By Sumi Khan
Dhaka, July 20 (IANS) Downplaying the episode of an outburst by a retired officer, the Bangladesh Army has said such acts create a negative example as well as lead to a negative impact on other members of the force.
After the outburst of Lt. Gen. Chowdhury Hasan Sarwardy on social media, the Bangladesh Army said in a press release on Sunday: “Such behaviour of Chowdhury Hasan Sarwardy is embarrassing and intolerable for the members of Bangladesh Army.
“Such activities set a negative example and have negative impact on other members of the force.”
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), a media and news agency of the Bangladesh Armed Forces, has clarified their position on retired Lt. Gen. Chowdhury Hasan Sarwardy, Bir Bikram, who “resorted to falsehood” on different social media platforms about the military and his access to the cantonment.
In a media release, the ISPR said: “Hasan Sarwardy developed illicit relationships with many women after securing his promotion to the rank of Lieutenant General.
“He took several women with him while making overseas visits as part of different NDC courses. His behaviour embarrassed the authorities, and he was advised to be careful.
“When he was on LPR, he divorced his first wife on August 16, 2018 without any permission from authorities concerned.”
According to the statement, Sarwardy married for the second time wearing his uniform on November 21, 2018, in violation of the military law.
It said that before his second marriage, he was living together with a renowned female media personality from November 3, 2018.
“Besides, the woman he married is a controversial individual,” the release added.
“Taking all these into consideration, that officer was declared persona non grata in cantonment and areas under cantonment, making him unable to enjoy the facilities such as CMH for treatme’t, entry to Officers’ Club, CSD shop, etc,” the release said.
On July 17, a rumour had spread about Sarwardy that army personnel and former security chief staff of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is ‘arrested’.
Sarwardy had been involved with a controversial adviser of the Prime Minister in the 2010 Bangladesh stock market scam and the Pakistan lobby headed by the business magnate had tried to promote him as army chief when Gen. I Karim Bhuiyan retired.
But his Pakistan connections and links to this shady business magnate had alarmed India.
Sarwardy had pitched his case hard with India during his visit to the country and in his meeting with then Indian Army chief Gen. Dalbir Singh, but Indian military generals don’t take up cases of fellow generals from neighbouring countries with their government.
Sarwardy’s furious diatribe against not only the Hasina government but also India is therefore understandable.
Now Bangladesh’s arch conspirator conveniently placed inside the government and capable of using his growing influence in civil and military administration was keen to ensure Sarwardy was taken into ‘protective custody’ ,so that he could be shielded from hard interrogation over the question raised on the regime change plot which the government has tasked other agencies to probe.
Raising real concerns over the freedom of press in Bangladesh and even efforts were made using consulate-based networks in India to stop Indian media from running the story.
It however ran in top media outlets like and copiously in Easternlink and Lookeast.
The idea was to keep Sarwardy underground after his controversial interview with social media host Kanak Sarwar had died down.Kanak a BNP Jamaat media adviser left Bangladesh illegally after broadcasting an interview of Tarek Zia, son of former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, on Ekushey Television.
“The pro-Pakistan adviser who is under huge pressure for the first time since his meteoric rise in the Awami League government now only ensured his own complicity is shielded because Sarwardy is not facing any hard questioning, but because he can be quietly let off because he has not formally arrested and even the fact of his detention has been reported,” said a top Bangladesh intelligence officer on the condition of anonymity.
This adviser and his intelligent cohorts have also unleashed their ‘media assets’ to defame Indian websites running the regime change plot story. The thrust of their attack has been Easternlink’s editorial director Subir Bhaumik, a veteran BBC-Reuters journalist and an Oxford-Frankfurt fellow whose site first exposed the plot to unseat Sheikh Hasina.
A DGFI media department funded website run by known blackmailer and hatchet guy Borhan Kabir first tried to potray Bhaumik as a BNP agent when he has been attacked all his career by BNP as an ‘Awami League agent’ and even his arrest during 2014 Bangladesh polls demanded by BNP leaders.
Bhaumik has been attacked for being a RAW agent, though his Oxford thesis “Insurgent Crossfire”, published by two leading Western and one leading Indian publisher, clearly details RAW’s involvement in Chittagong Hill Tracts much more copiously than any Bangladeshi or Western authors.
“Insurgent Crossfire” has been hailed as a landmark study on the proxy wars in South Asia with John Garver (author of “Protracted Contests”) calling it the “most original contribution to the understanding of post-colonial South Asian hostile diplomacy”.
‘What Oxford dons and scholars on South Asia across the world have hailed as an original work on the reciprocal backing of insurgencies by rival South Asian states has now to pass the test of half-literate blackmailers on the payroll of a corporate mafia don backed by some rogue intelligence operatives. The university I went will not employ them as cleaners or watchmen,” said Bhaumik.
The ‘Indian insider’, graduating from the ‘Bangla Insider’ (whose India correspondent is a TV media fall guy now working for Pakistan intelligence and reporting to their operatives in Maldives) has levelled baseless allegations of Bhaumik being a Pakistani agent and a Raw agent at the same time and a double agent later.
“Ask these idiots to remember what my BBC greats like Mark Tully always told me — the story line is weak and does not deserve commissioning,” said Bhaumik.
True, but intelligence agencies in Bangladesh do commission the most stupid of projects like funding a book on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that only runs a few quotations from him on the premise that Modi, impressed when he sees this book, will promptly clear the Teesta river water sharing agreement. A joke of an ‘influence operation’, as it were.
Bhaumik’s long association with Kolkata Mahila Samannoy Samity and his support, along with many leading celebrities of Calcutta, when they supported the sexworker’s demand for legalisation of sex trade to protect the hapless women from police harassment and exploitation by brothel-houses, has been interpreted as his love for the honeypot.
“A few smart English words cannot hide the level of depravement that these guys suffer from but I have investigated a few big time crooks in my BBC and pre-BBC career and suffered these kind of slur and slander. The good thing is I am used to it and so is my family,” said Bhaumik .
“Dont waste my time asking me about this semi-literates, I only wish their handlers spend their money better and train these guys better. As for the Indian recruitment, well there are fall guys available on hire everywhere but they should know how far they can go.”
When Easternlink exposed part of this ‘nefarious conspiracy’ of trying to create gap between PM Office of Bangladesh and the Army Chief, the main conspirator sought to mobilise his media assets (all marginal and dubious websites) to attack Bhaumik, floating YouTube material slandering him as a ‘RAW agent’ and even as a ‘BNP-Jamaat agent’.
When asked to react , Bhaumik pointed to his book “Insurgent Crossfire”, based on his Oxford thesis, where he had exposed in detail the RAW’s involvement in building up the PCJSS-Shanti Bahini armed insurgency in Chittagong Hill Tracts.
“I challenge you to show me any work by any Bangladeshi or Western scholar with so much depth of exposure on what was easily the greatest security concern of Bangladesh,” he said.
“My thesis is about state -sponsored tit-for-tat insurgencies in post colonial South Asia where most nations, except the smallest ones, have backed insurgencies against each other. Indira Gandhi decided to back the CHT insurgency because she could not accept the 1975 assassination of ‘brother’ Mujib and much of his family.”
Bhaumik also pointed to his article on Hasina’s anti-Raw tirade which exposed how the RAW sought to back the Khaleda Zia regime and the secret nexus between the ruling “BJP’ and BNP.
Bhaumik said BNP politicians have demanded his arrest for his article in Times of India before 2014 elections which was interpreted by the party leaders as ‘a call for Indian intervention’ .
“I had written about why India tends to back Awami League and the Mujib family but as usual, it was misinterpreted .”
The slander against Bhaumik has been furious and full of what Marx called ‘antagonistic contraditions’, while others have attacked him as an ‘Awami League stooge’, few have now blamed him for being an agent of the Anti- liberation and Anti- India political party BNP-Jamaat.
But the question is, is there any conspiracy against Bangladesh government led by Hasina?
Which led by anyone, who is very close to Hasina?