Dhaka, Bangladesh || Monday, 29 May 2023 || 15 Jyoishtho 1430
Mourning a Major
Shahid Islam
Published : Monday, 3 August, 2020 at 1:32 AM, Update: 03.08.2020 1:49:52 AM, Count : 5147

Mourning a Major

Mourning a Major

Retired Major Sinha is an unlikely martyr. He died in the hands of a police inspector on Friday night to leave an awakening call and a not-to-be faltered message for the Bangladesh armed forces. That message is painful, yet prosaic. Boisterous, bitter and baneful too.

“Your existence is at stake, so is the existence of the nation of Bangladesh,” whispered Major Sinha as he grasped for the last un-endurable breath after getting shot thrice by a disgruntled, characteristically dishonest - as almost all the police guys are - police inspector named Liakot, on the Cox’s Bazar- Teknaf highway in the wee hour of the solemn Eid-eve Friday night.

The next sunrise would be dawned with the Eid pleasures, he thought, as he headed to his hotel room where he’s been lodging for a full month along with his director and other crews to make an adventure video film.

He was clad in grey combat boot, camouflaged trouser, and a befitting top; imbued and charged by the soldierly spirit to shoot the scenes in the mountains, to be titled as “Just Go.” He dreamt of life that bore meaning and method. His youthful retirement from the military goaded him to be creative.

He stumbled into a BGB check-post enroute, and had passed by unchallenged by dint of his identity. Then he stumbled into a police check-post. The call of the fate awaited him. 

In the last 30 hours, I had exhaustively delved deeper into the blow by blow accounts of his death at that fateful police check- post. Here’s what I’d surmised:

His car was stopped by the police. He told them that he was retired Major Sinha and was returning from a film shooting. They told him to come out and wanted to check him physically, and his car. They aimed gun at him and told him to raise hands. He complied. 

He told the police to call their officer in charge, and, as his military temperament sensed injustice and wrongness crouching him by the veins, raised his voice in anger.

By then inspector Liakot arrived. He told the inspector who he was. Police was predisposed, had early information about the Major’s arrival, and, the inevitable disposal he must be meted out. 

At least 20 civilian people gathered around as the shouting, screaming and the yelling went on for about 40 minutes. The Major was gaged, bundled and tied with rope, pushed onto the ground, and three shots fired to kill him.

Don’t take this incident as an accident, or a coincidence, or an one off tragedy of our time. Nor was it the so-called cross-fire or gun battle; as we are used to seeing often in the splashed headlines. Police knew they were killing a retired Major. They were ordered to do so.

Ordered by who? Imagine who that could be, how high could be the tentacle of that authoritative reach? 

We don’t know what he did or didn’t. But we know for sure that it was a premeditated murder for reasons that are inextricably tied to political gaming and machinations.

Major Sinha’s antecedent tells us that he served in the SSF, the force responsible for VVIP securities; the president and the PM being at the top of their priority. We also know that many SSF officers were reportedly killed or kidnapped since an allegation against some of them looped them into a phantom conspiracy cobweb that was labeled and tagged as being ‘involved in overthrowing the political regime’ that be.

These are grapevine gossips and folktales. Trained military officers achieve their missions without failing; be that domestic,trans-border, or international. If coup plotting is their mission, they didn’t fail in knocking off Mujib and Zia. Military officers don’t do things unplanned. They also don’t do things resource-starved. 

Cooking up stories against them may cut ice with innocent bystanders; for people who matter in changing the society, a whole new threshold must be crossed for a story to extract a modicum of credence.

We don’t exactly know why Major Sinha was targeted. Perhaps due to his cavalier conversation and hurling of critique against the power that be. Perhaps due to his exposed, super-charged sentimentality; politically tinged, in the social media. 

It could be one or all. Military officers discharge anger no sooner an unjust, unethical thing passes them by. This is their training. Don’t get me wrong. I’m one of that ilk.

The new generation of police officers are also ill mannered and arrogant. Most of them get recruited through text messages from HT Imam and et. al; including many BCS inductees. I know that for fact. I’d worked on it during my three-year long stay in Dhaka not long ago, as a senior newspaper editor and an investigative journalist.

Bangladesh is a police state today; literally and ontologically. It was the police force that had guarded the mid-night ballot stuffing to bring back the incumbent regime to power for the third time. They openly say, ‘there’s no Hasina without us.’

They only respect and leak the asses of the ruling party leaders and their deranged thugs. They only respect and worship bribes. They only bow down to a good kick in their buttocks, as I myself discovered during the two military regimes I’d served.

Military liberated Bangladesh with peoples’ help. Military built basic infrastructure of the nation. Military brought back and reimposed multi-party democracy, open market economy, manpower export to earn remittance, and the industrial revolution of garment and other exportable goods manufacturing.

The military regimes, or their political facades, never allowed any anti national interest treaty to be inked with any external power. Military still gets global recognition with their ranks and the title unchanged. Nobody gives a hood to any other so called luminaries from Bangladesh, excepting the think tanks.

Only the Bangladesh police think a magistrate is nobody, a DC is nobody, a Major is nobody, a judge is nobody. Only these thieves, ruffians, spineless and cowardly polices are everybody. They’re the quintessential surrogates, the I’ll- trained bunch; their rank and file are infested with foreign-recruited spies hell bent on destroying this nation. 

When the nation gets destroyed at the seams, it turns into Nepal and Bhutan; the clientele of a metropolitan parent and mentor pulling strings from far afield.

That needs the destruction of the military’s morale first. That needs brutal killing of 57 officers in Peelkhana in February 2009; the rapacious raping of their wives and children, the mutilation and the desecration of their corpses to strike terror in the heart of the military and their families.

That also needs occasional arrest of serving and retired military officers under any pretext — knowing well once in the military denotes being always in the military — , their torture in custody, routine harassment of serving and retired military officers in streets and at raided homes. The aim is to thumb them down into utter inertness, to gage their mouths for ever.

But the military in any nation bounces back like a Phoenix. They look dead at times, but they’re still alive. They’re trained to be dropped behind the enemy line to survive, sustain, and destroy the enemy.

The Bangladesh military had mapped out its enemies within and without. Wait to see what the military does next to save this nation. 

In the meanwhile, stay ensconced in the heaven Major Sinha. We all shall join you one day; as brave as ever before, shouting out aloud our motto with the deserved clarity and confidence : “Ever high is my head.”

Writer: Officer of Bangladesh Army. Author, columnist, Poet, Novelist, Editor & Analyst.

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