Friday, December 28, 2007

Artefacts Destroyed...

Claims Rab after arrest of 10 more but fails to recover remains in daylong search; motive still unexplained
Rapid Action Battalion personnel with the help of Dhaka City Corporation workers search for the remains of the two stolen Vishnu statues at a garbage-dumping site in Amin Bazar on the outskirts of the capital yesterday. Photo: STAR
 
After five days of artefact theft from Zia International Airport (ZIA), investigators yesterday said a ring of smugglers based at the airport destroyed the precious archaeological masterpieces and dumped them in a dustbin in Uttara.

The revelation was stunning although the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) could not recover the broken pieces of the stolen statues even after conducting massive raids in different areas following confessional statements of the arrested suspects.

Rab officials raided dumping grounds, including those at Uttara, Jatrabari, Aminbazar and Savar, and thought to have found some pieces from two dumping grounds in Aminbazar and Savar. The National Museum authorities, however, said those do not match the stolen artefacts--a statue and a bust of Vishnu.

The investigators could not also determine the motive behind the theft and destruction of the artefacts. But the police said it was learnt from the confessional statement that the leader of the smuggler group has links to an Islamic organisation.

They are presently on a drive to capture the leader of the "Abbas-Nasir" ring, which is involved with the whole incident.

Both Abbas and Nasir are still absconding. The Rab raided Abbas' residence but failed to find him or learn his whereabouts.

Meanwhile, the president accepted the resignation letter of Ayub Quadri, who stepped down as the cultural and education adviser on Wednesday amid uproar over artefact theft.

Rab sources said the Abbas-Nasir group based at ZIA conducted the theft through a few of its members with the help of some civil aviation staff and drivers.

The two 1,500-year-old terracotta statues bound for an exhibition at the Guimet Museum in Paris were stolen while in the custody of Air France at ZIA on December 22.

The statues from the Gupta era had been displayed at the National Museum since they were discovered at Mahasthangarh in Bogra.

Besides arresting 15 persons immediately after the incident, the Rab arrested 10 more people, including a former MP and a former deputy secretary, during the last 24 hours.

In primary interrogation, the arrested confessed to their involvement with the theft and gave details of how they carried out the shameful act starting from stealing the precious statues to dumping them after destroying, a Rab official said.

Rab sources said five of the arrested were involved with stealing the statues from the airport and they took the artefacts to Abbas' house at 51/E, Road-7B in sector-3 in Uttara on December 22 morning. The culprits used a vehicle for carrying the stolen statues from the airport.

The five include smuggler ring members and some airport staff including a driver of the Civil Aviation Authority. A Rab investigator said the smugglers enjoy regular free access to the highly secured cargo terminal area.

When the stolen artefacts were landed at the car park of Abbas' multi-storey residence, Abbas and three to four more identified persons were present there.

The priceless national properties were destroyed between 10:00am and 1:00pm upon Abbas' orders, an interrogator quoted from the confessional statement of Abbas' arrested house cleaner who was involved with the act.

Those who witnessed the heinous crime include arrested former MP Anwara Begum Putul, who owns three flats in the same apartment house, Rab said.

Rab Additional Director General Colonel Gulzar Uddin Ahmed told The Daily Star last evening, "The motive behind stealing and destroying the artefacts will be revealed once Abbas is arrested."

The investigation officer of the case produced those who confessed to their involvement with the heinous act before a Dhaka court last evening, he added.

Uttara Zone Deputy Commissioner of Police Khandaker Rafiqul Islam told The Daily Star, "A man named Abbas implemented the whole plan of stealing and destroying the artefacts. Interrogation has revealed that Abbas is involved with an Islamic organisation."

Andre Chenue, the consignee of the artefacts from Paris, nominated the Home Bound Bangladesh to send the artefacts by Air France.

The name of Home Bound Bangladesh was found as the sender agent on the receipt of Association of Cargo Agents of Bangladesh although its officials repeatedly told The Daily Star that they did not book any cargo flight of Air France.

The consignee had instructed Home Bound to send the artefacts as "general cargo" instead of "valuable cargo", which is sheer negligence towards the country's national properties.

According to the agreement signed between France and Bangladesh, "The Borrower ensures the security of the artefacts in accordance with the security standards applicable to French Museum. The Borrower guarantees to the Lender that the loaned works are under continuous and vigilant protection."

Our court correspondent reports: The 10 arrested persons were produced before the Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate's Court yesterday and seven of them were taken for recording judicial statements.

They are Lutfor Rahman, Monir Hossain, Nurul Islam Nuru, Mohammad Uzzal Hossain, Amir Hamza, Nikhil Chandra and Abdul Hamid.

The three others are Anwara Begum, former deputy secretary SM Mizanur Rahman and Moksed Ali.

The police prayed for 10 days' remand for Anwara and Mizanur. The magistrate fixed Sunday for hearing on the prayer and sent the two to jail.

The magistrate also ordered to send Moksed to jail as the police did not pray for any remand for him.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Return artifacts!


Artefacts heist: the crime scene

http://uk.reuters.com/article/lifestyleMolt/idUKDHA17836220071225

Bangladesh wants return of artifacts loaned to France



DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladesh wants a consignment of ancient artifacts on loan to France for an upcoming exhibition to be returned after two 1,500 year-old statues of the Hindu God Vishnu were stolen while awaiting shipment from Dhaka airport.



"The Guimet Museum (in Paris) would be informed, regretfully, that it would not be possible to go ahead with holding the exhibition of the items as planned," a statement from the office of the head of the interim government said on Tuesday.


One consignment of items had already been successfully sent to France when the theft occurred on Saturday as a second shipment was being loaded on a Paris-bound flight.


A government spokesman said the French exhibition would have to be cancelled and the artifacts already in Paris returned to Bangladesh.


The authorities have ordered the remaining items at Dhaka airport to be returned to their collections.


The initial decision to ship the rare items abroad had prompted opposition from art lovers and conservators who expressed concerns the artifacts might go missing in transit.


Police have arrested 15 individuals in connection with the thefts.


(Reporting by Nizam Ahmed, Editing by Matthew Jones)





http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5iXB6deFAap8-3t7PkJ_m1lIhBKpQ


Bangladesh cancels French museum show after theft of rare artefacts


DHAKA (AFP) — Bangladesh cancelled plans to send rare artefacts to Paris for a museum exhibition next year after two ancient statues of a Hindu deity were stolen en route to France.


The 1,500-year-old rare terracotta statues of the Hindu god Vishnu disappeared from Zia International Airport in Dhaka on Saturday just hours before they were to be flown to the French capital.


The cabinet decided at a special meeting Tuesday to cancel the exhibition in light of the apparent theft, a government statement said.


"The Guiment Museum would be informed regretfully that it would not be possible to go ahead with holding the exhibition of the items as planned," it said.


The statues were among 188 rare cultural items being sent to the Guimet Museum in the French capital for a major international exhibition on Bangladesh's history and culture.


The first consignment of 42 items was sent to Paris on December 1.


Police also launched a nationwide hunt and sought help from Interpol to retrieve the stolen relics after detaining 15 people in connection with the case, he added.


The rare statues represent a deity known as the preserver of the universe. They were among the items selected from five state-run museums over opposition by some local art curators after an agreement between the French embassy and the government's cultural affairs ministry.



http://www.hindu.com/2007/12/26/stories/2007122660821500.htm


Missing statues: Bangladesh seeks Interpol probe




Haroon Habib









DHAKA: The Bangladesh police have requested Interpol to enquire into the two stolen rare terracotta statues of Hindu God Vishnu as the authorities ordered transfer of 143 invaluable artefacts to the national museum from the Dhaka airport where they were taken for airlifting to France.


Interpol was already contacted about the stolen statues, said a top police official as a massive hunt continued for the last three days to recover the rare cultural items. The statues were found missing from the airport's high-security zone on Saturday as they were about to be airlifted to Paris.


An Air France aircraft was waiting in the airport to transport the artefacts through the Homebound Courier Services which trucked 145 relics in 13 cartons to the airport to be put on display at the Guimet Museum in the French capital early next year. The artefacts were part of 188 rare cultural items being sent for an exhibition on Bangladesh history and culture. There was a major national protest that the artefacts might not be returned in original.


In the face of persistent protest by senior citizens and art lovers and a legal battle, the Bangladesh authorities earlier sent 42 artefacts to Paris for the exhibition. The second consignment of 147 artefacts was on their way after the Supreme Court cleared the legal roadblocks.


The Bangladesh National Museum authorities said that some unidentified thieves stole the two statues from the airport early Saturday from the custody of French officials.


Also see http://www.museum-security.org/wordpress/?p=134

Friday, December 14, 2007

Killing of Intellectuals in 1971

 
Killing of Intellectuals in 1971

Martyred Intellectuals Day

 

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID), which probed an intellectual-murder case that dates back 10 years, made suggestions to the home ministry in 2001 that the government could file the case under International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973.

No subsequent government, however, took the initiative to that end.

Prof Farida Banu, sister of martyred intellectual Giasuddin, filed the case with Ramna Police Station on September 24, 1997 against two al-Badr cadres--Chowdhury Mainuddin and Ashrafuzzaman--for killing her brother on December 14 in 1971.

The CID submitted the final report of the case in 2001 on grounds that it was filed under "wrong" section of law.

Giasuddin was a history department lecturer at Dhaka University.

The complainant now sees no hope of getting justice as the subsequent political governments and the present caretaker administration have turned a deaf ear to the CID observations.

"The state needs to file a case in order to try and punish the accused," Farida Banu told The Daily Star yesterday.

She said she tracked the development of the case till 2001. "After the BNP assumed power, I found no reason to follow up the case," she told this paper.

Asked whether she now plans to appeal to the present government to revive the issue, Farida said Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed's remarks about the war criminals encouraged her but the law adviser's comments about a recent similar case took no time to dampen her enthusiasm.

One Fazlur Rahman filed the sedition case with Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court against Jamaat-e-Islami Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid, Assistant Secretary General Abdul Quader Mollah and Md Abdul Hannan, former chairman of Islami Bank.

His case statement said the three accused acted against the liberation war and carried out massacres through al-Badr, al-Shams and Razakar forces in 1971, thus committing sedition.

The CID, after long investigation into Prof Farida's case, forwarded its report to the home ministry twice, in 1998 and 2002, with the observations that the government needs to file a case under International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973 to ensure punishment to the killers.

It mentioned that the case is not maintainable under the existing criminal laws. Subsequent governments, however, did not make any move to file a case under the act.

CID's senior ASP and investigation officer of the case Munshi Atiqur Rahman had done intensive investigations on the basis of the case papers.

He talked to the families of martyred teachers and students of Dhaka University and other educational institutions. The investigators also watched War Crimes File, a programme aired by British broadcaster Channel 4, in the hope of getting more leads on the case.

The CID eventually named 40 persons as witnesses and submitted final report of the case.

According to the case statement, al-Badr members Mainuddin and Ashrafuzzaman picked up Giasuddin Ahmed from Muhsin Hall premises, blindfolded him and whisked him in a microbus to an undisclosed location on December 14 in 1971. He never came back.

The plaintiff said she and her relatives had identified his decomposed body on January 5 in 1972.

They later came to know that Dhaka University teachers Dr Mohammad Mortaza, Dr Abul Khair, Prof Rashidul Hasan, Prof Anwar Pasha, Prof Sirajul Haq and some other teachers had been taken away in the same way.

Dr Mortoza's wife and Prof Sirajul's son could identify two of the abductors who were Chowdhury Mainuddin and Ashrafuzzaman.

Investigation officer Munshi Atiqur Rahman, who has recently retired from service, told The Daily Star yesterday that he sent in the file to the home ministry. "The file was later sent to the law ministry and I don't know what happened to it after that."

CID sources said they recommended the formation of a tribunal and investigation of the case under the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973 as late Sirajul Haque, who was appointed chief prosecutor in 1972 in the case against collaborators, observed that the case should be conducted under the act and that such a case would not be effective under the existing criminal laws.

The sources also said the home ministry sent the file to the law ministry for its opinion in January 2000. It, however, never came back as the Awami League government did not give much attention to the case in the remaining 18 months of its tenure.

Nothing about the CID file could be known from the home and law ministries.

Law Adviser Barrister Mainul Hosein also told The Daily Star that he knows nothing about it. Source: DS
 
 
 
 

The mother of a thief talks big. As this Bengali proverb goes, so go the recent remarks of the trio of Ali Ahsan Mujaheed, Quader Mollah, the two Jamaat top brass, and their sincerest sympathiser Saha Hannan.

These men were trying to deny such a naked truth that their attempts seem like those of the proverbial thief's mother who loudly denounces others while her own son is an inveterate criminal. The clever mother speaks up so that her boastful gesture may give people a good idea about her son and let them not mistake him for a potential thief.

This is simply laughable, because it is a futile attempt at concealing an offence, which is already exposed. The Jamaat-e-Islami leaders Mujaheed, Quader Mollah, and Shah Hannan's position is like that of the thief's mother who is unavailingly trying to cover up the full extent of crime through loud voice and boastful lies.

It is as clear as anything that the valiant people of Bangladesh have fought a war of independence in 1971 against the Pakistan occupation army and their lackeys -- the local collaborators. They were known as Razakars, Al-Badr, and Al-Shams and were heavily made up of the leaders and votaries of the then Jamaat-e-Islami now Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh.

That ours was a war of independence has been globally acknowledged, and that Jamaat-e-Islami was opposing it has been substantiated by one hundred and one evidences. Therefore, when this bragging, overbearing, and bumptious trio term it a "civil war," deny the existence of war criminals, and distort the sacred motive behind our joining the liberation war, they surely hurt the feelings of freedom-loving millions with their virtual negation of the very existence of Bangladesh. This is, frankly, virtually sedition, a crime against the country, a serious offence.

Our liberation war is the most glorious event in our history; our freedom fighters are the most valued persons of our country while the Razakars are the enemies of the state. Headed by Golam Azam, the Razakars were the collaborators of the Pakistan occupation army.

Golam Azam was a party, directly and indirectly, to the atrocious genocide, the rapes and molestation of millions of Bengali women, and the most barbaric act of killing hundreds of pro-liberation intellectuals. In these vile occurrences, he was assisted by his top associates, Nizami and Mujaheed. Their participation in the intellectual killing mission has had a number of tangible proofs.

For instance, in a picture recovered from the archives of Pakistan military intelligence, Golam Azam along with his chief accomplice Nizami is seen to hand the list of the names of pro-liberation Bengali intellectuals over to Pakistani generals (The New York Times, 30, July, 1971). He was the ringleader of 70,000 Razakars working under different factions with different names.

Another camp of the non-Bengali Muslims was added to them and the combined force forged some paramilitary units, which were trained by the Pakistan army. The paramilitary units named Al-Badr and Al-Shams played the key role in the heinous task of intellectual killing.

In June 1971, the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Sydney Schanberg made a candid report on that. In his words: "Throughout East Pakistan the army is training new paramilitary home guards or simply arming 'loyal' civilians, some of whom are formed into peace committees. Besides Biharis and other non-Bengali, Urdu-speaking Moslems, the recruits include the small minority of Bengali Moslems who have long supported the army-adherents of the right-wing religious parties such as the Muslim League and Jamaat-e-Islami led by Golam Azma and Matiur Rahman Nizami. These groups collectively known as the Razakars, the paramilitary units spread terror throughout the Bengali population. With their local knowledge the Razakars were an invaluable tool in the Pakistani Army's arsenal of genocide."

After Schanberg made a number of eyewitness accounts for the New York Times, the Pakistan army expelled him from the country on June 30, 1971.

It was December 1971. The occupation army was coming near to a crushing defeat. The marauding forces were on the verge of turning tail. Sensing their impending danger, they hit upon a wicked plan to cripple our social and cultural advancement by killing the standard bearers of our country -- our intellectuals. They shot the last bolt. On December 14, the Pakistan army let loose the paramilitary units to kill the intellectuals -- teachers, politicians, scientists, physicians, lawyers, journalists, and others.

The way the highly valued children of our soil were killed was diabolical. They were rounded up like cattle, bound, blindfolded, and led to torture chambers at Mirpur, Muhammadpur, Nakhalpara, Razarbag, and finally taken to Rayerbazar, where they were gunned down like sitting ducks.

Stranded intellectuals killed between March 25 and December 16, 1971 across the country are among others: Dr. G.C. Dev, Dr. Munir Chowdhury, Dr. Mofazzal Haider Chowdhury, Dr. Anwar Pasha, Dr. Fazle Rabbi, Dr. Alim Chowdhury, Sahidullah Kaiser, Nizamuddin Ahmed, Selina Parvin, Altaf Mahmud, Dr. Hobibur Rahman, and Dhiren Dutt. The final toll rose to over 200.

What we today call war crime has a long history. In fact, perfidy has existed in human society over the centuries. It has been tried under customary laws. In the Hague Convention of 1899 and 1907 these customary laws were clarified. The modern concept of war crime however, has developed through the Nuremberg trails which were held basing on the definition of the London Charter published in 1945. The customary law defines war crimes as crimes against peace, against humanity.

Over the last century, many other treaties also introduced positive laws that put constraints on belligerents in light of which the nature of war crime can be determined. War crimes include mistreatment of prisoners of war or civilian and mass murder or genocide. Under the Nuremberg principles, the supreme intentional crime is that of waging a war of aggression. In addition, the war crimes that are defined in the statute, which established the International Criminal Court include:

* Breaches of the Geneva Convention, such as deliberate killing or causing great suffering or serious injury to body or wealth.

* Torture or inhuman treatment.

* Unlawful deportation, confinement, or transfer.

The people who killed or helped to kill the intellectuals of Bangladesh are war criminals by any definition of the term. They were in breach of the Geneva Convention and crossed all limits of simple human decency in their treatment of the intellectuals.

They joined hands with Pakistan occupation force that willfully launched an armed war of aggression against the innocent peace-loving people and unarmed civilians. They caused untold sufferings, irrecoverable physical and economic harm to them, and wanton destruction to national wealth. They made the stranded intellectuals undergo barbaric torture and unlawful confinement in the torture chambers, until finally they were killed.

They have successfully fulfilled all the criteria for being war criminals. They should have been brought to justice much earlier on the sovereign soil of independent Bangladesh. But quite unfortunately for us, they are seemingly beyond the reach of the law.

The long arm of the law could not even touch a hair of their heads. Little by little they have gained ground. Backed by the opportunist power hunters of the right-wing coalition, they too, have been able to have the taste of power. So, naturally, they don't give a damn what the pro-liberation folks think.

Not only that, the war criminals could go to the extent of passing most derogatory remarks on the Liberation War itself and denying the existence of the anti-liberation forces. This well becomes them to belittle the image of our Liberation War since they were (and are) the enemies of the state of Bangladesh, if not enemies of the people of Bangladesh.

Mujaheed, who now does not see the existence of any war criminal in here, was erstwhile president of East Pakistan Islami Chhatra Shagha and one of the top brass of Al-Badr force. He helped the occupation army in carrying out the bloody massacre, plunder, and rape. He, too, it is credibly alleged, had his role in the brutal killing of the intellectuals on December 14 in 1971. Quader Mollah was dubbed as "butcher" in his neighborhood. He, it is credibly alleged, started killing people even before the occupation army launched genocide.

We know it full well who the war criminals are. The party they belonged to remained banned until 1976. After the ban was lifted, they have resumed their activities with renewed interest and are posing serious threats to the hardest earned ideal of our Liberation War i.e. a secular democratic state.

We failed to try the war criminals! But it is never late to mend. One government's failure to do that should not justify other government's indifference to it. What we have already had is a tremendous popular support about this trial. On the other hand, there is always a considerable public disquiet about the government's inaction as to it.

The present caretaker government has by this short time trod paths where its predecessors had not. The present government has settled the long borne Mujib-Zia dispute and saved history from distortion. So people are looking forward to seeing the government make sure that the war crimes will be tried and that the criminals will be punished.

Dr. Rashid Askari is a writer, columnist, and Professor of English, Islamic University, Kushtia.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Court acquitted two other RU teachers; Jailed 10 students

Rajshahi speedy trial court yesterday acquitted two teachers and a official of Rajshahi University in the case for torching a DGFI vehicle and beating its staffs breaking emergency power rules of 2007 on August 22 campus violence.


But the court sentenced each of ten other accused RU students and an employee in the case to three years of rigorous imprisonment and fined them with Tk 5000. They will suffer three months more in jail in case of defaulting to pay the fine.


The acquitted teachers Dr Chowdhury Sarwar Jahan Sajal and Dr Golam Sabbir Sattar Tapu of geology and mining department and Sadikul Islam, deputy chief information officer of RU Public Relations Office were released from Rajshahi Central Jail at 5pm.


The convicted students are -- Bangladesh Chhatra League RU unit secretary Ayenuddin, Dipayan Sarkar Dip, Mizanur Rahman Mithu, Sardar Ayaz, SM Fakrul Islam Raihan, Abu Sayem, Shamim Ahmed, Kazi Abdul Latif, Shakhawat Hossain, Aziz Bin Kamal Uzzal. All the convicted students are absconding.


Other convicted Ataur Rahman, a driver of former RU vice chancellor Faisul Islam Faruki along with the three acquitted persons were present before the court during judgement.


The assigned judge of the court Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ruhul Amin pronounced the verdict at 3.45pm after about an hour long judgement speech in a jam-packed court room.


Tight security measures were taken in and around the court where hundreds of curious people including teachers and students were gathering.


After the judgement, the acquitted teachers came out of the court smiling, but many students and relatives of the convicted burst into tears.


After campus violence of August 21 and 22, police lodged and pressed charges in a total four cases against eight teachers, an officer and 21 students.


With yesterday's verdict and Monday's Presidential clemency, trial proceedings of two cases ended and all eight detained teachers and an officer were released.


But in two other cases, the charge sheets against 11 other students are still awaiting to be accepted by court.

Freed RU teachers to go ahead with appeal against conviction


The lawyers of four Rajshahi University teachers yesterday decided to go ahead with appeal proceedings against their clients' convictions even though the government freed the academics two days ago amid mounting public demand.

The defence lodged the appeals with the District and Sessions Judge's court on December 9, one day before the teachers walked out of prison. The court set December 27 to hear the appeals.

The four teachers, meantime, joined their respective departments yesterday. They were given two-year jail terms on December 4 for breaking the emergency power rules by bringing out a silent procession on the campus on August 21.

Two other teachers and two university staff are still behind bars on charge of abetting torching a DGFI vehicle during the violence. The verdict in the subsequent case is due today.

"The teachers were freed following a government general amnesty. There are two parts in the court judgement -- the conviction and the sentences. So far as we know, the president cleared them of the punishment only... if it is so, we must try to clear them of the conviction too", said Golam Arif Tipu, who argued for the teachers in court.

He said they need to go ahead with the appeal proceedings even if the president's clemency covers both conviction and punishment because the government has not withdrawn the case.

"We don't want to give anyone the scope for creating problems in the future", said another defence lawyer.

An education ministry letter to the university vice chancellor, however, said the presidential pardon covered both the conviction and the sentences. The Daily Star obtained a copy of the ministry's letter.

The lawyers, however, said a home ministry letter to the jail authorities created the problem in which the ministry said the president pardoned only the jail terms and monetary fines.

The four teachers, meantime, demanded the release of their two other colleagues and four Dhaka University teachers after joining the departments yesterday.

Vice chancellor Dr Altaf Hossain said, "As per the education ministry letter, the four teachers will not face any problem as to their jobs ... even the period they spent in jail will be counted as job period".

Rajshahi University Teachers' Association in a press release yesterday called on the government to release all teachers and students of Dhaka and Rajshahi universities. Ruta welcomed the government for freeing the four teachers.
 
 

Freed teachers Welcomed

 

The freed teachers yesterday joined respective departments amid a warm and floral reception by students and colleagues.

 

Rejecting the receptions, the teachers, however, demanded immediate release of other teachers, staffs and students of Rajshahi and Dhaka universities.

 

Students again started a signature campaign for release of two other teachers of geology and mining department -- Chowdhury Sarwar Jahan Sajal and Golam Sabbir Sattar Tapu.

 

Sammilito Sangskritik Jote has sent an appeal to the chief adviser of caretaker government for releasing other teachers of Rajshahi University.

 

Talking to newspersons, RU vice chancellor Prof Dr Altaf Hossain yesterday expressed his satisfaction and said, the education ministry sent an order for not dismissing the freed teachers for their conviction.

 

Over a hundred students and teachers were waiting for Moloy Kumar Bhoumik in front of Management department with huge flowers.

 

As Moloy went there at 12.00pm, students made a red-carpet with flowers on his way to the department. But Moloy declined to walk over flowers saying that the time for receiving such ornamental greetings was yet to come as some other colleagues and staffs were still suffering behind the bar.

 

However following repeated requests, Moloy later dedicated the reception, accorded to him, to those university teachers and others who are still in jail and hoped for their immediate release.

 

The statutory academic committee of the department held a meeting with department chairman Emran Ali in the chair and took a resolution expressing their satisfaction at Moloy's return.

 

At 11.45am, Dulal Chandra Biswas and Abdullah Al Mamun went to mass communication department together.

 

Students who were waiting for them in colorful dresses from the morning in two parallel queues greeted them with flowers. They distributed sweets among students and teachers.

 

Sayed Selim Reza Newton witnessed a same welcome at the department when he reached there at 12.30pm.

 

Moloy Kumar Bhoumik termed their release as a victory of teachers and students where morality is concerned.

 

He said, "I don't felt guilty since my arrest. Our country has a tradition of tortures and atrocities by governments, ours case is not different and it stimulated up the very decaying conscious of the nation".

 

Dulal Chandra Biswas termed release of the teachers as a victory of truth and told reporters, "I am feeling delighted amidst of students at my department...as if I regained vigor".

 

"A strong realisation developed in me during my stay in jail that I will devote my life teaching kindness and protesting indiscretions of society side by side academic teachings".

 

"We all four teachers pledged together before coming out of jail on Monday for staying beside students in all their logical movement against anomalies and atrocities", said Dulal.

 

Sayed Selim Reza Newton said, "The clemency was an achievement, though in late, government understood it's wrong...It became an example, usually a state undertook methods of repression when it thinks its people are weak".

 

"Citizens duty is to remind the state machineries of its wrongs and responsibilities, we took out the procession from this point of view. But the government misunderstood us".

 

Abdullah Al Mamun said, "I took part in the silent procession (on August 21, for what they were put behind the bar) as a human being concerned at the atrocities at Dhaka University...so it was never to instigate any violence".

 

"I took oath for fighting for ensuring freedom of opinion and building political awareness".

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Editorial: Welcome moves to free teachers and students

 
Editorial
Restoring proper campus atmosphere is necessary

In response to family demand backed by the public, the government has released convicted teachers of Rajshahi University following presidential decision. That they are finally free is commandable.We are also happy to learn that moves have got underway to free the detained teachers and students of Dhaka University. The fact that such steps are now being taken following discussions between the Dhaka University Teachers' Association and the authorities is a matter of relief for the country. It is so because the nation can now look forward to a proper and necessary resolution of an issue that has been agitating minds over the past many months. We believe that it is a positive development and everyone aware of the priorities before us at this point can move on to everything else that needs to be done in the greater national interest.

It should be obvious to everyone today that the process of consultative engagement, in this case between the DU authorities and the government, is working and that both sides have been able to demonstrate a degree of understanding about each other's concerns. That is surely to be appreciated. One is certainly happy that the DU teachers, who wore black badges as they went about their work on Sunday, were willing to give space to the government on the issue of the detained teachers and students by opting to suspend their agitation for a fortnight, within which period the detained individuals are expected to be freed. We may mention here that earlier we wrote two editorials on the subject of the detained teachers and students wherein we had unambiguously advocated a dignified and amicable resolution of the issue. Happily for us, just such an approach has now been taken in dealing with the problem, one that we believe will prove useful in promoting rec-onciliation between everyone involved in it.

Teachers in Bangladesh have traditionally been the recipient of respect and honour in society because of the invaluable contributions they make to the education of the young. In these past many months, the manner in which some of these teachers, all honoured for the degree of wisdom they have displayed in imparting education to their pupils, have been treated has left the nation worried. That worry can only be rolled back through all of us, in every stratum of society, making sure that dignity and respect are restored to our teachers. At the same time, we expect that with the freeing of the teachers and the students, a proper, peaceful academic atmosphere will return to universities all over the country.

Our teachers and our universities are our pride, for patently historical reasons. Which is why we hope that such conditions as those that have seen some of them subjected to the humiliation of detention will not recur.

The Eid-ul Azha is on December 21.

The Eid-ul Azha is on December 21.
 
 
The Eid-ul Azha is on December 21.
The moon of Arabic month of Zul Hizzah was seen Tuesday.
News agency bdnews24.com said quoting an Islamic Foundation official.
 
 

Birshreshtha Hamidur finally laid to rest in homeland

 
Birshreshtha Hamidur finally laid to rest in homeland
Birshreshtha Hamidur Rahman
 

Birshreshtha Hamidur Rahman was finally laid to eternal rest in his independent homeland with state honours.

 

Before the burial, the nation paid last respect to the Liberation War hero as his remains was brought to the National Parade Square at Shere-e-Bangla Nagar in the capital this morning.

 

President Iajuddin Ahmed, also supreme commander of the armed forces, formally received the coffin that contained the remains of Hamidur at the parade square and placed wreath at the coffin draped with the national flag at about 10:40am.

 

Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed also placed wreath at the coffin after the president.

 

A munajat was offered for divine blessing for the departed soul of the valiant freedom fighter, but the scheduled namaj-e-janaza was not held as he was buried in Ambasa in the Indian state of Tripura after namaj-e-janaza following his death in battle.

 

A brief life sketch of the Birshreshtha was read out before offering the munajat, recalling his life and fight during the Liberation War in 1971.

 

Hamidur was born at Khorda Khalispur in Moheshpur upazila of Jhenidah in February 2, 1953.

 

The freedom fighter, youngest among the seven war heroes posthumously decorated with the highest gallantry award, embraced martyrdom during a battle with the Pakistani occupation forces on Sylhet border on October 28 in 1971.

 

Earlier, a smartly-turned-out contingent drawn from the army, navy and air force gave a guard of honour to the remains of the valiant war hero.

 

Military buglers sounded the last post to pay respect to the memory of the martyred soldier as the president, the chief adviser and other dignitaries and people of various professions stood in solemn silence.

 

A 21 gun-salute boomed as pall-bearers entered the parade square venue at 10:35am. Six army personnel carried the coffin on their shoulders from the vehicle and kept it on a podium.

 

The Speaker, advisers of the caretaker government, chiefs of the three services, family members of Birshreshtha Hamidur Rahman and other Birshreshthas, political leaders, freedom fighters, senior civil and military officials, diplomats, distinguished personalities of different professions, and members of the armed forces were, among others, present to pay homage to the valiant war hero.

 

The ceremonies over, the remains of Hamidur Rahman were kept for 20 minutes at the venue.

 

On behalf of the family members of seven Birshreshthas, mother of Birshreshtha Abdur Rouf, who is now very old, placed wreath at the coffin of Hamidur's remains.

 

The Speaker, the deputy speaker and political leaders, among others, placed wreaths at the coffin.

 

Earlier, at 6:00am today, a vehicle of the military police started towards Dhaka with the remains of Hamidur Rahman from Comilla Cantonment.

 

Later, the remains were taken to Dhaka Cantonment in a ceremonial motorcade from Jatrabari and then taken to the National Parade Square.

 

The remains of Birshreshtha Hamidur Rahman reached his beloved homeland yesterday, 36 years after his martyrdom during Bangladesh's liberation war. (DS said quoting UNB)

4 RU teachers freed from jail



In the face of a rising public demand, the government finally freed the four convicted teachers of Rajshahi University from Rajshahi Central Jail yesterday afternoon.

The government claimed that the release came following a petition of mercy to the president from the convicted teachers. But the freed teachers rejected the government claim saying they had not petitioned the president for mercy.

Moloy Kumar Bhoumik of the management department, and Dulal Chandra Biswas, Sayed Selim Reza Newton and Abdullah Al Mamun of the mass communications department came out of the jail around 3.45pm.

Maj Hafizur Rahman Mollah, deputy inspector general (DIG) of prisons in Rajshahi division, told The Daily Star that the teachers were released following a clemency for them from the president.

"We [the jail authorities] received the president's faxed order through the home ministry at 3.08pm and the teachers were released at 3.40pm after necessary confirmation and formalities."

"Powered by Article no 49 of the Constitution of Bangladesh, the sentence of imprisonment and monitory fines of the four teachers were pardoned. If there is no other accusation against them, their immediate release is ordered," the DIG prisons quoted the presidential order as saying.

Last Tuesday a Rajshahi court sentenced the teachers to two years rigorous imprisonment, and fined them Tk 1,000 each, in default of which each of them was to spend one more month of rigorous imprisonment, for violating the Emergency Power Rules (EPR) by bringing out a silent procession on the campus on August 21.

President's Secretary M Serajul Islam told journalists that President Iajuddin Ahmed at 12:35pm approved the clemency petitions filed by the wives of the teachers.

In an instant reaction to the presidential mercy, Law Adviser Mainul Hosein told reporters that following the arrests and sentencing of the four teachers, by law they may not keep their teaching jobs.

The president however might make a special exception allowing them to retain their posts, the law adviser added.

Asked whether the freed teachers were innocent all along, Mainul said, "The court will decide that, not the president."

"The appeals of the RU teachers for pardon were forwarded to the president's office after taking care of the legal process involved," Mainul said.

"The government doesn't at all intend to detain university teachers. Since there were cases filed against them, the government had to clear them legally after their appeal to the government for absolving them of the charges," the law adviser said.



Clockwise: Rajshahi University teachers Moloy Kumar Bhoumik,
Dulal Chandra Biswas, Abdullah Al Mamun and Selim Reza Newton walk out of prison as they were released from Rajshahi Central Jail yesterday. Photo: STAR


As news of the presidential clemency reached Rajshahi in the morning, family members of the detained teachers, their relatives, and journalists started gathering at the jail gate from 10:00am.

But the jail authorities told the families that they had yet to receive any information regarding the mercy.

As the number of people at the jail gate was increasing, the authorities deployed extra forces including detective branch personnel in and around the jail compound.

By 12:00pm, hundreds of students and teachers from Rajshahi University were at the jail gate and around 2:00pm more students from the management and mass communications departments joined the crowd.

Hundreds of other students of the departments gathered in front of their departments boycotting their classes and examinations, and celebrated the freedom of their teachers, dancing to the beats of patriotic songs.

Kolpona Roy, the eldest sister of Moloy Kumar Bhoumik, was also waiting in the crowd at the jail gate since morning, who was frequently breaking down in emotional outbursts, while Mamun's wife Udicha Islam was running back and forth from the jail gate to the waiting crowd as rumours were springing every few minutes that the jailed teachers were about to walk out that gate.

"What a fate my brother had!" exclaimed Moloy's sister with tears rolling down her cheeks, "He returned home from the liberation war in 1971 and today he is being freed from a jail."

"Moloy went to the war at the age of 14. As he was absent and we were not getting any news of him, we thought he might have been killed."

"But on December 10 of 1971 he surprised us all by returning home, and soon he was hurrying to go back to the front again, but before he could do that we won the war."

On December 10, 2007, Moloy again suddenly appeared through the jail gate with his three just freed colleagues around 3.45pm, with yet another pleasant homecoming.

The four freed teachers hugged their wives and other family members as they were welcomed by the waiting crowd.

Their colleagues and students received them at the jail gate with flowers, some of whom broke down in tears embracing the freed teachers.

Policemen on guard there were visibly baffled by the huge rush of well-wishers of the freed teachers as they walked out of the jail compound.

Police as well as the RU authority offered the freed teachers rides home on their vehicles. But the teachers declined, opting to go to the university campus with their students and colleagues on rickshaws.

The detective branch escorted the released teachers until they all got home.

The freed teachers went to the grave of Dr Mohammad Samsuzzoha, the first martyred academic in the country, and observed a minute of silence honouring his memories, after placing wreaths at the grave.

They also visited Sabash Bangladesh, a liberation war memorial, and showed respect to the martyrs of the liberation war by observing a minute of silence there.

Moloy Kumar Bhoumik and Dulal Chandra Biswas addressed the crowd there. They expressed their gratitude to all their colleagues, students, lawyers, and others who had demanded their release.

"We are happy that the government showed its goodwill and rational approach towards us...but some of our colleagues of Rajshahi and Dhaka universities are still suffering in jails, we hope, the government will show the same compassion towards them also", Bhoumik said coming out of the jail.

"Our release is of no value until our colleagues are also freed", he said.

Later at the grave of Shamsuzzoha, Bhoumik told journalists, "We heard the media is saying that we had sought presidential clemency."

"I want to make it clear that we never sought any mercy from anyone. If anybody claims so, he should show the proof. If the claim comes from the government then it is an insult to the teaching community."

"If the government claims that we sought mercy, they must prove it. We are ready to go to jail again if necessary. It is a matter of the teaching community's prestige."

Talking on the matter of presidential clemency, Sayed Selim Reza Newton also expressed his astonishment. Rejecting the government's claim he said, "There was no question of mercy petitions. Neither we nor our wives submitted any petition to the government for mercy."

"We are disappointed at the government's claim. We suffered in jail long enough because we didn't want to seek mercy. We could have been freed much earlier if we had sought mercy."

Dulal Chandra Biswas thanked the president for his 'voluntary initiative'. "We thank him for his voluntary move of ordering the mercy. It was possible only for the efforts of all the people including our colleagues and students."

Abdullah Al Mamun also thanked the government and expressed his gratitude to all who demanded their release.

Meanwhile, UNB reported, RU Vice-chancellor Dr M Altaf Hossain said, "I am very much happy, as my four colleagues were set free from jail," adding that they were released as per the law and not under any pressure or threat.

Proctor Dr Enamul Haque also expressed his happiness over the release of the four teachers and said peaceful atmosphere will now return to the campus.

He expressed his gratitude to the president for signing the mercy, exonerating four of their university teachers, convicted of breaking the emergency rules amid campus violence.




Copy of the letter that wives of the freed teachers said to have been sent to the CA promting mercy of the President.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Editorial: Sentencing of RU teachers

 
 
Editorial
Harsh and disproportionate

WE are shocked and surprised at the sentencing of four teachers of Rajshahi University (RU) to two-year rigorous imprisonment. It is beyond our comprehension how university teachers can be treated with such triviality, and marched off to serve their term like some petty criminals, particularly when the so-called 'proof of the crimes' does not meet rigorous standards of our own laws It is unprecedented, unfortunate and uncalled for. With full respect to the judicial system, we are compelled to ask the question -- what was the gravity of their crime? Was awarding rigorous imprisonment truly compatible with charges brought against them? Regrettably, this is for the first time in Bangladesh that university teachers have been given such harsh sentence for ventilating their grievance in a peaceful manner.

The facts on hand suggest that three charges were brought against the four teachers. But after four months of investigation the authorities failed to substantiate two of the charges. And now the judgment has been dispensed evidently on the basis of only one charge, that of bringing out a silent procession on the campus. A large number of teachers had taken part in the procession in which the accused happened to be present. But ultimately a few of them got picked up by the law enforcing authorities. Technically speaking, they might have overstepped the emergency rule but given the fact that they did not resort to any violence and that they were respectable teachers having no criminal record, a more liberal approach to the case would have been justified. Moreover, was not their being in custody for four months punishment enough?

University teachers in their role of conscience keepers are known to raise their voice of sanity and express solidarity with students in pursuit of righteous causes. This is at the root of the legacy of teachers and students being in the forefront of all major national movements, be that for the establishment of Bangla as the state language or defying the curfews and bullets of the autocratic regimes in this country. The creation of Bangladesh is the manifest result of such valour and legacy. Therefore the punishment meted out to the four RU teachers has been very unfortunate.

We would like to say once again that the honourable judge could have taken the social standing of the senior teachers of RU into cognisance and taken a more lenient view. Such stance would have gone a long way towards settling the issue and upholding the respect and regards we show to our teachers. The punishment meted out deepens a wound that would have better healed.
 
 
 
 
RU Teachers' Conviction

The verdict sentencing four Rajshahi University (RU) teachers to two years' imprisonment was based on "poor" evidence and has raised questions about the caretaker government's neutrality in enforcing Emergency Power Rules (EPR) 2007, eminent jurists have observed.

Talking to The Daily Star, they said a good number of incidents have taken place so far violating the EPR, but the government has targeted university teachers only for prosecution.

"The judgment suffers from a lack of strict scrutiny of the oral evidence inasmuch as the conviction seems to be based on oral evidence of a single witness," Justice Ghulam Rabbani, former judge of Supreme Court Appellate Division, said.

"The learned magistrate ought to have noticed that the prosecution failed to produce any corroborative evidence and therefore he should not have relied on the un-corroborative evidence. This is the rule of ordinary evidence," he said.

He said if the convicted teachers appeal with the higher court, the judgment will not sustain.

Questioning the government's impartiality in enforcing the EPR, Dr Shahdeen Malik said, "The prohibition on meetings, processions etc has clearly been enforced very selectively. We know of a good number of similar incidents that violate rule 3 of the EPR. Unfortunately, it seems that prominent and liberal teachers of the public universities have been targeted for prosecution and now punishment.

"This clearly does not indicate even-handed, impartial or neutral enforcement of rules, but targeted persecution. It is clear to me that most people will not blame the teachers for any wrongdoing but find faults with the government for intentional punishment of a select few," Malik added.

He said, "I hope that people in the authority will assume that by prosecuting university teachers they would not be able to silence the language of protest against injustice."

Advocate Sultana Kamal, former adviser to the caretaker government, said she has been deeply saddened by the news of conviction of the RU teachers. "It seems to me that they have been punished heavily for a lighter crime," she told The Daily Star.

The jurists referred to some incidents of violation of the EPR: thousands of protesters brought out processions on the Dhaka University campus and in different parts of the capital on August 20 and the following days; thousands of Awami League (AL) workers took to the streets and chanted slogans welcoming party chief Sheikh Hasina's return from abroad last May; Progressive Democratic Party President Ferdous Ahmed Qureshi and his men brought out a motorcade procession in Manikganj during distribution of relief to flood victims; and a few people brought out a procession welcoming the arrest of the AL chief last July.

A renowned jurist pointed out that religious outfit Hizbut Tahrir has also frequently brought out processions in the capital since September, denouncing a cartoon published in a national daily.

But none of them has been prosecuted, the jurists alleged.

On Tuesday, a speedy trial court sentenced the four RU teachers to two years' rigorous imprisonment for participating in a silent procession on August 21 protesting the previous day's police attack on DU students.

"Questions have arisen in the mind of people whether the government is enforcing the emergency power rules selectively," Sultana Kamal, also a human rights activist, said.

Bangladesh Bar Council Vice-Chairman Khandaker Mahbub Hossain, however, said many incidents take place violating the laws but not all the lawbreakers are punished.

"The judgment has sent the message to all that none is above the law. It has also sent a message to all teachers and students for abiding by the law," Mahbub, who was made vice chairman to the bar council by the caretaker government, said.

On the allegation of punishing the teachers on the basis of poor evidence, he said if the convicted teachers think they have been punished in an unjust way, they will of course get justice from the higher court upon appealing against the judgment.

Justice Rabbani said, "I am confident the judgment will not sustain [in higher court if appeal is made against the verdict], but considering the long time needed to dispose of the appeal, I will hope the president will exercise his constitutional prerogative of pardon."

Justice Naimuddin Ahmed said both the government and the president can remit the punishment. "Since the convicts are teachers, I appeal to the president to remit the punishment," Naimuddin said.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Four RU teachers jailed

http://www.thedailystar.net/story.php?nid=14251

 

 

 

 

From left: Moloy Bhoumik, Selim Reza Newton,

Abdullah Al Mamun and Dulal Chandra Biswas

 

 

The speedy trial court of Rajshahi yesterday sentenced four Rajshahi University teachers for two years of rigorous imprisonment for bringing out the silent procession in the campus on August 21 violating Emergency Power Rules (EPR) of 2007.

 

Each convicts -- Moloy Bhoumik of Management, Dulal Chandra Biswas, Sayed Selim Reza Newton and Abdullah Al Mamun of Mass Communication departments were fined with Tk 1000, defaulting on which will suffer one month more in jail.

 

Two other accused in the case -- Dr M Saidur Rahman Khan, former vice chancellor of the university, and Dr M Abdus Sobhan, syndicate member and convenor of RU Progressive Teachers' Society, were cleared of the charges and acquitted.

 

Both the teachers from applied physics and electrical engineering department went home after they were released from Rajshahi Central Jail at 1.30pm.

 

The assigned judge of the court Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ruhul Amin pronounced the verdict at 11.35am after an hour long judgement speech in a jam-packed court room.

 

Tight security measures were taken in and around the court, RU campus and several points of the city. The law enforcers allowed none but journalists, lawyers, family members of the accused and some senior teachers. Hundreds of curious people including students were waiting outside the court.

 

In his speech judge Ruhul Amin said, the court was adjudging three charges of EPR violation by the teachers through their leave en masse on July 26 to protest Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina'a arrest, silent procession on August 21 and secret meeting for instigating campus violence on August 22.

 

"Out of 20 prosecution witnesses, only one was found to be neutral eye-witness and he was Bengali daily Samakal's photojournalist Zabid Apu. Two photos of teachers' procession were produced before the court as evidence. Zabid Apu said those photos were not captured by him and he did not provided police any photo. But he established that teachers held the procession, he captured its photos that were published in Samakal on August 22", said the judge.

 

He said, Zabid Apu's version and published photos clearly proved holding of the silent procession in violation of Section 3 (4) of EPR and involvement of the four teachers.

 

"As there was an emergency in the country, bringing out of the procession violated rules...All accused persons are teachers of highest educational institute and they are engaged in a great profession. Besides, case documents showed their past records and conducts is not bad. Considering this, the court thinks lowest punishment is apt for proven allegation".

 

However, the judge said, the prosecution could not prove charges of observing strike in the name of en masse leave and holding secret meeting for instigating students to attack on law enforcers under Sections 4 (3) and 8 (2) of the EPR.

 

"There is no law against leave en masse and there was no evidence of taking such leave against the teachers...photos of secret meeting was taken from behind. Investigation official could identify none but Prof Dr M Abdus Sobhan in the photo, nor could he tell what was told in the meeting".

 

The Incident

Some RU teachers paraded a silent procession in the campus on August 21 protesting the police attack on Dhaka University students. Students called strike on the following day.

 

On the strike day, a rickshaw puller was killed, around 200 including police and journalists were injured vehicles were torched, and properties including the vice chancellor's residence was damaged during day-long clashes between police and thousands of students in and around RU campus.

 

The students' demonstrations had begun in protest at police attack on Dhaka University students on August 20 and demanding withdrawal of the state of emergency and removal of police from the campus. The incidents forced the government to impose curfew in major cities.

 

On night of August 23, members of Rapid Action Battalion arrested Dr M Saidur Rahman and Dr M Abdus Sobhan, and Moloy Kumar Bhowmik on the following day.

 

Former officer-in-charge (OC) at Motihar Police Station, Khondoker Ferdous Ahmed filed the case against the three teachers on August 26.

 

He alleged, a number of unnamed students allied with some teachers involved themselves into teacher-student politics as a sequel to Dhaka University incidents.

 

The accused persons with a political ill-motive observed a strike on plea of leave, held procession, and secret meetings that helped students to go violent against law enforcers.

 

The three teachers were placed on remand and taken to the Joint Interrogation Cell in Dhaka on August 28.

 

Names of Dulal Chandra Biswas, Sayed Selim Reza Newton and Abdullah Al Mamun were implicated later in the charge sheet submitted on September 1. They surrendered before the court four days later.

 

Metropolitan magistrate SM Fazlul Karim framed charges in the case on September 17 and the case was shifted to court of Ruhul Amin following separation of the judiciary on November1.

 

Golam Arif Tipu, Hamidul Haque, Mansur Ahmed and Aslam Sarkar also moved the case for the accused. Public prosecutor Masum Ahmed Tipu and court sub inspector Shamsul Ahmed pleaded for the state.

 

Reaction

All six teachers were seen smiling as they were taken to jail after the judgement. Soon after their departure from court premises, wives of the four convicted teacher and their relatives broke down in tears.

 

The defense lawyer in the case Golam Arif Tipu said, they would challenge the verdict to the district and session judge court.

 

"A deep conspiracy and instigation against accused teachers by vested quarters in the university was reflected in the verdict. Punishment was given on basis of disputed photos. The logic that relieved the two teachers are applicable for others too", he said.

 

Eminent literature Prof Hasan Azizul Haque said the verdict was unexpected. "The verdict is too heavy (guru-danda) for the teachers. We hoped all teachers would be acquitted".

 

RU VC Prof Dr Altaf Hossain denied commenting saying "We are bound to abide by court rulings".

 

Moloy's wife Swapna Banarji, Dulal's wife Sanchita Biswas, Newton's wife Susmita Chakrabarti and Mamun's wife Udicha Islam did not make comment. They said, they are preparing for facing the troubles ahead.

 

Our RU correspondent reports: Hearing the court verdict, students of Mass Communication department broke into tears and started gathering in front of department.

 

They met department chairman Prof Khademul Islam and sought his permission to launch demonstrations.

 

Prof Khademul Islam told journalists that he asked students to respect court ruling.

 

Huge number of police, plain cloth police and intelligence men were deployed in the campus from morning.  A platoon of police was in position in front of the department.

 

The two released teachers did not come out before media till evening. Their relatives, collegues, students and journalists thronged in front of their houses. 

 

However, The Daily Star managed talking to Prof Dr M Saidur Rahman Khan in the evening.

 

"I was surprised at the time of my arrest as I did not commit any crime with my knowledge. I am glad for my release after long and troublesome legal battle. I got justice. It proved my innocence".

 

The former RU VC said, "The judgement against four other teachers has marred my happiness". He hoped, these convicted teachers would be freed after appeal to higher court against the verdict.

 

 

Note:

In the middle of nowhere (http://rumiahmed.wordpress.com/), a blog published If I Am Jailed (Letter To My Wife). [This letter from one of the professors to his wife was received the night before the verdict]
awaiting verdict.


A Rajshahi University teacher's letter to his wife.