Thursday, March 26, 2009

Abuse of religion: old tricks at play

This picture published in the daily Sangram in 1971 shows members of the fourth Razakar Force taking oath over the holy Quran after completing training under Rajshahi Peace Committee in 1971.

Read Julfikar Ali Manik's story

Religion was the major weapon of the anti-liberation elements including Jamaat-e-Islami in their attempts to foil the birth of Bangladesh and in helping the Pakistani invaders, who launched genocide triggering the nation's armed struggle for independence on March 26, 1971.

"Jamaat-e-Islami cherishes Pakistan and Islam as an inseparable entity," commented former Jamaat ameer Golam Azam in 1971. He was also the chief of the East Pakistan unit of Jamaat during the Liberation War.

Jamaat's mouthpiece the daily Sangram covered a speech by Golam Azam in 1971. "Pakistan is the house of Islam for the world Muslims. Therefore, Jamaat activists don't justify being alive had Pakistan disintegrated," Golam Azam was quoted by Sangram as addressing a reception of Jamaat ministers at defunct Hotel Empire in Dhaka.

Jamaat incumbent Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami, who was the chief of Islami Chaatra Sangha, student wing of Jamaat in 1971, said in an article, "Sacred land Pakistan is the home of Allah for establishing His rules."

Nizami, who has succeeded Golam Azam, had also labelled the freedom fighters as "khodadrohi" [rebels against Allah].

He said in that article, "The cowards [freedom fighters] who are against Allah have attacked this holy land [Pakistan]."

"Will the holy occasion of Shab-e-Qadr be able to evoke our courage to establish true peace and welfare through resisting all the attacks launched against Pakistan and Islam?" he asked.

Historical documents and news reports published during and after the Liberation War show that Nizami was the commander-in-chief of Al-Badr.

The Sangram quoted him on September 15, 1971 as saying: "Everyone of us should assume the role of a Muslim soldier of an Islamic state and through cooperation to the oppressed and by winning their confidence we must kill those; who are hatching conspiracy against Pakistan and Islam."

These are the few examples of the anti-liberation political elements, which stood against independence of Bangladesh with the Pakistani occupation forces when the freedom fighters were sacrificing their lives to liberate motherland.

Several political elements of Bangladesh had not only campaigned against liberation but also actively helped Pakistani forces commit genocide. Although some of these elements gradually disappeared from the political scene, some others like Jamaat became more and more powerful. 

Jamaat leaders had also formed some paramilitary wings like Razakar and Al-Badr during the Liberation War. These wings worked as the auxiliary forces of the Pakistani military and also killed many pro-liberation people across the country.

Records show that Jamaat formed Razakar and Al-Badr to counter the freedom fighters. Razakar force was established by former Jamaat secretary general Moulana Abul Kalam Mohammad Yousuf, while Al-Badr comprised the Islami Chhatra Sangha activists.

During the nine-month bloody Liberation War, Pakistani forces and their Bangladeshi collaborators committed genocide and war crimes that left three million people killed and around quarter million women violated besides the planned elimination of the best Bangali brains on December 14, 1971.

Anticipating sure defeat, the Pakistani forces and their collaborators -- Razakar, Al-Badr and Al-Shams [mostly leaders of Jamaat and its student front] -- picked up leading Bangali intellectuals and professionals on December 14 and killed them en masse in an attempt to intellectually cripple the nation.

Demand for the trial of war criminals is one of the oldest issues of the country linked to the birth of Bangladesh.

Despite their defeat on December 16, 1971 with the Pakistani army, remnants of the collaborators have apparently never left their fight in the last 38 years. Even the nation witnessed it in the same manner in the national elections in December last year.

While the victorious Awami League had campaigned for secular Bangladesh, their main political rivals campaigned with the slogan "save Islam" through ballots.

Establishing Bangladesh as a secular state was one of the major essence of the liberation struggle and to liberate the country from the Islamic republic of Pakistan.

This historical split has not ended even after 38 years of independence as the political elements against liberation have not been tried for their war crimes.

The trial of war criminals is still a big challenge for the newly elected AL government, which led the War of Independence, even after having huge mandate for its major electoral pledges including trying the war criminals.

The demand for trial of war criminals has always been ignored due to several reasons including pressures from home and abroad to save the killers.

When the nation became hopeful about fulfilment of that demand, it has apparently been sidelined following the carnage at Pilkhana BDR headquarters in the name of a mutiny on February 25-26 that left 74 people including 57 army officers killed.

The brutality of the killings has again reminded the nation of many atrocities by the Pakistani occupation forces in 1971.

The investigators of the carnage suspect the aim of such a heinous act was, among others, to foil the government's firm move to try the war criminals.

-- Edited by Al Mamun Russell

Monday, March 23, 2009

7 JMB men get life in Rajshahi

The first court of Rajshahi Divisional Special Judge yesterday sentenced seven militants of Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) for life in connection with the August 17 serial bomb blast case filed with Motihar Police Station.

The convicts include JMB's regional ammunition supplier Torikul Islam, Rajshahi district commander Shafiullah Tarek Kalam, and a zonal JMB commander Abu Isa alias Enamul Haque Mithu, Hasan Ali Ekhwan, Jahangir Alam Abidur and Arif alias Alal.

Sheikh Enamul Haq Moni, an adherent of militant kingpin Asadullah Al Galib, is convicted in absentia. He commanded JMB's western zone in Rajshahi till 2006 in guise of a journalist.

Torikul was arrested in Godagari, near the Indian border, with 5,000 detonators in December 2005 while others with ammunitions at different times.

M Motazidur Rahman, judge of the court, also fined them Tk 20,000 each and in case of defaults they will undergo two more years of rigorous imprisonment, said public prosecutor Moklesur Rahman Swapan.

Police brought charges under sections 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the Explosive Substances Act 1908 for masterminding, financing and instigating the blast, possessing and detonating explosives illegally and causing panic and loss of lives and properties. But the accused were convicted only under Section 3, said Moklesur Rahman.

JMB militants orchestrated 500 nearly synchronised blasts across the country except in one district with a call for so-called Islamist Jihad on August 17, 2005. 

In the charges pressed in June 2006, JMB chief Shaikh Abdur Rahman, Siddikul Islam Bangla Bhai and Abdul Awal were also accused in the case lodged by Sub Inspector Khater Ali. But these three were relieved of the charges following their execution in 2007.

Akhtar Hamid sued for cheating

A case was filed yesterday against former Deputy Speaker Akhtar Hamid Siddiqui with Mohadevpur police station in Naogaon on charge of cheating authorities of a private primary school.

Shamima Yasmin, headmistress of Bagdob Girls' Primary School, lodged the case against Siddiqui and his aide Mahbub Alam Hasan, also a union parishad chairman. 

In her case, Yasmin alleged that the accused took Tk 1.70 lakh in toll and promised to include their school under the government's Monthly Payment Order (MPO).

Allegations of cheating, misappropriation and issuance of death threat have been brought against the accused under sections 420, 406 and 506 of the Bangladesh Penal Code in the case, said M Mofazzel Hossain, superintendent of police (SP) in Naogaon.

The plaintiff in her case alleged that she paid Tk 50,000 directly to Siddiqui and Tk 1.20 lakh through Mahbub Alam in two phases of May and June in 2005.

“After taking the money, Siddiqui denied the school authorities to include under MPO. As I told him to return the money if he is unable to do it, he threatened me to kill by shooting from a gun”, alleged Yasmin.

Police sources said several people who suffered at the hands of the former deputy speaker thronged in front of the police station to file cases since Siddiqui's arrest.

“But we are recording case after necessary primary investigation”, said Ilyas Fakir, officer-in-charge (OC) of Mohadevpur thana.

The former deputy speaker was arrested Saturday afternoon under Special Power's Act of 1974 and sent to Naogaon district jail on the night with 30 days' detention.

Replying to a question, the Naogaon SP said the police are waiting for the government's nod to lodge a sedition case against Siddiqui for his 'seditious remarks'.

Siddiqui invited the Mohadevpur OC at his home and asked him to act according to his wish. The former deputy speaker told the police officer that the Awami League government would last no more than two months while many of its leaders are going to die.

The Naogaon SP said during a brief police interrogation Siddiqui confessed that he talked about the cassettes and CDs related to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's meeting with army members at Sena Kunja following BDR mutiny.

Meanwhile, Mohadevpur upazila BNP held a protest meeting at the Upazila Sadar last evening while district unit of Jatiyatabadi Lawyers' Forum held a protest rally on court premises at noon.
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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ex-dy speaker Siddiqui held

Furious BNP terms the case fabricated
The Detective Branch (DB) police in Naogaon arrested former deputy speaker and BNP leader Akhtar Hamid Siddiqui from Mohadevpur upazila yesterday evening under the Special Powers Act (SPA) for making 'seditious statements'.

"He has primarily been arrested under the SPA for making anti-state statements and threatening the police", Mofazzel Hossain, Superintendent of Police (SP) in Naogaon, said.

The SP told The Daily Star that government high ups were apprised of the situation before the arrest was made, and the police have also written to the home ministry for permission to press sedition charges against Siddiqui.

Ilyas Fakir, the officer-in-charge (OC) of Mohadebpur police station, filed a general diary (GD) on Thursday night accusing the BNP leader of threatening him with 'dire consequences' and of making statements subversive to the government and the state.

Siddiqui's statements suggest he might have known something about the BDR mutiny, the OC said.

"There are a series of charges against him including cheating, extortion, abuse of power and land grabbing," the OC added.

The police have appealed to the government to take the accused under one-month's detention.

Earlier in the general diary filed, the OC alleged that Siddiqui made statements subversive to the state before him and Sub-Inspector Habib after calling them to his house in the evening.

"Do as I say, if you do anything against me, we will besiege your police station and damage it. You will not be able to resist us even with the help of your reserve force," the OC quoted Siddiqui as saying while threatening him.

"You are brokering for Awami League (AL). But listen, the AL government will fall within two months and several hundred leaders and workers will be killed," Siddiqui was also quoted as saying.

Siddiqui also said that the army brought Awami League to power and asked the police to collect a CD on Pilkhana BDR mutiny available in the market, and see it.

The OC in his GD said Siddiqui was among those involved in subversive activities and by uttering the statements, he had threatened the very existence of the state, government and government institutions.

The threat was now also on the common people, the police, his (the OC's) life and the life of his family, the OC mentioned in his GD.

Witnesses said, a number of plainclothes police were seen on duty in front of Siddiqui's Uttargram home from the morning. At around 12pm, a large number of policemen from Naogaon Police Line led by DB police cordoned the house.

Later, at around 5.30pm, the DB police arrested Siddiqui and took him to the office of the Superintendent of Police (SP) in Naogaon town in a police pickup van, witnesses said.

Siddiqui however denied any wrongdoing. Before he was arrested, he told local journalists that the OC was trying to tarnish his own and BNP's image by 'a wrong interpretation' of his statement.


BNP yesterday strongly criticised the government for arresting former deputy speaker Akhtar Hamid Siddiqui.

Terming the case filed against Siddiqui false and fabricated, the BNP Secretary General Khandaker Delwar Hossain demanded that the government withdraw the case against Siddiqui and release him immediately.

"Arrest of the former deputy speaker (Akhtar Hamid) is an extreme autocratic conduct of the government," Delwar said in a press release, adding that 'the arrest is an evidence of the government's repression of opposition leaders and activists."

"People will not tolerate such heinous actions as the arrest of a respectable person like Siddiqui," the statement said.

"People will reply duly if the government does not shun the path of repression and behave democratically," Delwar warned in the statement.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Strawberry eyes Tk 10cr a year

A woman works at a strawberry field in Rajshahi. Growers and traders of the fruit are expecting a Tk10 crore annual turnover, as they launch its commercial cultivation this year. Photo: STAR

Strawberry growers and traders in Bangladesh are expecting Tk 10 crore in annual turnover, as they go into its first-ever commercial cultivation this year. 

Rajshahi University teacher Dr Manzur Hossain, who developed the fruit nearly a decade ago, expects nearly 25 tonnes of output from about 8.5 acres of land in 45 districts until April. 

Growers claim the cultivation of this money-spinning, nutritious, delicious foreign fruit will spin nearly Tk 10 crore worth of trade a year. 

“The initial commercial production will meet 50 percent of the gross annual demand for the fruit. At present, the demand for the fruit stands at 50 tonnes,” said Hossain, also the general secretary of Bangladesh Strawberry Farmers Association, which monitors the fruit's cultivation in the country. 

Production will continue to increase significantly from next year, as the growers taste success, he said.

Meanwhile, horticulturist Quamruzzaman in Natore has successfully grown two American varieties of strawberry this year, a major breakthrough in its cultivation. The variety is of optimal weight, better taste and colour. 

Each strawberry nearly weighs 75 grams, three times higher than the usual 25 grams. The new varieties are becoming popular, especially among buyers, said Quamruzzaman.

“I have been experimenting on the export quality camarosa and festival varieties for the last few years. This year, it proved to be a success,” he said, adding that each plant bears some 15 fruits with an average weight of 750 grams. 

Many young businessmen have taken the fruit to urban markets in Dhaka, cashing in on lofty sales. 

Although growers get between Tk 500 and Tk 750 per kilogram, the fruit is sold for Tk 850 to Tk 1300 per kilogram, said people familiar with the matter. 

As the fruit gains popularity and cultivation increases, the price will come down, said traders. 

“The strawberry trade is quite lucrative as it provides employment opportunities for many,” said ASM Mizanur Rahman, who intends to take a tonne of the fruit to Dhaka from Rajshahi. 

“So far, I sold 250 kilograms of the fruit. I also employed several youths to give me a hand at marketing the strawberries. The fruit is receiving good responses in markets,” said Rahman, a private jobholder in Dhaka.

Many are currently involved in collecting strawberries at Tk 650 from the farmers and selling at an average Tk 850 per kilogram.

Dr Hossain of Rajshahi University, who recently travelled to many districts to study the cultivation of the fruit, said it is gaining popularity at a good pace. It is growing best in Dinajpur, Panchagarh, Mymensingh, Kushtia, Jessore, Khulna, Dhaka and Chittagong. 

He said each strawberry plant bears around 250 to 300 grams of fruit and some 6,000 plants can be grown on one bigha of land. A farmer can easily do business worth Tk 6 lakh, by a yield of 2,000 kilograms of fruit on a bigha of land at an expense of Tk 20,000.

“Even if strawberries sell at Tk 100 per kilogram, a farmer can earn Tk 2,00,000,” said Hossain.

M Shamim Ali cultivated strawberry on a small piece of land at Yousufpur, Charghat. He hopes to sell nearly 150 kilograms this season.

“I spent only Tk 9,000 on cultivation and I fetched profits of Tk 1,00,000. I sell 3 kilograms of strawberry per day. I will cultivate it on a bigha next year,” he said.

Sector people said the country meets its current demand of 50 tonnes of strawberries via imports from different countries, including the USA, Thailand and Australia. 

Strawberries are eaten as it is and used in preparing ice-cream, jam, jelly, pickles, chocolates, biscuits, cake and milk shakes. 

Growers urged the government to take immediate steps to support the export of the fruit. With a great export potential, the sweet and attractive fruit will open a new horizon for farmers, if it gets government patronisation, they said.

AL demands removal of 6 Rajshahi cops

Rajshahi city unit of Awami League at a press conference yesterday demanded removal of six police officers for allegedly favouring Islami Chhatra Shibir cadres during the violence on Rajshahi University and Rajshahi Medical College campuses.

However, the police blamed the campus authorities and alleged the authorities refrained them from performing their duties following directives of Rajshahi Mayor AHM Khairuzzaman Liton.

The AL leaders demanded removal of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police (RMP) Commissioner Mahbub Mohsin, Additional Commissioner Hafizur Rahman, Assistant Commissioner (Boalia zone) Humayun, officers-in-charge (OC) of Rajpara Police Station (PS) Anisur Rahman and Rafiqul Islam of Motihar PS.

Besides, a group of AL leaders at the press conference also demanded removal of RMC Principal Towhidul Alam and RMP Assistant Commissioner (detective branch) Mahfuzur Rahman.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

JMB linked to BDR massacre: Faruk

Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) is linked to the BDR massacre, Commerce Minister Lt Col (retd) Faruk Khan said today.

"We've so far identified some persons in the BDR who are associated with the JMB," he said, based on feedback from the investigators, UNB adds.

The commerce minister added that it was part of a conspiracy.

Khan was speaking today (Thursday) at the annual meeting of the International Business Forum of Bangladesh at the Hotel Sheraton in the city.

"When the government was moving towards a change for desired development, the conspirators staged the carnage in a bid to 'unsettle' the government and people," he told his business audience.

"A dangerous conspiracy is going on to destroy the development of the country," Faruk added.

The commerce minister said though the opposition party was silent at least for three days after the BDR massacre, now it is acting as a specialist in the matter.

He said people are united in facing the challenge and they have faith in the government and appreciated government's role in tackling the mutiny.

Faruk said people, however, rejected the conspiracy through showing their unity at the time of the nation's critical moment.

On Wednesday, the government appointed Faruk as the head of a committee coordinating various inquiries into the carnage.

He also informed that Joint Stock Company would be automated within next seven days to simplify the registration process for companies and businesses.

Talking about the parliamentary standing committees Faruk said all these watchdog bodies would be made more effective and active for their oversights role in scrutinising government function.

Indicating the businessmen, Faruk said all barriers would be removed gradually to promote trade and commerce in the country.

On February 25-26 BDR Pilkhana headquarters carnage, 74 people were killed including 52 army officers.

The government also sought help from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Scotland Yard of the UK to help probe into the bloodshed.

On March 9, a two-member team of the FBI arrived in the capital while a four-member Scotland Yard team reached yesterday.

Both the teams have started their work.

4 mutineers said to be ex-JMB men

At least four of the mutineers of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) are believed to have been active members of Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) before they joined the paramilitary force.

They all hail from Bagmara of Rajshahi, the stronghold of the Islamist militant outfit JMB, where extremists led by JMB's former operation commander Bangla Bhai, later executed, launched their atrocities. 

Anwar, one of the four was well-known cadre of Bangla Bhai. He was allegedly involved in the murder of Awami League (AL) leader Yasin in 2004 in Bagmara.

A team of the 'operation rebel hunt' has recently raided houses of Anwar, Ismail, Kawsar and Aftab but in vain. 

The four were present at Pilkhana during the mutiny before they fled and they are still on the lam, said officers engaged in the 'operation rebel hunt'. 

“There might be many more like them and we are looking into it”, said one of the officers. 

The officers said some 10 to 12 rebel soldiers took shelter at Ismail's house at Sakoa village after they fled from Pilkhana on February 26. 

The team also picked up a BDR soldier Abdul Barik from Jamloy village for interrogation. Barik was on leave during the mutiny, but he met the fugitive mutineers at Ismail's house. 

During a visit to Bagmara yesterday, the JMB torture victims and villagers expressed their astonishment at the enrolment of the four as BDR soldiers despite being cadres of JMB.

JMB men beat up AL publicity secretary of Maria union Yasin Ali Mridha and later hung him upside down from a tree on Kudapara Ahadia Dakhil Madrassah premises before killing him on June 30, 2004.

Kawsar's father Abdur Rahman, a member of Maria union parishad, claimed that his son is innocent.

When contacted Superintendent of Police of Rajshahi M Shahabuddin Khan said he was unaware how those militants obtained police clearance for joining BDR. “I was not in Rajshahi then; I will have to investigate the matter,” he added.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

BDR Mutiny: Probe on to find JMB patron link

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Investigators in Rajshahi are trying to detect whether there is any link between BDR rebels and the patrons of outlawed Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).
The investigators have information about recruitment of a number of JMB or other outfits' operatives as border guards since 2004 on political recommendations, say officials involved in the Operation Rebel Hunt.
A number of politicians were arrested, went into hiding, or were affected in some ways since the 1/11 changeover following their alleged patronage of militancy.
"We have asked the BDR Headquarters for a list of new recruits from Rajshahi and neighbouring districts. Identifying the recruits will take time as necessary documents are now scattered," says a senior officer.
He adds they are likely to take help from the computerised database prepared during the voters' registration with photograph for properly identifying these men.
The official informs that they will emphasise how many soldiers were recruited since 2004, if any of them was involved with Pilkhana mutiny, who recommended their recruitment, and whether those were engaged to militancy before.
"If any soldier is found to have links to militancy before, the people concerned who issued their clearance will also be brought to book," he says replying to a question.
Militants might have been recruited as their prize for taking part in the so-called vigilante actions against underground operatives belonging to Purba Banglar Communist Party, the investigators argue.
Meanwhile, a rebel hunt team of police, Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) and army personnel raided different villages including Polasi, Kamarbari, Maria, Sakoa and Goalkandi in Bagmara upazila Wednesday night.
The targeted fugitives -- Anwar, Altaf, Ismail and Kawsar -- escaped the dragnet, while a mobile set of a fugitive was seized.
Relatives of the families told newspersons some 10 to 12 mutinous soldiers took shelter at Ismail's house in Sakoa after they fled from Pilkhana on February 26. The soldiers include Rohidul, Saiful, Hossain Ali, Barik and Golam Rabbani.
Locals say all these BDR men were directly involved with JMB as they were seen roaming with hockey sticks with JMB's executed leader Siddiqul Islam Bangla Bhai in 2004. They were present during the Pilkhana carnage, their family members confirm.
After hiding for two days, they left Ismail's house saying they were returning to the headquarters.
"We have yet to know whether the fugitives have joined Pilkhana," an investigator told The Daily Star. He added, "We knew four of them had links with JMB."
MILITANT PATRONSJMB under the banner of Bangla Bhai's Jagrata Muslim Janata, Bangladesh (JMJB) emerged in a "jungle rule" for the first time in Rajshahi allegedly with state sponsors during the BNP-Jamaat coalition rule in April 2004.
The outfit brutally killed some 25 people in broad daylight and maimed some 500 others in Rajshahi region in only three months in the name of vigilante actions against the underground communist operatives.
Former BNP bigwigs Barrister Aminul Haque, Ruhul Quddus Talukdar Dulu, Alamgir Kabir, Nadim Mostafa and Mizanur Rahman Minu and a number of other former ruling coalition leaders allegedly blatantly patronised the militants using the police and administration. Even the then government high-ups supported the militants in 2004-05.
Aminul went into hiding since the 1/11 changeover. Later he was convicted in a case for militancy abetting and jailed for 31 years, while Dulu has been sentenced to 18 years imprisonment in two cases for abetting arson prior to the launch of militant activities.
Haque and Dulu are facing trial in some other militancy abetting cases that are now stayed.
Alamgir Kabir was sued in two cases for abetting militancy, but his name was dropped from police charges.
Minu was named in a militancy abetting case, but the case was withdrawn later.
Former BNP lawmaker Nadim Mostafa, who is sentenced to ten years imprisonment in two cases of extortion and criminal activities, is also named in three cases for abetting militancy. He went into hiding after the 1/11.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Jessore GOC, pilot killed in chopper crash

An army helicopter crashes in Tangail this (Monday) morning. PHOTO: TV grabStar Online Report

General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Jessore Cantonment Maj Gen Rafiqul Islam and Pilot Lt Col Shahid killed in an army helicopter crash in Tangail this (Monday) morning.

Visit The Daily Star

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Rajshahi cops seek to file sedition case

Rajshahi police have sought permission from the home ministry to file at least 10 sedition cases in connection with the mutiny of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) soldiers in the division.
Police drafted the cases on Wednesday and sent letters to police headquarters in Dhaka seeking necessary permission from the home ministry, said Mokhlesur Rahman, deputy inspector general (DIG) of Rajshahi range police.
“After getting permission, police will record the cases and investigate them”, he said, adding that permission has been sought for no more than 10 cases.
“As per rules, the home ministry's permission is essential for lodging cases with sedition charges”, said the DIG.
Expressing solidarity with the Pilkhana mutineers, the soldiers in different northern regions, including four battalions in Rajshahi, Naogaon and Chapainawabganj districts, fired hundreds of shots and put barricades on roads on February 25 and 26 in order to destabilise the country, police said.
Jamiruddin, a 35-year old rickshaw puller, was shot on February 26 as the BDR soldiers began firing at Shalbagan sector headquarters. BDR member Nazrul Islam received bullet wounds at Chapainawabganj battalion headquarters during the mutiny.
M Shahabuddin Khan, superintendent of police in Rajshahi, informed that they sought home ministry's permission to file two cases with Puthia and Godagari police stations.
Two other cases will be lodged at Boalia and Rajpara police stations under Rajshahi city following the mutiny at sector and battalion headquarters at Shalbagan under Boalia thana and Majardia Border Outpost under Rajpara thana, police said.
Similar cases are likely to be filed with police stations at Naogaon, Chapainawabganj, Nilphamari, Thakurgaon and Joypurhat.

Smuggling thru' Rajshahi border points goes up

Smuggling through the Rajshahi border points have increased considerably due to laxness of border guards in the last few days, said people in the bordering villages.
Indian drugs including heroin and phensidyl and clothes are entering the country through the borders in huge quantity, they said.
"One has to cross the Padma River twice to go to the Indian border at Char Majardia. There are at least 10 boats at ferry points for carrying smuggled items," said a villager.
While going to the village at daytime, this correspondent saw some 11 boats at the first ghat (ferry point) on the Padma and 14 boats at the next ghat but only one boat in each ghat was engaged in carrying villagers across the river.
Villagers said smugglers use the other boats only during the night.
Similar picture is available also at other Padma ghats toward the Indian borders including Sonaikandi, Khar Chaka, Bidirpur and Char Asariadaha.
Five BDR men were seen on duty at Char Majardia BDR camp. Asked about the boats, Havildar Daud Hossain said those boats are used during the rainy season. He denied smugglers' activity on the border.
"A section of border guards were always helpful to us. Now anxious about their fate after the incident in Dhaka, many of them are staying inside their camps," a smuggler told this correspondent during the latter's visit to Godagari.
Mansur Ali, a member of Char Asariadaha union parishad, said Indian villagers with the help of Indian BSF members are taking away crops and grass from Bangladesh fields on Manik Chalk border areas.
"Anti-smuggling operations have almost become ineffective," he said in a tone of disappointment.
BOP officials at different borders claimed they returned to their duties as before. "Smugglers have no scope to be active as Indian BSF are on high alert following Bangladesh incident", said a BOP official
Published On: 2009-02-28
Front Page
Police take control of BDR installations
Subedar Maj Siddique and Subedar Shamsul Haque of Rajshahi sector headquarters, now under control of police, handed over their arms and keys to the armoury to the district official. A number of BDR jawans looked distressed and scared while surrendering their arms.
The bordering areas remained vulnerable as distraught BDR members were reluctant to return to duty amid confusion. A BOP commander told The Daily Star, "The smugglers will not be able to cash in on the prevailing situation as the Indian Border Security Force remains on red alert on the other side of the border."
BDR unrest spreads countrywide
In Rajshahi, BDR troops staged demonstrations and opened fire this morning in support of the demands of their colleagues who staged a bloody revolt at the BDR Headquarters in the capital's Pilkhana area.
Locals said they heard sounds of gunfires and saw smoke coming out of the headquarters, triggering tensions in and around the area.
Like yesterday, no commanding officers did attend office today. It could not be ascertained whether the officers were still staying in there residences or abandoned those.
BDR personnel took position at different points of the sector headquarters in the northwestern frontier town and remained "on high alert to tackle any untoward situation", sources said.
Earlier yesterday, soldiers virtually took control of the headquarters, hours after the mutiny by their fellowmen in Dhaka. Besides, a good number of BDR men from Chapainawabganj and Naogaon camps came to the headquarters at 12noon yesterday and took control of it, but they laid down arms after a few minutes
Calm across country after chaos, revolt
Rebel jawans took control of BDR compound by the Airport Road at Shalbagan yesterday morning.
They fired blank shots and brandished mortars, shotguns, and grenades.
The road emptied as gunshot rang out in the area The bordering areas remained vulnerable as distraught BDR members were reluctant to return to duty amid confusion. A BOP commander told The Daily Star, "The smugglers will not be able to cash in on the prevailing situation as the Indian Border Security Force remains on red alert on the other side of the border."

Another trader in Natore abducted

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Unidentified criminals, in guise of members of detective branch (DB) of police, kidnapped another trader near village Chowgram on Natore-Bogra road in Natore district Sunday evening.

They kidnapped Ashraful Islam, owner of Zamtoli Filling Station, at about 7pm with Tk 1.50 lakh in possession. Ashraf was returning to his Shingra home from Zamtoli bazaar along with his son Mizanur Rahman.

While narrating the incident, Rahman said, "We set for home by a CNG-run auto-rickshaw with the days' income."

"At a desolate place near Chowgram, about 10 criminals on board two microbuses waylaid us. Identifying themselves as DB policemen, they searched our auto-rickshaw and took away my father with them by a microbus".

Rahman lodged a case with Shingra Police Station. He feared the miscreants might kill him or demand ransom.

"A big network of criminals seems to be involved in the kidnapping", said Singra Police Station acting officer-in-charge (OC) sub inspector (SI) Proddyut Kor. Investigation is going on, he said.

The incident created panic among local traders as two other traders, Sukdev Saha and Rabindranath Saha, were kidnapped in a similar manner with about Tk 2 lakh in their possession about three weeks ago.

However, police managed to rescue them and arrested two of the kidnappers and a driver of a microbus which was used by the gang.