"Operation Clean Heart"

�Cardiac Arrest�

�A new meaning of the old medical term in Bangladesh 

By A.H. Jaffor Ullah


With no result to show off in the last one year of governance vis-�-vis crime control in Bangladesh, the present government unleashed a pernicious force in the land of 130 million impoverished people.  The government asked the army, BDR, Ansar, etc., to join forces with the police to catch the miscreants.  Alongside with catching many alleged lawbreakers, the combined force is also catching some opposition politicians.  Only time can tell whether this new frontier of seizing the miscreants will amount to anything or is it a face-saving technique on the part of the government. 

The people of Bangladesh are yet to learn under which clause of the law (read constitution) the government has asked the army to do their mopping up operation.  Bangladesh is not after all a �Banana Republic.�  Therefore, the Prime Minister cannot whimsically take a decision to do whatever she wishes.  Did the PM consult any constitutional scholar, which Bangladesh has aplenty in her civil society?  Under whose advice the PM took this decision.  These are pertinent questions because lives of many citizens in Bangladesh are impacted by the recent misadventures of the combined force. 

When this mop up operation had started few weeks ago, the many citizens welcomed such a move.  But now, in the newspapers and in the Internet we are seeing saner voices coming up strongly to protest the modus operandi of this misguided operation by the combined force.  The launching of this operation in itself is a testament that this government that has been in power over a year had failed miserably to curb down petty crimes.  The less we talk about politically motivated murders all across Bangladesh, the better. 

Many human rights organizations of the world are alarmed by the recent incidences of death in Bangladesh under police/army custody.  The combined force and the government are attributing those deaths as merely �heart attack.�  This is utterly ludicrous.  Human heart is an amazing organ.  It is very rare for people in the prime of their life to die from heart attack.  This is a lie of monumental proportion that Bangladesh government is spreading in the media.  In most likelihood, the combined force is beating the hell out of these hapless people to extract an admission of guilt.  When some of the arrested people are demurring, then the beating is the only thing that continues.  The police and the army think they are immune from any probing because the deaths that are happening under their custody cannot be challenged.  

I think Bangladesh government and its combined force have earned some notoriety by this time.  Why can�t they call these arrests that lead to the death of a person under custody as �Cardiac Arrest.�  From now on in the parlance of Bangladesh, any arrest that leads to death can be termed a �Cardiac Arrest.�  Thus, Khaleda Zia could take the full credit as the PM (Prima Donna or Leading Lady) of Bangladesh for coining this new legal term�the �Cardiac Arrest.�  The term will be self-evident when the person suffers a premature death in the hands of police/army of Bangladesh.  Then the government will have an easy way out to say that the combined force has arrested x-number of alleged miscreants out of which 12 were �Cardiac Arrest.�  Bangladesh�s citizens will then understand with ease that the 12 arrested people who died under custody did so because of torture and bodily injury.  There will be no ambiguity about the cause of the death.  It is silly to hear the government say some arrested person had succumbed to death because of heart attack.  People are not buying this fib anymore.  Period. 

The custodial mistreatment of the arrested people that are causing death to a dozen or so people are causing concern among many rational human being.  First, the army or the police force is not recognizing the sanctity of a human life.  Second, not everyone apprehended by the government�s force are criminals.  Third, some vile people may wrongly point their enemy as being the miscreants.  Fourth, Bangladesh people still do not know what provision of the constitution gave so much power to the army.  Fifth, the democratic rights of the citizens were taken away by this army action.  Other erudite scholars may find additional allegations against the malevolent government of Khaleda Zia.  The intent of this write-up was not to go into detail to bring out the gross inanities that are associated with the present move by the government. 

This scribe would like to offer an advance congratulation to Bangladesh�s Prime Minister for her government�s ingenuity while a new semantics of the phrase �Cardiac Arrest� is being engendered.  Since international awards have eluded our Prime Minister for many years, this time, the coinage of this new semantics would do justice and at least the lexicographical association of English language may offer her an honorary doctoral degree she desperately so needed. 


A.H. Jaffor Ullah, a regular contributor to this column, writes from New Orleans, USA 


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