Squatters, Goons And The Media In Bangladesh

The Landlords at the News Conference

So let me tell you a story.

Back in 2002 you signed a lease to rent out your building to a number of businesses all owned by the same family. You sign a 5 year lease with the tenants. The 5 year lease expired on September 30, 2007. You have given notice to your tenants that you will not renew the lease. September 30, 2007 arrives and passes, yet the tenants do not vacate your building.

Twenty-two days after the lease has expired, on October 22 2007, your tenants are seen installing a diesel generator on the roof of the building you own, without your permission. When you and your wife arrive to prevent the tenants from making modifications to the building you own, you are punched by the tenant and, on his orders, his goons set upon you with metal rods. You end up in the hospital. Your wife tries to intervene and is slapped by the tenant.

Three days after the incident, you hold a press conference trying to get some justice. Reporters attend your press conference but only one newspaper in the country decides to publish your story.

The story above represents the allegations made at a press conference in Dhaka on October 25, 2007 by Dr. Mahbub Islam and his wife, the landlords. The tenants are three companies – Adcom, Signage and Magnavision. Adcom is owned by Geeteara Safiya Choudhury, a current civilian Advisor of the military government of Bangladesh. The other two companies are owned by her husband, Nazim Kamran Choudhury, a former member of the Bangladeshi parliament. Dr. Islam and his wife allege that Nazim Kamran Choudhury and others assaulted them on October 22, 2007 at their own building, twenty-two days after the lease expired and after the three companies failed to vacate the premises.

Mrs. Geeteara Choudhury, who famously said back in April of this year that "I’m not thinking about human rights at this time, but my own", is one of the civilian faces of this military government – a government that claims as its mandate an "anti-corruption" drive. This government claims that it is doing away with abuse of power and corruption as it jails top politicians and hundreds of thousands of citizens under draconian laws. Yet, Geeteara Choudhury and her husband now face accusations of using their power to forcibly squat on someone else’s property. Mr. Choudhury also faces accusations of violent assault. This is a story of the powerful forcing their will on the powerless. This is a story of corruption and abuse of power.

Every day the Bangladeshi newspapers are filled with stories of corruption by the politicians that are being locked away by this military government. Every allegation is given prominent billing. Yet, the Bangladeshi media remains oddly silent about this story and these allegations.

Bangladesh now has an unelected unaccountable military government, with 11 unelected unaccountable civilian "advisors", leading the country on an "anti-corruption" crusade. Bangladesh now has a frightened and compliant media.

Now that I have told you the above story, do you think Bangladesh is headed toward more corruption or less corruption? Do you think under these circumstances the common citizen has recourse to the law vis-à-vis the unelected unaccountable "leaders"?


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59 Responses to Squatters, Goons And The Media In Bangladesh

  1. Aggreived says:


    You forgot (?!!!) to mention few points

    1)Till February 2007, the Islams had been wiling to renew the lease.

    2) They asked the Chowdhurys to move the Adcomm and its subsidiaries, Signage, and Megavision to move offices by the end of September.

    3)The tenants asked for a little extra time as after consideration it seemed that it would be impossible to shift offices and change paper work for all three organizations by the 30th of September. The Islams refused.

    4)On 5th October 2007, the Islams cut off the power supply of their tenants leaving over 100 people without electricity and running water. The tenants filed a case against the Islams.

    6)When the tenants tried to get their own power,the Islams showed up and resisted.

    7)Islams called a press conference to tell their tale, but were unable to back it up with evidence (witnesses, paper work etc). Hence only the dying Dinkal published their story.

    8) Till date the Islams haven’t gone to the police or court to act on their story, as they have no proof.

    9) You have also forgotten to mention that Adcomm, Signage and Megavision are still occupying the buildings because they have a staying order from the court. They are still without power, because their merciful building owners, Mr and Mrs Islam refuse to turn the power back on. This is against the law.

  2. Habib Sattar says:

    In response to comment #1.

    There are thousands of people rotting in jail as we talk. They are in jail because of one or two groundless or yet to be proven allegations. And the media driven character genocide that took place during the last fifteen years, didn’t need ( in your words) “..back it up with evidence (witnesses, paper work etc)”.

    On a second note, how do you accept Dr Islam to go to court when even the most powerful untouchable politicians and powerful men-women themselves are not getting the due process? The only court Islams hoped would work was the media court. This story proves that the all powerful Chowdhury dynasty that now owns the caretaker government also owns the media in Bangladesh. Who will dare agrieve ad giant adcom?

  3. DhakaShohor says:

    Mr.Aggrieved is a very lazy fellow who has decided to post the same thing on my blog. Unfortunately, my blog post had little or nothing to do with the guilt or innocence of the Chowdhurys. Here is what I have said in response:

    I don’t know whether you really know the meaning of the word “forget”. I cannot forget what I don’t know!

    If you are part of the aggrieved party, you should call a press conference and/or inform us bloggers RESPECTFULLY as to your side of the story. Please re-read my post. It does not say that the Islams were right and the Chowdhury’s were wrong.


    Do you have an answer to that? If not, don’t bother commenting on my blog and imputing motives behind my post. Your parentheses are not appreciated…. “sir”!

    I await your response Mr. Aggrieved. Hopefully you’ve got something better than attacking bloggers with “forgot (?!!!)”. Exclamation marks after a question mark make little sense.

  4. Aggrieved:
    There are two sides to each story, and you said:

    8) Till date the Islams haven’t gone to the police or court to act on their story, as they have no proof.

    Looks like you did not bother reading the Dinkal article:
    – They complained to RAB-1 in June 2006 because of unapproved constructions and sub-lets
    – GD in Gulshan thana in March 2007

    Notice to vacate was given in June 2007. The stay order you mention was first rejected by a court on September 25, 2007, and then reinstated on appeal. Another appeal is pending at this stage.

    I know there is a new GD. I believe the Chowdhury’s filed a libel suit, and the Islams also filed a counter-suit.

    Facts–inconvenient, but still facts

  5. Mash says:

    Aggrieved, I will begin with point #6 you raised because that to me is the most problematic. You said:

    6)When the tenants tried to get their own power,the Islams showed up and resisted.

    The Islams are alleging that your party assaulted them when they tried to stop your party from making modifications, without their permission, to a building that they own. I can see why they “resisted”. I am not sure that a tenant has a right to beat up the landlord when the landlord does not allow modifications to his building, especially after the tenant’s lease has clearly expired.

    The rest of your comment about your dispute with the landlord is secondary. The main issue is the allegation that an advisor to the military government and husband are involved in assaulting a citizen of Bangladesh. You would think the press would have covered it. If for nothing else, then to dispel the allegation of abuse of power.

    Since you raised the issue of the lease, it seems clear from the comment that you knew five months before your lease expired that it would not be renewed. Why then have you, the tenants, failed to move out? That makes very little sense.

    I think its pretty clear that if a lease is expired and a landlord has informed you well in advance that the lease wont be renewed that the tenant needs to vacate the premises. When a tenant refuses to do that, it usually results in an eviction order from the court. In most cases, tenants dont take it to that extreme and do the right thing and vacate property that they dont own and that they have no legal right to occupy.

    I fail to understand why it should be different in this case.

  6. Mash let me tell you a story.

    Back in 2002 you signed a lease to rent an uncompleted building. You not only paid advance but also invested your own money in doing up the place knowing that you have a lease for 10 years. 5 years as per the initial agreement and 5 years because the contract was to be renewed. Then in February you meet with the landowners to discuss the renewal and you were given assurance of being done. You then follow up the next few months asking for the new agreement to be told that “why worry? it’ll come. you know how lawyers are. etc etc”. Then all of a sudden in June you are given an eviction notice. You run to the landowners to say that the three months given is not adequate a time to move 50,000sq ft. You remind them that to move into their own building 8 month time was taken. You are then reassured that this was just a formality. Only to be told in the last weeks of September that the initial eviction notice stands. You panic and go to the courts to get enough time to find new premises. The courts as per usual practice then ask both parties to maintain status quo till they have time to review the case. To your utter disbelieve just a few days before Eid vacation starts and no time left for legal recourse, your landlord cuts off electricity to your office. Despite requesting them to reconsider given that salary and eid bonuses of the 600 or so staff in the various group companies and factories could not be paid due to the non-operation of the accounts software and systems, the power is not restored. Then when the Eid holidays are over you go to courts, the landlord uses delaying tactics asking for more time. You soon realize that offices cannot operate without electricity and expensive as it might you decide to put in your own generators. When you come in to install it (btw in the ground floor designated parking area and not the roof) you are met with a resisting landlord and his “friends from Badda”. Then in front of 150+ people who had gathered verbal altercation occurs and nothing more. Then three days later you wake up to read in the papers that the landlords have held a press conference and amongst other things have alleged that you have physically assaulted them and used political clout unfairly. In the same press conference they fail to mention that they had come to Mrs Choudhury asking her to use her influence in the government to force Rajuk to illegally allocate an adjacent vacant land that they have forcefully occupied to them. Unfortunately for them Mrs Choudhury understood that this was illegal and refused to get involved. It is also not mentioned in the press conference that this is not the first time they have gotten into conflict with their neighbours. Why only a year or two ago they fought (with their “friends” from Badda being present) with the owners of the LakeShore Hotel. I believe it was also not mentioned that the international Group 4 who were in charge of the security of the building had to earlier evict a “shala” /cousin from a rooftop apartment that was under the landlord’s possession. Unfortunately phyensidyl bottles were found in that area and rumours of debauchery were rife.

    My fellow bloggers it seems baffled on why most newspapers have not reported this. Well maybe because Mr and Mrs Choudhury has built over the last 35+ years a reputation of being honest, hardworking and conscientious citizens. Maybe because when reporters called and spoke to all parties and looked at evidence they soon found out that this was basically a tenancy disagreement that was pending in the courts. Maybe just “allegations” are not enough to malign one’s hard earned reputation.

  7. Salma says:

    To Mr. Nazim Farhan Chowdhury. It is sad that an intelligent person like you is trying to mislead the storyline here. Please note that the case in question was not a tenancy issue. A criminal offense was alleged that involved physical assault, according to the press conference held by Mr. Mahbub and his wife. Apart from referring to the “people in Badda” again and again you are totally silent about that.

    An allegation involving physical assault with connection to a cabinet member, itself has some news value. Is it not strange when some women’s private life are open to full public view in newspapers because of the allegation that they are Yaba addicts, such criminal allegation against a minister is not news even!

    Mr. Farhan, it is very funny that you claim about reputation and all that. Say, the holy Khatib of Baitul Mukarram commits a crime, is it a reporter’s job to get his charecter certificate and do news?

    As a sub-editor of a daily, I will tell you a story.

    Only one reporter turned up in that press conference. No other newspaper reporter turned up. Not becasue of reputation BUT because of a phone call from one Mrs. Tareque (of Adcomm) to advertising managers of newspapers “requesting” them to ignore that. Every one in Dhaka newspapers know this and you come here to bring allegations aganist bloggers! They were not even bringing allegation, they were mention the above mentioned fact only.

  8. Salma of comment 7:

    Yes I understand that case is no longer just a tenancy one. Now given that the Islam’s have alleged physical abuse (unproven bar the cast during the Press conference) and we are claiming defamation I think there are multiple avenues that the case is now going down. I am sorry if you thought I was trying to mislead. My contention is one that should be possible to resolve through discussion and dialogue is being dragged through a proxy shouting match.

    Yes Mrs Tarek did speak to the press. She is our official spokesperson and gave our side of the story. Most of the papers who did carry the piece including New Age, Shomokal and Naya Digonto gave our versions as well.

    And here is where my own “reputation” defense enters. Some bloggers are editorialising the issue where a) we are already taken to be the guilty party (headlines like “New Godfather” etc or your example of the Khatib committing a crime) or our version of the story was not asked / reported (I must add this is not to be generalised as a few gave links to my contact details to bring us into dialogue.)

    It seems everyone takes it for the truth that just because Mrs Choudhury is part of the CTG means that we are using force and political clout. On the contrary. We are quite aware that we are under the magnifying glass. Hence we have made sure we do not scurry undue favour. As witness to the “generator incident” will attest, that Police was present but did not interfere. When was the last time you can think of when Police stood by when a “minister” was abused?

    Incidentally I do agree with you that just because of some person is accused to be a Yaba addict, their private life (and more horrifyingly that of anyone they are related to including siblings and sibling’s spouses) should not be public fodder. Nor should one be guilty just because one is related. (take for example that every-time Amin Huda is mentioned a suffix “nephew of Aziz Md. Bhai” is added)

    I am sure that as a sub-editor you (Salma of comment 7) do not allow same to happen in your paper however that is not the popular action. So isn’t the argument that we need to have our affairs in spotlight just because most of the press in Bangladesh is spotlighting the Yaba case self defeating for privacy advocates?

  9. Asif S says:

    Lost my last comment in this anti spam checker crap…let me try again.

  10. Asif S says:

    Don’t have the energy to type again the whole thing but like others have highighted, I want to echo the bankruptcy of the media here again. Regardless of which side of the story of we believe, there was a genuine story here for media specially because this is concerning a power broker. Media is after all there to check their balance. But I know some of the journos and reporters in Bangladesh and as you all know there are two taboos in the media. No one writes anything negative about army and no one writes anything bad about each others media coverage. Good to see bloggers filling in that role and I think they are adding a great value.

    But having said that I think the bloggers have been presumptuous in showing the chowdhury’s in a negative light. Just like some of us are asking for due process and proof and evidence in criticizing the former MPs, we should provide equal treatment to people who are involved with CTG as well. How difficult would have been to get Farhan’s side of the story when he is so accessible by email and his blog?

    I am not familiar with legal element of tenancy in Bangladesh but in most western countries, it is always the tenants who get the sympathy of the court and often it is very difficult to evict. Certainly cutting off utility will be an absolutely last straw and court would be very eager to see the reason for it.

    While the tenancy issue is being debated the more serious allegation of physical abuse remains unaddressed. If indeed violence had taken place by the Chowdhurys, it is a grave offense. However, the key questions are

    Why did Mr. Islam decided to fight it out in the media rather than the court of law? Did he do a lawsuit about the physical violence? If so, did he get cooperation from the local thana in filing the GD?
    Admittedly Mr. Islam is the underdog here and as typically happens the sympathy goes to the underdog. But as objective analyzers of events, bloggers should not just accept the mere allegations.

  11. Mash says:

    Farhan, the allegations of assault upon the landlords are very serious. It is also suprising that the media in Bangladesh are quite silent about it. Salma in #7 says the Adcomm representative called advertising managers of newspapers. Why would the Adcomm rep call advertising managers to give your side of the story? Wouldnt the calls go to reporters instead? I have to wonder if the newspapers perceived the calls to be coming from a representative of the company or from the representative of the military government’s Advisor.

    The issue of overstaying your lease with the landlord is secondary. However, you have gone into great detail describing why you feel you should be allowed to overstay your lease. The thing I find surprising in your account of your lease dispute is why a company would not plan to move knowing that the lease was going to expire at a known time and also knowing that there was no signed extension of the lease. It seems strange that a company would remain at a building on the hope that an expiring lease will be renewed.

  12. Mash says:

    Asif, I think this certainly was a newsworthy story. It became doubly so since the Bangladeshi media, not unsurprisingly, punted. I dont believe I have accepted the allegations, I have only written about them. As I pointed out in the post, Bangladesh is now ruled by an unelected, unaccountable government. Add to that a compliant and cowed media and you have serious potential for abuse of power. If the Bangladeshi media were not so cowed, this story may have emerged differently. It is the media’s silence that precipitated this post.

    I also dont think bloggers have been “presumptuous” and I dont think bloggers erred in not contacting the son of the advisor for comment, especially since as of the writing of this post Farhan had posted on his own blog that “any discussion on my part will be sub-judious”. Since I posted this, Farhan has written two comments here laying out his position. Those who read the post then have an opportunity to see both the allegations and the rebuttal – a luxury denied those currently imprisoned in Bangladesh.

    Finally, I also note that DP did not contact Geeteara Choudhury when it posted this item about her.

  13. Tanoy says:

    Asif, First of all I wanted to be silent about the whole thing. Because Normally I don’t like to go to the personal level . This is also not my business to discuss about the contract of the both parties.

    Farhan is a nice guy and at least I thank him that he is explaining his position in here .

    But I am pointing out some of your comments in here-

    “just like some of us are asking for due process and proof and evidence in criticizing the former MPs, we should provide equal treatment to people who are involved with CTG as well.”

    Ans: I think none of us has been given any single chance by this care taker Government.

    while daughter of founding leader of the country as well as who were the ex prime minister of the country has been arrested

    without any proper case where is the Voice of some reputed bloggers then?

    while Dhaka University teachers have been arrested on the hypothesis of CTG, where was the due process then?

    There are also the both sides of the stories

    and I am sorry to say that None has any patience to hear the story of both sides.

    Basically Mash has Just raised the situation in here. None of bloggers is coming here to spread the venom about chowdhury family. Even if we see the Shada Kalo, Mash or any one , they only published it on the base of press conference only .

    Farhan, Majority of the bloggers are not inside the country. Each and every one knows there is no Single Freedom of press in Bangladesh.

    In this Current scenario while our brilliant journalists , cartoonists are in detention

    for the speaking truths, how can you expect

    All of the bloggers will not believe on such reports.

    Your Mother is in the part of Government.She is a public Figure


    It’s very natural that you people have to take the initiative to clear those confusion.

    I personally have high expectation from you.

    Well Asif you know what our problem is!

    we are nervous to say black to black and gray to gray.

    Even I am not out of this.

  14. Asif S says:


    I think this case is a particularly different one than the last time Geeti Ara was in the blog headlines. At that time, it was a direct quote by her which created controversy. Compared to this case where there is two very different versions of the same story. I did however tried to get a response and Farhan did kindly sent a long one but he was not keen on getting it public and so I did not publish it.


    Black is black and white is white but it depends at who is looking at it. To me, you and others it is true as black is black that Jamat was involved in war crimes. But to some people it is not black until it is proven in the court of law. SImilarly some people object to calling Tareq Rahman a corrupt politician until it is proven in the court of law. Quite rightly so. I say apply the same standard for what is black.

    I think Rumi bhai’s post sums up the issue quite well. Lesson for people on the power who feels victimized is that it is important to give both versions of the story out and give people a fair chance. Also black out of news only gives birth to news that can be “lemon” but people will lap it up. So it is better to get the whole truth out in the open at first go.

  15. Robin_Milford says:

    Sometimes I laugh when I see that the son of an adviser trying to get sympathy by stating 3 months time is not good enough for evacuating a 50K SFT builiding. May I humbly ask him how many hours the Rangs building tenants were given before evacuation ? How about the slum demolition drive ? How many minutes the poor \’illegal occupants\’ were provided ? How about the ongoing RAJUK evacuation for Bijoy Sarani- Tejgaon link road, where the road plan was changed to save the establishment of an adviser ? Or how about giving only 72 hours to submit the wealth statement of what u earned in more than 3 decades ?

    It is easy to utter neeti kotha, but u get to know the other side of the story only when u urself are in the receiving end.

    BTW I dare not publish my identity as I do not want myself to be in the receiving side for raising my voice against the mighty Chowdhury dynasty.

    — Robin_Milford

  16. NiRBashito says:

    Bravo! Robin_Milford! Shame on these hypocrites!

    I thought I’d stay out of this, but the more I read about the “other side’s story” the more I get convinced about their dishonesty: so it’s okay to cast aspersions about the landlord’s greed for his neighbor’s property, his shala, and his phensydyl habits, while “acknowledging” yaba addicts should not be public fodder… One throws in the possibility that “maybe the newspapers called and found out about the other side” but when confronted, one is forced to admit, without any shame, “oh yes, our official spokesperson called up every newspaper and gave out our side of the story!” To me it sounds more like >”… and that leads a few more a few more very dark possibilities!

    Jeez, and here we are, the so-called enlightened, progressive, HR-proponents, accusing the Jamaati war-criminals of the same disingenuous tactics. No wonder we are doomed to fail in everything we take on.

  17. NiRBashito says:

    The missing part towards the end of my post:

    “…To me it sounds more like “our office volunteered to give out our version of the story UNSOLICITED, and with the usual implications not quite verbalized…””

  18. Mash says:

    Asif, I think the difference is without distinction. However, if Mrs. Geeteara Choudhury wants to publish a rejoinder in this blog, I will be happy to publish it. I have never censored anyone nor allowed a point of view to be suppressed on this blog. As you know, I do not moderate comments.

    I don’t know Farhan like you. I wrote about a public figure who is a member of Bangladesh’s ruling unelected government. I did not write about her son, who is a private citizen, nor did I feel compelled to get a comment from a private citizen to complete this blog post. If there are any errors of fact in my post, as always I am happy to retract them. None has been pointed out to me.

    As you pointed out in your comment your friend Farhan gave you private feedback and did not wish it published. As I noted, he indicated on his own blog he would have little comment. Obviously now he has changed his mind.

    And since you brought up the issue of tenancy laws, you are quite wrong about tenancy laws in Bangladesh as well as in Western countries. If you do not have a lease, evicting a tenant is a relatively simple matter. None of these countries favor squatting illegally on private property after expiration of lease. For example, in the United States, you serve 3 days notice and file an Unlawful Detainer with the court. The tenant has five days to respond with reasons why they should not be evicted. Since the tenant has overstayed the lease and refused to move out, there is not much in the tenant’s favor. A court order is swiftly followed by a sherrif supervised eviction. My in-house lawyer tells me the law is very similar in Bangladesh.

    The two primary issues remain the allegations of assault and the curious silence of the media. The lease issue is pretty clear cut. I dont think anyone is denying that the lease has expired. Whether the Bangladeshi courts are independent enough to do the right thing here is another question – I have serious doubts.

  19. keno says:

    This story is significant because Geetiara is part of a team that believes that you can arrest, detain and torture someone based on allegation only.

    Under the same rule, her husband can be detained based on Mr. Islam’s allegations, can’t he?

  20. iqo says:

    Dear Asif S,
    From the bloggs it seems that you are related to Drishtipat. Here is how you treated the news. I posted twice as a comment and included the news link (Dinkal.Both comments never showed up after moderation.

    The Bank Gate information was sent to Dristipat through the “Feedback” tool before anyone got it (on 14th). Then it was posted as a comment at another blogg(on 16th) and Mash took it up and did an excellent job. You wrote about it on 28th. Drishtipat sat on this about two weeks!

    Now when I read your post, I am not surprised. I presume you want this CTG to succeed, we all do. But the path you took (protecting the leaders of CTG from criticism) is the one the CTG is preaching not to be done by the party loyalist. 😕

    I hope you will clarify if I am missing something here!

  21. Salma says:

    Iqo, thanks for exposing this. Mr. Asif remains a shameless advocate of this military junta and he has been doing this from the very beginning.

    Now, another piece of information that might help us to understand why a report against Mrs. Geetiara hurts him so much. Because, he is a member of one political organization “Take Back Bangladesh” where Mr. Farhan is a leader. Together they want to take Bangladesh in their pocket.

    Now about his own organization: DP. They claim to be upholding human rights. One standard line from them as explanation is “we were criticized and opposed by both BNP and AL for projects like Tipu Sultan and etc… etc” Now for how many months are we under a military rule? What did DP do?

    Now the latest example of hypocrisy by Mr. Saleh is here.

    Ok. So journalist Akash is Tipu Sultan? With all due respect to Tipu, may I ask how can we compare physical assault by lawless cadres of a godfather (Hazari) with torture and imprisonment by the security forces! If Mr. Saleh thinks he is correct in this comparison, he must identify and declare who is the Hazari (godfather) is this case. Who? Moeen U Ahmed or Fakruddin? Who is the Jaynal Hazari of 2007? Do you dare to answer Mr. Saleh?

    Mr. Saleh, you mention about Mati of PA. You know that you are not better them him in any way. I posted this observation in the post in your blog, but you did not allow.

    You and Mati are the same civil society. You both welcomed this government and still defending this government.

    The servant nature with which you worship this elite government is exposed from your own word by you:

    I did however tried to get a response and Farhan did kindly sent a long one but he was not keen on getting it public and so I did not publish it.

    When was the first time sending a explanation become a act of kindness? Mr. Farhan was trying to defend his mothers nonsense comment.

    We public ask for explanation and it is not kindness of the rulers who send a long one. But to you it is a big thing.

    We don’t see newspapers reporting that minister protested about this report kindly. And Mr. Farhan did not want it publish so you did not publish. So what did you do? Read the long explanation yourself and be happy that he kindly sent you that?

  22. Mash says:

    Folks, I advise everyone to return the comment thread to the topic of the post and to refrain from personal attacks on other commenters.

    If you disagree with a commenter’s point of view please do so, but please do so without personal attacks.

    I don’t moderate comments, but please do not abuse that policy.

    For the record, I am a regular reader of the DP group blog and on one occasion I was glad to contribute a post. DP’s human rights record in Bangladesh is commendable, including the very important initiative DP has taken to help women survivors of the 1971 genocide. I have great respect for the organization.

    I also contribute to the Drishtipat Writers’ Collective, a writer’s initiative started by Asif. I respect Asif’s views and welcome his comments on this blog.

  23. Asif says:


    Please don’t jump into conclusions so fast. Iqo,
    I am sorry the comment you posted never showed up but we have had experience where when multiple links are are posted in a comment the spam identifying software things it is a spam. Easy way to identify is this — once your comment is submitted, if you see the text @your comment is awaiting moderation”, then you know it is at the queue. Otherwise, it got eaten.

    Regarding the your question about the bankgate thread and many other sensitive threads, not everything is published by the group blog because there is an organization behind it and its future work in Bangladesh is also impacted with the decisions we take. Rest assured, if there is a potential story, it will show up, if not in uv, in any of the premier blogs similar to the way other stories have showed up recently. There is a reason why some of the bloggers in UV have their individual blogs as well. Bloggers have a lot more freedom in the individual blogs and post without worrying about the safety of other journalists. Similarly, UV is not a full blown political blog like shadakalo or rumiahmed. So we don’t cover the day to day political stories like they do.

    Dear “Salma”,

    The similarities with Tipu sultan in the akash case is simple. It is the same ruling class completely violating rules and norms and beating up local journalists while the administration looks the other way. In 2001 it was Jainal Hajari and his cadre. In 2004 it was Shahidul Islam MP and cadre and in 2007 it is the RAB, the cadre for the current ruling govt. Different label but same attitude.
    Banglai eke bole shoshok srenir choritro ek.

    Like many of us, I was very enthusiastic about the changes in January but slowly and steadily my enthusiasm has changed to apprehension and all are well documented in the blogs in uv. But I will still have no hesitation in clapping to the long term institutional changes that have taken place. However, all the changes is meaningless if they are under the influence of army in Bangladesh.

    If you feel, there is a story and your comment is not getting posted, as noted in the blog, please send an email in the future to — blog at drishtipat dot org.

    Apologies to Mash for this side comment but I figured I should explain the accusations.

  24. Mahmud Farooque says:

    With advance apology to Mash for the digression, I would like to make a brief point about misplaced expectations. Blogs are not meant to be a substitute for the established media. They are better viewed as a compliment that addresses the information gaps that may exist.

    It is sort of like the relationship between market and government institutions and the non-profit sectors. Non-profits are not meant to be substitutes but work in areas where governments and/or markets have failed. DP can never be all things to all people and expecting it’s blog to cover everything an established media organization is supposed to report, to me, is an unrealistic expectation.

    I have been an infrequent but longtime participant in DP initiatives and have taken part in its blogs from time to time. I have been on the record opposing the CTG concept since the late 1990s independent of DP. I have no trouble holding on to my views and being a part of DP initiatives or its blog. I salute Mash and Asif for their courage and boldness to give us the voice denied by our established institutions including the media.

  25. ZaFa says:

    Take Back Bangladesh (TBB) was launched about a year ago with an intention to involve the young generation into healthy politics, encourage the youth to take a stand issues….etc. The banners of TBB were “Say NO to violence” and “Say YES to fair and free election”. Later TBB changed its name to Phiriye Ano Bangladesh (PAB). PAB does not support any particular political party or their mandates.
    PAB’s vision statement;
    “A democratic, enlightened and prosperous Bangladesh; led by a new generation of men and women, who will take the country back from confrontational politics and corruption; developing forward-looking political, economic and social strategies to transform Bangladesh into a tiger of Asia free from hunger, poverty, exploitation and misuse of power.”
    More information on PAB is available at the web site http://phiriye-ano.blogspot.com/ , also in the FaceBook. Anybody with access to facebook can join PAB.
    Drishtip is a HR organization compiled of NRBs professional and businessmen who take time out of their busy lives to create awareness on BD related issues, raise funds etc. Asif S formed DP with a few of his friends, and its first successful campaign was raising funds for Tipu Sultan’s medical treratment, a victim of brutal political criminals.
    DP’s activities are documented in the website http://drishtipat.org/index.php . The chapters are on the top (5 in U.S., 1 in U.K, and 1 in Australia). Each chapter has their own ongoing projects and campaigns. This year’s highlight of Virginia chapter would be raising funds for the SSC candidates residing in the water logged community of Bhobodaho, Jessore. Besides the HR issues DP’s members have been undertaking health and sanitation project, environmental project, and projects involving empowerment of small scale entrepreneurs. Whatever opinion AsifS has on the unfortunate incident that took place on the property owned by the Islams, is his own and he is entitled to have those, and should not be taken as a cursor to judge the wonderful works being done by the volunteer members of the organizations he’s involved with.

  26. Lopa Tasneem says:

    Dear Mash and others,

    I cannot help but write a few lines on this. At BAFI conference last summer I had a presentation on the past and present projects of Drishtipat. After the presentation, hearing all the nice complements, I started to feel some satisfaction thinking that what a voluntary organisation like Drishtipat, initially formed by some expatriates, had accomplished in such a short time is not too bad and I personally was feeling proud of Asif, because I know how much time and energy he spends for this organisation, his dream. A woman walked to me and said she’s very disappointed that Drishtipat had never addressed the human rights issues that she expected it to do. Then she read a list from her notebook. It covered everything from battered women to tribal people. I was just staring at her speechlessly :-). My dear sister, it would take 100 drishtipats to cover all these human rights issues that you just mentioned…. But we’ll definitely keep the list – I said.

    People’s expectations sometimes move far away from reality which is understandable.


  27. Tanoy says:

    I was watching the whole discussion In the whole thread. all those personal attack, explanation. well some times Truth is coming as stranger than fiction.

    I don’t like for the personal attack and all. Basically as an organization I do have the huge respect for DP.I think Zafa has mentioned already and Asif has done lots of heard work to develop an organization. I myself is attached with profitable organizations in my whole life. so My salute to the Non profit organisations like DP.

    But In some point of time I am bit disappointed with DP as Unheard Voice not as a human right organizations. My Idealism is suited with DP as their Secular standing. But I don’t agree with Asif some times his Neutral standing in every case. May be this is my limitation.It is called the difference of opinion.

    Well Lopa Apa, some times I even did not get very good treatment from DP

    regarding the Yunus case. Every Time lost of DP members and even some of my very close friend pointed me as AL supporter and anti Yunus despite I never had any form of political relationship

    with AL.Lots of people have reached in Conclusion.
    But I never cared to express my standing
    I also differ Tipu Sultan case with Akash.Basically this is my personal opinion.

    Some Times I feel Un heard voice did not do justice to some common readers like us. Lots of stories could be pointed out but UV was silent on such cases. I mailed Asif also some times about those things. So the respect which I do have for person Asif Saleh , HR organization DP but because of this Neutral thing I Can’t find UV all the time as my own blog which freedom I am getting In Salam Dhaka, shada kalo, Doc strange love and Rumi Ahmed.
    Basically I think this thead is mainly on the base of Geeti Ara story. I don’t know
    why It is turned into a Personal attacking

    and explanation thread.

    Asif you are an old friend. So I feel you should take it sportingly. I myself faced lots of criticism. see we all have a common agenda and we like to see Secular, Democratic Bangladesh. This should be the common agenda for DP, E-BD, BD news24, shamokal, prothom-alo every one.

  28. Lopa Tasneem says:

    Why don’t we open a thread in Drishtipat blog just for expressing our grievances, expectations, and suggestions to improve.

    Sorry Mash!

  29. Dushto says:

    Can we get back to the original topic PLEASE?

    The question here is that did Geetiara Chowdhury, an advisor to the military government, and her family assault a family and then try to bury the news by having their spokeswoman call the different newspapers?

    If so, then can Nazim Kamran be arrested and detained under the Emergency act for this allegation?

  30. Lopa Tasneem says:

    Just a quick note to Tanay.
    You wrote, “because of this Neutral thing I Can’t find UV all the time as my own blog which freedom I am getting In Salam Dhaka, shada kalo, Doc strange love and Rumi Ahmed.”

    The difference is Drishtipat is an organization, not Asif’s personal blog and what is written in there sometimes catches attention of raghob-boyals. When you run an organization that sometimes goes against the best interest of the govt, you gotta be careful what you write. You have to make sure you are not labeled as a propaganda machine and have it shut down by the whims of some xyz. Its main goal should be to accomplish the real work. You have to be diplomatic at certain times. I’m sure you’ll agree working for war victim women or battered Hindu families are not easy jobs, especially when Jamaat is in power. If you recall, DP was in the news in Bangladesh TV not too long ago, was portrayed negatively off course. These are my personal opinion.

  31. Sushanta says:

    দুই বার try করলাম, কমেন্ট গুলো মাশ ভাই এর গার্ডগুলো খেয়ে ফেলছে। এবার দিব ই।

    What is going on there? The heading of the thread speaks for itself. So why we are speaking what Asif Saleh personally did or didn’t?

    আমার খুব সহজ কথা, Nazim Kamran কে গ্রেফতার করতে বলেন either he is guilty or not. As all others ppl are in Jail without any kinda charges.

    Why Nazim Kamran would be the exception? ঊনার সব relative CTG আছে এজন্য? না, এটা হতে পারে না।

    আসিফ সালেহ ভাইয়ের কোন মতেই Nazim Kamran এর favour কিছু বলতে পারেন না। কোন মতেই না। Just Nazim Kamran কে গ্রেফতার করতে বলেন । পরে সব দেখা যাবে।

  32. UV Admin says:

    can we ask all those who has grivences against UV blog to register their feelings here


    Rather than this thread which is not about UV or DP.

    UV blog is read by a wide number of international audience, journalists and human rights workers. The focus often is objective and analytical rather than rhetorical. It is not a personal blog and neither DP is the fruit of one person’s effort. It is a collective effort. It is natural that you will not agree to all of its stand. If so, you would have had a chance to get your views heard through the comment section.

    for further comments, please visit and comment at http://www.drishtipat.org/blog/2007/11/06/open-thread-5/#comments

  33. Lopa Tasneem says:

    aapni bolen naa Sushanta bhaai greptaar korte. dekhi naa ki hoy.

  34. Tanoy says:

    Well Lopa Apa, I hope You should not misread me. I never compalain any thing about Asif. Just I am explaning my diffrence of opinion about that.Basically
    I hoope we should speak to this issue in right thread or at least as a youingr brother I will mail you also my opinion too. Hope you will not mind. Because I am also feeling sorry that this thread is

    changing direction.

    Sushanta, why are you making Asif party in here. I think Farhan is expaling his postion and we are covering this thing.

    Please note that we all are speaking on due process. Nazim Kamran Chowdhury can’t be taken to Jail Like that only on the base of news paper. Due process should be maintained for him. Other wise we can’t claim due process for Sheikh Hasina or Khalda Zia. Unfortunately we have lots of lack of the Due process in country. One guy told he bribed Sheikh Hasina by cash and she is getting arrest. No need to go for proper trial.

    This is the actual picture of Bangladesh.

    I hope you just do the satire.

  35. Sushanta says:

    Dear Lopa Appu, we all have to ask for arresting. আমি একা বলে তো কিচ্চু হবে না।

  36. DhakaShohor says:

    I tried last night to respond to iqo and Salma, and was going to start with “not that Asif bhai needs more defenders or any other than himself”. I see that is indeed the case and there is little for me to add.

    My personal two cents: I have been an extremely satisfied reader of the UV blog since April/May of this year. I think their reporting on the DU riots was one of their best moments. If that was bowing down to power, let’s have more of that!

  37. Sushanta says:

    And another thing, If Mr Nazim Kamran would be arrested, the position of Mrs. Kamran and all her relatives in CTG would be brighter. So whyn’t the relatives within the CTG are taking the chance?

  38. iqo says:

    Thanks Asif S for your explanation. I do understand that you are doing your best within the limitation of a HR organization active in Bangladesh – particularly this testing time. Keep up your good work DP!

    n.b. My posts were not lost, it was waiting for moderation. I could not find any reason not to publish it – and was concerned as I expressed. I will email you if it happens again- thanks 🙂

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  40. En Route says:

    Looks like I arrived very late, not that I always arrive, if ever.

    But the conversation took a long road. And I slipped.

    I was just curious Mr. Mash, what can one do against such evil ?

    I do have a suggestion.

    Since this bitchy “nice” government is allowing such favors, they should also allow civilians small firearms license :-”

    Ofcourse, they would have a few AK and Magnums from the roof next, but people would still hold a chance /:)

  41. En Route says:

    Oh, you asked

    do you think Bangladesh is headed toward more corruption or less corruption?

    I believe we are going towards More corruption. But, more Organized Corruption :d

    I believe many would agree on this with me 😡

  42. Habib says:

    Three months time is enough to find a house to rent. But Geete ara chowdhury didn’t ? How could she run the country if she couldn’t find a house to rent in three months ? How could we trust such an advisor ?why should we trust her speeches?
    Yet she didn’t answer by press conference of Mr. Islam , why ?

    If I think that Mr. Islam is a lire , he is lying against an Honorable Advisor of Military back Gov, though I don know how has Mr. Islam become so courageous ,when two x-prime Minster has been jailed. Is it believable ??

  43. Rumi says:

    Enough is already said about Asif/UV issue. I wrote one comment yesterday and that got lost. Won’t repeat and digress.
    Only one point. UV or DP is not a homogenous entity. UV is currently moderated by asif, Me and Jyoti Rahman. So any moderation issue concerns all three of us. We all have our own opinions. I do that in my blog, Jyoti does same in his own. My strong opinions against CTG does not bar me from being one of the senior leadership of DP. There have been all kinds of perception of this CTG. As it is not univerrsally identical yet, UV decided to remain not too provocative. However in the future, when all the confusions will disappear, if needed, UV will not keep itself detached from the people on the ground. Remember that UV’s did not remain quite about government mis steps during pre 1/11 days. Neither they will in the future too.

  44. Rumi says:

    [Note from Mash: Rumi, your first comment ended up in the Spam bucket. I restored it and have removed this duplicate comment.]

  45. Salma says:

    Mr. Farhan (sorry Mr. Asif and Mr. Mash Bhai for going off topic)… it’s so kind of you that you are engaging with the public. Now can we briefly (no need to be long) have clarifications on two points that comes out from your replies.

    Point # 1…

    As witness to the “generator incident” will attest, that police was present but did not interfere. When was the last time you can think of when police stood by when a “minister” was abused?

    Hmm… but I can think of events when ministers (and their family members) abused people and police stood by. That is not the point for our ponderment. My question is… you earlier yourself mentioned…

    When you come in to install it (btw in the ground floor designated parking area and not the roof) you are met with a resisting landlord and his “friends from Badda”. Then in front of 150+ people who had gathered verbal altercation occurs and nothing more.

    Now Mr. Farhan, two of my valid points argues you for your explanation.

    1. If there was “verbal altercation” only and “nothing more” then why “police was present” there?

    2. You yourself admit and say your lease of the building expired already. You agree to this. Now under what jurisdiction you then was “installing” the generator? Please answer us sir.

    Point # 2…

    You have claimed by written…

    I believe it was also not mentioned that the international Group 4 who were in charge of the security of the building had to earlier evict a “shala”/cousin from a rooftop apartment that was under the landlord’s possession. Unfortunately phyensidyl bottles were found in that area and rumours of debauchery were rife.

    Sir, we have checked this information and it is absolutely confused us.

    Because the rooftop apartment of the building is actually occupied by your company Adcomm, where you have a small club called “BangLowe.” That is where you have your office parties and all that.

    Now, are you saying that the shala was staying in your “BangLowe” club, or there was drug bottles in you occupied area/club. And what are the “rumours of debauchery” in Adcomm owned “BangLowe” club, please share with us.

  46. Fariha says:

    Hey Salma,

    Just to clarify a misconception,

    “Sir, we have checked this information and it is absolutely confused us.

    Because the rooftop apartment of the building is actually occupied by your company Adcomm, where you have a small club called “BangLowe”. That is where you have your office parties and all that.”

    NFC had been referring to the ‘shala/cousin’ being evicted’from a rooftop apartment that was under the landlord’s possession’, not the rooftop of the ADCOMM building. The buildings in question are different.

    In any case, BUNGALOWE–a recreational zone provided to ADCOMM staff isn’t really a club.

  47. manush says:

    I am sorry mash, but this is poor reporting. You reported only one side of the story and dinkal was your only source!!! Anything coming out of dinkal should be treated as dubious because of it history. I think you are letting your biases taking over your judgement.

  48. Mash says:

    Manush, please point out any errors of fact in my post. Otherwise, the post stands as is.

    Unlike in Bangladesh, on this blog post, thanks to Farhan’s comments, both sides of the issue are represented.

    I appreciate your concern for my judgement. I am comfortable with my judgement and my biases.

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