Bodies of Peacekeepers Come Home
fifteen army officers killed in a place crash on December 25th
in the West African country Benin, were finally laid to rest
in their own motherland. They were given a state burial. The
day the bodies arrived Wednesday, December 31st, was declared
a national mourning day by the government. The dead bodies came
by plane and were received by the grief-stricken families from
ZIA airport. The victims were UN peacekeepers serving in Sierra
Leone. They were on their way home. During the funeral, a contingent
of armed forces paid a ceremonial guard while army bugles played
the last post. After the ceremony, army officers gave the victims'
families the national and UN flags in which the coffins were
draped. This was the largest military loss of Bangladesh, a
frequent contributor to UN peacekeeping missions since Independence.
Politics of Politics
words "politically motivated" has become a phrase
that seems to have lost its real meaning. According to a newspaper
report, the home ministry has over the last two years, relieved
over 70,000 mostly BNP men, accused of various crimes such as
murder, rape, arson and gunrunning because it found them to
be "politically motivated." The time frame of such
cases is predictably two years of Awami League’s tenure. The
review started within two months of BNP being elected to power.
What's more, the ultimate decision of who would go free lay
with BNP lawmakers and district and thana level ruling BNP leaders.
This means the reviewing and withdrawal of these "politically
motivated" cases seems to be "politically motivated"
Great Arms Haul
BDR operation in Lemuchchari in Bandarban upazilla resulted
in the capture of a huge haul of deadly arms and devices. It
included thirty-two antitank mines, six rocket launchers and
an assorted array of explosives. After an hour-long gun battle
between the alleged insurgents and the BDR team, the terrorists
escaped into the dense forest leaving behind the deadly devices.
The home ministry suspects that the arms were to be used for
subversive activities against the backdrop of the gradually
escalating tensions in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
January sets in parents find themselves at the beginning of
a long struggle. The road in front of the Ideal School is a
vast sea of anxious parents awaiting their children, half-numb
from the biting cold and tired for being woken up so early in
the morning. The competition is stiff: more than 5000 children
are vying for just 120 seats, which translates into 93 children
competing for one seat in Class I. The prospective students,
in contrast to their parents, are more bothered with the cold,
and fixing their unsettled caps than their studying. They are
unconcerned and unaware of the consequences that they must face
if they do not get seats in the school.
Feed Churned out from Tannery Waste
health is at risk. The poultry that we are munching on are being
fed the worst thing one can imagine. A report in The Daily Star
last week debunked that at Hazaribagh area traders are producing
poultry feed from tannery waste. It is going on right under
nose of the government. State Minister for Fisheries and Livestock,
Abdus Sattar told the DS that he was unaware of this goings
on. Poultry feed production needs approval of his ministry,
yet the minister seemed not aware of the matter. Instead he
affirmed that his ministry would look into the allegation. The
director general of the Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute,
Quazi M Emdadul Haque too was unaware of the practice of producing
chicken feed out of lethal wastes from the tannery area. The
report said that tannery waste mixed with dried fish dust and
bones is being fed to young broiler and layer chicken. The investigating
reporter found black tar-like matter being brewed in one tannery
and in another tannery a man claimed that they could supply
chicken feed at Tk 650 for a 50-kilo bag.
000 Heath workers go Unpaid for 4 Months
80,000 fieldworkers under the family planning wing of the health
ministry have not received their salaries for the last four
months, says a front page Daily Star Report. The failure of
the ministry's planning wing is to be blamed, revealed sources.
According to their claim there was this glitch in the routine
practice of planning and approving of the OP (operation plan)
that resulted in the crisis. The OP is the responsibilty of
the Health and Population Sector Programme (HPSP), and it is
the National Steering Committee (NSC) that approves OP of the
coming year every June.
time the planning wing failed to send the relevant papers to
the NSC in time. It was in September that 15 OPs out 28 in total
were handed in for approval. The failure to to do the job in
time has resulted in nonpayment of salaries since last August.
It has also affected the process of procurement of drugs, contraceptives,
vaccines and essential surgical kits in hospital. Their shipment
too is being delayed. This mismanagement has also created uncertainty
regarding the scheduled National Immunisation Day programmes
on January 14.
is Subjected to Encroachment
three-fourth of the river Turag have vanished as the traders
in sand and stone is doing brisk business and filling out the
river bed. Piles of sand and rock threaten to shrink Turag,
one of the estuary of the Buriganga, and engulf the river that
may lead to its eventual demise. A recent front-page report
of News Today dicloses that the river grabbers are close to
the ruling party. The mastans of Amin Bazar are their henchmen,
which makes it all the more convenient for the traders to go
on their ugly business. However the local people are raising
concerned voices. But in lieu of all this, traders claim to
have received the green light from the authority. Some of the
traders claimed that they took lease of some portions of the
river and its bank from the Dhaka district administration. Although
they are not in possession of any evidence to support their
claim, the authority has done nothing yet to curb their activity.
The Daily Star reported on the same subject time and again.
Consequently no action was ever taken by the concerned authority,
let alone bring them to justice.
Huda Justifies Jamat's role in '71
Minister Nazmul Huda, never shies away from speaking the truth,
even if it costs him dearly. During Khaleda Zia's first term
in the office Nazmul Huda was the only man in the BNP high command
who dared to support the idea of the non-partisan government,
for which he was made to resign from the cabinet. Recently he
has once again spoken his heart out, much to the embarrassment
of some of his fellow partymen. "Jamaat didn't commit any
crime by trying to resist the division of Pakistan in '71",
Huda justified Jamaat's anti-liberation position while talking
as a special guest at a function of the Islami Chatra Shibir,
Jamat's student wing, on December 30. He was also all praises
about Islami Chatra Shibir's programmes and activities: "
Even we haven't succeeded in forming such a disciplined organisation
like Islami Chatra Shibir."