Wednesday, February 17, 2010

RU syndicate member arrested over death




Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Violence plotted in Dhaka; attackers' cell phone records show Jamaat connection

In a major turn of events in the Rajshahi University violence investigation, the Detective Branch of Police yesterday arrested a member of the university syndicate in connection with the murder of RU student Faruk Hossain.

Rajshahi Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Sarder Nurul Amin said Siddik Hossain was arrested at Rajshahi Court area around 6:00pm yesterday. Siddik is the Rajshahi city Jamaat assistant general secretary and also the principal of Islamia College. He said arrested Shibir cadres revealed his name.

Meanwhile, three very high-ranking police personnel in Rajshahi told The Daily Star that Jamaat and Shibir leaders in Dhaka planned the February 9 attack on Chhatra League at Rajshahi University and the attackers were present at the public meeting of Jamaat Ameer Matiur Rahman Nizami in Rajshahi on February 7.

Sources say that investigators going through mobile phone call records of arrested Jamaat-Shibir cadres found they had made several calls to four Jamaat leaders, a pro-Jamaat Rajshahi University teacher and the college principal-slash-RU syndicate member during the attack.

The six are Rajshahi Jamaat Ameer Ataur Rahman, Rajshahi City Jamaat General Secretary Abul Kalam Azad, Katakhali municipality Jamaat Ameer Mazedur Rahman, Motihar unit Jamaat Ameer Abdus Salam, Rajshahi University Science Faculty Dean Prof Md Abul Hashem and Siddik Hossain.

They said these six people coordinated the attack locally at different Rajshahi University dormitories.

Three groups of Jamaat-Shibir men consisting nearly 1,000 cadres made the attack, police sources claimed.

Arrested Jamaat and Shibir leaders told police that Rajshahi University Shibir President Shamsul Alam Golap, General Secretary Mobarak Hossain and Rajshahi City Corporation Ward-26 Shibir President Hafizur Rahman led the three groups in the attack on Bangladesh Chhatra League activists.

Hafizur Rahman was found dead in Chapainawabganj a few days after the violence.

Golap, Mobarak and Hafizur were in regular contact with the six coordinators. This was revealed after investigators looked into their mobile phone call records.

The three police personnel in Rajshahi told this to The Daily Star after gleaning information from Rajshahi Jamaat Ameer Ataur Rahman and 45 others. Ataur and 17 others were sent to jail yesterday after their five-day remand ended.

According to investigators, Ataur during interrogation claimed that he went to bed around 12:00am on February 9 and he was not aware of anything until the next morning when TV bulletins said Faruk was killed.

When police produced his mobile phone call records of the night before him, Ataur turned pale and fell sick, forcing police to call in a doctor.

The records showed that he had over 30 calls with Golap, Mobarak and Hafizur between 12:00am and 6:00am. The attack was made between 1:30am and 3:30am.

The call records also had the phone numbers of some Jamaat-Shibir leaders of Dhaka, said police declining to give more details.

Ataur was being interrogated in the presence of a doctor following a court order, said police.

The February 9 violence led to the killing of Faruk Hossain, a mathematics student of Rajshahi University and an activist of Chhatra League Rajshahi University unit. At least 100 others were injured and four of them were maimed with their tendons cut by Shibir men.

Police sources said after Nizami's meeting, Shibir leaders on February 7 had a meeting in Islamia College of Binodpur and decided to go on with the plan to get vengeance on the murder of former RU Shibir general secretary Sharifuzzaman Nomani on March 13, 2009.

Around 200 Shibir cadres who went to Rajshahi from across the country to Nizami's meeting took part in the attack. They stayed at different students' messes around RU campus, police personnel said.

Shibir's primary target was Asaduzzaman but he escaped with critical injuries at Bangabandhu Hall. Even though Shibir never accused Asaduzzaman in the Nomani murder case, they hold him responsible for the murder, said police.

Meanwhile, police received Abdul Latif Hall Shibir unit president Hasmat Ali on another five-day remand Monday.

Police arrested seven more yesterday in connection with the February 9 violence. Among them Shibir cadre Abdul Gaffar was placed on a three-day remand.

Hasmat told police that Shibir never engages in any activity without Jamaat's knowledge and this standard was followed accordingly during the February 9 violence.

Police officials said they are digging for more information.

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=126670

'Campus anarchy a bid to foil war crimes trial'

Wednesday, February 17, 20

Jamaat-Shibir men are killing people as per their plans and creating anarchy in a bid to thwart the move for trying the war criminals and banning religion-based politics, leaders of the ruling grand alliance said at a public meeting yesterday.

They said the murder of Rajshahi University's Chhatra League activist Faruk Hossain was a part of Jamaat's master plan.

The leaders argued that Jamaat-Shibir men have no right to do politics following cancellation of the fifth amendment of the constitution.

Speaking as the chief guest, Jute and Textile Minister Abdul Latif Siddiki stressed strengthening the unity of the alliance at grassroots level in order to fight the anti-liberation forces and the Islamist militants.

The government is facing difficulty in dealing with the chaos at different parts of the country, as there are elements of Jamaat-Shibir among police and government officials.

Lawmaker Rashed Khan Menon blamed Jamaat chief Matiur Rahman Nizami for masterminding the RU murder.

He said the government must try the war criminals foiling all conspiracies against it.

Lawmaker Hasanul Haque Inu said Jamaat has two faces, sometimes they kill people themselves and sometimes they hire militants to kill others.

"They (Jamaat) fought with the countrymen openly in 1971 and they began an undeclared war in 1975. Now we have started a war to save the country's politics from those conspirators."

Lawmaker Fazle Hossain Badsha, AL central Organising Secretary Abu Sayeed Swapan, AL leader Akhtar Jahan, city Jatiya Party President Durul Huda, district JSD President Mujibul Haque Baku and Samyabadi Dal leader Lutfar Rahman also spoke.

Rajshahi mayor and city grand alliance Convener AHM Khairuzzaman Liton presided over the meeting.

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=126695

Monday, February 15, 2010

Rajshahi cops blame it on RU

Monday, February 15, 2010

Refuting allegations against police administration, Rajshahi Metropolitan Police Commissioner Nawsher Ali yesterday blamed Rajshahi University authority for not playing its role to control February 9 campus violence that left one Chhatra League worker killed and about 100 people injured.

Nawsher Ali said the allegation should not fall on the shoulder of entire police administration as nine policemen already have been suspended for their negligence.

“Where were the proctors and halls' provosts during the attacks? If Dr Zoha (Martyr Shamsuzzoha) could brave Pakistani forces to save his students' lives, what the proctors and provosts did for their students. Even the VC himself did not come out of his home. Was it not their responsibility?” he asked.

Showing phone call lists Ali said the VC phoned him at 3:06 am but the incident of killing was already over.

Meanwhile, Shafiullah, an student injured in the attack, told The Daily Star that some 11 students, including Faruk, were confined to the television room of Shah Makhdum Hall at that night.

“We repeatedly requested for taking us out of the hall since 10:00pm on the day. The proctors and the hall provost visited us and asked to stay there with police. The policemen too assured us of saving our lives. But they did not save us when the attackers swooped on us.”

When contacted, RU Vice-chancellor Prof M Abdus Sobhan detracting from his earlier comments told The Daily Star yesterday that some newspapers misquoted him and "the allegation of police inactivity [during the campus violence] is untrue."

“We did not say that police were inactive. We just said that the incident was mysterious,” Sobhan said.

Quoting the VC's statement, several newspapers reported that police inaction led to the murder of Faruk Hossain and the police commissioner was not available over the phone as he was asleep during the violence.

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=126319

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Rajshahi city Jamaat ameer remanded

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Rajshahi city Jamaat Ameer Ataur Rahman and 10 other Shibir men were taken on a five-day remand yesterday in connection with three cases filed for February 9 RU violence.

The court of additional chief metropolitan magistrate granted the five-day remand while the police sought for 10 days.

Ataur Rahman has been shown remanded in Faruk Hossain killing case. BCL activist and Rajshahi University student Faruk was hacked to death during the RU rampage.

Police charged the Jamaat leader with ordering and provoking Shibir cadres to go berserk and perpetrate the murder.

With the 11, the number of arrestees in Rajshahi following the RU incident has reached 46.

Meanwhile, two injured BCL workers, Rahedul Islam Rahi and Ruhul Amin, earlier admitted to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital, lodged two more cases against some 90 Shibir leaders and activists with Motihar Police Station yesterday.

Rahi accused 34 Shibir men, including RU Shibir president Shamsul Alam Golap and general secretary Mobarak Hossain, and 25 other unknown persons. Ruhul accused 31 Shibir men.

The complainants said the accused persons had attacked them during the overnight clash between BCL and Shibir on RU campus.

Including these two cases, a total of five cases have been filed against 700 persons for their alleged involvement in the RU violence.

An unprecedented number of police and Rab members were deployed at different points of the city, especially the Shibir strongholds and mosques, to prevent Shibir from staging protest programmes.

Shibir men have fled the city locking up their messes at Meherchandi, Budpara, Binodpur and several other places. Police raided some of the dens last night.

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RU teachers vow to free campus from Jamaat-Shibir

Rajshahi University (RU) teachers under the banner of Progressive Teachers Society (PTS) yesterday vowed to build a Jamaat and Shibir-free campus.

They also decided to publish a list of the teachers and employees of the university who were involved in war crimes in 1971.

At a press conference at the Juberi Bhaban of the university, the teachers called upon the government and the university authorities to ban the politics of Jamaat-e-Islami and pro-Jamaat student organisation Islami Chhatra Shibir to stop the politics of killing.

Demanding immediate trial of the war criminals, the teachers said Jamaat and Shibir cadres are trying to destabilise the country as the government is going to try the war criminals.

They also criticised the role of the law enforcers and detective branches regarding the violence on the campus when Shibir cadres hacked to death Faruque Hossain, an activist of Bangladesh Chhatra League, at Shah Makhdoom Hall in the early hours of February 9.

The progressive teachers also demanded pro-Jamaat teachers and employees recruited by the BNP-Jamaat government be suspended.

They urged countrymen to be united against the anti-liberation forces and demanded immediate punishment to the killers of Faruque.

The teachers also called upon the government to stand by the distressed family of Faruque.

PTS Convener Prof Shahnewaz Ali presided over the press conference while Mukhlesur Rahman of Bangabandhu Parishad, Prof Jalaluddin, Prof Chitta Ranjan Saha Mishra, Prof Moloy Kumar Bhowmik, Prof Mahbubur Rahman, Prof Dulal Chandra Bishwas, Prof Ananda Kumar Saha, Prof Sabbir Sattar Tapu and Prof Fayekuzzaman also spoke.

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=126117

Friday, February 12, 2010

Rajshahi Jamaat chief arrested

Friday, February 12, 2010
 
Police yesterday arrested Rajshahi city Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Ataur Rahman in connection with the two cases filed for Tuesday's violence at Rajshahi University and the murder of Faruk Hossain.

Meanwhile, police claimed to have recovered the body of an Islami Chhatra Shibir leader, accused of being involved in Tuesday's violence, at a house in Chapainawabganj.

The law enforcement agencies have started combing operations at all the Jamaat-Shibir strongholds across the country. They arrested 32 Shibir men. Six were placed on remand.

Rajshahi Metropolitan Police yesterday suspended another policemen in connection with negligence of duty at a Rajshahi University dormitory Tuesday.

Police arrested Jamaat leader Ataur, also an assistant headmaster of Loknath High School in Rajshahi, around 10:15am yesterday as he was going to school, Boalia Police Station chief Jasimuddin told The Daily Star.

Rajshahi Metropolitan Police Commissioner Nawsher Ali said Ataur was being interrogated and he was arrested after investigation revealed his involvement in the violence. "Only two days before the violence, Ataur presided over a meeting in Rajshahi city where many Jamaat leaders delivered provocative statements and we received information that he ordered the murder," said the RMP commissioner.

Talking to reporters at Boalia Police Station Ataur denied involvement in the violence.

Rajshahi city Jamaat General Secretary Abul Kalam Azad termed the arrest unfair and gave a statement protesting it.

As police recovered the body of a Shibir leader from a house at Choitonnaypur under Shibganj upazila in Chapainawabganj early yesterday, they arrested two people there.

The deceased was identified as accounting student Hafijur Rahman Shahin, 25. He was a student of Rajshahi Collage but the student welfare secretary of Rajshahi University Shibir unit, Jamaat sources said. He is the son of Abdul Mannan of Rajshahi town.

Superintendent of Police Nazrul Hossain said police on information raided Toufijul Islam Tanu's house around 2:00am. He said some Shibir cadres took shelter there after the Rajshahi University incident.

Sensing the presence of police, they fired a shot, said police adding that policemen heard the shot and entered the house and found a body lying on the floor.

Police also arrested house owner and local Jamaat leader Toufijul Islam Tanu and his son Shibir leader Mahfuzur Rahman, 27.

Fazlur Rahman, Officer-in-Charge of Shibganj Police Station said police filed a murder case against Mahfuz and three to four unidentified people.

In Dhaka, Jamaat-e-Islami Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojahid blamed police for killing Shibir activist Hafizur Rahman Shahin. "Police shot Shahin to death in his sleep at his friend Mahfuz's house. This is an inhuman act. Now we are scared," he said.

Police and Chhatra League Rajshahi University general secretary on Wednesday filed two cases accusing around 600 Shibir activists in connection with the violence. Three days after the nightlong mayhem at Rajshahi University, an injured Bangladesh Chhatra League worker Kawsar Alam Sarker filed a case with Motihar Police Station accusing 24 Shibir men of stabbing him during the violence.

RMP yesterday suspended another police officer, in connection with negligence of duty on Tuesday at Shah Makhdum Hall where Faruk was killed, raising the total number of suspended policemen to nine. Sub-Inspector Anwar Hossain Babu, second officer of Motihar Police Station, was also closed to the Rajshahi Police Lines.

A joint team comprised of Rapid Action Battalion and police personnel rounded up 45 Shibir men between 1:30am and 6:00am yesterday raiding Rajshahi University and its adjoining areas.

Police arrested 32 Shibir cadres, 16 of them accused in the two cases filed Wednesday, from Natore, Rajshahi and Chapainawabganj districts in an overnight combing operation. The number of total arrestees is now 78.

Six of them were sent to a court yesterday and placed on five-day remand each.

State Minister for Home Shamsul Haque Tuku said, "The law enforcement agencies have been ordered to launch a combing operation at Rajshahi University areas and educational institutions known as strongholds of Jamaat-Shibir."

He told this to reporters after a special meeting with heads of the law enforcement agencies at the home ministry.

The meeting was convened in the backdrop of Tuesday's violence at Rajshahi University and the killing of Faruk Hossain, a final year student of the university's mathematics department. Faruk was an activist of Chhatra League, the student front of ruling Awami League.

The university and villages around its campus are known as strongholds of Jamaat-Shibir.

"Jamaat-Shibir men are involved in the acts of cruelty. Police will conduct operations in different universities, colleges and educational institutions where the anti-liberation forces have strong bases," Tuku said.

Police raided over 50 messes dominated by Shibir in the port city early yesterday.

However, none was actually arrested in the drive.

Police sources said half the Shibir activists had already left the messes while some of them were found completely empty during the drive.

They picked up five people but later released them, said Chittagong Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner (north) Banaj Kumar Majumder.

He said police served forms at the messes for filling up by all the residents of the messes. As per a government order, the residents require to provide their father's and mother's names, addresses, names of the educational institutions they go to, their roll numbers, voter ID numbers, employers names and addresses, and a few more important information in the form.

"The residents were asked to submit the forms within two days and after getting the information we would monitor their activities," he said.

At a protest rally on Rajshahi University campus yesterday Chhatra League demanded immediate removal of university Vice-Chancellor Prof Abdus Sobhan and held the university authorities responsible for failing to provide security to students.

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=125933

BCL men beat up journos at RU

A group of Bangladesh Chhatra League cadres yesterday severely beat up 11 journalists and photojournalists at Rajshahi University.

Seriously injured photojournalist of Prothom Alo Azaharuddin and New Age reporter Soumitra Majumdar were admitted to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital.

Sources said Chhatra League activists around noon yesterday attacked Musaddek Ali, a student of Islamic history department, suspecting him to be an activist of Islami Chhatra Shibir in front of the university central library.

Sources said as Azaharuddin and Channel i cameraman Moin Hossain of Dhaka were taking photographs and footage of the incident, Chhatra League activists led by Jewel, a second-year student of mass communication and journalism department, Rocky, a third-year student of geography department, Ninad, a student of public administration department, Rubel, Tuhin, Rony, Masud along with 20-30 others attacked them.

Nine more journalists received injuries as they tried to protect the two. Chhatra League cadres also damaged the camera of Azaharuddin.

The injured others are Janakantha reporter Shahidul Islam Khan, The Daily Star reporter AM Jahid, Channel i reporter Opu, BDnews24.com reporters Ismail Hossain and Rubel Pervez, The Editor reporter Atikur Rahman Tamal, Jugantor reporter Sayem Sabu, sheershanews.com reporter Lutfor Rahman and The New Nation reporter Sohel Rana.

Following the incident, journalists of Rajshahi University staged demonstrations and held a protest rally on campus demanding punishment of the cadres. They also gave a 24-hour ultimatum to the university authorities and Chhatra League to punish the cadres.

Later, they placed a memorandum before Vice-Chancellor Prof Abdus Sobhan.

Chhatra League leaders led by Chhatra League Rajshahi University president Awal Kabir Joy and Secretary Mazedul Islam met the journalists and expressed concern over the incident.

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=125945

BCL yet to detect Shibir infiltration

Bangladesh Chhatra League has yet to take a formal step to detect alleged infiltration by Islami Chhatra Shibir even 48 hours after the Awami League general secretary's claim.

BCL President Mahmud Hasan Ripon said they are enquiring in their 'own ways' to identify the Shibir infiltrators. "If any leaders' involvement with Shibir is proved, they will be ousted immediately," he told The Daily Star.

Earlier on Tuesday, AL General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam told reporters they found through investigation that some "identified pro-Shibir men" were given "important positions" in four Dhaka University hall units of BCL.

His comments took most BCL leaders by surprise. The apparently frustrated leaders from hall units to the central committee believe a senior leader like Ashraf should not have publicly made such a "crucial" comment, putting the student body into a scuffle.

He could have rather asked BCL for taking organisational action against the alleged Shibir men, said some top-rank BCL leaders.

However, a number of BCL leaders echoed the AL general secretary and went further to say that Shibir has infiltrated not only the hall units but also the DU unit and the central committee.

A kind of mistrust and suspicion has surfaced in the associated student body of ruling AL following Ashraf's comments, some DU unit leaders observe.

They suspect the comment might trigger internal clash on the campus as factional leaders would get an opportunity to brand their rivals as Shibir men.

"Any president or general secretary can now be blamed as pro-Shibir which is very frustrating for us," said a hall unit leader asking not to be identified.

"I can see seeds of doubts in the eyes of many when they look at me since Tuesday. It's really frustrating," said the president of a DU hall unit.

BCL Central Organising Secretary Ashrafur Rahman told The Daily Star if the AL general secretary has any specific information in this regard, he should make it public to save the organisation that has fallen into a critical position for his statement.

At least 11 leaders of the central, DU and different hall units are allegedly involved or were once involved with Shibir politics prior to joining BCL on DU campus, according to BCL leaders.

Several leaders claim a good number of Shibir men have infiltrated their organisation since the AL assumed power last year as there is "no proper system" for recruiting members.

They say most of the alleged Shibir-turned-BCL leaders came from madrasa background.

"If madrasa background students are barred from having Chhatra League posts, 90 percent possibility of Shibir infiltration will go," observes a senior BCL leader.

Sohel Rana Mithu, international affairs secretary of the organisation, said, "An investigation should be launched immediately to detect and oust the infiltrators after such a remark from the Awami League high-up."

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RU victim maimed for life

Lying on a bed in the National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopaedic Rehabilitation (Nitor) yesterday, Saifur Rahman Badshah was yet to know that doctors suspect he might not be able to use his left arm ever again.

Although he managed to survive the gruesome violence carried out on Rajshahi University campus by armed cadres of Islami Chhatra Shibir through Monday night into the early hours of Tuesday, he could not avoid getting stabbed in the neck, and slicing of the tendons of his legs and arms.

He also did not know yesterday that he will have to limp for months before being able to walk normally again.

"We want normalcy back in our brother's life," said Rajiur Rahman Raja, elder brother of Badshah.

A student of Rajshahi University and an activist of Bangladesh Chhatra League, Badshah was brought to Nitor in the early hours of Wednesday for better treatment.

Prof Abdul Awal Rizvi, director of the hospital said a four-member team of doctors headed by Prof Dr Mohammad Iqbal Qavi operated on Badshah yesterday.

"Although it is not wise to comment on his condition right now, we suspect Badshah might not be able to use his left hand ever again," he said adding that Badshah will also have to limp for several months as it usually takes that long to walk normally after tendons of one's legs are cut.

Badshah told The Daily Star that he was in a group of retreating Chhatra League activists during the clashes, and fell behind. A group of armed Shibir cadres soon caught him and dragged him to Habibur Rahman dorm.

"They first stabbed me in the shoulder and the neck, and then dropped me to the ground. Then they cut the tendons of my arms and legs with knives. Then they started beating me with iron rods, and I became unconscious at that point," he said.

Another victim Arif, who was also brought to Nitor with Badshah, said he was studying in the student mess where he lives around 11:30pm on Monday when a group of armed Shibir cadres went there and dragged him to a nearby field where they mercilessly hacked him with sharp weapons before cutting the tendons of his arms and legs.

Prof Rizvi said they operated on Arif yesterday as well, and he will also take a long time to recover from the injuries, although hopefully he will not lose the use of any limb.

"They were telling me if I join Shibir they would spare me, otherwise they would slaughter me," Arif said, "As I declined they hacked me repeatedly and left me lying covered with a bed sheet."

Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid yesterday visited the injured students in Nitor and said the government will take stern actions against the perpetrators of the mindless violence.

"People who carried out the barbaric inhuman acts violating the laws of the country, will face stern government actions," he told The Daily Star.

He consoled Badshah and Arif, and assured them that the government will bear all cost of their treatment.

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=125952

RU Rampage: Islami Chhatra Shibir

Thursday, February 11, 2010
 
Police and Bangladesh Chhatra League Rajshahi University unit general secretary yesterday filed two cases accusing around 600 Islami Chhatra Shibir activists in connection with Tuesday's violence on campus and the murder of Faruk Hossain.

Meanwhile, Rajshahi Metropolitan Police suspended eight policemen in connection with neglecting their duties.

Police during raids at Rajshahi University and surrounding Jamaat-e-Islami-and-Shibir dominated areas picked up 63 Shibir men. Twenty-eight of them were placed on five-day remand each.

Rajshahi University Chhatra League General Secretary Majedul Islam Opu filed a murder case in connection with the killing of Faruk Hossain, a Chhatra League worker and final-year student of the mathematics department, around 4:30am yesterday accusing 64 people, including 35 named Shibir leaders and workers.

Motihar Police Station Sub-Inspector Ershadul Alam filed the other case with the same police station around 1:30am accusing over 500 unnamed and 29 identified Shibir men, said Mrinal Bhattacharya, assistant commissioner of police.

Rajshahi University Shibir President Shamsul Alam Golap and General Secretary Mobarak Hossain were accused in both the cases.

Tuesday's violence at Rajshahi University left Faruk Hossain dead and 100 others injured. Faruk was hacked to death by cadres of Shibir in an overnight attack on different Rajshahi University dormitories. Students said Shibir men captured eight dormitories, which were dominated by Chhatra League.

Rajshahi Metropolitan Police last night suspended eight policemen for negligence of duty at Shah Makhdum Hall where Faruk was killed.

The suspended policemen are Assistant Sub-Inspector Mohsin Alam of RMP Detective Branch, Nayek Al Mamun, constables Naimul Haque, Arifur Rahman, Ishaq Ali, Monwarul Islam, Akkas Ali and Khairul Bashar of riot police department.

They have been closed to Rajshahi Police Lines, police sources said.

RMP Commissioner Nawsher Ali told The Daily Star that the decision was made following a primary police investigation.

A joint team comprised of Rapid Action Battalion and police personnel between 1:30am and 6:00am picked up around 45 Shibir men raiding Rajshahi University, its adjacent areas including Binodpur, Meherchandi, Budpara and other areas of Rajshahi city and surrounding districts.

Police said the arrestees include two named in the first information report--Hasmat Ali Liton, president of Abdul Latif Hall Shibir unit, and Abdur Razzak, general secretary of the dormitory unit of Shibir. They were arrested at private students' messes in the city.

However, only 28 were shown arrested and sent to court in connection with both the cases, police said. The Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ruhul Amin granted five-day remand for each of them. Police had sought seven-day remand for each, said Debendranath, a court inspector.

Rajshahi Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Sardar Nurul Amin told The Daily Star that they had arrested the Shibir men for interrogation. "After proper investigation into their involvement, some arrestees were released upon their undertakings."

Police arrested 18 Shibir men at a mosque in Parila of Poba upazila around 11:00pm last night. "All 18 are students of Rajshahi University and were arrested following a tip off," said Abu Bakar Siddik, officer-in-charge of Poba Police Station.

Meanwhile, State Minister for Home Affairs Shamsul Haque Tuku visited injured Chhatra League workers and Armed Police Battalion members, injured in a road accident while going to Rajshahi University, at Rajshahi Medical College Hospital yesterday.

Inspector General of Police Noor Muhammad too went to Rajshahi Tuesday night and visited the injured at RMCH.

During the IGP's and the state minister's visit to RMCH, injured Chhatra League workers alleged that policemen were silent and some of them looked the other way when Shibir cadres killed Faruk and dragged his body some 500 yards to dump in a manhole.

The IGP held meetings with senior officials of RMP and the district late into Tuesday night. He held a conference with superintendents of police of different districts in Rajshahi division till 1:30pm yesterday. He visited the campus on his way back to the capital.

The IGP told The Daily Star, "We sat to look into the whole Rajshahi University incident, identify those who were given duties during the incident and how much they were able to carry out their duties.

"We also discussed how the incident began and how it happened. We will sit with the state minister for taking actions against law enforcement officials, if found to have neglected their duties."

Chhatra League President Mahmud Hasan Ripon at Dhaka University yesterday alleged that the leaders and activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Chhatra Shibir, who work in the police department and the university administration, attacked Chhatra League men at Rajshahi University.

Meanwhile, Chhatra League workers beat up Jamaat supporter Khorshed at Bagha upazila and damaged the upazila Jamaat office around noon. In Rajshahi city, Chhatra League workers hurled brickbats at the office of Islami Life Insurance Ltd from a procession damaging its windowpanes.

A spate of violence has also been reported from Nilphamari, Pabna, Patuakhali, Gaibandha Barisal and Habiganj.

Kishoreganj upazila Jamaat office in Nilphamari was ransacked by a mob yesterday. Sources said Chhatra League brought out a protest procession around yesterday noon and when it reached the Jamaat office around 2:00pm Jamaat activists verbally abused the Chhatra League men, sources said.

The mob then ransacked the office.

Chhatra League men ransacked Pabna Press Club yesterday forcing Chhatra Shibir to postpone a press conference there. Shibir had called for the press conference there yesterday to protest the attack on two student messes near Edward College Tuesday night. Shibir activists stayed at the messes.

Police obstructed Shibir men from entering the press club on security grounds.

Local journalists later barricaded the Pabna-Rajshahi Highway for two hours demanding punishment to the attackers.

In Patuakhali, Chhatra League ransacked at least eight rooms of Shibir activists in Patuakhali Science and Technology University Tuesday night. Over 50 Chhatra League activists attacked Sher-e-Bangla Hall and M Keramat Ali Hall and ransacked the rooms.

In Gaibandha, Chhatra League and Shibir activists clashed in Palashbari upazila Tuesday night leaving at least 15 people injured. Chhatra League men also attacked the local Jamaat office, sources said.

Chhatra League activists set ablaze the Jamaat-Shibir office at Anantapur of Habiganj and vandalised the Jamaat office in Mehendiganj of Barisal last night.

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Shibir was reborn at DU mosque in 1977
Islami Chhatra Shibir, Jamaat-e-Islami's student front which was called Islami Chhatra Sangha before Bangladesh's independence and which actively helped Pakistani occupation forces in 1971 to commit genocide and other war crimes, once again came under the spotlight with the latest brutal killing at Rajshahi University.

Islami Chhatra Sangha was reborn on February 6, 1977, at a mosque in Dhaka as Islami Chhatra Shibir. It initially organised its activities mainly based around mosques from where they recruited people especially youths to expand their network.

In a special publication of Shibir on the occasion of its silver jubilee, a former president of Shibir said, "Bangladesh Islami Chhatra Shibir began its journey anew at the Central Jame Masjid [mosque] of Dhaka University."

Shibir began acting with a long-term main objective to establish Islamic society countering secular spirit of the country.

Besides mosques, Shibir simultaneously strengthened its organisation at educational institutions. Especially in the 1980s, Shibir was the centre of discussion for introducing its self-styled killing missions at Chittagong University.

Shibir repeatedly came under the spotlight for killing their rivals and cutting their tendons, a unique style introduced by the Shibir unit of Chittagong University.

The main aim of cutting tendons is to ensure that the victim would be crippled forever, if one survives after the cutting.

After victory on December 16, 1971, the government's decision to ban four communal parties, including Jamaat-e-Islami, resulted in the halt of Islami Chhatra Sangha operations.

The banned parties including Jamaat were given the green light in politics during the rule of late president Ziaur Rahman after the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975.

Jamaat entered open politics in the country and formed its student front Islami Chhatra Shibir, which is little different from the original name but in short both are known as ICS.

Jamaat claims that Shibir is not their front organisation. But in Shibir's special publication former ameer of Jamaat Golam Azam said, "Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir are obviously followers of the same ideology."

Shibir never mentions that the original name of their organisation was Islami Chhatra Sangha. However, Motiur Rahman Nizami, incumbent president of Jamaat-e-Islami, was president of central Islami Chhatra Sangha and incumbent Secretary General of Jamaat-e-Islami Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojahid was the president of East Pakistan Islami Chhatra Sangha in 1971.

War records show Jamaat formed Razakar and Al-Badr forces to counter freedom fighters. Former secretary general of Jamaat Maulana Abul Kalam Mohammad Yousuf established Razakar. Al Badr included the Islami Chhatra Sangha members.

Anticipating defeat, the Pakistani occupation forces and their collaborators--Razakar, Al-Badr and Al-Shams (led by mostly leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami and its student front Islami Chhatra Sangha)--picked up leading Bengali intellectuals and professionals on December 14, 1971, and killed them en masse to crippling the nation intellectually.

In 1971, Mojahid directed his party workers to build Al-Badr to resist freedom fighters, according to a "Fortnightly Secret Report on the Situation in East Pakistan". In line with an official procedure, the then East Pakistan home ministry regularly dispatched the report to General Yahya Khan, the head of government.

At a rally to mark what was then known as Badr Day on November 7, 1971, Mojahid came up with a four-point programme to "wipe Hindustan off the face of the earth".

"Move forward with your head held high and with the Quran in heart to materialise the programme. If necessary we will march up to New Delhi and fly the flag of greater Pakistan," he told the 1971 rally.

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Shibir grows under teacher-admin care

Islami Chhatra Shibir has been perpetrating a reign of terror on Rajshahi University campus for over two decades with the backup from university administration and pro-Jamaat teachers.

Their terror activities cannot be controlled at present as some teachers loyal to Jamaat-e-Islami have been in the administration posing as Awami League loyalists, a few RU teachers told The Daily Star.

Shibir, the student wing of Jamaat, has been able to carry out criminal activities and get away with it since the pro-Jamaat teachers have tactfully recruited their men in the RU administration as teachers, officials, proctors and even the vice-chancellor, they said.

Another source said even an intelligence agency has worked in favour of Jamaat-Shibir during the recruitment of VC, Pro-VC, proctors and other top officials by giving positive reports to the government on teachers who have good links with Jamaat or work as "secret agents" of that party.

The source alleged that present Vice-Chancellor Prof Abdus Sobhan and his close ally Assistant Proctor Mustak Ahmed both have good relations with Jamaat teachers and are secretly working in favour of Shibir men.

This administration, which includes the VC, the proctorial body and pro-Jamaat teachers, always works for Shibir men, a teacher of the university said, wishing anonymity.

Only the administration of former VC Abdul Khaleque could control Shibir with a strong hand, but others have actually worked to help the student body establish its supremacy on the campus during the tenures of both Awami League and BNP, the teacher said.

Proctor Chowdhury Muhammad Zakaria comes from a family with BNP background and Assistant Proctor Mustak Ahmed comes from a family with Jamaat background while Students' Adviser Golam Sabbir Sattar Tapu took part in an election at the university from pro-Jamaat panel, an RU teacher said.

"Except for the pro-VC, all key position holders are loyal to Jamaat, so, why will they control the cadre-based politics of Shibir?" he said.

When contacted, the RU VC did not agree to speak to The Daily Star.

Tapu claimed that he contested the RU Syndicate election from the group of Quader Bhuiyan. "Chowdhury Muhammad Zakaria was also in that group along with other progressive teachers. But I left the group when it went political," Tapu told The Daily Star.

Proctor Chowdhury Zakaria told The Daily Star that none of his family members except a maternal uncle, who died, is involved in BNP politics. "My family has a number of Awami League leaders also. Why don't you write about it?" he said.

When contacted, Assistant Proctor Mustak Ahmed said, "It would be very difficult to find someone in my family who is involved with Jamaat-Shibir. None of my brothers and sisters and my father are involved with Jamaat-Shibir."

According to the university administration sources, there are around 1,100 teachers at RU of whom around 325 belong to the progressive parties, 300 are loyal to BNP and 400 to Jamaat.

To maintain its supremacy on the campus, Shibir keeps pressuring the university people by issuing threats directly and indirectly, sources said.

Around 60 incidents of clashes among the student wings of different political parties have taken place on RU campus since 1971, which left 28 people killed and over 2,100 injured, sources in the RU administration said.

The university remained closed for over 600 days because of the clashes.

Shibir has been involved in most of the clashes since 1980s after it started its activities on the campus in 1980. Towards the end of the '80s, left -leaning student wings including Chhatra Moitree became weak organisationally, which helped Shibir establish its supremacy.

In the latest incident on Tuesday, Shibir men hacked to death Faruk Hossain, an activist of Bangladesh Chhatra League, in Shah Mokhdum Hall. Around 100 people were injured in the overnight clashes between the activists of BCL and Shibir following the death.

Sources said Shibir killed Faruk as a revenge for the killing of RU unit Shibir general secretary Sharifuzzaman Nomani on March 13 last year.

A leader of the RU Officers' Association said, "Shibir men used to build a relatives base through marriage in the university area. Later, they started storing arms and sharp weapons in the houses of their new relatives and used to stage showdowns on the campus."

Shibir collects tolls from students and businessmen in the name of various programmes and publications to run its cadre-based politics.

"We are forced to buy their publications, no matter we support it or not," an RU student said.

"Shibir generally targets the poor students of the university and tactfully involves them in its politics by giving them financial help and seats in the halls," a teacher told The Daily Star.

Shibir has a strong base not only in and around the RU campus but also at other intuitions in Rajshahi city. The RU unit Shibir has been controlling the university campus with the help of its city unit. Even Shibir cadres from other educational institutions join the RU unit during any clash at RU.

The pro-Jamaat teachers also give strong backup to Shibir through ideas, planning, financial help and various administrative facilities, including seat allotment at halls, sources said.

THE CULTURE OF TENDON CUTTING
Shibir at Rajshahi University uses various methods and devices for torturing its targets both mentally and physically, including killing, intimidation, beating and cutting tendons.

Political rivals, students, even teachers and journalists have fallen victim to such tortures over the years.

In the '80s, Shibir was known as the rog-kata (tendon-cutting) party, a reference to its favourite tactic of maiming opponents by slicing their tendons. Shibir men would also often cut off the wrists of their opponents.

The practice severely damaged its image as a party, which forced them to change their methods of torture.

Shibir cadres visit target students in different rooms in university dormitories every day to get them involved in their political activities like group meetings, rallies and processions, keeping mental pressure on them, sources said.

They said the Shibir cadres take their targets on a "remand" confining in a room and give them the last warning for acting as per their direction. They threaten them with dire consequences if they fail to do so.

Shibir men would take students who go against their directives or fail to give tolls and beat them up mercilessly with iron rods and hammers wrapped in cloth. The method has seldom led to their victims' death but has caused permanent disability to many, sources said.

However, RU Shibir has apparently returned to their earlier method of cutting tendons as their cadres cut off the tendons of at least four BCL men and hacked another to death.

Shibir men have always had a psychological pressure on the university students, teachers, officers and employees, journalists and even high officials of the university. This has prevented the RU people from expressing their voices freely.

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Rampage at RU: Shibir kills BCL man, cuts tendons of 4 others

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A final-year student and activist of Bangladesh Chhatra League was hacked to death by cadres of Islami Chhatra Shibir at Rajshahi University early yesterday.

Around 100 others were wounded in overnight clashes between BCL and Shibir activists.

Motihar police recovered the body of Faruk Hossain, a BCL activist and student of mathematics, from inside a manhole yesterday morning.

Police say Faruk was hacked in the television room of Shah Mokhdum Hall around 2:00am and dumped into the manhole.

The injured were admitted to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital and RU Medical Centre. Condition of 17 of them is stated to be critical.

Shibir men had cut tendons of at least four BCL activists, said leaders of Chhatra League, associated student body of the ruling Awami League.

Police arrested 16 cadres of Shibir, associated student organisation of Jamaat-e-Islami, on charge of killing Faruk.

The RU syndicate at an emergency meeting last night suspended all classes till tomorrow and examinations till February 17.

A five-member committee headed by Prof Golam Kabir, dean of Life and Earth Science Faculty, has been formed to probe the violence and submit a report as soon as possible.

Students said the clashes erupted when BCL activist Asaduzzaman tried to enter his room at Shibir-dominated Bangabandhu Hall. Khalid, secretary of hall unit Shibir, barred Asad from entering his room around 8:00pm Monday and allegedly beat up him and another BCL activist Muhammad Kawser.

On information, police raided Bangabandhu and Latif halls and arrested 13 Shibir activists.

As the law enforcers left the dormitories, BCL activists attacked a Shibir worker at the TV room of Shah Mokhdum Hall. Shibir men equipped with firearms and sharp weapons reiterated, triggering a gunfight on the campus.

Police fired about 500 blank shots, rubber bullets and teargas shells to bring the situation under control.

Armed Shibir cadres sporadically clashed and exchanged gunshots with the police turning the campus into a battlefield. They also torched two rooms and damaged 30 others at the Suhrawardi Hall.

Faruk, son of Fazlur Rahman, hailed from Khoddorsagna village in Joypurhat sadar and was a resident student of Shah Mokhdum Hall. His body was sent to his village home after namaj-e-janaza at the university central mosque.

Among the injured, 19 BCL workers were admitted to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital. Of them, condition of Shafiur Rahman Badsha, Ruhul Amin, Feroz Mahmud and Shahidul Islam Johnny is stated to be critical as their tendons of hands and legs were severed.

SM HALL ATTACK
Over 30 Shibir cadres equipped with Chinese axes, hammers, rods, machetes and dagger entered the hall led by Ahad, hall unit Shibir general secretary, and Anis, former hall president, around 1:40am, said Shafiullah at RMCH.

"They first knocked Tawfik down. Anis caught me near the staircase and hit my back with a Chinese axe. I ran toward the main gate where several Shibir cadres started hitting me indiscriminately. At this stage, I ran towards the policemen at the gate who kicked me and went aside," Shafiullah added.

AUTHORITIES' VERSIONS
RU Proctor Chowdhury Muhammad Zakaria blamed on duty police for not playing proper role to maintain law and order. The hall provost Dulal Chandra Roy gave a similar statement.

Asked about the students' requests for taking them outside the campus, the proctor said, "Violence erupted everywhere on the campus, how could we take them outside?"

RU Vice-chancellor Prof Abdus Subhan was not available for comment.

Nawsher Ali, commissioner of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police, told The Daily Star the police were helpless in the face of Shibir cadres' "planned and organised" attacks.

He claims 20 policemen were hurt in the clashes and the police fired 400 teargas shells and gunshots to quell the situation.

PROTESTS
Angry BCL workers in Charghat upazila torched and damaged the upazila office of Jamaat-e-Islami around 12noon yesterday.

The BCL in a protest procession marched the main city thoroughfares and called for a rally in the afternoon today.

Rajshahi Mayor AHM Khairuzzaman Liton attended the namaj-e-janaza of Faruk in Shaheb Bazar. Addressing the gathering, he said, the murder was "politically planned by Jamaat" and would be answered politically.

RU unit BCL president Awal Kabir Joy said the attack was planned to avenge the killing of RU Shibir general secretary Sharifuzzaman Nomani early last year. "Nomani was killed accidentally during clashes, but they murdered Faruk in a planned way."

Home Minister Sahara Khatun ordered the police to arrest the killers of Faruk within 24 hours, reports UNB.

Talking to reporters at Civil Aviation High School ground in Kaola in the capital, Sahara said the police are instructed to arrest those responsible for the violence irrespective of their political identities.

ARRESTS
The police held 16 suspected Shibir cadres from different Chapainawabganj-bound buses in Godagari upazila between 2:00pm and 5:00pm.

Officer-in-Charge of Godagari police Zakirul Islam said the arrestees are mostly students of RU and Rajshahi College.

JAMAAT STATEMENT
Rajshahi city Jamaat Amir Ataur Rahman denied involvement of Shibir in the murder. "The incident occurred at night; who saw Shibir men committing the murder? It may be the result of Chhatra League's internal feud."

Meanwhile, in Pabna, two private hostels in Edward College area were torched around 9:30pm. Local Shibir leaders blamed Chhatra League for the arson.

BACKLASH AGAINST SHIBIR AT BUET
Our DU correspondent reports: In a backlash against the killing at RU, Chhatra League activists last night vandalised several rooms of Shibir men at four dormitories of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet).

The ransacking was going on till filing of this report at 1:15am.

No one however was reported hurt as Shibir activists had already left the halls for fear of reprisals.

Meanwhile, Juba League Chairman and State Minister for LGRD Jahangir Kabir Nanak and AL Organising Secretary BM Mozammel Haque last night sat with BCL leaders to discuss the recent spate of violence in different educational institutions.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hopes dashed

The death of Faruk Hossain at Rajshahi University shattered the hopes of a poor family who was dreaming to come out from the vicious poverty cycle with the achievement of their only son.

Faruk, born in 1984 in Khord-Shaguna village under Joypurhat Sadar upazila, was a final year student of RU's Mathematics Department.

He was hacked to death by the armed activists of Islami Chhatra Shibir early hours yesterday.

Faruk's father Fazlur Rahman is a farmer by profession who owns only half an acre of land. He mortgaged the land to bear his son's educational expenses with a hope that it would help his family get rid of poverty someday.

Faruk's mother Hasina Khatun, a member of Grameen Bank of the village, also took loans from the bank to meet her son's educational expenses, but her dreams were shattered with the gruesome killing of her only son.

Kamal Chandra Hasra, manager of Khord-Shaguna branch of the bank, said Faruk recently has applied for a fresh loan of Tk 5,000 to bear his educational expenses for his master's course.

He termed Faruk's premature death an unforgettable shock for the villagers and also for the local Grameen Bank staffs.

Redwanul Rahman, a schoolteacher of Faruk, said that he always stood first in every high school exams.

Faruk also secured GPA-5 in his SSC examination in 2002, the teacher said.

When the death news reached Khord-Shaguna, Faruk's two sisters and parents could not believe it at first.

As soon as the villagers confirmed his death, a pall of gloom descended in the area, Hasina fell unconscious and Fazlur began to give a blank look holding his son's photograph close to the chest.

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Shibir activists beat up 2 BCL men at RU

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Police in a raid arrested 10 Islami Chhatra Shibir activists at Rajshahi University last night after Shibir men beat up two Chhatra League activists at Bangabandhu Hall.

Three students were injured in sporadic attacks by rival students bodies. Nine Shibir men arrested at Bangabandhu Hall and the other at Habibur Rahman Hall.

The incident sparked around 8:00pm when Asaduzzaman, a Chhatra League activist, tried to go to his room in Bangabandhu Hall, which Shibir dominate. The Shibir men led by Shibir General Secretary Khalid of that dormitory asked him to leave.

Following an altercation, the Shibir activists beat up Asaduzzaman and Chhatra League activist Muhammad Kawsar at the dormitory gate. Police rescued the two and rushed them to Rajshahi University medical centre.

Hundreds of armed cadres of both Shibir and Bangladesh Chhatra League took position at different points on campus following the incident.

Shibir activist Israfil was beaten up by Chhatra League activists at Habibur Rahman Hall. He was later arrested.

Later, Shibir activists of Bangabandhu Hall and Amir Ali Hall locked the gates of the dormitories confining a number of Chhatra League leaders, students and policemen inside the dormitory.

Chhatra League activists too confined many Shibir leaders and activists at Zia Hall.

After the police raid, Shibir activist Sanwar was stabbed in Latif Hall while Shibir activists cut the veins of Chhatra League activist Firoz at Binodpur.

A large number of policemen have been deployed on campus.

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Renowned cultural personalities honoured in Rajshahi

Monday, February 8, 2010
 
Rajshahi Sangskritik Shangha accorded reception to seven noted personalities of Rajshahi recently for their contribution to different fields of culture and sports at the Padma Ranga Mancha.

The honoured personalities are: noted singer Rafiqul Alam, sports commentator Khoda Baksh Mridha, actor Abdul Aziz, footballer Shamsul Islam Mollah, classical singer Manjusree Roy, playwright Moloy Kumar Bhoumik and sculptor Mrinal Haque.

Speakers at the function, held Friday night, underscored the need to uphold and nurture our cultural heritage to resist fundamentalism.

They observed that the country remained deviated from its founding principles while development hindered for many years as there was a rise in fundamentalism. A revival in mass cultural practices could be vital to fight that, they said.

They also demanded immediate trial of war criminals.

Speaking at the programme, eminent littérateur Hassan Azizul Haque said that a life without any trace of culture is "living like an animal." He urged politicians to act immediately to encourage cultural activities instead of lip service.

Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy DG, Kamal Lohani said that Bangladesh was once rich in natural resources and has been known for its communal harmony. "We may have lost our treasures due to a deep rooted conspiracy but surely we can overcome any scheme against out cultural identity."

Among others, Rahmat Ali of Dhaka University and Anisur Rahman, GS, Rajshahi Sangskritik Shangha spoke at the event. Vice president Md. Amiruzzaman was in the chair. The Shangha published a memorial magazine, edited by Mamunur Rashid Mukul, on the occasion.

Chief guest, Rajshahi Mayor AHM Khairuzzaman Liton, emphasised on importance of honouring accomplished individuals. He said, "Talents are not born in a land where they are not honoured."

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Rice Distribution: JP lawmaker 'assaulted'

Awami League activists allegedly assaulted Jatiya Party lawmaker Abu Talha following an altercation over rice distribution under the Test Relief programme at Bagatipara Guest House in Natore Friday night.

Witnesses said Talha, an MP of Natore-1 constituency, sat with Awami League leaders to discuss sharing of the distribution of Test Relief programme rice. The lawmaker suggested that out of the 200 tonnes of rice, 133 tonnes be distributed among the poor people of his constituency by Jatiya Party workers and 62 tonnes by Awami League workers and five tonnes by Workers Party men.

The Awami League leaders, however, demanded greater share saying they had promised the people ahead of the elections. As the Awami League leaders kept on insisting, Talha asked them to go to Shefali Mamtaz, an Awami League MP, if they wanted more share. Witnesses say that the Awami League leaders became angry with this and assaulted Talha.

There were instances of hurling chairs at the lawmaker during the meeting but senior leaders rescued the lawmaker, said witnesses.

Bagatipara Awami League General Secretary Sekendar Ali said, "He [Talha] was not beaten up, only a bit abused by angry Awami League men. Senior leaders brought the situation under control before it could go out of hand."

Talha could not be reached for his comments.

 

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Economic governance index likely

Friday, February 5, 2010

A unique economic governance index (EGI) is likely to be formulated in Bangladesh in a few months to improve the business climate for the private sector and encourage balanced development in regions.

With the EGI, the government, local authorities, business leaders and entrepreneurs will be able to take steps to foster better economic environment, business expansion and employment.

The Asia Foundation is designing the EGI for Rajshahi, Bogra, Sylhet and Barisal, incorporating business information from district headquarters, where surveys have been conducted since December.

The findings will be disseminated both at national and regional levels in a few months, speakers said at a discussion at the Rajshahi Chamber of Commerce and Industries (RCCI) auditorium on Wednesday.

The information found in the surveys will also be compiled into a 'Guide to Best Practices' that will be used as a potential source of inspiration and ideas in engaging other districts.

The UK Department for International Development (UKAID) and European Union are funding the programme, being assessed by International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Bangladesh Investment Climate Fund (BICF).

As the EGI will identify districts with better enabling environments for private enterprise, the sub-indices will spot particular strengths and weakness of each district.

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Land dispute leads to abduction of Natore AL man

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Land dispute with a cousin led the Monday's kidnapping of Abdur Rouf Badsha, general secretary of Chhatardighi union Awami League in Natore, police said.

Police, however, said Abdur Razzak Raju who is the son of Badsha's cousin Moksed Ali Sarker was arrested thrice in the past for his suspected links with militant outfit JMB and looting arms from Bamihal police outpost.

Raju and his detained brother Motiur Rahman hired five criminals from Natore town and rented a microbus for Tk 1,600 for kidnapping Badsha, police said.

Abul Kalam Azad, officer-in-charge of Shingra Police Station in Natore, told This correspondent that a gang of nine led by Raju kidnapped Badsha from near Kaliganj Bazar under Chhatardighi Union around 8:00pm on Monday. The gang took him in a microbus and drove the vehicle towards Bogra.

He said locals chased and caught the microbus with the seven kidnappers at Chapapur Bazar of Adamdighi upazila in Bogra after half an hour later. Police later arrested seven criminals while two others managed to flee.

Police also rescued Badsha with his hands and legs tied with ropes. Badsha is now undergoing treatment at Shingra Hospital as he was beaten up during the kidnapping incident.

The arrestees are Raju, his brother Motiur, Mir Ashikur Rahman, Tawkir alias Tanu, Morshed Khan alias Mamun, microbus driver Rashidul Haque Sujon, and helper Sirajul Islam Dholu.

Meanwhile, police yesterday sought a five-day remand for the seven arrested criminals including the militant-suspect Raju in connection with a kidnapping case filed by Badsha.

A Natore court sent the arrestees to jail custody fixing today for hearing on the remand prayer.

Asked about the connection of arrested persons with any militant outfit, Mozammel Haque, additional superintendent of police in Natore, mentioned Raju's arrest and the cases against him. He however said police are yet to find out militant link with other arrestees.

He suspects that criminals tried to kidnap Badsha to kill him as police recovered a machete, a few hammers and ropes from the microbus.

Badsha filed a kidnapping case with Shingra police station against the nine persons alleging that the criminals kidnapped him after he denied to pay them a toll of Tk 6 lakh.

Raju's father Moksed Ali told reporters that he has a land dispute with his relative since 2002.

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Monday, February 1, 2010

11th South Asian Games 2010: Hosts' flying start

Monday, February 1, 2010

Hosts Bangladesh made a flying start in the T20 cricket competition of the 11th South Asian Games with an eight-wicket victory over Nepal in the opening match at the Shahid Kamruzzaman Stadium in Rajshahi yesterday.

Bangladesh captain Mohammad Mithun entertained the crowd with a 21-ball 41 that contained seven boundaries and a six as the hosts romped to the 83-run target for the loss of 2 wickets in 9.3 overs in reply to Nepal's 80 for seven.

Batsmen from the Himalayan kingdom had no answer to the spin attack of the hosts backed by some spirited fielding, as they were restricted to the paltry total after deciding to bat. Sanjamul Islam was the most successful bowler with figures of three for 22.

Binod Bhandari top-scored with 18 off 23 balls for Nepal.

Mithun then put the Nepali bowlers to the sword and ensured 38 runs in 3.5 overs in the opening stand before Rony Talukdar was bowled by Bhuvan Karki who later took the wicket of Mithun.

One down batsman Asif Ahmed was the other notable scorer with an unbeaten 26 that came from 18 deliveries. Asif hit four sweetly timed boundaries.

Skipper Mithun expressed his satisfaction with the outcome.

"It's a good win the first match and we are looking forward to our next game against Sri Lanka," said the wicketkeeper-batsman.

Bangladesh take on the Lankans tomorrow at the same venue.

In today's matches, Sri Lanka meet Nepal at the Shahid Kamruzzaman Stadium while Maldives play Pakistan at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.

BRIEF SCORES
NEPAL: 80 for seven in 20 overs (Subash 14, Gyanendra 14, Binod 18, Sagar 10 not out; Sanjamul 3-22)

BANGLADESH: 83 for two in 9.3 overs (Mithun 41, Rony 5, Asif 26 not out, Nasir 9 not out; Bhuvan 2-31)

Result: Bangladesh won by eight wickets.

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Classical music festival in Rajshahi

Monday, February 1, 2010

Two renowned classical musicians were accorded reception at a two-day long Uchchanga Sangeet (classical music) Festival that ended in Rajshahi recently.

Pandit Madan Gopal Das, a noted tabla player of Dhaka and Ustad AKM Shamsuzzaman of Rajshahi received the Ustad Mozammel Hossain Memorial Award, at the reception on the inaugural day.

Dance guru Bazlur Rahman Badal inaugurated the function with Ustad Rabiul Hossain in the chair.

Hindol Shangskritik Gosthi organised the festival in memory of Ustad Mozammel Hossain (1907-1976) who made an immense contribution to music in his lifetime.

The festival began with a choral rendition by artistes of Hindol, Mukto Gharana, Shurotirtho, Dhruboshokha, Shoilee, Oikyatan and Padma Residential Sangeet School. This was followed by a performance of Lahora on pakhawaj by Shushen Kumar Roy of Shatkhira. Solok Hossain, Nagma, Pandit Amoresh Roy Chowdhury of Rajshahi performed Khayal.

Renowned singer AKM Shamsuzzaman, lyricist Soumitra Banerjee, music teachers Rezaul Islam and Rafiqul Islam, among others, attended the event.

The nightlong rendering of classical music by acclaimed and upcoming artistes on the second day was the main attraction of the festival.

The evening began with a group recital of Dhrupad by artistes of Hindol at Rajshahi Chamber of Commerce and Industries Auditorium that continued till dawn.

Khairul Anam Shakil, Anil Kumar Saha, Rezwan Ali and Anup Barua from Dhaka; Dolon Kanungo of Chittagong and Parmita Haq, SM Selim Akhtar, Manjusri Roy rendered Khayal while Pandit Shibnath Das played the flute.

Swarup Hossain, Uttam Kumar Haldar and Madan Gopal Das played tabla, Solok Hossain assisted on harmonium and Konkon, Mousumi, Himel, Govinda, Dilara and Ritwik played the tanpura at the programme.

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