–Pakistan adviser who is under huge pressure for the first time since his meteoric rise in the Awami League government now only ensured his own complicity is shielded because Sarwardy is not facing any hard questioning, but because he can be quietly let off because he has not formally arrested and even the fact of his detention has been reported,” said a top Bangladesh intelligence officer, but on condition of strict anonymity.

 

What Oxford dons and scholars on South Asia across the world have hailed as an original work on the reciprocal backing of insurgencies by rival South Asian states has now to pass the test of half–literate blackmailers on the payroll of a corporate mafia don backed by some rogue intelligence operatives

 

This adviser and his DGFI cohorts have also unleashed their ‘media assets’ to defame Indian websites running the regime change plot story. The thrust of their attack has been EASTERNLINK‘s editorial director Subir Bhaumik, a veteran BBC–Reuters journalist and an Oxford–Frankfurt fellow whose site first exposed the plot to unseat Sheikh Hasina.

A DGFI media department funded website run by known blackmailer and hatchet guy Borhan Kabir first tried to portray Bhaumik as a BNP agent when he has been attacked all his career by BNP as an ‘Awami League agent’ and even his arrest during 2014 Bangladesh polls demanded by BNP leaders.

Bhaumik has been attacked for being a R&AW agent, though his Oxford thesis ‘Insurgent Crossfire’, published by two leading Western and one leading Indian publisher, clearly details RAW’s involvement in Chittagong Hill Tracts much more copiously than any Bangladeshi or Western authors. “Insurgent Crossfire” has been hailed as a landmark study on the proxy wars in South Asia with John Garver author of “Protracted Contests” calling it the most original contribution to the understanding of post–colonial South Asian hostile diplomacy.

‘What Oxford dons and scholars on South Asia across the world have hailed as an original work on the reciprocal backing of insurgencies by rival South Asian states has now to pass the test of half–literate blackmailers on the payroll of a corporate mafia don backed by some rogue intelligence operatives. The university I went will not employ them as cleaners or watchmen,” said Bhaumik, when asked to react.

 

Intelligence agencies in Bangladesh do commission the most stupid of projects like funding a book on Narendra Modi that only runs a few quotations from him on the premise that Modi, impressed when he sees this book, will promptly clear the Teesta river water sharing agreement. A joke of an ‘influence operation’

 

The ‘Indian insider’, graduating from the ‘Bangla Insider’ (whose India correspondent is a TV media fall guy now working for Pakistan intelligence and reporting to their operatives in Maldives) has levelled baseless allegations of Bhaumik being a Pakistani agent and a R&AW agent at the same time and a double agent later.

“Ask these idiots to remember what my BBC greats like Mark Tully always told me — the story line is weak and does not deserve commissioning,” said Bhaumik.

True, but intelligence agencies in Bangladesh do commission the most stupid of projects like funding a book on Narendra Modi Narendra Modi that only runs a few quotations from him on the premise that Modi, impressed when he sees this book, will promptly clear the Teesta river water sharing agreement. A joke of an ‘influence operation’, as it were.

Bhaumik’s long association with Durbar Mohila Samannoy Samity and his support, along with many leading celebrities of Calcutta, when they supported the steelworker’s demand for legalisation of sex trade to protect the hapless women from police harassment and exploitation by brothel–houses, has been interpreted as his love for the honeypot. “A few smart English words cannot hide the level of depravement that these guys suffer from but I have investigated a few big–time crooks in my BBC and pre–BBC career and suffered these kinds of slur and slander. The good thing is I am used to it and so is my family,” said Bhaumik.

“Don’t waste my time asking me about this semi–literates. I only wish their handlers spend their money better and train these guys better. As for the Indian recruitment, well, there are fall guys available on hire everywhere but they should know how far they can go.”

■ Gowher Rizvi, International Affairs Advisor to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in an event with Bhaumik at Shahbagh, Dhaka | bdnews24

When EASTERNLINK exposed part of this ‘nefarious conspiracy’ of trying to create gap between Bangladesh PMO and Army Chief, the main conspirator sought to mobilise his media assets (all marginal and dubious websites) to attack EASTERNLINK editorial director Subir Bhaumik, floating YouTube material slandering him as a ‘R&AW agent’ and even as a ‘BNP–Jamaat agent’.

When asked to react, Bhaumik pointed to his book ‘Insurgent Crossfire’, based on his Oxford thesis, where he had exposed in detail the R&AW’s involvement in building up the PCJSS–Shanti Bahini armed insurgency in Chittagong Hill Tracts. “I challenge you to show me any work by any Bangladeshi or Western scholar with so much depth of exposure on what was easily the greatest security concern of Bangladesh,” he said.

“My thesis is about state–sponsored tit–for–tat insurgencies in post–colonial South Asia where most nations, except the smallest ones, have backed insurgencies against each other. Indira Gandhi decided to back the CHT insurgency because she could not accept the 1975 assassination of ‘brother’ Mujib and much of his family.”

So what has the Tripura–origin journalist–writer who has fought countless battles in court and in public domain has to say about the swirling allegations that he is an ‘Awami League stooge’, at the same time a ‘BNP–Jaamat agent’, a ‘R&AW agent’, a ‘Bengali separatist’ and a ‘parochial Bengali nationalist against Assamese interest’ !

SUBIR BHAUMIK‘S REACTIONS

“As a proud Bengali, I am keen to see Bangladesh rise as an economically and militarily strong nation, its head held high in the Comity of Nations, because only if Bangladesh rises will neighbouring Indian states, especially West Bengal and Tripura will have a future by capitalising on spin–off benefits. As a man from Tripura, I know if Bangladesh rises, we have a future.

“I have huge respect for Sheikh Hasina for what she has done for her country, the benefits of which have also covered us in East and Northeast India. For a divided people who have suffered so much and reduced to penury and uncertain existence by Partition that was imposed, yes imposed, on us, I consider her to be last hope of the entire Bengali– speaking world, though that does not make me overlook the emerging weaknesses of the Awami League and the shortcomings of her government. In one piece, I have even talked about ‘Hosni Mubarak police state syndrome’ rearing its ugly head in Bangladesh and the marginalisation of politically motivated Bengali nationalists in Awami League at the hands of an opportunist class of crony capitalists whose only nationality or language is money and that worries me enormously.

“In my first article in the recent weeks on Bangladesh army, I clearly debunked the Nirmala Saha thesis of MSS–CIA backing of an anti–Aziz clique but I called for Hasina’s intervention to set right the fissures showing in the Bangladesh Army, which I rightly suspected to be part of deliberate machinations.”

“Far from debunking Bangladesh as a failed state, a description I reserve for Pakistan, I have advocated to Indian leaders to strengthen Bangladesh if only to prove the hollowness of Pakistan as a failed state. To handle Kashmir, all that India has to do is hold up the Bangladesh example if 60 percent of Pakistan’s population, the Bengali Muslim, did not get justice in Pakistan, what can the Kashmiri Muslim, likely to be less than five percent of United Kashmir population expect from Islamabad ? Yes, as a liberal Bengali and Indian, I am pained at the continuing conflict in Kashmir and the marginalisation of the very people who once stood by the Indian army in 1965 to foil ‘Operation Gibraltar’ of Yayha–Bhutto clique. A nation is never strong if it has a military or economic power it is strong when it has national cohesiveness that is achieved by fairness of treatment to all including minorities and a shared sense of destiny.

“Now that the conspiracy has been unravelled and Apa (Hasina) is aware of it, we can relax but there is no place for complacency because the dark forces of 1975 are still active. I want a strong Bangladesh, a strong Bangladesh army, a strong Bangladesh economy and a strong expression of Bangali culture across the frontiers. I was born a Bengali, will die a Bengali, was also born in India and will die an Indian, so JOI BANGLA, JAI HIND. I am not one, despite an Oxford degree, to leave my country and then preach nationalism from a safe distance. When it comes to Indian nationalism, let me say I go for the Subhas Chandra Bose with all the Bengali passion in my heart (married not on the Brahmin’s advice by almanac but on the birthday of Bose, 23rd January). And please remember if Jai Hind was coined by Bose, Joi Bangla was coined by the great ‘Bangabandhu’, like Tagore wrote the national anthem of both countries.”

“I see no contradiction between a resurgent, strong Bangladesh and a rising India, though growth of religious fundamentalism in both countries pains me enormously. If anyone in India or Bangladesh has a problem with that, it is not my problem but one of those ill at ease with a rising Bangladesh and a rising India. And as a passionate Bengali and a free Indian, I have the dam right to speak my mind, so if someone thinks pressure and slander will silence my voice, you live in a fool’s paradise. Bangabandhu had said rightly — amader dabhay rakte parba an (You cannot keep us down).”

“As far as the organised slander against me and vested efforts to keep out of Bangladesh, I can only say I expect this to happen because I know I am taking on a hugely influential cabal who is now in tizzy over the expose and is going berserk. I went to a military school in my childhood, so I know what a foxhole is pour water from one side and find out where all it comes out from. My pieces have served that purpose, we know clearly who the conspirators or their collaborators are.”

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