Tarique Rahman: A Targeted Victim Of Integrated Disinformation by Mohammad Zainal Abedin

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The BNP (Bangladesh Nationalist Party) and its Acting Chairman Tarique Rahman, face an integrated frequent disinformation campaign let loose by the incumbent Awami League (AL). Right from the AL’s chief, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina down to the grassroots level activists, repeat multifarious deliberate propaganda round the clock through electronic and print media. This propaganda is directed at the defamation and destruction of the the BNP and to breach the unity of the party, to isolate it from the people and above all, to create an anti-Tarique sentiment among the common people, party leaders and activists.

For years, it has been a widely discussed topic at home and abroad that the BNP Acting Chairman Tarique Rahman leaned to India to get power. This imaginary story got momentum when three leaders of the BNP visited India in June of 2018. Using this visit, the Indian media and its Bangladeshi allies intricately and deliberately tried to isolate Tarique from the BNP and Bangladeshis.

When Sheikh Hasina was in the opposition, she repeatedly visited India. Her party leaders visit India almost daily. According to a letter from former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the AL even got power availing India’s direct intervention (enjoying the collaboration of the then caretaker government controlled by the Moin U. Ahmed gang).  The same AL did its best to disseminate slanderous propaganda centering the visit of three BNP leaders to India. But the propagandists were in despair and discouraged, failing to draw people’s attention to an unofficial visit of those leaders.

BNP insiders claimed that the comments of one of the visiting leaders were first flashed in India’s print media, which is the basis of such propaganda. But his comment does not represent the foreign policy either of the BNP nor of its Acting Chairman, Tarique Rahman.

They argued that if Tarique Rahman had minimal liaison with India, BNP leaders and activists would not have faced such cruel behavior from the Sheikh Hasina government. His elderly mother and former Prime Minister Begum Zia would not be questionably imprisoned but rather could lead a carefree life. Tarique could have come back home from exile in the UK and all the fabricated charges (about 8,500 of them) against him and all other BNP leaders and activists would have withered away like those lodged against AL leaders and activists.  Furthermore, Tarique would not be so vocal against India’s notorious and aggressive activities against Bangladesh, but would rather have remained submissive or silent.

Tarique is as rigid as a rock in protecting the sovereignty, independence and interests of Bangladesh. He is not the type of man to surrender under Indian pressure. Unfortunately, the people of Bangladesh are deprived of listening to his free voice, as no electronic or print media are allowed to air or print them. Consequently, alongside the Bangladeshis, the international community also gets one-sided, fabricated, and prescribed information, which is deliberate and far from true.

Let us have a brief look at his recent deliberations.

The BNP’s Acting Chairman Tarique Rahman, while addressing a crowded discussion meeting as the Chief Guest, said that the sovereignty of a country which was achieved at the cost of blood sacrificed by hundreds of thousands of martyrs, is now rolling on the ground and under threat. Therefore, our current struggle is the one to save our independence and sovereignty. “The oath of this war is an oath of protecting the country and its people”, he declared.

On March 1, 2021, The Hotel Lakeshore of Dhaka, Bangladesh hosted a celebration for the 50th. anniversary of the independence of Bangladesh. Dr. Khandkar Musharraf Hossain, the Convener of the Golden Jubilee Celebration Committee of Independence chaired the event which was attended by all the members of the National Standing Committee and all other leading BNP leaders of all its front organizations. Among others, the BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir addressed the event as the Special Guest.

Tarique said that the independence of a nation is the supreme one among all other achievements. “Today we are proud to be identified as ‘Bangladeshi’ due to independent BangladeshIndependent Bangladesh steps to its 50th. year. The time has come to evaluate how much Bangladesh has achieved over this time how much more we could have achieved.”

He added, “A genuine question raised in the mindset of the Bangladeshis is: why are they not independent in their own country?”

He encouraged the countrymen and the pro-independence forces to take a unified stand.

Do all these statements of Tarique Rahman have any symptom that he leaned towards India, at all, to serve Indian interests? Rather, is he not determined to protect Bangladesh and its people and desperate to end India’s atrocities and it’s lordship in Bangladesh?

The above deliberations, unveil the reason why India let loose the deliberative chorus by RAW and local vested interests. Such a design is entirely directed to isolate Tarique Rahman, weaken and doom his leadership, and finally ruin the BNP by fragmenting it into several groups and subgroups. This is the lone way to merge Bangladesh with India. To reach this goal, India invested billions of dollars to buy hundreds of thousands of henchmen from the top to the grassroots level. India feels that if Tarique Rahman is not removed from the BNP leadership, patriotic forces will remain united and act as a political deterrent to frustrate India’s design.  So, a series of anti- Tarique propaganda and conspiracy will continue for years to come.

But such a campaign proved to be counterproductive for the ruling hierarchy. The more India and its Bangladeshi allies spread anti- Tarique disinformation, falsity, malice, and hatred, the more his leadership strengthens, and people rally around the BNP and him.  Despite the fact that India continues its genocide in Bangladesh imposing a dictatorial, arrogant, despotic, and tyrant ruler in 2009, it failed to abolish the patriotic forces led by BNP.

India and its Bangladeshi representatives became hopeless comprehending their isolation from the patriotic forces of Bangladesh. A sky-high anti-India hatred now prevails in Bangladesh, which was not even visible against Pakistan in 1971.  So, India and its allies have no other option, but to continue a sponsored media campaign to deter Tarique Rahman.

*The writer is a Bangladesh-origin American journalist and researcher.

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