Bangladesh: Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee; its existence in Dhaka; its structure; whether it is national; its aims and objectives; and how it is viewed by the authorities
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||9 October 2001|
|Citation / Document Symbol||BGD37790.E|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Bangladesh: Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee; its existence in Dhaka; its structure; whether it is national; its aims and objectives; and how it is viewed by the authorities, 9 October 2001, BGD37790.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3df4be1120.html [accessed 31 July 2014]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
The Ekatturer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee was reportedly formed on 19 January 1992 by 101 prominent members of Bangladeshi society (Frontline 14-27 Oct. 2000). A "pro-liberation" organization (BIISS 4 Oct. 2001), the Committee's founding members included retired supreme court judges, professors, veterans of the independence war, artists and journalists and its initial mandate was to "track down the killers and collaborators of the 1971 war of independence" (Frontline 14-27 Oct. 2000).
According to the Central Executive branch of the committee, the Ekatturer Gahtak Dalal Nirmul Committee is "an anti-communal and anti-fundamentalism national-level organization" that has been "working to try the war criminals, establish human rights, especially of women who are deprived by religions and ensure a democratic secular society free from all kinds of superstitions" (n.d.). Numerous sources refer to the Committee as an "anti-fundamentalist" group (ACHA 6 June 2001; The News International 2 June 2001; ibid. 16 Apr. 2001), which is actively seeking to hamper the rise of Islamic fundamentalist forces in Bangladesh (Newsline 29 Nov. 2000) and has demanded a ban on religious-based and communal political parties (The News International 16 Apr. 2001).
In June 2001, the Committee sponsored a two-day conference of experts from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka (ibid. 2 June 2001) entitled "South Asian Conference on Fundamentalism: Role of Civil Society" (South Asia Citizens Web 9 June 2001). In its declaration, the conference's participants pledged to "harness our energies for promoting social justice, peace, gender equality, and secular democratic values" and "to work towards bringing all perpetrators of crimes against humanity and war criminals to justice" (ibid.). The participants also proposed the establishment of a South Asian platform entitled "South Asian People's Union Against Fundamentalism and Communalism"(ibid.).
According to a researcher at the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), the attitude of Bangladesh authorities towards the Committee depends upon which political party is currently in power (4 Oct. 2001). Although the Awami League, which held office until mid-July 2001, was favourably disposed towards the organization, the present government which is led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party is not so favourably disposed towards the group (ibid.). A 16 April 2001 article reported the Committee's acting chief of accusing the Bangladesh Nationalist Party of "harbouring anti-independence forces" (The News International). Such claims were reiterated in a 5 September 2001 article that reported that the Committee would campaign for the victory of the pro-liberation forces in upcoming elections (The Independent).
Reportedly the Committee's leader, Shahriar Kabir, was stabbed on 27 August 2000 (Rationalist International 2 Sept. 2000; The Hindustan Times 29 Aug. 2000). Kabir, who is also a freelance journalist, accused the fundamentalist group Harkatul Jihad of being behind the attack and police were reportedly investigating a possible link between this incident and previous assaults on leaders of the anti-fundamentalist campaign (AFP 6 Sept. 2000).
According to the researcher at BIISS, Mr. Shahriar Kabir and Professor Muntassir Mamun are the only active members of Ekatturer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee (4 Oct. 2001). As well, the following people have been referred to as members of the Committee: Shahriar Kabir, acting chief (The News International 16 Apr. 2001); Professor Abdul Manan Chowdhury, leading activist (The Daily Star 16 July 2000); and Syed Hasan Imam, Committee convenor (The Independent 5 Sept. 2001).
No reference could be found to the Committee's structure among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Agence France Presse (AFP). 6 September 2000. "Media Watchdog Concerned After Another Bangladeshi Journalist Attacked." (NEXIS)
Association for Communal Harmony in Asia (ACHA). 6 June 2001. Vol. III, No. 6. ACHA Peace Bulletin.
Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS). Dhaka. 4 October 2001. Correspondence from researcher.
The Daily Star [Dhaka]. 16 July 2000. "Ban Politics of Jamaat-Shirbir."
Ekatarer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee (EGDNC). n.d. "An Appeal form Central Executive Committee."
Frontline [New Delhi]. 14-27 October 2000. Volume 17, Issue 21. A.G. Noorani. "Lies and War Histories."
The Hindustan Times [New Delhi]. 29 August 2000. "Bangladeshi Writer Stabbed."
The Independent [Dhaka]. 5 September 2001. "Nirmul Body Leaders Lambastes Caretaker Government."
The News International [Islamabad]. 2 June 2001. "Moot on Religious Fundamentalism Begins in Dhaka."
_____. 16 April 2001. "BD Groups Protest After Bomb Outrage."
Newsline [Karachi]. 29 November 2000. Ahmed Salim. "The Story of War Criminals."
Rationalist International. 2 September 2000. Bulletin 46. "Bangladesh: Sharriar Kabir Injured In Fundamentalist Attack."
South Asia Citizens Web. 9 June 2001. "Dhaka Declaration."
Additional Sources Consulted
Resource Centre. Country File
The European Network of Bangladesh Studies was unable to provide information
Unsuccessful attempts to contact two academic sources
Unsuccessful attempt to contact the Executive branch of Ekatturer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee
Internet sites including:
World News Connection