May 01, 2007

Breaking News: Bomb blasts in Bangladesh. Dhaka, Chittagong and Syhlet Railway stations hit

The DS is reporting that blasts rock these three railway stations with details to come. Anyone who has any details, post them now. Even if it turns out to be a red herring, I'll be keeping my eyes on this one for a little while. Goodbye sleep!

UPDATES BELOW


(thank you reuters!)

First update (of many I feel) @ 12:21 BST, 2:21 EST: Reuters. Is this a hoax or perhaps (excuse a bit of sleep-deprived paranoia) a "strategy of tension"? Because frankly, what kind of dumbasses make demands like "If Hazrat (Prophet) Mohammad is not declared the superman of the world by May 10, all non-governmental organisations will be blown up"? Who wrote this and what was he smoking?

Update 2 @12:36 BST, 2:36 EST: Brisbane Times is reporting a slightly different version of things linking this to the anti-Ahmaddiya elements. Possible AL/SH implication thanks to the MOU with Khelafat-Mojlish? Hmmm....

Update 3 @12:39 BST, 2:39 EST: Devices hidden inside small bags reports China Post. Sounds like Mumbai blasts copycats.

Update 4 @12:49 BST, 2:49 EST: AFP reporting on the anti-Ahmaddiya angle via Turkish Press. Also, finally we know when it happened! 7 in the morning, BST. Does news still travel this slow? More importantly, was it coordinated and simultaneous this time as well? Most importantly, has the government responded by increasing security at other transport hubs?

Reminder: I'm highly interested in learning about what you saw and what you think is going on if you're in Dhaka, Chittagong or Syhlet. So feel free to comment.

Update 5 @12:54 BST, 2:54 EST: Daily Star puts up the big, bold, red breaking news banners it reserves for truly important news. Apparently Jadid al-Qaeda Bangladesh has claimed responsibility. "Details will be available soon," they say. "Links will be available soon," I say.

Update 6 @13:08 BST, 3:08 EST: Naeem on Drishtipat reports from Dhaka on the events as they transpired. Seems like the government has increased security. Good early response! Nothing else new here except the confirmation of both demands: NGO workers cease working and "Kadianis" (Ahmaddiyas) be declared non-Muslim. Also new: timing of the bombs is reported to be between 6:45 and 9:30. Not simultaneous by any means then.

Update 7 @ 13:22 BST, 3:22 EST: Daily Star reports pretty much the same times of explosion as above but calls it "near-simultaneous". We have a lot to be worried about when it comes to this sort of things, but needless panic mongering is not going to help!

Dhaka: 6:45 am
Syhlet: 7:15 am
Chittagong: 9:30 am

Near simultaneous is a bit of a stretch. We are only as afraid as we want to be.

Monitoring the blogs, this is the only thing I got. It links to a Bangla blog.

Update 8 @ 13:33BST, 3:33 EST: Reuters has updated. Two quotes:

"The bombs were kept in cotton sacks, along with the metal sheets. They exploded before anyone detected them," said police Inspector Abu Zafar Alam at Kamalapur, Bangladesh's biggest railway terminal.

"This (Tuesday's blasts) proved they are still active and dared to show their teeth," said one security official who asked not to be named.


Update 9 @13:54 BST, 3:54 EST: Brisbane Times updates. And just as I'm about to google "jadid" to see what it means, the paper reports that it stands for "new". "New"? As in "Old wine in new bottles" sort of "new"?

Reminder: I'm highly interested in learning about what you saw and what you think is going on if you're in Dhaka, Chittagong or Syhlet. So feel free to comment.

Update 10 @14:21 BST, 4:21 EST: Reuter adds that Munir Hossain, the ricksha-wala who was injured, tried to open one of the sacks containing the bombs before it exploded. No details of injuries or their seriousness. Can't really blame them. After all, Daily Star has not even put up a name or profession yet! Of course, if it happened to be someone "important" ...

Update 11 @14:26 BST, 4:26 EST: CNN joins the fray with the headline "Bangladesh railway blasts signed 'al Qaeda'". It's running in both US and international editions. It has the Reuters byline, so no need to get excited.
CNN, please don't ever change: we love you just the way you are.

Update 12 @14:34 BST, 4:34 EST: Zee News reports that Munir Hossain has been admitted to a local hospital.


Editorialising on the run: How are these blasts going to be spun? Moin on Drishtipat (comment 6) says that M&M are trying to play it down. So maybe "strategy of tension" was a bit of a leap. But one will have to wait and see.

On the same page Naeem asks if Bangladesh is "once again being used as a chessboard for puppetmasters", a reference I assume to '71 and the Cold War politics surrounding it. Well, the Cold War is over and Bangladesh really has more state capacity than before, although maybe not as much as the government would like to believe.

Before we blame "foreign interests", it's much more productive to look ourselves in the mirror and ask: what are we doing wrong? These blasts are at best gimmicks. A sort of publicity stunt for a very dangerous message. However, they do point to that very awful trend where the whole concept of civil society and NGO are being reified (as discussed in DP and on this blog a few days back). Aren't there Islamic NGOs active in Bangladesh too?

It's the deaf talking to the deaf, punctuating their sentences with bomb blasts.

Update 13 @15:11 BST, 5:11 EST: At 8:41 GMT, BBC catches on.



Update 14 @ 15:24 BST, 5:24 EST: Mumbai-based Daily News and Analysis runs the story 19 minutes ago. From people who believe that Woolmer may have been murdered thanks to a fatwa from a radical group, I don't quite know what spin to expect!

Update 15 @15:36 BST, 5:36 EST: Rajputro has this to say about the timing:

Many Bangladeshis were travelling out of Dhaka taking advantage of a two-day public holiday for May Day and a Buddhist religious festival on Wednesday. Since friday and saturday are weekly holidays, if you take leave on thursday you'll make it a five day holiday. But now people are afraid of making a move.

Intelligence groups last month alerted the government that Islamist militants were regrouping after the execution of the militant leaders of the outlawed Islamist group, Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen....

Funny enough, today was the first day of "Bangladesh Railway Service week". Nice service I should say.

He also adds:

Law and order advisory chairman Mainul Hosein said the bomb blasts were "nothing serious" which sounded like what political parties used to say during their reign. He also added that someone might do this to show this government a failure. Sounds familiar, huh?

Couldn't agree more! To which I might add a small anecdote. The day of the 62 district simultaneous bombings coincided with a lawyer's organization's rally at the Supreme Court. When the bombs denotated, these lawyers started a procession protesting the attack on "them" and accusing their opponents of having carried it out to prevent their rally. Yes, the whole world does revolve around them...

Update 16 @15:53 BST, 5:53 EST (Yes, dawn!): Talking about reification of the terms "civil society" and "NGO", Reuters has updated yet again:

The militants had previously threatened non-governmental organizations, especially those working to promote women's rights in the mainly Muslim South Asian country.

"We are not afraid, we are united and will keep on working for the people," Khushi Kabir, leader of a women's NGO group, Nijera Kori, told Reuters. "The latest blasts indicate that they are yet to be uprooted."


In short, "NGOs" are those organizations that do women's rights and poverty-reduction. Not, say an Ahmaddiya charity that might do relief/poverty reduction even thought technically they too are NGOs. Or maybe a madrassa or two that oppose these militants.

Of course, even the militants share that Manichean worldview as well! Irony comes in many forms.


11 comments:

SUSHANTA said...

All the international news link:

The Star, Malaysia
Bomb blasts rock Bangladesh terminals, none hurt

IHT
Small explosions hit three train stations across Bangladesh

Fox News
STRING OF BOMBINGS AT TRAIN STATIONS INJURES 1 IN BANGLADESH

RAW STORY
Bombs at Bangladesh railway stations

Khaleeztimes
Bomb blasts rock Bangladesh terminals, none hurt

Mail and Guardian
Bomb blasts rock Bangladesh rail terminals

China Post, Taiwan
Three small explosions reported at three train stations across Bangladesh

TVNZ
Bomb blasts rock Bangladesh terminals

France24
Bombs at Bangladesh railway stations

Fugstar said...

It's the deaf talking to the deaf, punctuating their sentences with bomb blasts.

Its a dialogue of the deaf, and we werent invited!

Asif said...

Glad you liked it fugstar!

SUSHANTA said...

Asif Bhai,

Tnx for updating.
I have already collected 20 International news link.

1.The Star, Malaysia
Bomb blasts rock Bangladesh terminals, none hurt

2.IHT
Small explosions hit three train stations across Bangladesh

3.Fox News
String of Bombings at Train Stations Injures 1 in Bangladesh

4.RaW Story
Bombs at Bangladesh railway stations

5.Khaleeztimes
Bomb blasts rock Bangladesh terminals, none hurt

6.Mail and Guardian
Bomb blasts rock Bangladesh rail terminals

7.China Post, Taiwan
Three small explosions reported at three train stations across Bangladesh

8.TVNZ
Bomb blasts rock Bangladesh terminals

9.France24
Bombs at Bangladesh railway stations

10.Zee News India
Blasts rock major cities in Bangladesh

11.CNN International
Bangladesh railway blasts signed 'al Qaeda'

12.BBC News
Blasts rock Bangladesh stations

13.PDO China
Crude bombs explode in three cities of Bangladesh


14.Reuter Says:
Bomb blasts rock Bangladesh terminals, one hurt

15.Wastington Post
Bomb blasts rock Bangladesh terminals, one hurt

16.Gulf News:
3 bombs rock Bangla rail terminals


17.PTI
'New Al Qaeda' bombs Bangladesh railway stations

18.CBC News Canada
Simultaneous bomb blasts strike Bangladesh

19.HINDU
Bombs explode at Bangladesh railway stations

20.ITV, UK
'Al Qaeda' bombs rock Bangladesh

Fugstar said...

shuthe jao bhai.

deshi messes will still be there after some shut eye.

J @ ShadaKalo said...

Asif:
Thanks for the very detailed report.

J.

Anwar Ali said...

yours is great!!! My other blogs is still to be completed. However, I will let u know whenever im updated...

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