Friday, June 01, 2001

Shetubondon - Roumary - Re: A Personal Clarification

Dear Mr. Masud,

Thanks for jumping in. Answers to your question:

1. Does Mac think think that it is an inhuman and barabric thing to impale humans and parade their dead bodies on poles regardless if those dead bodies belong to intruders?

The word 'impale' in the dictionary means 'to make a hole through with a sharp pointed object'. The Bengalee translation to 'impale' is 'shoolay' - and I will not risk a graphic description for sake of decency and being branded more 'barbaric' than I have already been !!

The Indian intruders were certainly not 'impaled'. What we and the world saw in the photograph and what I have gathered after reading reports and talking to atleast one resident of Roumari in a recent conference is - the dead bodies were merely 'lifted' the way that it was done, as it was the most convinient, fastesr and easiest method to carry the dead bodies given the exigency of the situations and while firing was continuing from the Indian side.

It would have been a different story if they were carried in a stretcher or a casket - but we have to also try and understand that it was not possible because of the remote location of Roumari. The dead bodies were not 'paraded' in any manner - they were lifted and carried to the nearest Bangladesh outpost and had it not been for the AFP photographer (who was conviniently there)- non of this hullbaloo would have erupted.

If it was any BDR men killed in the same forward area - the dead body would have recieved similar treatment, I am afraid. Let us not forget that Bangladesh had to move very, very quickly in to collect the dead BSF bodies - as there would otherwise have been no conclusive proof that the Indians intruded.The continous Indian firing was to keep the Bangladesh villagers at bay, away from their fallen comrades.

To the second part of your question : I would much prefer that you you remember the barbaric act of the BSF when they killed hundreds of men, women and children, the rapes of civilians and properties demolished by the BSF in the last 5 years alone (refer my article India : Save your Mangoes and Gunnybag!) before getting into this hypothesis of whether or not intruders or their dead bodies should be treated with barbarity. Again I repeat there is no such thing as a HUMANE war, as also non of Indian barbarity over the years have made it to the regional or world press? Why
is anybody's guess.

2. Would Mac be willing to condemn such acts of impaling human bodies ?

Since impaling was not carried out in Roumari - I do not have an easy answer to this question.

However I do believe that that human's deserve dignity in their death. History has seen this being denied to quite a few. Lets take for example Rajiv Gandhi - whose half naked and dismembered body was 'proudly and prominently' displayed by the 'civilised' and 'unbarbaric' Indian media? I remember TIME carrying only Rajiv's portrait in their cover at the same time and stating in their editorial, that while they had lots of 'available photograph's' of his battered body - it was only in respect to the fact that he was 'denied the dignity of his death' that they have not printed the same.

Similarly one remembers Ayatollah Khomeinis naked body slipping from his coffin and falling unceremoniosly to his grave during his funeral, thanks to his over zealous followers- almost all Western media carried this with no absolutely no regrets.

Instead of trying to figure out wether we do, or do not find 'display of dead bodies barbaric', and debating whether we should or should not condemn it, how about finding out from the AFP how ,much they paid the photographer for this controversial photograph (scoop)?

Last if not the least canm somebody find out from INDIA TODAY how many extra copies of their magazine sold when they carried the photograph of Roumari in their cover?

Barbarity is a product - and has a price. Period.


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