Sunday, December 27, 2009

Boro worries in Barind

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Declining groundwater hits irrigation

The drought that hit aman production in the Barind region this season is likely to affect the forthcoming boro too.

The anxiety deepens as the irrigation machines cannot pump up water properly due to drop in the underground water level in the Barind tract under Rajshahi, Naogaon and Chapainawabganj districts.

Against this backdrop, Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) has started recommending boro growers to cultivate other crops like wheat, maize and pulses that are relatively less dependant on irrigation.

The BMDA also sent notices to its branches in 25 upazilas in the three districts asking them to ensure irrigation of no more than 100 bighas of land with every deep tube-well despite the growers' demand for more.

"We are urging farmers to divert to other crops that hardly need irrigation with an aim to reduce pressure on the deep tube-wells," said BMDA Executive Director Abdul Mannan.

He explained that farmers used to irrigate some 350 to 400 bighas of land for boro from each deep tube-well while the deep tube-wells are normally set up to irrigate a maximum of 180 bighas of land.

BMDA arranges irrigation of around 3.24 lakh hectares of land in the region pumping out underground water with some 12,000 deep tube-wells, he says.

Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) sources said aman was cultivated on about 3.79 lakh hectares of land in this region this season.

They said the average per hectare output, recorded so far, is 2.3 tonnes against last year's 2.6 tonnes. The farmers have already harvested 80 percent of their crop.

This year aman harvest is good everywhere except in the Barind region where there was hardly any rain during the last monsoon, said agriculture officials.

Kawsar Ali who sends weekly water level reports to Water Development Board from Mundumala said the water level has dropped by 10 metres in the area during the last 14 years because of poor rainfall and drying up of the Padma.

"It took around 15 hours to irrigate one bigha in the previous years. But this year it takes around 30 hours to irrigate the same land," said Aftab Dewan, a farmer of Nachole.

The DAE in Rajshahi has lowered its boro cultivation target and fixed it at 83,811 hectares of land, which is 1,245 hectares less than last year's 85,056 hectares.

The DAE sources said the boro cultivators have prepared seedbeds on some 8,000 hectares of land in the nine upazilas of Rajshahi.

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Konal wins "Channel i Shera Kontho 2009"

Saturday, December 26, 2009
 
"And the winner is ...Konal," TV presenter Farzana Brownia dramatically announced at end of the four-hour grand finale of "Channel i Shera Kontho 2009", a musical talent hunt, held at Rajshahi District Stadium on Thursday night.

With the announcement, the chilly winter night in the northwestern city warmed up for some moments as 25000 people at the stadium and some 50,000 outside jumped up in joy and fireworks lit the sky. It was a night to remember in Rajshahi.

The announcement came as a relief to millions of Bangladeshis at home and abroad glued to the TV screen, waiting for the result.

Somnur Monir Konal from Dhaka won the title, while Chaitee Mutsuddi Liza and the youngest finalist Moumita Tasrin Nadiraj won the first and second runner-up positions respectively.

Konal received a cheque worth Tk eight lakh, while Chaitee got Tk five lakh and Nadiraj got Tk three lakh. They also received monetary and other gifts from different organisations, including a Tk 25,000 award from Rajshahi City Corporation.

The finale featured spirited live performances by the seven finalists and the results were based on points given by the judges and SMS votes from the audiences.

Renowned artistes Runa Laila, Sabina Yasmin, Subir Nandi and veteran music composer Alauddin Ali were present as the judges at the finale, adding grandeur to the programme that left a lasting impression on the people of Rajshahi.

The programme began with speeches by Channel i Managing Director Faridur Reza Sagar and Rajshahi Mayor AHM Khairuzzaman Liton.

The main event began with the performances of renowned dancers Shibli Mohammad and Shamim Ara Nipa accompanied by around 100 young dancers of Rajshahi; the song "Aguner Poroshmoni Chhoao Praney" played in the background.

The mega event changed the city mood. Four big screens were set up inside the stadium and six at different city points.

Head of News and Director, Channel i, Shykh Seraj, however, explained that the total amount of money would not be given to the winners right away. The winners will receive scholarships to acclaimed musical institutions abroad. He said, "A sudden rush of money often corrupts young minds."

The event, "Channel i Shera Kontho 2009" began in May with the slogan 'Gaaney... Awaz Tolo Praney." Some 92,000 contestants from seven zones of the country -- Dhaka Metro, Dhaka, Barisal, Rajshahi, Chittagong, Khulna and Sylhet -- took part in the competition.

On the occasion of the grand finale in Rajshahi, Channel i covered special reports highlighting the economy, environment and culture of the city during the last few days.

Farzana Brownia and Robin Khan directed the event jointly.

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Talent Hunt Programme

50 injured as cops club crowd

The law enforcers charged truncheon on a scrambling crowd, waiting to enter the venue of a talent hunt programme, leaving around 50 persons injured in Rajshahi Thursday night.

The injured include Tanvir, 20, of Sopura, Pial, 18, of Bagha, Sagir Hossain, 20, of Seroil Colony, Tawhid, 22, of Malda Colony, Shahidul, 23, of Katakhali, Sohel Rana, 22, of Haragram, and Anwar, 22, of Puthia, who took treatment at Rajshahi Medical College Hospital. The rest were given first aid at different clinics and households.

The injured alleged that members of police and Rab beat up the invited guests without any provocation. Proper management at the entries was lacking though as much as eight gates of the district stadium were open to the visitors, they said.

Although the programme -- the grand finale of Channel i Sera Kontho -- was scheduled to begin around 7:30pm, the guests started to queue up from 12:00noon and the gates were opened not before 4:00pm, complained the guests.

Some people were seen selling entry passes at Tk 300, Tk 200 and Tk 100, though they were not for sale.

Rajshahi Mayor AHM Khairuzzaman Liton described the unprovoked baton charge as undesirable. Officials of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police were not available for comments.

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Fresh probe into killing of Prof Yunus demanded

Friday, December 25, 2009

Different quarters yesterday demanded reinvestigation into the killing of Rajshahi University teacher Prof Muhammad Yunus while the trial process of the case against eight JMB militants is at final sage at Rajshahi Speedy Trial Tribunal.

The tribunal fixed December 31 for holding argument between the lawyers of both sides on completion of recording statements of 26 prosecution witnesses and examining the accused on Wednesday.

"After the argument, the tribunal will fix the date for delivering the verdict in the case", said Public Prosecutor Entajul Haque Babu.

Teachers and students of RU economics department demanded reinvestigation into Prof Yunus murder case while observing his fifth death anniversary on the campus yesterday.

Hundreds of students and teachers of the department brought out a silent procession on the campus at around 11:00am and held a rally in front of the department.

Addressing the rally, Prof M Moazzem Hossain Khan, chairman of economics department, urged the government to reinvestigate the case. He slated RU administration for not dealing with the murder case properly.

Muktijoddha Santan Command, Bangabandhu Parishad and Bangladesh Economic Association also demanded reinvestigation into the case.

Prof Yunus of RU economics department was killed during morning walk near his Binodhpur house on December 24, 2004.

Inspector Mohammad Helauddin of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) submitted the charge sheet in the case against eight JMB militants on September 10, 2007.

The accused are Shafiullah Tarek (follower of Asadullah Al Galib), Shahidullah Mahbub (husband of the executed JMB leader Siddikul Islam Bangla Bhai's niece), JMB's regional commanders Abu Isa Enamul and Golamur Rahman Mostafa, militants Abul Kashem Tufan, Abdul Matin, Abdur Rahman Arif and Mujibur Rahman.

In the charge sheet, the CID brushed aside previous police findings of Shibir involvement in the killing despite two witnesses in separate judicial statements said that Shibir men were involved in the murder.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Ritwik Kumar Ghatak recalled in Rajshahi

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ritwik Kumar Ghatak, the Bengali master filmmaker was born in Dhaka on November 4, 1925 and stayed in Rajshahi for several years. He and his family moved to Calcutta (now Kolkata) in West Bengal in the 1940s. Partition (1947) had a major impact on Ghatak and is a recurring subject in his works.

Ghatak's films are now celebrated in India and beyond. His stature among Bengali film directors is comparable to that of Satyajit Ray and Mrinal Sen. Nevertheless, he is rarely remembered ceremonially in Bangladesh.

Starting from yesterday, Rajshahi Film Society has begun a three-day Ritwik Ghatak Film Festival at Rajshahi Homeopathic Medical College and Hospital at Ghoramara. Ghatak used to stay in the house that was later turned into the medical college.

"Our aim is to celebrate the life and works of Ghatak who maintained a bond between Bangladesh and West Bengal," said Dr FMA Zahid, convenor of the film society.

Eminent litterateur Hasan Azizul Haque formally inaugurated the festival on Thursday while Dr. AFM Zahid chaired the opening ceremony.

Rina Chakrawarty and Aroma Dutta -- nieces of Ritwik Kumar Ghatak -- were present on the occasion, which drew a huge audience.

Aroma said that Ghatak was greatly upset for having to leave Bangladesh (then East Bengal) during the Partition and that he was proud of his roots.

Lawmaker Fazle Hossain Badsha attended the event as chief guest while among others Fazlul Haque, Monish Rafik, two French researchers -- Sandra Alvarez and Anais Nasson -- spoke on Ghatak's life and works.

"There is hardly any Bengali movie enthusiast who does not know Ghatak, but only a few know that he was born and raised here," he added.

The festival will show eight full-length films by Ghatak -- "Nagarik", "Ajantrik", "Bari Theke Paliye", "Meghe Dhaka Tara", "Komal Gandhar", "Subarnarekha", "Titash Ekti Nadir Naam" and "Jukti Takko Aar Gappo".

The organisers hope that the festival is likely to draw a number of movie enthusiasts from across the country.

After Bangladesh's independence, Ghatak came to Dhaka with Satyajit Roy in 1972, just four years before his death on February 6, 1976. He then recalled his childhood in Dhaka and most of his youth in Rajshahi.

To Ghatak, the primary objective of filmmaking was humanity.

"Once we went to a char (shoal) on the Padma river in Rajshahi. Ritwik took some food that we thought was for us. But he gave away the food to people living in a small hut. He did not tell us who they were and why he gave them food, but we found out that he used to give them food regularly," wrote Pratiti Devi, Ghatak's sister, about his compassionate nature.

Ghatak came across the famous Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Tara Sankar Bandyopadhyay, Probodh Kumar Sanyal, Humayun Kabir and Syed Mujtaba Ali as they were close to his father and brothers, and visited their house in Rajshahi.

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Rajshahi, Pabna had to wait for two more days

Friday, December 18, 2009

The nation as a whole had the final victory on December 16 in 1971 but the people of Rajshahi and Pabna had to wait for two more days to have the taste of freedom as the Pakistani occupation troops were desperately holding on a few camps there.

On the night of December 17 and early December 18, Pakistani forces fled to Natore from Shahid Shamsuzzoha Hall of Rajshahi University, their last camp in Rajshahi, reports our staff correspondent from Rajshahi.

Local people rescued a number of injured people including many tortured and abused women from the hall.

The Pakistani forces surrendered to the allied forces in Natore on December 20.

Sporadic clashes between the local people and Pakistani forces started in early March of 1971.

On March 28, Pak forces killed a number of policemen at Rajshahi Police Lines for their refusal to surrender arms.

As the freedom fighters under leadership of the then Captain Giasuddin Chowdhury and Captain Rashid started resisting the occupation forces, the latter had to remain confined to Rajshahi Cantonment from April 3 to 13.

On April 13, a huge Pak army from Dhaka broke the freedom fighters' resistance.

During the next several months, the barbaric army killed a number of people including freedom fighters and many mass graves were later found around Rajshahi town and different areas of the district.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Rajshahi farmers profit from plastic crates

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Farmers in Chapainawa-bganj earned an additional Tk 15 lakh last fiscal year simply by changing their product packing system.

Farmers now use plastic crates instead of traditional straw-cushioned bamboo baskets covered with jute sacks. The plastic crates help farmers cut losses.

In fiscal 2007-08, the growers packed around 205 tonnes of fruits for sale. But they had to throw away around 10 tonnes, as those were rotten due to the poor traditional packing system, said an official of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The crates were provided by USAID under its project Poverty Reduction by Increasing the Competitiveness of Enterprises.

But the farmers were able to sell all of their 250 tonnes of fruits in fiscal 2008-09 thanks to plastic crates, the official added.

In each plastic crate, 25 kilogram of mangoes can be packed.

The traditional baskets are costlier than the new ones but not suitable for sending the fruits to a distant place in large quantities, said a farmer in Kansat.

"We funded the horticulture, aquaculture and leather sectors in Bangladesh," said Mark Visocky, deputy director of USAID's Economic Growth Office.

USAID has moved to train farmers. "This year, we will train around 100 mango growers in Kansat in how to farm with minimum chemicals."

USAID trained 30 farmers at Khamar Pathuria in Natore who have already begun growing vegetables like eggplant using compost and organic fertilisers, said Jules Lampell, chief of party of the project.

The project helps farmers bring the cost of chemicals from Tk 40,000 to Tk 4,000 per hectare through proper use of natural pesticides, Lampell said.

The project aimed at generating jobs for around 30,000 people in its five-year term. "These jobs did not exist before we started the project," said Mark Visocky.

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Yet another 'heist' at govt office

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

In a sequel to heists in five public offices in Rajshahi and Natore over last two nights, criminals ransacked another government office at Sutrapur in Bogra town on Sunday night and stabbed its night guard to death.

Meanwhile, the government sent alerts to all district and upazila administration offices and law enforcement agencies to remain vigilant.

Police and officials concerned in Bogra told our staff correspondent that a gang forced their way into the public works department (PWD) office, sometime on Sunday night, and stabbed night guard Jamaluddin, 35, to death and tied up another guard Abu Taleb.

They also ransacked 33 almirahs in 14 rooms of the office.

Earlier on Friday and Saturday nights, criminals also ransacked five government offices in Rajshahi and Natore, including Rajshahi Divisional Commissioner's office after tying up their night guards.

Police of the three districts could not ascertain the motives behind the robbers who hardly took away anything.

In Bogra, police said the officials came to know about the incident when they went to the office at about 9:00am. Some documents might have gone missing from the office but not for sure yet, they added.

The robbers might have killed Jamaluddin after being resisted by him, police said adding that they also made Taleb unconscious by giving some intoxicant.

Executive Engineer Md Abul Bashar of Bogra PWD filed a case in this connection with Bogra Sadar Police Station but police could nab none till filing of this report last evening.

State Minister for Home Affairs Shamsul Haq Tuku held a pre-scheduled meeting on law and order of the district yesterday. Bogra Deputy Commissioner Md Iftekharul Islam brought the issue before the minister's notice and the later asked the law enforcers to be after the perpetrators.

Talking to The Daily Star yesterday afternoon, Home Secretary Abdus Sobhan Sikder said the motive behind these incidents might be to embarrass the government. He, however, expressed firm resolve that law enforcers would be able to nab the culprits soon.

The home secretary said 39 people have been picked up in Rajshahi in this connection while police are on the hunt to nab the criminals involved in Natore and Bogra incidents.

Meanwhile, following a directive from Home Minister Sahara Khatun, the police headquarters (PHQ) yesterday sent separate messages to its different units including seven divisional ranges, six metropolitans, criminal investigation department (CID), detective branch (DB) and special branch (SB) to look into the incidents.

Assistant Inspector General (AIG-Media) of Police Nazrul Islam said, "The police headquarters have sent separate written messages to all the units concerned, including the divisional range in Rajshahi and Chittagong and also the police superintendents (SPs) of Rajshahi, Natore, Bogra and Chittagong."

PHQ sources said messages have also been sent to all the divisions and SPs reminding of the mysterious break-ins of 56 rooms of Bangladesh Railway Headquarters in Dhaka and the Eastern Zone office in Chittagong on January 10 this year.

PHQ senior police personnel suspect members of a same group having inter-district link might have committed the burglaries.

Deputy Commissioner Mainul Hasan of DB-North, who supervised the Railway office break-in case, told The Daily Star, "We have recovered stolen laptop, mobile phones and money and arrested the persons involved. But we did not get anything mysterious behind the incident."

Our staff correspondent from Rajshahi adds: Rajshahi Divisional Commissioner Hafizur Rahman Bhuiyan sent letters to the deputy commissioners of all the districts of the division asking them to step up security measures.

The letter also ordered for forwarding the message to different Upazila Nirbahi Officers, said sources.

The divisional commissioner's office also sent a letter to Rajshahi metropolitan police commissioner to ensure security of the city by increasing patrol at nights.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police (Rajshahi range) Mokhlesur Rahman who was in Bogra yesterday told The Daily Star over phone that all superintendents of police in the division were asked to take extra security measures.

The DIG said they would increase police patrol around government offices in particular at night

Babla Bon mass grave in Rajshahi lies uncared for

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Family members of several Liberation War martyrs have demanded steps for protection and proper maintenance of Babla Bon mass grave site in Rajshahi city so that people can pay homage to the great sons of the soil, who were buried there.

The Pakistani army with the help of their local collaborators picked up 17 people including intellectuals and politicians from their houses on the night of November 25 in 1971.

Their bodies were found after local people discovered the mass grave near Boalia Club in the city on December 30.

Bodies of the 17 martyrs including Prof Mir Abdul Quayyum of Rajshahi University, Nawrose-ud-Doula Khan, Taslim Uddin, Abul Hossain, Alauddin, Taiyab Ali, Mirja Sultan, Azizul Haque Chowdhury and Aminul Haque Chowdhury were dumped at the site.

"I can still remember the day well when I went to the grave site riding a bicycle in the morning of December 30, 1971. I could identify my father's body by seeing the ring on his finger," said Asaf-ud-Doula Khan Gulzar, son of Nawrose-ud-Doula Khan who developed a transistor amplifier and supplied it to freedom fighters for use during the war.

Towfiqur Rahman Lavlu, nephew of martyred businessman Altaf Hossain, said he identified his uncle's body after seeing his sweater.

Thirteen of the bodies were tied up with a rope.

Family members of the martyrs and local people gathered at the gravesite on November 25 marking their abduction on this day in 1971.

Talking to The Daily Star on the occasion, they demanded protection of the site and trial of war criminals.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

3 govt offices ransacked now in Natore

Monday, December 14, 2009

In mysterious incidents of a series of heists, criminals ransacked three more government offices in Natore early yesterday, just a day after similar incidents of robberies at two other public offices in Rajshahi.

Tying up four on-duty night guards, the gang swooped on Natore District Secondary Education Office, Natore Technical School and College at Madrasa crossing and a warehouse of Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC) at Kanaikhali in the town in between Saturday midnight and 2:00am yesterday. They also ransacked nine rooms of these government establishments.

Officials concerned and police could not trace any clues to the incidents as nothing went missing from the offices except Tk 40,000 in cash from the technical school and college.

Similarly, criminals broke into the offices of the Rajshahi Divisional Commissioner and LGED early Saturday and ransacked a total of 32 rooms.

The officials concerned said nothing was missing from their offices. Police yesterday said Tk 16,000 in cash was looted from the commissioner's office but they later said that the money was found inside it.

Principal of the college Anowar Hossain told The Daily Star that some criminals tied up his two night guards and broke open the doors of five rooms, ransacked five almiras, and turned its documents and files upside down. They also looted Tk 40,000 and two mobile phone sets of the guards.

Police said the criminals ransacked the education office hours after the incident of the college.

The incident at the education office is mysterious as the criminals ransacked its two rooms but they did not even touch any of the valuables including laptops and textbooks, Additional SP Mozzammel Hossain told our Natore correspondent.

The criminals entered the BADC godown around 2:00am after tying up its two night guards.

Rajshahi Divisional Commissioner M Hafizur Rahman Bhuiyan said criminals broke into the offices professionally one after another.

Contacted, Deputy Inspector General of Police in Rajshahi Mokhlesur Rahman suspected that the same gang was involved in all the incidents in Rajshahi and Natore.

He said police are trying to nab the criminals.

In Rajshahi, police picked up several people in this connection. They were being interrogated, said Rajshahi Metropolitan Police Commissioner Nawsher Ali.

Rajshahi Divisional Commissioner office sources said night guard of its office Shiekh Jamal has been suspended while LGED Executive Engineer AK Azad said a three-member probe committee has been formed to investigate the incident.

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Raiders ransack 32 rooms of two Rajshahi govt offices

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Criminals broke into the offices of Rajshahi divisional commissioner and Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) in the city's Srirampur area early yesterday and ransacked 32 rooms of the two adjacent buildings.

The gang tied up the on-duty night guard and confined him to the mosque on the ground floor of the three-storey LGED building and ransacked 20 rooms while other night guards were asleep during the incident. Police rescued the night guard, Khalilur Rahman, from the mosque at around 8:00am.

Rajshahi Metropolitan Police Commissioner Nawsher Ali visited the scenes and told reporters that the criminals entered the rooms of the two building sometime between 3:00am and 4:00am. He declined to give details for the sake of investigation.

According to sources, criminals broke into the divisional commissioner's office by breaking open the main collapsible gate. They broke door locks of 12 rooms on the ground, first and second floors and left 13 steel almiras and several table in the rooms upside down. An official said around Tk 16,000 went missing from an almira and two table-drawers.

Elderly night guard Zamal Shiekh, who was alone in the divisional commissioner's office building on several bighas of land, told this correspondent that he was sleeping on the ground floor when the incident occurred.

"I noticed the main collapsible gate broken when I arose for saying Fazr prayers at around 4:00am. As I found the doors of 12 rooms on the three floors broken, I informed Nazir Abdul Halim of the incident".

The gang ransacked the office rooms of the divisional commissioner, his secretary, additional divisional commissioner and deputy land reform commissioner on the first floor of the three-storey building while other rooms are of accounts, general, revenue and development sections and library on the first and ground floor.

Different law enforcement and intelligence agencies' personnel collected fingerprints and footprints from the scenes. They suspect the criminals entered the rooms to steal important documents.

The LGED Executive Engineer AK Azad said two rooms out of five of the superintendent engineer, 15 rooms out of 16 of the executive engineer and all three rooms

of the executive engineer (Training) were ransacked. He said some 15 steel almiras were vandalised and lockers inside the almiras broken.

Valuables, including computers, laptops and telephone sets in the ransacked rooms of the two buildings were not touched, said the sources.

Two separate robbery cases were filed with Rajpara police station yesterday afternoon.

Divisional Commissioner Hafizur Rahman yesterday formed a three-member committee headed by Additional Divisional Commissioner Swapon Kumar Roy to probe the incident. The committee has been asked to submit report as early as possible.

The LGED department served show cause notices on its three night guards Khalilur Rahman, Rabiul Islam and Mohammad Bablu. Police asked the night guards of the two building not to leave the stations until further order.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Baby gharial caught from Padma lands in Rajshahi Zoo

Friday, December 11, 2009

Young one of gharial, one of the most critically endangered crocodilians on the globe and a near extinct species in Bangladesh, was captured from River Padma in Rajshahi on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a new fishing cat was brought to the Rajshahi Zoo recently after Atghoria Upazila Nirbahi Officer rescued the animal that was caught and injured by villagers.

After fishermen netted the two and a half feet-long baby gharial from Gohomabona under Godagari upazila on Wednesday morning, local youths Arifuzzaman and Ismail took it and handed over to Rajshahi Zoo, said Forhad Uddin, veterinary surgeon of the zoo.

"It is too early to understand the baby gharial's gender. Male gharials have a knot on their snouts, and the knot develops in one year. It is being fed dead fishes as per food chart prescribed by Dhaka Zoo," he said.

The creature is feigning dead in human presence, and seldom wandering in water as it is kept in the cage of tortoise, said Nawshad Ali, a staff of the zoo.

With its long and slender snout and needle-sharp interlocking teeth, the gharial has dark spots and cross-stripes against a light grey background. Its eyes are green, frosted with black.

"Size of the gharial tells that it would not be more than a couple of months old. The recovery indicates that breeding adults of the fish-eating reptiles are still surviving in the wild. A similar gharial, also captured from Padma River in January 2004, was sent to a wildlife organisation in Cox's Bazar," said zoologist Dr Altaf Hossain, also a former vice chancellor of Rajshahi University (RU).

RU Zoology teacher ABM Mohsin wondered how these reptiles were surviving amidst massive sand-lifting, human disturbances, intense fishing, siltation and pollution.

"The recent accidental captures of gharials from the Padma suggest the river basin stretching from Godagari to Yusufpur in Rajshahi was virtually a breeding place for gharials that were regularly seen nesting on the banks till the early 90s," he said.

The gharial existed for 2,000 million years and is classified in its own taxonomic subfamily, Gavialis (Hindi word ghariyal or crocodile) gangeticus (of the Ganges River), say Internet sources.

Now it has been included in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red Data Book for endangered species headed for extinction. Rajshahi Zoo now has two grown up female gharials.

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America Week in Rajshahi

Tuesday, December 8, 2009 
 

A three-day 'America Week', featuring activities of the US embassy and US agencies in Bangladesh begins in Rajshahi today.

According to government officials, Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister GM Quader is likely to inaugurate the colourful programme that will continue until December 10 at Parjatan Motel.

On the inaugural day, US Ambassador to Bangladesh James F Moriarty will visit Martyrs' Memorial Archive at Rajshahi University and take part in a discussion with students on education in America and visa procedures, said RU sources.

Youths in Rajshahi showed enthusiasm about the programme as many of them yesterday visited the Parjatan Motel.

Following a tradition of past America week, people could visit more than 40 booths run by the US embassy, USAID and its development partners and some US business houses.

In a press conference in November, Cultural Affairs Officer of the US embassy in Dhaka Catherine A Hallock said the embassy is going to hold the week in the month of victory of Bangladesh.

"There will be a blend of culture of Rajshahi including folk song Gambhira with the American programmes", she said.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Terrorists out to destabilise world peace using Islam

Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister GM Quader in Rajshahi yesterday said some terrorists are using the name of Islam to destabilise peace across the world, adding: "In fact, it is not Islam which they (terrorists) are preaching."

"The American people must know that we, Bangladeshis, are their friends and brothers and would remain so, even if some terrorists were using the name of Islam."

The minister said this at a press conference after inaugurating the three-day America Week at the local tourism motel.

The people of Bangladesh have rejected distinctively this type of politics of terrorism and religious extremism, he added.

"All Muslims are not terrorists and definitely, majority of the Muslims hates terrorism in the name of Islam… Most of the Muslim world also dislike them."

Quader recalled the US assistance to Bangladesh during natural disasters, including cyclone Sidr, saying that the US is the friend of Bangladesh since its independence in 1971. "The friendship would be strengthening further."

US Ambassador to Dhaka James F Moriarty said, "Terrorism is the enemy of democracy and democracy is the enemy of terrorism. That's why, the new democratically elected government right now is very aggressively going after terrorists in Bangladesh."

He termed Bangladesh an 'important friend and partner of the United States', saying: "We have provided more than $5.5 billion in development assistance since Bangladesh's independence."

"As Bangladesh moves to a trade, not aid, driven economy, it is important to note that the US is Bangladesh's most important trading partner."

He said the bilateral trade between the two countries exceeded $4.2 billion in 2008. "The livelihoods of millions of Bangladeshis depend on our close relationship. We want to deepen and strengthen this friendship."

The envoy held a discussion with imams at Imam Training Academy at noon. Later, he visited the Martyrs' Memorial Archive and attended a discussion with the university students at RU Senate Bhaban.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Anti-Corruption Commission Chairman Ghulam Rahman yesterday recommended allocating funds for the lawmakers and the election expenses of political parties from the national budget in order to curb corruption.

"If we can free our political parties, its activities and the election process from corruption, we can expect a remarkable reduction in corruption in our society and we can achieve the goals of our Liberation War -- improving the living standards and eliminating the economic disparity," he said at a discussion.

The political activities and the elections are very costly affairs, he said. "If one chooses to do politics or if a minister visits his constituency, he has to spend a lot of money for their supporters. Where would they get the money from?"

Progati (Promoting Governance, Accountability, Transparency and Integrity), an USAID initiative, organised the discussion in Rajshahi city to mark the International Anti-Corruption Day.

Speaking as the chief guest, Ghulam Rahman said a culture of cronyism and a business-politics nexus have developed in the country in the long absence of democracy.

"Parliament is the head of the country. If it is tainted by grafts, the entire country will gradually be involved in corruption. So, we have to combat corruption at the top first," he added.

Ghulam Rahman called on the countrymen to unite and launch a social movement to resist corruption.

He said the economic condition of South Korea, Malaysia and Thailand was similar to that of the then East Pakistan 50 to 60 years ago. "But today, those countries have developed a lot while almost half of the population in our country is still ultra-poor."

Speaking on the occasion, US Ambassador James F Moriarty said corruption reduces Bangladesh's GDP by about two percent or 1.5 billion dollars a year. "As a direct result of corruption, tens of thousands of Bangladeshis remain unemployed, uneducated and impoverished."

He, however, observed that Bangladesh has made progress in ensuring good governance and strengthening the democratic institutions.

He termed the participation of 80 percent of voters in the last general election 'an outstanding feat in any democracy'.

The independent Anti-Corruption Commission having investigative capacity, the formation of the Information Commission and Human Rights Commission and a very successful Election Commission helped the country make some progress in the annual Transparency International Corruption Perceptions index, he said.

"While it is heartening to see that Bangladesh is one of the nine countries that improved most in their rankings in 2009, the country still ranks near the bottom at number 139 out of 180 countries. Bangladesh still has a long way to go," the ambassador added.

Describing the activities of Progati, he said the project is helping improve transparency and accountability in public resource management. It works closely with the Jatiya Sangsad and the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General.

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=117168

Smugglers-BDR Affair on Barendra Express

Monday, December 7, 2009

Passengers halted an intercity train for three hours at Panchbibi station in Joypurhat yesterday protesting carrying of smuggled goods in trains and alleged harassment by border troops in the name of raids.

Hundreds of passengers got down from Barendra Express that runs between Nilphamari and Rajshahi when it arrived at Panchbibi station at around 10:00am and staged demonstration for three hours until 1:00pm.

They sat on the rail track just in front of the locomotive of the express train and held a rally, said sources in the headquarters of Bangladesh Railway's west zone in Rajshahi.

The agitators said the smugglers were carrying Indian fertiliser at different compartments of Barendra Express since it started from Nilphamari. Half an hour before the train reached Panchbibi, some members of Bangladesh Rifles challenged the smugglers, they said.

At this stage, the smugglers spread the fertiliser inside the compartments by cutting sacks and threw the sacks bearing Indian seals out through the windows, they added.

Repulsed by an unpleasant smell coming out from the fertiliser, the passengers got down from the train.

The agitating passengers alleged the smugglers carry Indian goods, including cloths, phensidyl, spices and fertilisers in trains on the rail route.

They stop the trains at their will at different places to load and unload the smuggled goods, alleged the agitators. Moreover, the border guards harass the passengers in the name of raiding the trains, they added.

The angry passengers withdrew the barricade after the railway authorities cleaned the compartments.

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=116741

 

Road blocked as bus workers beat up Ruet student

Students of Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology (Ruet) yesterday barricaded the Dhaka-Rajshahi highway as bus workers beat up a student the previous night.

The agitating students damaged a Dhaka bound coach of Modern Enterprise during the barricade from 9:30am to 1.30pm while the bus workers assaulted Quamrul Hasan, a passenger of the coach for supporting the students.

The students were demanding punishment to the persons responsible for beating up Abdur Razzak, a civil department student and fixing of reasonable bus for students on all routes from Rajshahi.

According to students and police, Razzak scuffled with the staff of a bus of Paradise Enterprise on Saturday night as the conductor demanded 'excess' fare while he was traveling to Rajshahi from Rangpur.

As sequel to the scuffle, the bus conductor refused to drop Razzak in front of Ruet main gate. They took him to Rajshahi bus terminal and beat him up there mercilessly, alleged the students.

They claimed the bus workers also snatched away Tk 5000 and an expensive mobile phone from Razzak.

The next morning, the Ruet students, mostly from civil department, barricaded the highway in front of the Ruet main gate to protest the assault.

During the sit-in on the highway they damaged window panes of a coach with sticks and hurled brickbats at other vehicles.

As Quamrul Hasan, a passenger of the coach shouted at the bus driver for ignoring the students' demonstration, workers took him to the terminal and beat him up there.

A huge number of police forces were deployed at the scene as tension mounted at noon when bus workers started gathering at Talaimari to protest 'misbehavior' of students.

The students withdrew the barricade at 1:30pm after Ruet administration and senior police officials assured them of justice following a meeting with the bus owners and workers on the campus, said Tariqul Islam, an assistant commissioner of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police.

The students, however, threatened to go for tougher movement if their demands were not met within 24 hours.

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=116744

Death Threat to Attorney Gen:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Ahle Hadith man held

Detective Branch (DB) of police yesterday arrested the secretary general of Jamaat-e-Ahle Hadith, suspecting his hand in giving death threat to Attorney General Mahbubey Alam.

Md Rezaul Karim, also a teacher of Bogra Government Azizul Haque College, was shown arrested under Section 54 and produced in Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court, seeking a 10-day remand.

Judge Ruhul Amin granted seven days' remand for Jamaat-e-Ahle Hadith leader.

Talking to The Daily Star, Mahfuzur Rahman, Assistant Commissioner of DB of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police, said a copy of the handwritten letter conveying the death threat to the attorney general was also posted to a local daily.

"We took samples of Rejaul's handwriting and sent those to CID's handwriting experts two days ago. The experts verbally confirmed us that the samples matched", said Rahman.

Police claimed they arrested Rejaul on secret information that he had visited Rajshahi on November 16 from Bogra for posting the letter conveying the death threat but they did not give details.

Meanwhile, JAH Law Affairs Secretary Golam Hossain Sarwar termed the allegations against Rejaul false and claimed that police picked up Rejaul from his house in Bogra on Monday night.

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=115617

 

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Jamat-e Ahle Hadith secretary general Rezaul Karim was placed on three more days' remand yesterday in connection with a case filed on charge of giving death threat to Attorney General Mahbubey Alam.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ruhul Amin granted the remand after a long hearing on the police prayer for quizzing him for six days, said court inspector Debendranath Das.

Detective Branch (DB) police arrested Rezaul on November 25 under Section 54 and lodged the case under Anti Terrorism Act of 2009 with Boalia Model Police Station on December 3.

In the case, plaintiff Motiar Rahman, an inspector of the DB police complained that Rezaul's handwriting resembled with the handwriting of the letter issuing threats.

Rahman also alleged that Rezaul, despite being a government college teacher, came to Rajshahi from his home in Bogra thrice in November without permission of college authorities. "This indicates his ill motive," he stated.

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=116843

 

"I saw Asadullah hosting Arab and Kashmiri mujahideens at his Naodapara Madrasa many times during 1992-93."
REJAUL KARIM
Expelled secretary general of Ahle Hadith Andolon (AHA).
Dr Asadullah Al Galib is a teacher at the Department of Arabic at Rajshahi University.

"We will continue our movement unto death."
DR ASADULLAH AL GALIB
leader of AHA
brushing aside the allegations that his party propagates terrorism.

http://www.thedailystar.net/magazine/2005/02/04/voice.htm

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Nostalgia and melody at a school reunion

Wednesday, December 30, 2

The five and a half hour cultural evening at Rajshahi Bholanath Bisheswar Hindu Academy was abuzz with nearly 2,000 of former and present students of the 111-year old school and almost all were immersed in nostalgia.

Although performances by noted vocal artiste Rafiqul Alam and composer Anup Bhattacharya, who were students of the school in the '50s, were the main attraction, presentations of current students like Pial, Sangeeta Pal and Mousumi seemed no less important to the cheerful audience.

The academy organised the cultural evening, to celebrate its 111 years of glory and heritage at the school premises. Beginning at 6pm, the programme ended at 11:30pm on December 26.

The evening began with "Karna Kunti Sangbad" where young student Mousumi Moitra played the role of Kunti and Shukhen Mukhopadhyay performed as Karna.

Former student Tarun Kumar Das, a disciple of Pundit Raghunath Das, and music director of Rajshahi Betar enthralled the audience with his violin rendition while his brother Arun Kumar Das assisted him on the flute and son Tarun Kumar Das on tabla.

Anup Bhattacharya sang two songs and informed that there are at least three artistes from the academy who worked at Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra during the Liberation War. They are -- Rafiqul Alam, his elder brother Sarwar Jahan and Anup himself.

Rafiqul Alam came to the stage with a Shyama Sangeet, "Ma Tor Koto Rongo Dekhbo Bol", which was his first stage performance and it was at a function at the school in the early '60s.

Listening to the Shyama Sangeet, one of Alam's teachers expressed amazement and blessed him saying, "You will go a far way in music," recalled Alam.

Alam continued by saying that the education system of the Academy was different where teachers looked after every student personally.

At the programme Alam performed, "Ekti Doel Bon-e Dakle", "Kobey Shadhur Charan Dhuli", "Boishakhi Megher Kachhe" and "Bhalo Achhi Bhalo Theko".

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=119725

RU Teacher Assault: BCL leader lands in jail

Friday, January 1, 2010

Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) leader Emdadul Haque was sent to jail after he was hauled before a court yesterday on charges of beating up a Rajshahi University teacher and attempting to extort an admission seeker.

The First Court of Metropolitan Magistrate Amirul Islam also rejected his bail prayer in connection with the case filed by the assaulted folklore department teacher Anupam Hera Mondol.

Meanwhile, the RU unit BCL suspended membership of Haque, mass education affairs deputy secretary of the university unit. They also wrote to the central committee for his expulsion terming the attack on a teacher a heinous crime, said Ibrahim Hossain Moon, president of RU unit BCL.

Both police and RU BCL leaders say Suman, another accused in the case, could not be properly identified as his father's name and hometown remained unknown.

RU Proctor Prof Chowdhury Zakaria, meanwhile, served Haque with a show-cause notice asking him to clarify in seven days his position in the matter.

The university authorities served another show-cause notice upon folklore department student Ali Asgar Khokon asking him to explain the reason behind staging agitation over the issue.

Following the authorities' assurance of punishing the culprits, the folklore department teachers and students called off their strike billed for yesterday and joined academic activities wearing black badges.

The teachers, students, and Lalon Charcha Kendra, a folklore students' organisation, demand cancellation of Haque's studentship.

According to case documents and statements of the victims, Himanish Biswas, an admission seeker from Khulna, went to the campus on Wednesday as he was called in for admission from waiting list of management department.

As he was filling up the required form, Haque and Suman took him out of the department and demanded Tk 30,000 assuring that they would arrange his admission.

Anupam was passing by the spot near Kajla gate and intervened to rescue Himanish. At this stage, the accused snatched Himanish's cellphone and necessary documents for admission and started beating up Anupam for his intervention.

Witnessing a teacher being beaten up, a group of youths who were playing cricket at nearby field rescued Anupam and caught Haque red-handed. He was later handed over to police.

Both Anupam and Himanish alleged they were receiving threatening calls from unknown people.

Tofazzal Hossain Khan, officer-in-charge of Motihar police station, said they are trying to identify Suman.

RU Vice-Chancellor Prof Abdus Sobhan was not available for comments. Assistant Proctor Mustak Ahmed said they are seriously looking into the matter.

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=119993

Nostalgia and melody at a school reunion

Wednesday, December 30, 2

The five and a half hour cultural evening at Rajshahi Bholanath Bisheswar Hindu Academy was abuzz with nearly 2,000 of former and present students of the 111-year old school and almost all were immersed in nostalgia.

Although performances by noted vocal artiste Rafiqul Alam and composer Anup Bhattacharya, who were students of the school in the '50s, were the main attraction, presentations of current students like Pial, Sangeeta Pal and Mousumi seemed no less important to the cheerful audience.

The academy organised the cultural evening, to celebrate its 111 years of glory and heritage at the school premises. Beginning at 6pm, the programme ended at 11:30pm on December 26.

The evening began with "Karna Kunti Sangbad" where young student Mousumi Moitra played the role of Kunti and Shukhen Mukhopadhyay performed as Karna.

Former student Tarun Kumar Das, a disciple of Pundit Raghunath Das, and music director of Rajshahi Betar enthralled the audience with his violin rendition while his brother Arun Kumar Das assisted him on the flute and son Tarun Kumar Das on tabla.

Anup Bhattacharya sang two songs and informed that there are at least three artistes from the academy who worked at Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra during the Liberation War. They are -- Rafiqul Alam, his elder brother Sarwar Jahan and Anup himself.

Rafiqul Alam came to the stage with a Shyama Sangeet, "Ma Tor Koto Rongo Dekhbo Bol", which was his first stage performance and it was at a function at the school in the early '60s.

Listening to the Shyama Sangeet, one of Alam's teachers expressed amazement and blessed him saying, "You will go a far way in music," recalled Alam.

Alam continued by saying that the education system of the Academy was different where teachers looked after every student personally.

At the programme Alam performed, "Ekti Doel Bon-e Dakle", "Kobey Shadhur Charan Dhuli", "Boishakhi Megher Kachhe" and "Bhalo Achhi Bhalo Theko".

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=119725

Friday, November 27, 2009

Police face ruling party pressure to free leader

Friday, November 27, 2009

Police yesterday shifted a detained Awami League leader arrested on charges of mugging and demanding toll to hospital apparently to release him in the face of pressures by the ruling party men.

Mahbubur Rahman, acting AL general secretary of Godagari upazila, was arrested along with his son Rajesh at his home in connection with a mugging case in the early hours yesterday.

Mahbub was admitted to Police Hospital around 5:00pm, while Rajesh was hauled before a court that sent him to jail, said police and court sources.

"Mahbub was admitted to the hospital as his health deteriorated. But we sent Rajesh to the court," confirmed Abdul Kuddus Chowdhury, additional superintendent of police.

"We will decide about him after he recovers," Chowdhury added.

AL leaders including Jubo League President Asaduzzaman were putting pressure on the police for his release since 12noon, sources say.

At around 3:00pm, the AL leaders along with hundreds of activists laid a siege to the Godagari police station. One hour later, Additional Superintendent of Police Chowdhury rushed to Godagari and took both the arrestees to Rajshahi.

Speaking anonymously, a senior police official termed the whole affair rivalry in local AL politics over a bid to capture Sultanganj cattle market.

He told The Daily Star the police arrested Mahbub at the diktat of a ruling party lawmaker and are now digesting the wrath of a senior AL leader holding a state minister's status.

Rajshahi city Jubo League President Asaduzzaman blames Omar Faruk Chowdhury, MP for forcing police to arrest Mahbub.

Contacted, Omar Faruk denied the charges. "Police performed their duty. But look what is happening now. Police complained to me that the mayor [AHM Khairuzzaman Liton] is lobbying for Mahbub's release. How can he side with a mugger?"

Mahbub and his son were arrested after Aminul Islam, an AL supporter, filed a case against them alleging that they mugged Tk 6 lakh from him during an auction of cows on Tuesday.

Aminul alleged that the accused beat up his aide Rofikul and sent him to hospital as he denied them toll of Tk 1.5 lakh after they bought ten cows in the auction.

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=115770

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Righting the Grievious Wrong



Read The Daily Star special supplement recollecting the gruesome events of Bangabandhu Murder, the related conspiracies, and the roles of some prominent actors.

Leaders assaulted as Rajshahi bar members clash

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Several lawyers including the president and the general secretary of Rajshahi Bar Association were assaulted as two groups of lawyers scuffled during the association's general meeting at the hall room of first Bar Bhaban in the city yesterday noon.

The general meeting, called over discussion on recent resignation of 11 members of the executive committee of the association, was postponed as some lawyers chased each other and damaged chairs and tables at the meeting venue.

The 11 lawyers, including a vice president and six secretaries of the association, resigned on October 31 protesting corruptions and forgery involving Tk 26 lakh allegedly by association President Mohammad Yahia and General Secretary Lokman Ali.

The unwanted situation ensued at around 2:45pm when Entajul Haque Babu, a public prosecutor and member secretary of Rajshahi Ainjibi Oikya Parishad, was delivering speech at the meeting.

He demanded that the association committee be abolished and new interim committee be announced as one its members died and 11 others of the 21-member body resigned.

Angered by his statement, Abu Aslam and Bazlur Rahman, both followers of association President Yahia, jumped on the meeting table and started shouting at Babu to stop his speech, said witnesses and lawyers.

As Abdul Wahab James and Golam Mostafa of the Oikya Parishad tried to resist Aslam and Bazlu, lawyers engaged in a scuffle, punching and kicking each other.

A few lawyers started beating association President Md Yahia and General Secretary Lokman Ali. Other lawyers escorted them out

to a safe place.

Lokman Ali told The Daily Star that opponents assaulted five persons of their group while Entajul Haque Babu said two of their members were beaten up.

Police rushed to the spot at 3:15pm and brought the situation under control, said Rajpara Police Station Officer-in-Charge Afzal Hossain.

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=114568

 

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Alleged Corruption by President, Secy: 11 Rajshahi Bar members resign in protest

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=112134

Rajshahi BNP councils seem uncertain as feud deepens

Wednesday, November 18, 2009
 
The councils of BNP Rajshahi city and district units have now become uncertain as intra-party feuds deepened further yesterday.

Leaders and activists loyal to former state minister Kabir Hossain and former lawmaker Nadim Mostafa staged demonstration in the city yesterday against BNP's Organising Secretary Mizanur Rahman Minu who, they said, arbitrarily formed committees at different upazilas, wards and municipalities without following the party constitution.

They urged the high command to save the party from the clutches of Mizanur Rahman Minu.

Minu refuted the allegations, saying the protesters are young in politics. "We will be able to reach a consensus before the councils," he said.

In the protest meeting at Shaheb Bazar zero point, district BNP joint conveners Delwar Hossain and Motiur Rahman alleged that at least 1,000 BNP leaders and workers could not be enrolled as members of the city unit as membership forms were distributed among the selected persons.

Former city BNP organising secretary Mamunur Rashid, who presiding over the protest rally, demanded cancellation of the convening committees as he claimed that a number of controversial persons, including a collaborator of Pakistani occupation forces, have been included in the committees.

They said the BNP is at stake in the hands of Minu. In order to establish his full control over the party, Mino is not willing to give chances to the emerging leaders, the aggrieved leaders alleged.

Meanwhile, First Joint Convener Nadim Mostafa in a letter to party Chairperson Khaleda Zia recently alleged that Minu without his signature got approved a 51-member district convening committee that included at least 20 controversial persons.

The controversial persons, he alleged, were plaintiffs or witnesses to different criminal cases filed against him and other BNP leaders during the former caretaker government and one of them, Abdul Wahed Mollah, was a collaborator of Pakistani occupation forces in 1971.

He alleged Minu has destroyed the BNP by patronising those who were engaged in land grabbing, tender manipulation and criminal activities during his mayorship.

Minu is destroying party in the district too by making his loyalist Azizur Rahman as convener who ignored a large number of leaders while forming committees at different upazilas and municipalities.

When contacted, Minu said the allegations are not true. "There are grievances among some leaders who did not get chances in any committees. We are trying to bridge gap among us".

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=114577

Rajshahi cops release trader amid protest

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Boalia police released a businessman after two and a half hours of the arrest as hundreds of cloth traders laid siege to the police station protesting "unfair arrest" Thursday night.

Police said, a team of Detective Branch (DB) and Malopara police arrested Shamim Ahmed, owner of Alam Cloth Store, around 8:00pm on recovering 50 grams of heroin from his motorcycle parked outside the shop.

Shamim was released around 11:00pm upon an undertaking by Rajshahi city's Panel Mayor Shariful Islam Babu in the face of the protest.

The agitating traders alleged that some policemen or hired goons hid the heroin in Shamim's bike to satisfy a grudge as he denied a policeman 'Eid gifts.'

Deputy Commissioner of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police Sarder Nurul Amin said, "We released Shamim sensing a conspiracy as claimed by the traders."

He formed a two-member probe team led by assistant commissioner of DB Tariqul Islam to look into the matter and find out the source of the drug.

Shamim told senior police officials and reporters present at the police station that he was unaware of the heroin and blamed Sub Inspector Saiful for the harassment.

He said he gifted SI Saiful's daughter clothes on Eid-ul Fitr because he (Saiful) once helped him solve a problem. Now before Eid-ul Azha, Saiful again demanded clothes for his family and relatives. Refused, the SI became furious, Shamim added.

"Usually DB personnel prepare a seizure list on the spot and lodge cases after such raids. In this case, they sent the arrestee and seized heroin to police station and did not record any case", Assistant Commissioner Jahangir told The Daily Star.

Meanwhile, Rajshahi Bastra Babosayee Samity demanded proper investigation and punishment of responsible persons in 24 hours at a protest meeting in Shaheb Bazar yesterday afternoon.

While the meeting was going on, leader of the probe team and AC DB Tariqul Islam apologised on behalf of police for arresting Shamim.

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=114026

Monday, November 9, 2009

Resist plots against govt steps: Badsha

Lawmaker Fazle Hossain Badsha yesterday called on all to resist conspiracies against the government steps to restore the constitution of 1972 as well as to start the trial of war criminals.

He said the government steps are underway for reestablishing the four basic principles of the constitution of 1972 as Bangladesh's birth was based on the ideals.

Badsha, also a politburo member of Workers' Party of Bangladesh, said as per its election pledge, the government is also going to try the war criminals as trial is the only way to console the souls of 30 lakh martyrs of the liberation war and innumerable families who were victimised during the war.

"But the anti-liberation forces of BNP-Jamaat, who were in power for a maximum period since the independence through killings and conspiracies, are still hatching deep-rooted plots to destabilise the process of peace and humanity since their defeat in the December 29 elections."

"Although the Awami League (AL)-led grand alliance is now in power, our struggle against the communal and autocratic forces of BNP-Jamaat must not end. We must struggle until the government succeeds in implementing its promises to the countrymen."

The lawmaker was addressing as the chief guest at the daylong workers' conference of Rajshahi district and city units of Workers' Party at Rajshahi Bhubon Mohon Park.

Badsha asked his party men to support the struggle of the poor and labourers for implementing the ideals of the liberation war and the economic freedom for which the country was liberated.

Leaders of different political parties, including AL, CPB and NAP, Shafikur Rahman Badsha, Abul Kalam Azad, Enamul Haque, Mosarraf Hossain Akhunji, Mostafizur Rahman Khan Alam and Kolpona Roy also spoke at the conference.

Liakat Ali Liku, Rajshahi city unit general secretary of Workers' Party, preside over the programme which was coordinated by district general secretary Rafikul Islam Piarul.

The speakers called on the government to impose a ban on Jamaat-Shibir's religion-based communal politics.

They demanded immediate execution of the verdict on Bangabandhu murder case and punishment to the killers of four national leaders.

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=113278

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fake fertilisers flood markets in Rajshahi, adjoining dists

Monday, November 2, 2009
 
Adulterated fertilisers have flooded the markets of Rajshahi and its adjoining districts just before the cultivation of Rabi crops, much to the concern among the growers.

Spurious fertilisers are being made secretly at houses and underground factories in different upazilas of the district, said police and officials.

A section of dishonest fertiliser dealers of Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) are also allegedly engaged in selling spurious fertilisers.

A group of unscrupulous traders are manufacturing fertilisers rampantly in many houses of Nandangachhi, Shimulia, Baidyanathtala, Faridpur, Gobindapur and Barkatpur villages of Charghat upazila, locals said.

They are selling triple super phosphate (TSP), di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) by mixing smuggled Indian fertilisers with local ones while muriate of potash (MoP) by mixing sand or salt with brick dust and colours, said a number of farmers.

Against this backdrop, the Agriculture Extension Department (AED) has alerted its upazila offices and warned farmers about adulterated fertilisers.

"We asked our staff to remain alert and create awareness among farmers," said Rabindra Kumar Majumder, additional director of Rajshahi regional AED.

He said use of sub-standard and adulterated fertilisers poses threats to the farmlands, environment and health. Finally, it leads to suffering losses by farmers.

Meanwhile, the authorities launched several drives against spurious fertilisers.

On October 25, a mobile court seized 79 sacks of MoP and 60 sacks of NPKS (a mixture of nitrogen, phosphate, potash and sulfate) from the godowns of Ishaq Ali and Zakir Hossain in Bagmara upazila for not having production seal.

On the same day, the authorities arrested Mohammad Bablu while preparing adulterated fertiliser at his house at Baidyanathtola village in Charghat upazila and seized six sacks of MOP from his house.

"Samples of the seized fertilisers were sent to Dhaka for laboratory test. If it is found spurious, its possessors will be punished," said Braja Hari Das, deputy director of Rajshahi District AED.

Durgapur upazila administration fined BCIC dealer Lal Mohammad with Tk 30,000 after some 146 sacks of adulterated MoP fertilisers were seized from his godown on October 6.

In August, the Detective Branch (DB) of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police busted a clandestine spurious fertiliser factory near Rajshahi city and arrested its owner M Waliullah and manager Abdul Alim. They seized 500 sacks of spurious fertiliser from the factory.

Braja Hari said they distributed two types of leaflets describing easy methods of identifying spurious fertilisers and farmers' responsibility in checking the spread of those harmful fertilisers.

The AED sources said they expect potato cultivation on some 40,000 hectares of land this year, some 8,000 hectares higher than last year's, and Boro paddy on some 85,000 hectares of land in the district.

However, several upazila level AED officials wishing anonymity said they apprehend brisk business of adulterated fertiliser this season as there were reports of gross irregularities in recruitment of retailers under the government's new policy for distributing fertilisers at grass-roots level.

"We heard allegations of bribing Tk 20,000 to Tk 50,000 for getting appointed as retailers and we don't not see any visible reason for profit of such amount without malpractice," said an upazila AED official.

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=112326

Rajshahi Government College: Transfer order of principal sparks protest

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Students of Rajshahi Government College enforced a wildcat strike on the campus yesterday demanding cancellation of the transfer order of Principal Dr Ali Reja Muhammad Abdul Mazid.

The students under the banner of Students' Movement Council (Chhatra-Chhatri Sangram Parishad) observed a token hunger strike from 8:00am to 1:00pm after putting the administrative building under lock and key.

They also locked the main gate of the college and barred the teachers, staff and students from entering different departments and holding classes and examinations.

Several students said Principal Abdul Mazid has created a congenial academic atmosphere on the campus and undertook different development activities during the 15 months of his tenure.

"We will go for indefinite strike if the transfer order is not cancelled immediately," said Md Badsha Alam, the first joint convenor of the Students Movement Council.

Alam, also joint convenor of the college unit of Jatiya Chhatra Samaj, said they started protest programmes on October 25 when the principal received official order for transfer to Chapainawabganj Government College.

Dinajpur Education Board Chairman Dr Md Sanaullah has now been appointed as the principal of Rajshahi Government College.

"Student leaders of Bangladesh Chhatra League, Chhatra Moitree and Jatiya Chhatra Samaj expressed solidarity with the strike as the students want Principal Abdul Mazid to continue here," said Aksaruzzaman, another joint convenor of the council, and general secretary of Rajshahi City unit of Chhatra Moitree.

Standing near the agitating students on the campus, Dr Abdul Mazid told this correspondent, "Students are protesting spontaneously for withdrawal of my transfer. I was waiting for retirement within a year but a local Awami League leader who is favouring Sanaullah played role for the unexpected transfer only 15 months after my joining here."

"I renovated the college Shaheed Minar for the first time, introduced suitable meal at the female students hostel, freed the campus from smoking and grazing of domestic animals, and controlled movement of motorcycles and bicycles," he said.

Principal Mazid showed copies of recommendation letters sent to the education ministry by ruling grand alliance lawmakers Fazle Hossain Badsha and Omar Faruk Chowdhury for cancelling his transfer order.

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=112143

Alleged Corruption by President, Secy: 11 Rajshahi Bar members resign in protest

Sunday, November 1, 2009
 

Eleven executives of Rajshahi Bar Association yesterday resigned protesting alleged corruption by association's president and general secretary.

They are vice-president AKM Mizanur Rahman, third joint secretary Habibur Rahman, audit secretary Shamsul Haque, Library secretary Mahmudur Rahman, press and information secretary Masud Sarder, accounts secretary Nazmul Haque Mintu, magazine and cultural secretary Rajab Ali and members Abdul Matin Chowdhury, Parvez Towfik Zahedi, Aftabur Rahman and SM Mofazzal Haque.

The announcement of en masse resignation came from a press conference at Rajshahi Metropolitan Press Club at noon.

Some 50 other senior lawyers under the banner of 'Rajshahi Ainjibi Oikya Parishad' were present at the press conference.

The lawyers alleged that Bar Association President Muhammad Yahiya and General Secretary Lokman Ali were engaged in distributing forged vokalatnama (power of attorney) among the lawyers and in this way they misappropriated around Tk 26 lakh between November 23, 2008 and September 6, 2009.

They said forged stickers of Bangladesh Bar Council and forged signature of relevant officials were used in the vokalatnama.

The bar association did not take any action against the staff found involved in forgery through an investigation, they alleged.

Public Prosecutor of Speedy Trial Tribunal Entajul Haque Babu said he filed a case with Rajpara Police Station against the association's administrative officer Nurul Islam and form seller Umme Kulsum for vokalatnama forgery on September 8.

Ignoring the case, he alleged, the association's general secretary lodged another suit with a Rajshahi court to weaken the previous case on legal point.

Babu demanded proper investigation into the allegations and exemplary punishment to the persons involved.

Contacted, Muhammad Yahiya said, "How can the lawyers (who brought the allegations) point finger to anyone when the investigation is yet to be complete", he said referring to the cases lodged in this regard.

Yahiya said he is unaware of any probe report on vokalatnama forgery.

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=112134

Alleged Corruption by President, Secy: 11 Rajshahi Bar members resign in protest

Sunday, November 1, 2009
 

Eleven executives of Rajshahi Bar Association yesterday resigned protesting alleged corruption by association's president and general secretary.

They are vice-president AKM Mizanur Rahman, third joint secretary Habibur Rahman, audit secretary Shamsul Haque, Library secretary Mahmudur Rahman, press and information secretary Masud Sarder, accounts secretary Nazmul Haque Mintu, magazine and cultural secretary Rajab Ali and members Abdul Matin Chowdhury, Parvez Towfik Zahedi, Aftabur Rahman and SM Mofazzal Haque.

The announcement of en masse resignation came from a press conference at Rajshahi Metropolitan Press Club at noon.

Some 50 other senior lawyers under the banner of 'Rajshahi Ainjibi Oikya Parishad' were present at the press conference.

The lawyers alleged that Bar Association President Muhammad Yahiya and General Secretary Lokman Ali were engaged in distributing forged vokalatnama (power of attorney) among the lawyers and in this way they misappropriated around Tk 26 lakh between November 23, 2008 and September 6, 2009.

They said forged stickers of Bangladesh Bar Council and forged signature of relevant officials were used in the vokalatnama.

The bar association did not take any action against the staff found involved in forgery through an investigation, they alleged.

Public Prosecutor of Speedy Trial Tribunal Entajul Haque Babu said he filed a case with Rajpara Police Station against the association's administrative officer Nurul Islam and form seller Umme Kulsum for vokalatnama forgery on September 8.

Ignoring the case, he alleged, the association's general secretary lodged another suit with a Rajshahi court to weaken the previous case on legal point.

Babu demanded proper investigation into the allegations and exemplary punishment to the persons involved.

Contacted, Muhammad Yahiya said, "How can the lawyers (who brought the allegations) point finger to anyone when the investigation is yet to be complete", he said referring to the cases lodged in this regard.

Yahiya said he is unaware of any probe report on vokalatnama forgery

56 Bagmara JMB men sued on charge of murder

Friday, October 23, 2009
 
Uncle of a victim in Rajshahi sued 56 JMB men on charge of killing his nephew while a Khagrachhari court sent a suspected militant of the outfit to jail rejecting his bail prayer yesterday.

A case was lodged with a Rajshahi court yesterday accusing 56 JMB militants of murdering Abu Taleb and dumping his body to an unknown place in 2004.

Taleb's uncle Amjad Hossain filed the case and the court directed the officer in-charge (OC) of Bagmara to take legal steps in this regard.

The accused include two alleged JMB advisers in Bagmara -- Abdus Sattar BSc of Sakoa and Lutfar Rahman of Majhgram -- and the outfit's area commanders Mostafizur Rahman alias 'Killer' Mostak and Mamun Muhuri of Polash.

Goalkandi Union Parishad (UP) Jamaat ameer Abdul Majid Khan and his son Anwar Hossain, a Shibir adherent at Rajshahi University are also among the accused.

Amjad Hossain alleged that the accused kidnapped Abu Taleb from his home at Sajuria village on April 14, 2004. The next day, the abductors brought Taleb to his home in seriously injured condition and demanded Tk 75,000 ransom for his release.

Taleb's family managed a sum of Tk 35,000, but as they failed to arrange the rest, the JMB men took Taleb to Hamirkutsa torture camp and since then Taleb's body remained untraced, said the case.

 

Monday, October 19, 2009

12 RCC councillors including 7 from BNP join AL

Monday, October 19, 2009

Twelve councillors of Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC), including seven from the BNP, have joined the ruling Awami League with a pledge to 'accelerate development of the city'.

With their joining the AL on Saturday night, now 22 of the total 30 councillors of the RCC belong to the ruling party.

The councillors include panel mayor Shariful Islam Babu, once a member of the Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), and four women councillors -- Farzana Haque, Sufia Islam, Kohinur Chowdhury and Anwara Begum.

Seven others Meraj Uddin, Siraj Uddin Ahmed Manik, Abul Hasnat, Nizam-ul Azim, Zahangir Alam Alamgir, Akbar Hossain and Zaher Hossain Suja had been adherents of BNP.

Earlier on October 12, RCC councillor Rabiul Islam Toju joined the AL along with over a hundred of his followers.

Rajshahi mayor and AL leader AHM Khairuzzaman Liton greeted them at a function held at Bhubon Mohon Park in the city where the councillors presented floral wreathes to him.

"The councillors joined the Awami League being inspired by the ideals of father of the nation Bangabandhu Shiekh Mujibur Rahman and this would strengthen the government's hand for development," Liton told the meeting.

"I had no intention to join politics again. Now, I think joining politics of the ruling party will help the development activities," Shariful Islam Babu, who had remained inactive in politics for some time, told this correspondent.

"We want to strengthen the pro-liberation force," said another councillor.

"Councillors who do not belong to the ruling party face many problems. We have joined Awami League so that we can function smoothly as well as play roles in development," said another councillor preferring anonymity.

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=110311