The historical betrayal of the people of Bengal by Mir Jafar Ali Khan in the 18th century is held with such disdain that the name Mir Jafar is synonymous with treachery among Bangalis. Two centuries later, Razakar became a despised word and a malignant identity to most Bangladeshis proudly memorialising the sacrifices of the martyrs but tormented by the betrayal and atrocities of the local collaborators of the invading forces during the nation's 1971 Liberation War. Forty plus years and generations later, the country's sovereignty is secure, but the life and liberty of its ordinary people and the well-being of the nation remain violated by and subjugated to powerful enemies within. Their betrayal of the interests of the nation and its people is self-serving, systematic, relentless and fatal. These new cancerous forces of betrayal, the Neo-Razakars (Nobbyo Razakar) are entrenched across the political spectrum and various echelons of the society, and they need to be identified by the nature of their actions, namely, betrayal of people's interest.
Much to the despair of the nation, the 2/13 Prajanma Movement lost its footing, impartiality and relevance, partly, if not mainly, because it voiced little resentment against the evils of today's antagonists within, the Neo-Razakars. Rather unfortunately, the Prajanma leadership strayed into the agenda of entrenched partisan forces and engaged in the outrageous practice of labelling their critiques as Neo-Razakars. It is time that the Prajanma leadership and the nation redefined Neo-Razakars, and re-launched the movement against these saboteurs within.
Who should be stigmatized with the label of Neo-Razakar (Nobbyo Razakar)?
Should we not ask the surviving victims and the families of those lost in the collapse of the Rana Plaza in Savar and in the factory (Tazreen) fire of Ashulia? Who do they think they have been betrayed by? Who were fugitives from their leadership and administrative responsibilities in ensuring workplace safety for the hapless workers? Who have not yet criminally punished the lead delinquents in the Ashulia factory fire and the ones before?
Should we not ask the families of those murdered by the convicted criminals who were later 'presidentially' pardoned? Who do they think they have been betrayed by?
Should we not ask the families of the likes of Biswajit, the blown-up policeman on duty, the gunned-down unarmed devotee, the mutilated AL activist in Satkhira, and the nameless and unreported countless others lost in continued political violence raging across the land? Who do they think they have been betrayed by? Who have dragged their feet in bringing the perpetrators to justice? Who bless, incite and finance the foray of violent activism, nurture the culture of politics at gunpoint, and then assure protection, political promotion and financial dividends for the perpetrators?
Should we not ask the families of the likes of brutally murdered bright young chap Tauki in Narayanganj and journalist couple Sagar-Runi and kidnapped little boy Parag Mondol in Dhaka? Who do they think they are being betrayed by? Why the wheels of justice turn, if ever, so slowly and painfully for them? Why security in life and justice in death for their kind matter so little even to the Prajanma Movement?
Should we not ask the Buddhist citizens of Ramu-Ukhia and the violated religious/ethnic minorities like them across the land? Who do they think they are being betrayed by? Who is playing reckless and sub-human politics and endless blame game with their vulnerability? Who is failing to even properly and timely identify their low-life aggressors? How many temples need to be torched and the dignity of how many minority girls would have to be compromised before enough is enough?
Should we not ask the people of southern Bangladesh and for that matter all of Bangladesh why the differential interpretation of what constitutes a bribery crime and the associated international brinkmanship were so much more important than obtaining much needed external financing for the vital Padma Bridge from the international financial institutions? Whose underlying interests prevailed over theirs?
Should we not ask the small investors who were ruthlessly defrauded by the powerful scam artists in the share market? Why the people identified by the government's own investigation are yet to be arraigned and prosecuted? Should we not ask the people of Bangladesh why the looting of their nationally owned banks continued unabated under the surveillance of their elected government? And yet why no government leader of any stature has faced any disciplinary action? Should we not ask the poor member borrowers of the Grameen Bank why they are forced out of governance control of the Nobel winning institution they own?
Should we not ask the people of Bangladesh why do they have to go to jail for defaming important political leaders, but not the holy religious figures of their faith? For that matter, why do the atheist bloggers or the outspoken editors/media outlets have to be punished for their uninhibited opinions, as outlandish and insensitive that may be? Is there any greater human right in a civilized society than the freedom of expression by all? Who is robbing the people of Bangladesh of that very defining liberty the "Muktir Shongram" was about?
Forty plus years since the Liberation War, the ordinary people of Bangladesh are still waiting to be delivered on life, liberty, dignity and equity. The blood of ordinary citizens shed today is fresh and red, the grief of victims is piercing, the agony of helpless suffering is traumatic, and the suffocation of abdicated voices is killing. The Liberation War of the new millennium is to be against the powerful enemies within, the Neo-Razakars.
Mo Chaudhury is a Professor of Practice at McGill University, Montreal, Canada.