Vol. 5 Num 663 Sun. April 09, 2006  
Front Page

Fire breaks out at office of speaker
He terms it sabotage

Security has been tightened in an around the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban following a "mysterious" blaze in front of the speaker's office and in two other rooms yesterday morning that burned some documents.

Security personnel immediately doused the fire at the three points on two different floors of the building. The closed-circuit television cameras of the Sangsad Bhaban were closed when the incident occurred, sources said.

Speaker Jamiruddin Sircar, who was not in his office at the time, termed the incident a 'sabotage' and formed a five-member inquiry committee headed by the secretary of the Parliament Secretariat. The probe body is to submit its report today.

"Of course it is a sabotage. Miscreants did it to destroy the peaceful atmosphere inside the parliament building," the speaker told reporters as he rushed to his office hearing the news.

The speaker immediately held a meeting with the deputy speaker, chief whip, the parliament secretary and other top officials to review security of the parliament building.

Talking to The Daily Star, Deputy Speaker Akhtar Hamid Siddiqui said he guessed some officials caused the blaze with an ill motive. "Security has been tightened after the incident," he said.

Another probe body was formed, headed by Faruk Ahmed, additional commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan police.

Officials of intelligence agencies rushed to the spot. Law enforcers cordoned off the three places and none was allowed to go there.

Parliament secretariat officials said part of the carpet leading to the speaker's office was gutted. Besides, five files with official documents were burnt in one of the two rooms on the fourth floor and the fittings in the other room on the sixth floor were damaged.

Parliament sources said some miscreants set fire to create panic. "Officials and employees were not present because of the weekend today (Saturday), and the miscreants might have taken advantage of this," a senior official said seeking anonymity.

One source said tension is prevailing in the parliament secretariat for the last few days over promotion of some officials and forgery of educational certificates of some others.

The speaker has recently ordered a probe into the allegation of certificate forgery.