Bangladesh Government is at War with its Children

The situation in Bangladesh is very troubling right now. International media outlets such as the Washington Post has already published an overview of the troubles there, but the situation has since deteriorated further. With reports of an Internet slowdown, a move that hampers livestreaming and evidencing of the brutal attacks, and the government’s warning to the media, that has made many local outlets back away from covering the events, Dhaka city has now turned to a war zone. Journalists and photographers had already been attacked yesterday, and many journalists were attacked again on Sunday, August 5. A co-editor of Muktiforum and two reporters were harassed yesterday, while many others still fear to be attacked today. Students say that many of their fellow protesters are still missing.

These children are very young, with most of them still being in high school (grades 8–12). Many of the protesters under attack are not adults and they not only have a right to security and protection as a basic human right under the United Nation’s UDHR but also have special international safeguards that pertain to children. The international community should do whatever it can to protect these kids and uphold their rights.

A global response and an updated coverage is a dire necessity. Muktiforum has live covered the whole incident as much as possible until the shutdown, but the coverage has been limited since. Here is coverage of evidence that we got our hands on until then:

Student Mercilessly Beaten in Moulovibazar while Police Watches

Local News Reporter Stopped from Covering the Attacks LIVE

Shots fired by masked men in Jigatala, Dhaka

Masked men and Police Attack protesters together

Freelance Journalist attacked While Livestreaming in Jigatala

These attacks started right after the students clearly demanded the resignation of Shajahan Khan, the Minister of Shipping and executive president of the Bangladesh Road Transport Workers’ Federation. The ruling party enthusiasts before tried to manipulate their demands to exclude this demand of resignation on social media, but then they made sure that their two conditions for returning home were heard. Their second condition was that the drivers of the bus that mauled the two schoolkids be promptly punished.

Kids demand minister to resign, LIVE, Shahbag, Dhaka, Saturday

Even after the kids have been brutally injured over the Saturday, hundreds of kids, if not more, are still out on the streets. We have so far received this photo of a road blockade in Uttara. Many others have promised photos to Muktiforum, but most are facing difficulties due to the internet outage. Keep an eye on Muktiforum’s facebook page for the most recent photographic evidence.

More updates for Sunday’s attacks

Freelance Photojournalist brutally beaten by goons in front of media

Tensions at Dhanmondi 1

Enraged students march on Shahbag 

AP Photographer brutally beaten by ruling party men

(This post will be updated as soon as new evidence is found. Send all photographic evidence [email protected] or inbox Muktiforum’s facebook page )

Note: This report is personally written by Anupam D. Roy, the editor of Muktiforum, a platform for Bangladesh’s anti-Authoritarian thinkers (now turned to a citizen journalism platform due to the time’s calling). Contact him for more details at [email protected] All legal responsibilities of the facts presented in this video remains with Mr. Anupam, a current student of Howard University (@02780183) and an incoming JD candidate at Harvard Law School. Any court cases should be filed against him solely. He should be personally sued if any of the information provided is false. Nobody else from Muktiforum or any other outlet bears any responsibility.

What Else Can We do When the Sky is Falling?
(Updated author note under threat, added circa 3:30 AM EST, 8/7/2018)
My home country, Bangladesh, is in dire distress today. The state has declared a quasi-war on peaceful protesters that has to lead to the serious injury of many minors, journalists, activists, adolescents, and adults. A globally renowned photojournalist, Shahidul Alam was also recently jailed for speaking his mind on international media and those with less international clout are faring much worse.
I wrote one of the earliest evidence-based opinion pieces on this topic on my recently launched website against authoritarianism. 48 hours later, this has been read over 17 thousand times all over the world and has been trending on Reddit. This has invited many cyber attacks on my websites and personal injury threats to my person. Under these circumstances, I am seriously worried about the safety of myself and my family. But even more, I am worried about the health of the republic I hail from and the future of the people living there.
I am voicing my concerns in as many ways as possible, through my personal Facebook profile, page, platform and nationally published columns, Bangla and English. This has made the flood of cyber and personal threats even stronger. But I do not wish to stop any time soon. The time would not allow me to.
Under these circumstances, I want to ask you, the reader, this question: can you do anything to support any part of my work and/or help provide me with any sort of means to voice my voice against an Authoritarian regime, now gone wild?
Everything helps. Even a private note of solidarity and/or support would be very helpful in this time of dire need.
What else can we do, but try to scrape for a high ground to scream from, when the sky is falling?
I only bother you because I am desperate, but so are the times.
Please let me know what we can do.
Anupam Debashis Roy,
A Bangladeshi under threat.

Featured Image from: Dhaka Tribune

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