Vol. 5 Num 466 Fri. September 16, 2005  
Front Page

No plan now to file sedition case
Charge-sheet to be filed against Aug 17 militants: Babar

The government has no plan to bring sedition charges now against those involved in the August 17 serial bomb blasts across the country.

It is going to file charge-sheet against the people so far learnt to have been linked to the bombings and bring them to justice for conviction.

"There are several cases against them in which evidence and witnesses are ready. We'll file charge-sheet and ensure their trial for conviction," State Minister for Home Affairs Lutfozzaman Babar told reporters yesterday emerging from a meeting on law and order at the home ministry.

The state minister instructed law enforcers to make arrangements for judicial confession of the arrestees who have admitted to their involvement in the bomb attacks.

Asked if the government wants to bring sedition charges against those who have already made judicial confession on their involvement in the blasts, he said, "Cases have been filed against them under the Explosives Act and Special Powers Act, whichever is appropriate, and probe is on accordingly."

Babar said, "If we find their action amounts to sedition, there will be no unwillingness on our part (to bring sedition charges)." Legal aspects of the matter are now being examined, he added.

On the proposed laws to award the highest punishment for bomb blasts, as stated by the prime minister in parliament recently, Babar said the home ministry had proposed this three-four months ago. "I told the law minister about it and had talks with the prime minister more than once. She also expressed her interest in it."

He however declined to give details about the proposed laws, saying, "Work is on and it is too early to comment."

The government has decided to encourage people to develop their own security system as it has become difficult for the law enforcers alone to ensure security for all.

"We're motivating people to develop their own security system, and have decided to help them do so and run the system," said Babar.

Earlier, the government had asked the authorities of different markets, industries, banks, schools, hospitals, railway stations and bus and launch terminals to install closed-circuit television (CCTV) to monitor public movement. It is now encouraging them to develop their own security system.

So far, 143 establishments in Dhaka have installed CCTV, and the government has asked the rest to do so.

To encourage private security system, the home ministry has decided to ask the finance ministry to make import of security equipment duty-free.

Yesterday's meeting took note of the high cost of security equipment, especially archway, metal detector and vehicle search mirror. People will be encouraged to install those for their own security if they get those at low cost, it said.

Noting that it is not possible for police alone to control bombers' activities across the country, the home ministry ordered police and district officials to motivate and involve people of all walks life in their security efforts.

"If we had community participation, we might have had prior information about the August 17 blasts and the situation could have been different," Babar said.

In this connection, he mentioned that locals caught some people with explosives (two and a half kg) and 50 detonators yesterday in Kishoreganj and handed them over to police.

With the Ramadan, Durga puja and Saarc summit coming off in the next two months, the home ministry has ordered stepping up security and vigilance, especially at different entry and exit points, markets, places of worship, key installations, shrines, cinema halls and at public gatherings in Dhaka and elsewhere.

The meeting yesterday mentioned that sale of crackers on the occasion of Shab-e-Barat is prohibited.

A traffic month will begin on October 1 and continue till the end of the Saarc Summit scheduled for November 12-13 to ease traffic jam and commuters' movement.