Year of Living on the Edge
became champion in the 3rd SAF championship by 5-3 tiebreak
As central defender Sujon converted the 5th penalty
into the 5th goal. The jam-packed Bangabandhu National
Stadium roared in deafening approval. After the regular
20-minute ended in a 1-1 draw the match extended into
space shuttle Columbia disintegrated on February 1 at
1400 GMT, just 16 minutes before it was due to land.
A total of 7 astronauts including the first Israeli
in space named Ilan Ramon, were aboard. Television images
showed several white trails in the blue sky. The shuttle
was flying at 200,000 feet at the time, moving at 20,000
kms per hour when it broke up. The space shuttle Columbia
that was commissioned in 1988, met its end on its 28th
policemen were arrested from Bangabazar Hawkers Market
on the charge of extortion on 6 February. The gang used
to extort money from businessmen at different city markets
by threatening them on dubious pretexts. Earlier on
Jan 29, the nine, wearing clothes resembling army uniforms,
had picked up Suresh Sarkar from Bangabazar, accusing
him of being involved in hundi business and extracted
Tk 3 lakh from him.
100 people perished in the Tetulia river around 75 km
off Barisal, on March 15 when a launch, ML Cyprus, which
was going from Bogra to Barisal, got caught in a nor'wester
and drowned. Rescuers put their heads on the upturned
launch in a desperate attempt to hear the voices of
earthshaking explosions were heard from the direction
of the airport of Baghdad. The Iraqi Information Ministry
accused the US forces of killing 14 people with cluster
bombs. US planes pounded targets around Baghdad with
40 "smart bombs".
Maize yield in Bangladesh hit an Asian high with per
hectare output surging up to 5.75 metric tons (MT) over
the last two years. Hybrid maize seeds as opposed to
traditional composite seeds resulted in Bangladesh rising
from one of the lowest producers of maize in Asia to
the highest, topping China's 5 MT per hectare highest
yield record, followed by India, Pakistan, Nepal and
Myanmar's yields of around 3 MT per hectare.
130 people died when a launch MV Mitali-3 capsized after
being caught in a storm in the Buriganga on April 21.
The launch was heading for Barisal from Sadarghat with
more than 400 passengers aboard.
father was killed by his own son on April 25 of this
year. 74-year-old Abul Khayer Musa, former adviser to
the caretaker government of 1991, was in his room watching
television with his wife when his 45-year-old son, a
drug addict, demanded money from him. Imran Islam Musa,
Khayer's only son, was said to be mentally unstable
as well as a drug addict. His family had been trying
to cure him of the addiction and prevented him from
taking drugs. Imran often pressurised family members
to give him money to buy drugs. When Khayer refused
to give him the money that night, Imran stabbed him
in the abdomen. Doctors at DMCH later declared him dead.
Khayer's wife, Rokeya Begum, was also injured when she
tried to save her husband.
unidentified miscreants took away 3 firearms and 60
rounds of ammunition from 3 cops in Uttara sector-8
on 26 April. The cops allegedly drank soft drinks that
were offered by the goons.
40 Iraqi civilians were killed and many badly hurt in
a series of explosions near Baghdad when an arms dump
blew up on the outskirts of the capital.
get voting rights
Of four lakh refugees spread over the country in 66
camps, 20,000 live in the Geneva Camp in Dhaka. Many
of them born after the Liberation War of Bangladesh
consider themselves to be Bangladeshis and are fighting
for their rights as Bangladeshi citizens. On May 5,
10 residents of the Geneva Camp were given voting rights
after the High Court declared them citizens of Bangladesh.
Earlier, on October 14, 2001, the HC had issued a rule
on the Election Commission asking it to explain why
these 10 persons should not be considered as Bangladeshi
citizens and enlisted as voters.
It was the first time that refugees were awarded Bangladeshi
citizenship after a legal battle. "We have always
considered ourselves Bangladeshi citizens," said
24-year-old Mohammad Hasan, one of the 10 petitioners.
"Now that I am eligible to be a voter, I will fight
to establish all my rights as a citizen. The High Court
order is applicable not only to me but also to all the
4 lakh refugees in the country," he added. (The
Daily Star, May 6)
people were sentenced to death, three to life term and
one to seven years in prison in the Sutrapur double
murder case on May 14 of this year. On September 15,
2000, a gang allegedly led by Rahid Hasan Sumon kidnapped
Mohammad Mohsin, 18, and Mohammad Saem, 19, and tortured
them for a ransom of Tk. 50,000. Later they were killed
and their bodies cut up into 12 pieces and dumped in
a culvert under construction near Murgitola. Brothers
Rahid Hasan Sumon and Sajid Hasan Sujon, sons of Nasibun
Ahmed, president of the city Mahila Awami League, were
among those sentenced to death by the Speedy Trial Tribunal
Sultana Panni, wife of former deputy speaker Humayun
Khan Panni, was strangled in her own house in Dhanmondi.
She was found with her hands and legs tied and her mouth
gagged, face down on the floor of her bedroom balcony.
Later it was alleged that the Pannis' cook hired two
men to rob the house and kill its mistress and that
the caretaker of the house was also involved. The accused
robbed Tk. 82,000, ornaments and Panni's mobile phone,
which investigators later found.
then there were 53
The country's council of 60 ministers was trimmed down
to 53 on May 22 when 7 cabinet ministers were dropped
and the portfolios of 11 others were changed after a
major reshuffle. The three ministers dropped were Water
Resources Minister Engineer LK Siddiqi, Fisheries and
Livestock Minister Sadeque Hossain Khoka and Minister
without portfolio Harunar Rashid Khan Monno. The four
state ministers shed were State Minister for Commerce
Barkatullah Bulu, State Minister for Disaster Management
and Relief Ebadur Rahman Chowdhury, State Minister for
Post and Telecommunications Ahsanul Haque Mollah and
State Minister for Liberation War Affairs Redwan Ahmed.
Among those whose portfolios were changed were former
Minister for Agriculture Matiur Rahman Nizami and for
Minister for Health Amanullah Aman, both of whom were
known to be unhappy about the changes to what they thought
were less important ministries -- Nizami to industries
and Aman to labour and manpower. Though some were happy
with the changes, many felt "politically buried"
by the reshuffle. BNP insiders claimed that the changes
were made due to inefficiency and poor performance by
the cabinet members.
gang of criminals, who had recently been acquitted in
an acid-throwing case, committed the same crime again,
causing severe burns to a 32-year-old woman named Anowara
Begum in Chittagong.
Last year, a gang of 10 criminals, allegedly led by
one Moqbul, threw acid on 12-year-old Baby Akhtar who
later succumbed to her injuries on October 7. Baby was
the daughter of Humayun Kabir, one of Anowara Begum's
neighbours. Police hinted that the enmity might have
been the result of a land dispute between Kabir and
Moqbul and his gang were acquitted of the charges, on
March 30 of this year. On May 23, Moqbul led a gang
of five tied up Anowara Begum’s hands and threw acid
on her, that left her shoulders, chest, throat and hand
men were sentenced to death and five to life imprisonment
for the killing of Sabequn Nahar Sony. Sony, a second
year chemical engineering student of the Bangladesh
University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), was
killed in crossfire between two factions of the Jatiyatabadi
Chhatra Dal, the student front of the ruling BNP, on
June 8, 2002. The Speedy Trial Tribunal -- 1, handed
down the verdict just over a year after the tragedy.
and the paramilitary Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) seized
26,500 bullets and 48 kilograms of explosives in joint
raids on four Bangladesh Nationalist Party leaders'
house in Bogra on July 1. The joint forces launched
the search in and around a brick kiln and recovered
2,500 bullets from a ditch in front of the house of
Jatyabadi Chatra Dal leader Ratan at Sardarpara. Seven
thousand bullets were recovered from another ditch at
Jogarpara. Later that day, 9000 bullets in 13 olive
green packets and 24 kg explosives in four packets were
recovered from a septic tank of the house of a local
BNP leader Abdul Jabbar. In another search the police
recovered 6,500 bullets and six kg of explosives from
another BNP leader Joynal Abedin's house. Next day,
on July 2, more ammo was recovered in the district.
In total the ammunition count rose to 93,192 bullets
and 180 kgs of explosives.
The intelligence agencies have not been able to discover
the source of the ammunition. One of the theories suggests
that the arms were initially brought for different groups
who are fighting the Indian occupation in Tripura.
An industrialist's car (Dhaka-metro-ka 02-- 626) knocked
down a doctor from his motorcycle and dragged him to
death in front of Sobhanbagh Mosque in the city. Dr
Mohammad Shahjhan Ali, 40, was dragged for more than
a kilometre as his leg got tangled in the car's bumper.
The Government later banned the use of bumpers, but
the order was stayed by the high court upon a writ.
Goes On Air
The country's fourth private television channel NTV
(National television) started its journey on July 3.
President Iajuddin Ahmed pressed the button of its remote
transmission panel set up at a local hotel. Though in
his speech, the president has claimed that the government
believes in freedom of speech and the people's right
to know, this year the government has denied another
popular private channel Etv the license to operate.
year has witnessed several death penalties and life
imprisonment being handed over for killing minors. On
July 30, the Second Additional Metropolitan Sessions
Judge handed down 38 years of rigorous imprisonment
to Mohammad Moslem, Mohammad Saiful Islam Ratan, Abdullah-al-Mamun
alias Ragkata Mamun and Sumon for killing two year old
Marian Islam Naushin.
In another case, a tribunal sentenced to death Mohammad
Ripon, 20, for killing five-year-old Don. According
to the investigation officer, Ripon killed his brother-in-law
Don over dowry-related dispute. The judgement noted
that the society and the court no longer wanted to see
the tears of parents of any other minor like Don.
Goes Ahead with Gram Sarkar
government begins formation of Gram Sarkar, which coincides
with a high court hearing of a writ challenging the
legality of the act. "We have completed all preparations
for the formation of the local government bodies as
scheduled," says Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, local government
and rural development and co-operatives minister. But
the opposition has called upon the government to give
up its plan terming it a move that might destroy the
locally elected Union Parshids.
AL Chief Gunned Down
Khulna city Bangladesh Awami League chief Manjurul Imam
was killed in a spray of bullets and bomb blasts by
assailants in the city.
Water Diversion Plan
Dhaka handed over a protest note to New Delhi expressing
concern at a so-called mega-project designed to divert
waters from the common major rivers to India's drought-prone
states. This 200 billion dollars project will have devastating
consequences on the northern part of Bangladesh.
More Get Death sentence in Shazneen case
A tribunal sentenced to death, six among the seven accused
for raping and killing fifteen-year-old Shazneen Tasnim
Rahman. "The killing went beyond the realm of fiction.
It appears reality has surpassed imagination. It was
like snatching of a child from her loving mother,"
the judge observed.
the Most Corrupt
The Bangladesh chapter of Transparency Bangladesh (TIB)
has published its country report. "Police topped
the 874 cases of graft reported in 21 newspapers between
January and June," the Berlin based organisation
observes. TIB's database shows corruption in financial
sector as 37.3 percent; police 22.4, in terms of corruption
incidents; education sector, 12.9 and local government
10.1 percent. In 35.9 percent cases, government officials
and employees were found to have indulged in corruption.
Rokan Uddin Mahmood, president of Supreme Court Bar
Association, disclosed the name of a High Court judge
who had allegedly taken Tk. 50,000 bribe from a person
for fixing bail.
50 nurses were hurt when the police
swooped on a sit-in in Motijheel. About 1000 unemployed
Diploma student nurses staged the sit-in against the
alleged illegal government move to appoint nurses taking
papers of a written test for the post of Assistant teachers
at government primary schools got leaked.
A Bangladeshi student Rezwan Haque secured
highest marks in English Language at O-level all over
the world under the Cambridge University Board.
people were killed and more than 200 were injured when
suicide bombers struck the Red Cross Head Quarters and
three police stations across Baghdad.
country plunged into one of the longest and worst power
outages as 21 of the 23 power plants tripped one after
another. Except Sylhet and Mymensingh the entire country
plunged into darkness at around 9.35am. Though power
returned to some important places like the Secretariat
and PMO after around noon it was not until 7.30 pm when
things returned to some sort of normalcy.
gang of robbers raided and burned down a two-storey
earthen house in Banshkhali, 30 miles off Chittagong,
killing 11 members of a family, including a 4-day-old
baby. The robbers broke into the house of Tajendra Lal
Shushil and, after looting the ground floor, attempted
to break down the wooden door of the first floor where
the family was hiding. Enraged at not being able to
break down the door, they threatened those inside and
finally torched the house. Only one member of the family,
Shushil's son Bimalendra Lal Shushil survived the tragedy.
army seized a high-profile haul of firearms and ammunition
including an antiaircraft machine gun and a rocket launcher
in a raid on a terrorist den in Khagrachhari. The raid
was described by senior army officials as their biggest
success since the landmark peace deal in 1997 after
the thirty-year bush war.
Hut, the world's largest pizza chain formally opened
its first franchise in Dhaka. The restaurant, which
can host 220 persons at a time has proved to be a major
hit among Dhaka's restaurant-goers.
year of custodial murders and mob Lynching
The year was clouded by the number of deaths in police
custody reminiscent of the Operation Clean Heart Days.
These included Mahbubul Alam Rony an 18 year old who
was beaten to death by the police allegedly because
the family could not pay the huge demanded by the interrogators.
Amar Das another young man, who the police say was involved
in the abduction of businessman Jamaluddin Ahmed Chowdhury
was according to his family, torture and poisoned to
While the police have been getting busy committing more
crime than helping to curb it the public has taken the
law into their own hands. Angry mobs, disillusioned
by police inaction and the rise in crime, have been
beating up alleged hijackers to death. The most sensational
case of mob lynching was in Char Clerk, Noakhali where
villagers chased a gang of bandits into a forest and
then flushed them out over a few days. The criminals,
who had apparently unleashed a reign of terror in the
village raping and looting and killing, were killed
by the villagers in the most gruesome way. While around
40 of them were killed a few had their eyes gorged out
and one of them had his genitals cut out.
persons were sentenced to death and nine to life imprisonment
by the Speedy Trial Tribunal in Chittagong in the sensational
Nurul Islam abduction and murder case. Nurul Islam,
an advocate and BNP leader, was abducted on September
18, 2000 and later his dead body was thrown in the Meghna
river. 15 others including the main accused Abu Taher
The lower house of French
parliament backed a draft law making reproductive cloning
of human cells a crime against humanity punishable by
30 years in jail and a 7.5 million euro ($9 million)
fine. The draft law would also ban cloning for therapeutic
purposes the creation of stem cells for medical research
and key techniques used in embryo research. The final
legislation will be adopted early next year as long
as the upper house also passes it. France has been one
of the country's most opposed to cloning technologies.
President Jacques Chirac has expressed his desire to
lead efforts for an international convention on bioethics
to prevent abuse of cloning research.
year of Religious Intolerance
Ahmadiyya's have also been the brunt of religious intolerance.
Huge anti-Ahmadiyyas have taken place in December rallies
anti-Ahmadiyya's have attacked Ahmadiyya mosques, beaten
community members and threatened dire consequences to
their victims and their supporters. They have been persistent
in their demand that the state declare. Ahmadiyyas as
non-Muslim. The demonstrators have criticised the State
Minister for Religious Affairs comments that showed
his disapproval of their actions. They have also demanded
arrest and trial of writer Humayan Azad for his novel
Pak Sar Jamin Saad Baad published in a Bangla daily's
of Saddam Hussain
The American forces made world news headlines when they
announced that they had caught the man they love to
hate the most, Saddam Hussain. Saddam was arrested in
a dirt cellar under a farm house near his home town
of Tikrit on Saturday without a fight. "Ladies
and gentlemen, we got him," announced US administrator
Paul Bremer at a news conference in Baghdad. The American
forces claim that Saddam's deputy Prime Minister Tareq
Aziz in US custody for seven months, as well a DNA test
has confirmed the dictator's identity. Saddam was shown
on TV and appeared to be a dazed, confused man with
a long beard and worn out face -- barely recognisable
from the formidable ruler who was seldom seen without
his army uniform.
left is rising, or is it just a semblance of an awakening?
Recently the 11-party alliance tried to raise the confidence
of the masses. To fill out the vacuum that runs deep
into our political culture, the alliance are taking
initiatives to fit in role of a conscious minority.
They had an 11-point agenda to carry forward. On 13
December, to press their demands, the alliance called
for hartal that was a mild success. Although it was
not marked by violence, it left in its wake several
wounded and many in police custody. It also brought
into salience the fact that the ruling coalition is
not tolerant of the kind of development that may bring
left-centred politics into the mainstream. The reaction
of the authority to an otherwise peaceful hartal speaks
for itself.According to newspaper reports, at least
15 leaders and activists of the alliance suffered injuries,
when police took to baton charge. Nearly a hundred of
the picketing activists were rounded up from different
areas of the city.
In Narayanganj, a procession of the 11-party was attacked
by BNP henchmen who organised an anti-hartal procession.
The hartal was called to press home an 11-point demand
that included removal of the war criminals from the
cabinet; putting end to misrule, corruption, religious
extremism and price hike.
major event this year for the ILO (International Labour
Organisation), and IPEC (International Programme on
Eliminating Child Labour was the success of a project
(funded by these two) to take 10,000 children out of
hazardous bidi factories. The project was carried out
by several NGOs including BRAC. The children who used
to work at the bidi factories have been placed in non-formal
schools and some of then are being trained in various
skills. What's more even the mothers are being given
loans so that they can start poultry or dairy farming,
fisheries and cow or goat rearing.
The discovery that all documents concerning the killing
of the intellectuals on the fateful day of December
14, 1971 are lost, did not find the Bangladeshis unguarded.
It has become a trend of sorts, the slow ascent of the
anti-liberation force to the mainstream politics and
the dwindling of morale of the vast majority. The diminishing
spirit and the apathy on the part of the citizenry go
hand in hand. A “Prothom Alo” report unfurls how apathy
runs deep into our system. A senior inspector at CMM
court said outright to the investigating journalist,
"Was there any case filed against this crime back
then?" Another officer at Ramna Police Station
demanded, "What is the use of looking for these
documents?"The last hope for justice is now even
obliterated, as all relevant documents to incriminate
the culprits are lost.
The misdeeds of the Al-Badr and Al-Shams have been erased
altogether. At some point the papers were burnt, the
report said. The relevant persons and the CMM court
had nothing to say in this case.
truth to wayward life
In a wall-writing near the bus stand at Kalayanpur an
English phrase emerged last month. It declared: Come
to the path of truth and join JCD. JCD is the student
wing of the ruling Nationalist Party, which has this
habit of stirring up this theological fervour from time
The same organisation -- the student wing of BNP --
during a victory festival in Chittagong, put up four
stalls to facilitate 'one to ten', -- an indigenous
mode of gambling. The public as usual fell prey to this
device. The visitors lost and left with empty pockets
and the organisers won big-time. The festival itself
was a BNP organised affair. The chairman of the community
that took the initiative to organise and manage this
big event was taken by surprise when faced with the
question of infringement of law from a journalist of
The enthusiasts who were running the stalls were pretty
frank about their anomalous actions, one of them said
-- "The community approves of having these arrangements.”
Nitu was slaughtered by a gang after they failed to
rape her and her eight-year-old playmate. Nitu and her
friend were forcefully taken to a nearby jungle when
they were playing close to Iswardy Railway Station.
When the culprits tried to rape them the girls screamed,
attracting the attention of people nearby. The friend
was captured but Nitu could not be saved.
Fifty-year-old Fakhruddin Ahmed, a salt trader and his
14-year-old son Miraj were shot dead by a gang of hoodlums
who barged into their home in Pallabi early in the morning.
At the time Miraj and his father were sleeping. The
police think the murder was a consequence of business
rivalry or because Ahmed had not satisfied toll demands
of extortionists. Ahmed, who was a stranded Pakistani,
was shot in the head at close range when he refused
to give them the keys to the almira . When Miraj tried
to hold his father, another culprit shot him in the
chest. They were both declared dead at the DMCH. The
horrifying incident took place right in front of Ahmed's
wife, daughter and younger son. The incident has sparked
widespread outrage and fear among the members of the
community the victims belonged to and a half day hartal
was called by the Stranded Pakistanis' Youth Rehabilitation
Movement at Mirpur Section 11.
This is a selection of major events of the year. The
events have been picked according to their news value.
We have confined our selection to mainly national events
with only a handful of major international events. Some
newsworthy events have not been included due to space
constraints. Due to our printing schedule we have not
been able to include events occurring after December
21. Our apologies for the inconvenience.