On 9 December, 2014, an oil tanker collided with another cargo vessel at the entrance of the world-famous Sundarban Nature Reserve of Bangladesh. The tanker sank and dumped 77,000 gallons of furnace oil into the salty tidal water that had spread over 300 square kilometers area inside the fragile mangrove forest. The river delta region is a place of wild beauty and has been a safe haven for around 6000 rare Irrawaddy and long-nosed Gangetic dolphins, the endangered Bengal tiger, Estuarine crocodile, Indian python, and for many other spectacular diverse animals. The 140,000-hectare Sundarban is also one of the largest mangrove forests in the world which is central to the region's complex chain of life. The spillage triggered nothing short of a serious ecological disaster and already sights of dead fish, birds, dolphins and animals are on the news.
This whole incident of oil spillage has caused fury among citizens of Bangladesh as there has been an embargo in place to use the Sundarban waterways for transportation of hazardous chemicals. Already the government has filed a Taka 1 billion damage suit against the owners of the two cargos. However to put things into perspective, it must be reminded that these disasters are not in and of itself the main problem that we should be frustrated about; these are mere symptoms of the root cause of the problem. We all know the vessel owners would not dare use the marine route without government's tacit approval. To satisfy their hunger out of the bottomless pit of money and power, the corrupt democratic politicians of Hasina's government have always approved all kinds of money-generating projects even at the cost of the destruction of nature. Common people in Bangladesh are not so easily deceived by such punishment measures of government, which they only use to play with public emotions. It was evident from day one that Hasina government has been slow in response to this crisis. For nearly 30 hours after the spillage, authorities did nothing to control the damage, which shows gross disrespect to the welfare of the people and nature. Rather, the Shipping Minister, Shahjahan Khan has played down the spill's impact claiming that there would be "no major damage" to the mangroves.
People are well aware that whatever the Hasina government is doing right now to save the natural habitat of Sundarban is mere eye-wash. Their sweet talks and actions sound highly hypocritical since this is the same government that opened the 1,320MW Rampal coal-fired thermal power plant with an Indian company (NTPC) on the edge of Sundarban, which would be disastrous to the entire ecosystem of Sundarban. But Hasina turned a deaf ear to the expert opinion and popular protest against that project, and allowed building another power plant near the forest. Moreover, as per some local mainstream news media, government has allowed some ruling party-blessed big companies to buy lands adjacent to the Sundarban to construct hazardous industries detrimental to the fragile biodiversity of the forest. These all show that corrupt politicians do not really care about the welfare of the mass people, let alone the nature. Indeed democracy empowers these oppressive rulers who are bringing havoc to this marvelous natural habitat of Sundarban while impoverishing majority of the people of that region by selling their lands and wealth to foreign companies.
Oh people of Bangladesh! Reject this dirty democratic politics of Hasina-Khaleda that is based on nothing but selfish interests entirely driven by greed of wealth and power. The corrupt politicians and their powerful lobbyists are making their fortunes year after year by means of the very votes that you are casting in each election. How long will you keep getting frustrated discussing the secondary problems without any attempt to get rid of the mother of all evils, that is, western-backed Democracy that has long kept breeding corrupt politicians. It is high time that you spoke the truth without any fear and started demanding the establishment of the rightly guided Khilafah that can only ensure the welfare of people and natural habitat.
The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
"(I vow) by the One in Whose Hands my soul rests, you have to enjoin the good and forbid the wrong, otherwise Allah will be about to send upon you a punishment from Him, then you would pray to Him but He would not answer you". (Ahmed and Tirmidhi)
Member of the Media Office of Hizb ut-Tahrir, Wilayah Bangladesh