Monday, August 31, 2009

Poor state of preparedness to fight swine flu in N dists

Monday, August 31, 2009

Almost all private hospitals and clinics in frontier Rajshahi and other 15 northern districts are remaining out of the government's preparedness programme against H1N1 swine flu epidemic in terms of isolation capacity and clinical assessment.

"Private hospitals and clinics are yet to be instructed for the preparedness. We expect them to respond to the common call for creating isolation wards in advance," said Dr AKM Nur Kutubul Alam, director of health for Rajshahi division.

"In case of any steep rise of positive cases, we might need extra health infrastructure that the private hospitals can ensure," he said with an alert for flu outbreak in the country as its detection is increasing.

Following the government directives, the authorities of all public hospitals in the region are creating separate isolation wards and making inventory of essential drugs and preventive equipment, but there is no arrangement for diagnostic laboratory or pathological tests of the flu.

Official sources said none is so far reported to be detected positive in Rajshahi region.

If any suspect is found, the authorities will have to depend on the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) or other organisations in Dhaka for testing H1N1 virus and the process might take more than two days for results.

"Pathological tests of H1N1 influenza are very costly as reagents needed for the test once would cost as much as Tk 10,000," said Dr M Johurul Islam, civil surgeon of Rajshahi.

Dr Alam said healthcare personnel at Sona Mosque, Hili, Burimari and Bangla Bandha land ports in Rajshahi division have been put on high alert as part of preparedness to prevent swine flu outbreak.

Replying to a question, he said there would be no blood screening facility and thermal scanner for testing the incoming passengers at the land ports.

Isolation wards were already set up at Pabna, Rajshahi, Natore and Chapainawabganj spending around Tk 1.54 crore while the construction in other districts is underway.

A separate isolation ward is under construction near ward number 24 at Rajshahi Medical College Hospital where an isolated cabin and two emergency chambers were set up and a five-bed isolation ward has been prepared at Rajshahi Infectious Disease Hospital.

Apart from the isolation facilities, the authorities have made a handsome inventory of Oseltamivir, a drug, personal protection equipment (mask, gloves and gown) and disinfectants.

Upazila health complexes were also asked to create isolation facilities while necessary drugs and equipment would be provided from the district headquarters when necessary.

Orientation at every healthcare centre is going on, but maximum people are still away from any knowledge of the flu situation and what to do when affected.

Rajshahi board boss faces mayor's fury

Monday, August 31, 2009
Rajshahi Education Board Chairman Dipakendranath Das left the city Saturday night for Dhaka after filing general diaries with two police stations following threats on his life allegedly from the city Mayor Khairuzzaman Liton.

The Rajshahi mayor asked the board chairman repeatedly over the phone to upgrade his daughter's SSC results, Dipakendranath alleged.

Khairuzzaman also acknowledged that he had requested Dipakendranath to look into the result of his daughter but denied the allegation of threatening the board chairman.

The mayor, on the other hand, brought allegation against Dipakendranath of not observing the National Mourning Day in a befitting manner at the Rajshahi Education Board this year.

In his identical GDs filed with Boalia and Rajpara police stations in Rajshahi the education board chairman alleged that he had been asked to leave Rajshahi forever over the phone since August 27. The callers also threatened him with death.

He, however, refrained from mentioning names of any individual or party in his GDs.

Earlier on August 27, the board chairman alleged that the city mayor threatened to transfer him if he did not entertain his request of upgrading his daughter's SSC result.

Anika Faria Zaman, the mayor's daughter, secured GPA 4.56 in this year's SSC examinations. Dissatisfied with the result she along with 2300 other examinees appealed to the board for review of their results on June 22.

As review results came out on August 9, some 23 examinees got their results changed but Anika's results remained the same.

The board chairman explained that Anika failed to get GPA 5 because she secured A minus in Bangla and obtained A in English, Mathematics and Chemistry.

"There was no scope of reviewing her result as her review results had already been issued," he said.

Dipakendranath alleged that the mayor threatened him twice --on August 18 and 25 - over the phone.

When asked Mayor Khairuzzaman Liton told The Daily Star, "I talked to him in a high-pitched voice as he defamed Bangabandhu and did not observe the National Mourning Day in a befitting manner."

The chairman disheartened many board officials and employees by comparing Bangabandhu with Ziaur Rahman, the mayor said, adding: "As I came to know about the matter, I only asked him to be careful."

"The question of forcing or threatening him to manipulate my daughter's results can not arise. The board chairman is tarnishing the image of my family only to cover up his faults," said the city mayor.

"But it is true -- as a father, I requested him once to look into the review result of my daughter personally. And now I see, it was my fault as a city mayor."

The board chairman, however, said that the mayor and his party are now cooking up stories to divert people's attention from the issue of SSC results of his daughter.

"The allegations against me are totally false and fabricated. In fact, the National Mourning Day was observed inside the Rajshahi Education Board mosque and as I am a Hindu, I was not present but I sent a message which was read out there," he added.

The chairman said, "Misbehaviour of the mayor with me is quite unacceptable."

Meanwhile, ruling Awami League leaders and activists under the banner of an alliance of professionals, cultural and social organisations held a rally near the Rajshahi Education Board office at Laxmipur in the city yesterday.

The speakers at the rally accused the board chairman of corruption.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Rajshahi investors find new refuge in stocks

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Share trading is gaining popularity in Rajshahi as more people are now investing in stocks.

State-owned Investment Corporation of Bangladesh (ICB) and its subsidiaries, which are providing brokerage services with an aim to help small investors, are now struggling to cope with pressure from a rising number of investors.

Beginning in 1984, ICB roped in around 7,000 investors from northern districts until 2005. Then there was a big jump.

The number of investors increased by 4,600 in only four years to 11,600 after ICB Securities Trading Company Ltd (STCL) and ICB Capital Management Ltd (CML) opened up IT-enabled brokerage services.

The services enabled investors in Rajshahi and its surrounding areas to get direct access and trade on the Dhaka Stock Exchange and Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE) through internet trading service modules.

Investors -- mostly small and from remote areas -- transacted Tk 108 crore in turnover in the last one and a half month, said Mahmud Mizanur Rahman, deputy general manager of ICB in Rajshahi.

"At least 25 new investors are opening up new accounts daily with ICB, STCL and CML. The average daily turnover in Rajshahi was recorded at Tk 4 crore," said the regional ICB chief.

However, many investors complained that although ICB and its subsidiaries are drawing handsome commissions, they are not increasing manpower, facilities or support for the investors.

Investors have to cram in front of a display terminal in a small room at the ICB branch office. Often they demonstrate inside the ICB itself and burst into protest by forcing their way into the DGM's office.

"A single display terminal for so many investors seriously hampers our access to information on share prices," said M Tozammel Hossain, an investor.

He added only two computers are being used for the internet module to trade on the DSE, while there is only one computer to trade on the CSE.

The computers and internet services often do not function properly due to the pressures of increased trade, but the ICB is yet to develop infrastructure, investors complain.

"We have to risk financial losses as we are not able to trade timely. Only one computer is being used for both purchase and sale orders, delaying the entire process," said Abdullah Al Hussain, demanding separate trading terminals.

Mir Akhtarul Islam Mitul, another investor, said ICB, STCL and CML are selective in providing loans. "Big investors are the preferred group," he alleged.

In the face of growing demand, ICB initiated a Tk 50 lakh project to open a new 1,200 square feet terminal on the fifth floor of Gaffar Plaza, said Mahmud Mizanur Rahman of ICB. The current office is on the first floor of the same building.

"Two more display terminals and a larger space has been arranged on the new floor," said the DGM. "The project is to be completed in months and will create a better environment."

M Shahabuddin Bhuiyan, manager of ICB's Capital Management Ltd, said the increased number of investors is creating extra pressure on the computer servers.

"Despite a fund crunch, we are setting up another server within a few weeks."

Abdul Mottalib, branch in charge of ICB's Securities Trading Company, denied allegations over giving selective loans. He said loans worth around Tk 33 crore were given to the investors.

ICB is running with only 10 staffers, while CML has five. Investors said the number of employees is not enough.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

'Bangabandhu makes constitution unique'

Sunday, August 16, 2009
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman made the country's constitution a unique one in the world by giving a new definition of secularism, said Shahriar Kabir, a noted journalist, in Rajshahi yesterday.

"For him secularism did not mean abandonment of religion, but a separation of religion from state and politics," said Kabir, president of Ekatturer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee, a forum for secular Bangladesh and trial of war criminals.

He said Bangabandhu was a religious man and he believed in people's freedom of religion.

Bangabandhu gave new definition of secularism to end Pakistani tradition of abusing religion for political gain, said Kabir.

He said in the name of protecting Islam, Pakistani rulers and Jamaat-e-Islami men killed people, raped women and committed genocides during their 23-year regime and the liberation war.

Kabir was addressing as chief guest at a discussion meeting organised on the occasion of the National Mourning Day at the Kazi Nazrul Islam auditorium of Rajshahi University (RU).

RU Vice Chancellor Prof M Abdus Sobhan chaired the discussion.

Kabir also addressed a public meeting organised by the district unit of Bangabandhu Parishad at Alupatty in the city in the afternoon.

He said the killers of Bangabandhu and their masters in later days tainted the constitution by turning it into a communal one.

He demanded reinstatement of the original constitution of 1972 and early beginning of the trial of war criminals.

He also demanded immediate execution of the verdict against the killers of Bangabandhu and his family members.

Rajshahi Mayor AHM Khairuzzaman, lawmaker Fazle Hossain Badsha and leaders of different Awami League units placed wreaths at the portrait of Bangabandhu and the grave of national leader AHM Quamaruzzaman on this occasion.

Besides, Rajshahi City Corporation, Rajshahi Metropolitan Police, district administration, different universities, colleges and schools, Sainik League, Bangabandhu Engineers' Parishad, Bangabandhu Krishibid Parishad, Rajshahi Union of Journalists, Rajshahi Press Club, RU unit of BCL, Progressive Teachers' Society, Sammilita Sangskritik Jote, RU Officers Association and other organisations held discussions, milad mahfils and special prayers.

Implement RTI law properly for good governance

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Speakers at a view exchange meeting in Rajshahi yesterday said a culture of seeking information should be developed in society, especially for the grassroots-level people, for effective implementation of the Right to Information (RTI) law.

RTI law would not leave any benefit unless it is properly implemented through creating awareness among mass people about their right of access to information, they added.

Once RTI is properly implemented, the speakers said, it would take the country a step forward to ensure good governance as well as administrative transparency and accountability.

They stressed the need for a strong role of the media in educating common people on appropriate methods of exercising their right.

Campaign for Right to Information (CFRTI) and local vernacular daily the Mukto Chetona jointly organised the meeting on 'RTI law and role of media' in association with Asian Foundation at a city restaurant.

Fazle Hossain Badsha MP attended the meeting as the chief guest, while Liakat Ali Liku, chairman of the editorial board of the daily, was in the chair.

The lawmaker in his speech said the government is committed to implementing the RTI law, however challenging the task may be. He sought cooperation from all circles related to RTI.

"RTI is quite new to us when we are still fighting for the basic rights of ethnic groups… implementing a law is far more difficult than enacting it. Yet, if all concerned work together, we can well share the power with common people through implementing RTI."

CFRTI General Secretary Muhammad Lutful Haque presented a written paper on right to information and RTI laws while Staff Corres-pondent of The Daily Star Anwar Ali spoke on the role of media men in implementing RTI law.

CFRTI President Khondoker Iqbal Hossain and Mir Mostaque Ahmed of Asia Foundation were present at the programme as the special guests.

Editor of the Mukto Chetona M Sadrul Islam, News Editor Golam Sarwar, former president of Rajshahi Union of Journalists (RUJ) Mustafijur Rahman Khan Alam, RUJ General Secretary and Rajshahi bureau chief of the Shamakal Shibli Noman, Metropolitan Press Club Vice President Kazi Gias, General Secretary Anisuzzaman, BSS bureau chief Dr Aynal Haque and journalist Mahtab Uddin also spoke.

The speakers thanked the government for turning the RTI ordinance into a law, saying that lack of political will, culture of secrecy and lack of knowledge about RTI among general public are the main obstacles to implementing the law.

Asian University's Rajshahi campus shut after clash

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Asian University of Bangladesh (AUB) in Rajshahi was closed sine die yesterday following a clash between students and police that left at least 35 people injured.

The clash ensued as students put a barricade on the Dhaka-Rajshahi highway demanding that the AUB authorities produce valid documents of government approval.

AUB students said the Rajshahi campus of the varsity has no government approval and as the authorities failed to produce any valid papers, the legality of the university was questionable.

At around 9.30am students boycotted their scheduled examinations and came out in their hundreds. The examinees along with other students marched in a procession on the campus and challenged the authorities whether they had any legal authority to run the campus.

The angry students were not satisfied with the answer the AUB authorities gave and put a barricade on the Rajshahi-Dhaka highway at around 10am.

The students staged a sit-in there for one and a half hours and as they refused to leave the road, police charged them with batons.

The protesters also hurled brickbats at police in retaliation. The chase and counter-chase that followed in the Talaimari areas left at least 35 students injured.

At around 1:00pm AUB authorities cancelled the scheduled examinations and closed the varsity for an indefinite period.

The agitating students then went to the city centre at Shaheb Bazar and formed a human chain there protesting the police action on them.

They demanded the government take action against AUB authorities for the illegal operation of the university for which students are being cheated.

"We have closed the university for an indefinite period and cancelled all examinations and classes", said Manjur-e-Elahi, deputy registrar and in-charge of AUB's Rajshahi campus.

Madrasa shut over militancy

Friday, August 14, 2009

Al Markajul Islami As-Salafi Madrasa at Nawdapara in the city was closed sine die by its authorities yesterday due to attempts of implanting extremism in students by Ahle Hadith Andolon Bangladesh (Ahab), a militant outfit led by Asadullah Al Galib.

Galib, arrested in 2005 on charges of militancy and now free on bail, has been sheltering outsiders, many of whom are students of Rajshahi University and Rajshahi College, in madrasa dormitories for last few months, said Principal of the madrasa Abdus Samad Salafi.

These outsiders with assistance from some pro-Galib teachers used to assault students, sometimes the teachers who were not in Galib's favour, said Salafi, adding that they were also engaged in indoctrinating the students to defy madrasa rules and join Ahab.

"Concerned about these men, we made the decision to close the madrasa indefinitely," said Salafi, former Nayeb-e-Amir who resigned from Ahab along with some 48 others in April for the outfit's anti-state activities.

Sources said just before the closure, the Ahab adherents prevented the students from attending a discussion on the life of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and a special prayer on the occasion of the national mourning day. Around noon, when the madrasa authorities were about to start the programme, Abdur Razzak Bin Yusuf, a madrasa teacher, kept the students from joining the function.

The students said Razzak told them not to attend the function because Galib does not like Bangabandhu.

The madrasa premises is the property of Touhid Trust, an NGO from where Galib was ousted for financial anomalies, said Salafi, adding, Galib has been occupying a building on the campus that was meant for a medical centre.

Oikya Parishad protests disrespect to Krishna

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Hindu Buddhist Christian Oikya Parishad, Bagmara Upazila unit, yesterday postponed Sree Krishna's birth anniversary programmes scheduled for August 13 to protest alleged acts of disrespect to Krishna by the brother of local lawmaker.

In a press conference, the Parishad leaders alleged that Emdadul Haque, brother of Awami League lawmaker Enamul Haque, tore up an invitation card containing Krishna's portrait on Thursday and hurled abusive words when two Parishad men handed over the card to him and invited him to the August 13 programmes.

The Parishad leaders also said they invited Emdad, who is a supporter of Jamaat-e-Islami, as he is now an influential person in Bagmara.

The Parishad also took out a procession in Bagmara Sadar upazila and announced that protest programmes will also be held on August 13.

When contacted, Emdadul Haque denied all the allegations. "I just threw away the invitation card as I was unaware of the matter. I did not tore it up or humiliate anyone," he said.

"I also do not have any connections with Jamaat-e-Islami or Razakars, but I am involved with Tablig-e-Jamaat", he said replying to a question.

Privatised Rajshahi textile mill reopens

Rajshahi Textile Mills (RTM) resumed operations yesterday after nine months of its closure, following a private initiative that is expected to employ around 500 people.

Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) Mayor AHM Khairuzzaman Liton formally opened the mill at a ceremony on the mill premises.

Trade Exchange, a private cotton trading firm of Narayanganj, signed a two-year agreement with RTM to provide raw materials and collect yarn on the basis of service charge at a rate of Tk 6,200 per bale of cotton.

The mill will begin operations with 150 employees and then gradually increase to 500 people in the next few months.

The agreement was signed following the approval of Bangladesh Textile Mills Corporation (BTMC), said M Ansar Uddin, general manager of RTM.

He said officials and employees have not been paid for the last nine months, while the mill is in around Tk 2 crore debt.

The RTM failed to manage private investment to run the mill, floating open tenders three times since November 2008, said the GM. The mill was closed with an aim to privatise.

Later, under the initiatives of the RCC mayor, the private organisation agreed to bring the mill back to operations on a service charge basis, Ansar added.

"If the mill successfully continues to produce yarn, the government plans to turn it into a composite mill, by using its own land in the future," said Mayor Liton.

He added that the government is trying to overcome the problems with unemployment in the country by reviving closed mills and factories.

The mayor said invitations were sent to private investors to construct at least 20 knitwear factories in the city to generate employment for 30,000 people.

RCC to review holding taxes

Monday, August 3, 2009
Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) yesterday decided to review the holding taxes fixed in its recently announced budget and offered a ten percent tax cut.

According to the decision, the city dwellers will have to apply for reviewing their taxes and a review committee will fix affordable rates.

The RCC also offered a ten percent cut in the holding taxes for those who will pay off taxes within three months from the beginning of the fiscal year.

The decision was taken at a general meeting of the city corporation held at Rajshahi City Bhaban with Mayor AHM Khairuzzaman Liton in the chair.

"We had raised the holding taxes, aiming at providing better services for the citizens. We did not finalise the new taxes. So, there is scope for review.

The mayor asked RCC officials concerned to issue tax notices on the citizens as early as possible so that they can avail themselves of the tax cut offer.

Meanwhile, the RCC fixed new rates of holding taxes from this fiscal dividing the residential and business establishments into three different categories.

Discontent has been brewing up among the citizens since the tax raise and the citizens in small numbers are gathering at the City Bhaban almost daily complaining about it.

Faulty policies blamed for lagging western region


A lack of specialised economic policy and financial management system, energy and power crisis, and problems in investment and marketing procedures are hindering the development of the country's western region, said speakers at a seminar in Rajshahi yesterday.

They also said long-term government plans, effective policies made by experts and responsible role of entrepreneurs can still build a sustainable economic base in the region that can be a powerhouse of the national economy.

They were speaking at a regional seminar on 'Problems of economic development in western region and prospects' at Rajshahi University, jointly organised by the economics department of the university and Bangladesh Economics Samity (BES).

"The region's economy is dependent on agriculture and some small and medium enterprises, but most of its industries were shut down in the last several decades for faulty policies," said Vice Chancellor of the university Prof M Abdus Sobhan who attended the seminar as the chief guest.

"Appropriate plans and sincere attitude towards equal development of all regions in the country can solve the economic problems," he said.

Prof M Mohsin Ali, chairman of economics department, chaired the inaugural session of the seminar.

Pro-VC Prof Muhammad Nurullah, Treasurer Prof M Abdur Rahman and BES Vice President Prof Ashraf Uddin Chowdhury, among others, spoke.

Prof Dr M Abdul Wadud, Shamima Sultana, Prof Dr Mohamamd Ali, Prof Tariq Saiful Islam, Dr M Moazzem Hossain Khan, Dr ANK Noman, Nibedita Mollik, Dr M Illias Hossain and Jesmin Ara presented their thesis on different economic aspects in the region.

Educationalists from different universities, economists, planners, researchers and students also participated in the seminar.

'JS body soon to solve problems of indigenous people'

Lawmaker Fazle Hossain Badsha at a discussion in Rajshahi yesterday said an initiative has been taken to form a parliamentary body to resolve the problems of indigenous people in the plain land.

The JS body would play role in creating opinions in parliament for the formation of a separate land commission with a view to solving the several decades old land-related problems, he added.

"After the body is formed, it will hear opinions of the indigenous people for helping the parliament make a law, if necessary, as well as pressurise the government for establishing social status of the underprivileged ethnic minority," said Badsha.

The grand alliance lawmaker warned that many officials in the police and district administrations are still loyal to the four-party alliance and the government is facing problems in functioning properly for them.

"The pro-BNP-Jamaat officials are desperate enough to allow BNP hooligans to set fire to the houses of indigenous families in Naogaon."

Badsha, a lawmaker from Rajshahi-2 and politburo member of Workers' Party of Bangladesh, was speaking as the chief guest at the discussion on 'Separate land commission for the indigenous people and role of media' at the GDRC auditorium in the city.

Ashtha Network, a Rajshahi-based NGO with assistance from Oxfam GB organised the discussion with Ganesh Mardi, president of the NGO, in the chair.

Jatiya Adivasi Parishad President Anil Marandi, General Secretary Rabindranath Saren, Public Prosecutor Rabiul Haque, language movement veteran Mosarraf Hossain Akhunji, Rajshahi Rakkha Sangram Parishad Convener Zamat Khan, Rajshahi University teacher Dr Sujit Sarker, Rajshahi Blast Coordinator Abdus Salam, indigenous leaders Naren Pahan, Sabin Munda and Harendranath Singh and journalist Hasan Millat also spoke.

The speakers demanded the government constitute a permanent land commission to protect the land rights of the indigenous people in the plain land.

The indigenous people must be brought to the mainstream for proper development, they said.

Long march by indigenous people to protest attacks

Monday, July 27, 2009
Over two hundred members of the indigenous community yesterday began a two-day long march across 55 kilometres from Porsha upazila to Naogaon town yesterday to protest attacks on indigenous families.

The march was organised under the banner of Jatiya Adibashi Parishad (JAP) after a gang led by Nur Hosssain Master of Soraigachhi attacked the houses of some 74 families including 54 indigenous families at Katirpur on June 12.

They torched, damaged and looted the houses and also randomly beat up indigenous men, women and children during the attack.

Since the attack, some 300 members of the affected families have been left without homes, and the local administration has not come forward to help them, the protesters allege.

On the first day yesterday, the protesters walked some 30 kilometres from Soraigachhi in Porsha to Mohadevpur upazila sadar.

They will be joined by 300 more people this morning as they begin the march to Naogaon town. At Naogaon they will submit a memorandum to the local administration.

The protesters are carrying traditional bows and arrows to show that they will fight for their demands for security and protection of their ancestral lands, JAP leaders said.

They have meanwhile placed forward a nine-point demand which include demands for their rights and security, the arrest of Nur Hossain Master and his accomplices and the removal of the officer-in-charge of Porsha police station as the OC, they allege, is joining hands with the land grabbers.

Their demands also include constitutional recognition, formation of a land commission and a separate ministry for plain land indigenous people.

Communist Party of Bangladesh's central committee member Dr Fazlul Haque, Naogaon unit president Mainul Haque Mukul, general secretary Mohsin Reza, Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal leader Subhrangsu Chakrabarti and Joynal Abedin, Jatiya Krishak Samity's general secretary Aminul Islam Golap, Dinajpur unit president Abdul Haque, and Workers' Party's Mainuddin Chisti took part in the march and expressed their solidarity.

3-storey house subsides in Rajshahi

Tuesday, July 28, 2009
A three-storey building subsided by a few inches in the city's Ambagan area early yesterday, creating panic among the local people.

Locals said they heard a big sound at about 3:00am and later found around 1,200 square feet area affected by the subsidence in the morning.

They said cracks developed also in the nearby buildings after the subsidence.

The subsidence might have been occurred due to excessive use of underground water in the area or sudden rainfall after prolonged draught, said Abdus Sobhan, a councillor of Rajshahi City Corporation, quoting the experts of Public Works Department.

"I felt a sudden jerk after a big sound. I thought it was a quake," said Anwarul Iqbal, a resident of the three-storey building owned by Abul Hossain.

He said a drain and land close to the building subsided by one and a half feet.

Dwellers of a one-storey building came out of their residence in panic when they heard the sound in the night.

In another incident in Naogaon, curious people thronged Nindoin village where cold air has been whizzing out from underground at two points for the last four days.

While visiting the village yesterday morning, this correspondent found local people digging two holes at a distance of 200 yards in Malir beel. Cold air comes out of the holes.

2 outlaws killed in 'shootout'

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Two top underground operatives of Purbo Banglar Communist Party (PBCP-Red Flag) were killed in a 'gunfight' with law enforcers in Atrai upazila of Naogaon early yesterday.

The dead were identified as Abdus Salam alias Topu, 40, Naogaon regional chief of the outlawed party, and Jahangir alias Jalal, 38, its military affairs commander for greater Rajshahi region.

A Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) personnel and a policeman were taken to hospital after they sustained injuries during the gunfight at Sadupur village at about 1:30am, said a Rab press release.

After the gunfight, the law enforcers recovered an Indian-made automatic pistol, a shooter gun, two bullets, seven cartridges, PBCP leaflets, a mobile phone set and two torches from the scene.

A joint team of Rab and police rushed to the area following a tip-off that the PBCP operatives were holding a secret meeting at Mohadighi Sadupur in Atrai upazila to commit crimes on the occasion of the death anniversary of their spiritual leader Dr Mizanur Rahman Tutul, Rab source said.

Sensing presence of the law enforcers, the outlaws opened fire on them ensuing a 10-minute gunfight between the criminals and law enforcers.

At one stage, the criminals fled the scene. The law enforcers and local people later found Topu and Jalal lying on the ground with bullet injuries. The injured outlaws were then taken to Atrai Health Complex where doctors declared them dead.

Both Topu and Jalal were accused in more than five cases including police murder and government arms looting cases of Chowbaria in Naogaon and Taherpur of Bagmara, Rajshahi.

The law enforcement agencies were haunting them since the late 90s as many of the arrested PBCP cadres in their confessional statements had mentioned their names to be involved in several murders.

Rajshahi court denies bail to 31 BDR members

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Rajshahi court yesterday denied bail to 31 BDR members arrested in a sedition case filed against hem in connection with the mutiny at the BDR sector headquarters.

District and Sessions Judge AR Masud also sent them to jail custody.

The BDR members were brought to the court amid tight security and their lawyers submitted the bail prayers, said Public Prosecutor (PP) M Ibrahim Hossain.

Earlier, the PP also submitted a prayer to the court for granting the law enforcement agencies more time for further investigation into the sedition case.

The court fixed September 7 as the date for hearing on the prayer.

Ramjan Ali, officer-in-charge of Boalia Police Station, lodged the sedition case with the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's court on May 17 and the law enforcing agencies arrested a total of 93 BDR members from Rajshahi BDR sector headquarters and 37 BDR battalion the next day.

The CMM court sent the case to the district and session judge's court on June 26 for trial.

In the case, OC Ramjan Ali alleged that the accused expressed solidarity with the mutineers at the BDR headquarters at Pilkhana, collected arms and ammunitions by breaking open the armoury and took control of the BDR Rajshahi Sector and Battalion office.

Bail prayers of 57 rejected in Rajshahi

Friday, July 17, 2009
The District and Sessions Judge's Court of Rajshahi yesterday rejected the bail prayers of 57 out of 93 suspected BDR mutineers arrested on sedition charge.

The BDR jawans were produced before the court amid tight security.

Public Prosecutor M Ibrahim Hossain submitted a time-extension prayer to the court for further investigation into the case.

The court of judge AR Masud sent the arrestees to jail custody and fixed August 11 for the hearing.

Family members of the arrestees gathered on the court premises to have a look at their near and dear ones.

The CMM court transferred the case to the district and sessions judge's court on June 26 for trial.

Ramjan Ali, officer-in-charge of Boalia Police Station, lodged the sedition case on May 17. The next day law enforcers arrested 93 BDR members from Rajshah sector BDR headquarters and 37 BDR Battalion.

He said the accused broke open the arsenal, took up arms and ammunitions and took BDR Rajshahi sector and battalion offices under their control in support of the bloody mutiny of February 25 at Pilkhana.

The mutineers terrorised the areas by firing gunshots indiscriminately leaving Jamiruddin, a 35-year rickshaw puller, wounded on February 26, the case story says.

One held for attacking Star journo in Rajshahi

Case lodged against leader of attack, who was arrested, his mother and 25 other people

The Daily Star
Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) yesterday arrested Sakib Al Hasan, one of the main culprits who launched an attack on The Daily Star Staff Correspondent Anwar Ali Himu's residence, from his relative's place on the outskirts of the city.

Sakib was later handed over to the police.

A gang of 25 criminals led by Sakib, stepson of former ward councilor M Masud, stormed into the residence of Himu at Asam Colony on Monday and beat up the journalist and his two family members mercilessly, leaving them injured.

A case was lodged against Sakib, his mother, Sahida Khanam Sonali, an employee of Rajshahi City Corporation and 25 other unknown people.

According to the case, Sakib and his mother Sonali hired criminals to beat up Himu and his family members for protesting Sakib's anti-social activities.

Rajshahi City Mayor AHM Khairuzzaman Liton condemned the attack and demanded immediate arrest of the culprits.

Rajshahi Union of Journalists President Hasan Millat and General Secretary Shibly Noman, Rajshahi Metropolitan Press Club President Bulbul Chowdhury, General Secretary Anisuzzaman, Rajshahi University Sangbadik Samity and Young Journalists' Forum for Investigative Reporting also condemned the attack and demanded proper investigation into the incident and punishment to the people responsible.

Star reporter's house attacked in Rajshahi

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A gang of criminals stormed into the residence of The Daily Star Staff Correspondent Anwar Ali Himu at Asam Colony in Rajshahi city yesterday and beat up the journalist and his two family members mercilessly, leaving them injured.

Himu, his wife Jinnath Kaiwam and his father-in-law Mohammad Abdul Kaiwam were rushed to Rajshahi Medial College Hospital where Himu was undergoing treatment.

The victim journalist said a gang of 25 criminals led by Sakib who is stepson of former councillor of Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) Mohammad Masud swooped on them while he was discharging his duty at about 7:30pm, leaving them injured.

Jinnath said Sakib, a tenant of second floor of her father's residence, made the attack as Himu protested his anti social activities few days ago.

She said two days ago her father asked Sakib's father to leave the house as his stepson is a drug addict and often came to the house with prostitutes.

Few days ago, they also filed a general diary with Boalia Police Station as Sakib tried to set fire to Himu's motorbike, she said adding that for this Sakib became furious and made the attack.

Jinnath said Sakib's mother Sonali who is also a RCC employee threatened her husband yesterday morning with dire consequences.