Ivy's Poison

Ivy's Poison

The pictures on the front page of practically every major newspaper on Wednesday, January 17, conjure an ugly image of Bangladesh's political scene. Frenzied men with weapons attacking each other, their faces in grotesque contortions representing rage, venom, aggression. This would not be anything out of the ordinary given the current trends of streets looking like battlefields after clashes between opposing political groups or more realistically, between factions of the same political group. Wednesday's images, however, have taken our political image to an all-time low. They are of a woman city mayor, the first of her kind to hold such a position, being shielded by her followers from being attacked by a mob of men—supporters of an MP known for his mysterious and tenacious grasp over Narayanganj.

Despite all their attempts to protect her, Mayor Ivy was injured—a brick hit her leg and in the jostling she fell. Newspapers say around 50 were hurt though none of them can quantify the terror and despair of the people of this city who had to witness these disturbing, shameful scenes. For it is indeed shameful that a city's mayor would be attacked by members of the ruling party because she was trying to do her job.

The entire fiasco centred on the issue of eviction of hawkers from footpaths so that pedestrians could use them. Seems like a regular duty of a diligent mayor. But in Narayanganj, as anywhere else in the country, politics is far from being regular. As expected, when the eviction drive was announced, the hawkers, through their association, protested—where would they go after all?

The mayor was given a memorandum, she announced her decision to free the footpaths, the hawkers staged demonstrations, the city corporation announced a few designated areas where the hawkers could sell their ware till February 27 from 5pm to 9pm, a lawmaker gave a 24-hour ultimatum to revoke the eviction drive and give the footpaths back to the hawkers, and finally in a bizarre confrontation, the mayor and her supporters were attacked by the said lawmaker's men.

If you were a stranger to our special brand of politics, the first logical question would be: Why is this lawmaker interfering with the mayor's work? The second one would be: If the lawmaker was so concerned about the hawkers' wellbeing, couldn't he have had a discussion with the mayor and work out a solution? Thirdly, why did it all turn so violent with someone even brandishing his gun and allegedly firing shots into the air? Fourthly, and most importantly, why would a lawmaker's followers attack the city's mayor? Are they not on the same side—same government, same party?

These questions may seem quite straightforward and resulting from pure common sense. But this is Narayanganj we are talking about—Bangladesh's Gotham City where the Joker reigns with full impunity and Batman is a simply attired woman who has taken on the task of trying to fix a city that seems almost unfixable, being in the grip of one of the most powerful political families in Bangladesh's history. This is the place of the famous “seven-murder case” that involved members of the RAB as well as influential people connected to the political elite. is is where Tanwir Muhammad Taqi, the son of cultural activist Rafiur Rabbi of Narayanganj, was abducted and killed on March 6, 2013. Even after more than three years, the law enforcers have yet to find his killer(s) although Taqi's father has filed cases against certain individuals including the nephew of the lawmaker involved in Tuesday's incident.

But to be fair, having Selina Hayat Ivy as a mayor has been a sliver of hope for this Gotham of a city. Ivy, despite her formidable opponents, has endured, perhaps because of being from a political family—her father, Ali Ahmed Chunka, was a former Narayanganj municipal chairman and an AL leader—and definitely because of sheer grit and determination. 2011, she won the mayoral elections after beating Shamim Osman by one lakh votes. In 2016, despite efforts by MP Shamim Osman to exclude her from nomination from the panel, the prime minister picked her to be mayor.

Tuesday's unsavoury incident in which a mayor and her supporters were attacked by goons of a lawmaker, gives an indication of the obstacles she faces. According to Mayor Ivy, she had come to Chashara to tell people that the footpaths would be free for pedestrians to walk on, that the displaced hawkers would be rehabilitated in a proper building, honouring the prime minister's directive. According to news reports, when some of Ivy's supporters tried to evict some hawkers, an altercation erupted. She was then attacked by supporters of the lawmaker.

After the incident a probe committee has been engaged and both the mayor and the lawmaker have been summoned by the PM—no doubt to express her disappointment in two important leaders and favourites from her own party.

But even for the ordinary citizens who have witnessed all kinds of violence in the name of politics over the last few decades, the idea that a mayor—a woman politician who has braved the patriarchal system to attain the trust of the public and the support of the prime minister who happens to be a woman—can be physically attacked and blatantly intimidated by a lawmaker, is shocking. this is a preview of what is to come as we get closer to our national elections, there is little to feel optimistic about.


Aasha Mehreen Amin is Deputy Editor, Editorial and Opinion, The Daily Star.


on Facebook for the latest opinions, commentaries and analyses by experts and professionals.


Read more...

2nd phase of Biswa Ijtema begins

2nd phase of Biswa Ijtema begins

The ijtema began with 'a'm bayan' (general sermons) by Bangladeshi Mawlana Mohammad Faruk, reports our Gazipur correspondent.

A total of 75 organisations are working together to make the second phase Ijtema successful, said Md Humayun Kabir, district commissioner of Gazipur.

Thousands of devotees from home and abroad gathered on the bank of the Turag river to take part in the religious event, UNB adds.

The second phase of the Ijtema will end through 'Akheri Munajat' on January 21 (Sunday).

A seven-tier security measures have been taken to ensure security of the Muslim devotees.

Besides, special measures have been taken to facilitate the movement of the devotees.

Around 50 close circuit cameras have been installed in and around the venue to monitor the Ijtema ground and the adjoining areas.

The first phase of Biswa Ijtema was held at the same venue on 13-15 January.

The Biswa Ijtema is being arranged on the bank of the Turag River since 1967. It is being held in two phases since 2011 to ease the accommodation and transportation problem, reports UNB.

Read more...

Tile lays off dozens after a disappointing holiday

Tile lays off dozens after a disappointing holiday

Tile, one of the best known item-tracking gadgets out there, has laid off some 30 people and reportedly stopped the potential hires of another 10, TechCrunch has learned. This comes less than a year after the company raised a $25 million B round last May. The layoffs are reportedly due to disappointing sales over the holidays.

When reached for

Read more...

Tile lays off dozens after a disappointing holiday

Tile lays off dozens after a disappointing holiday

Tile, one of the best known item-tracking gadgets out there, has laid off some 30 people and reportedly stopped the potential hires of another 10, TechCrunch has learned. This comes less than a year after the company raised a $25 million B round last May. The layoffs are reportedly due to disappointing sales over the holidays.

When reached for

Read more...

Akshay said this about Rajinikanth

Authors: Ecroaker. com Boosters.

Bollywood star Akshay Kumar is a big fan of Rajinikanth, just like the rest of the country. The two stars of Indian cinema will be sharing screen space for the first time in Shankar's science-fiction drama 2. 0.

Akshay, in a recent interview with Mid-day, said that the South Indian superstar is the only one in showbiz who has got swag. In fact, the actor enjoyed being on the sets of the movie so much that he claimed that he even had a blast in the scenes where Rajinikanth was bashing him up.

Once, we were just sitting on the set, waiting for the next shot and he (Rajinikanth) brushed some dirt off his pants. The entire unit was awestruck by how stylishly he did it. Everything he does is so stylish. I even enjoyed getting punched by him," Akshay said.

Akshay, who will be seen as the primary antagonist of the movie, said that he has thoroughly enjoyed being the bad guy for the camera.

Many people asked me why I wanted to play a villain and I told them, 'Why not? A hero exists only when there's a villain. I had never imagined that I would be part of the costliest Indian film.

There are numerous rumours doing the rounds about the actor's character, one of them being that his character turns into a crow after an experiment goes horribly wrong.

However, Akshay has himself made light of them and denied that his character is even similar to the one being described by fans.

Whatever you hear about 2. 0 is all a lie as no one knows anything about it and we are not allowed to talk about it. In fact, I'm glad such rumours are doing the rounds because people will be in for a surprise when they watch the film," Mid-day quoted Akshay as saying.

2. 0 will have an April release. No official release date has been announced by the makers yet. Earlier, there were reports that the movie would release in December 2017, the date was then pushed to January 26.

Also watch: 2.

Read more...

Heroes' welcome for defeated Dutch

  • Published in Sports
Heroes' welcome for defeated Dutch

In the build-up to Russia 2018, FIFA.com will be highlighting some classic FIFA World Cup images. This week we look back to 1974 and the spectacular scenes that greeted the beaten Netherlands team on their return to Amsterdam.

Read more...

5 held over Ctg schoolboy murder

5 held over Ctg schoolboy murder

Among them, four 2nd year students of Hazera Taju Degree college - Sabbir, Fahim, Aabu Sayed and Arman --were arrested from Fatikchhari upazila of the district while Muntasir from the port city's Badurtola area.

A blood-stained knife which was used in the killing was also recovered, said officer-in-charge of Kotwali Police Station Md Jasim Uddin.

On January 16, Adnan Isfar, 15, a class-IX student of Chittagong Collegiate School and College, was stabbed to death by some youths in the city following dispute over a cricket match.

At one stage of an argument, Isfar's friends stabbed him, said the OC adding that the boy started running after being chased and collapsed at Jamal khan.

Being rescued, he was taken to Chittagong Medical College Hospital where doctors declared him dead.

The OC said they collected a video footage which showed the schoolboy was running in an injured condition while some others were chasing him.

Following the incident, a case was filed with the police station.

Read more...
Subscribe to this RSS feed