In a surprise move, the Prime Minister Khaleda
Zia dropped a minister and a state minister-- Amir Khasru Mahmud
Chowdhury and Reaz Rahman from the cabinet. Khasru, who was
holding the ministry for commerce, was called in at the prime
minister's office; the PM then asked the businessman turned
politician to resign, who readily complied. Interestingly, Altaf
Hossain Chowdhury, who as a home minister had miserably failed
to maintain law and order in the country, was reassigned as
the minister for commerce.
Many believe the new move was meant to punish Khasru for giving
permission to the Taiwanese government to open its commercial
office in the capital. The minister, however, has remained tight-lipped.
at the Crossroads
Bangladesh Awami League, on the eve of the Independence Day,
declared new programmes to oust the ruling BNP-led four-party
alliance government. Though the party is yet to make any considerable
headway towards its ultimate goal, the Awami League's secretary
general Abdul Jalil's words are becoming more bombastic day
by day. The beleaguered politician once fondly prophesied the
fall of the government by the end of this month. In its new
programme, the party has called dawn to dusk strikes on April
7 and 8. The party, however, has been in constant touch with
the left leaning political parties. Though the Communist Party
of Bangladesh (CPB) and other like-minded groups have decided
to move on with their own political programmes, CPB sources
hope the left parties will declare joint programmes with the
main opposition in near future.
another polarisation has been brewing in our political horizon.
Dr Kamal Hossain and his Gono Forum, once thought to be dead
in the water, have suddenly found themselves alive after Dr
Badruddoza Chowdhury has formed his so-called 'Alternative Stream',
to counter what the former president calls misrule and corruption
of the current government. A new alliance between these two
will certainly give Dr Chowdhury's future plans a new lease
Dhaka in Turmoil
Ten people were injured, including former Awami League lawmaker
Haji Selim, in a violent exchange between activists of Jatyotabadi
Jubo Dal and Awami Jubo League over occupation of place for
rally at Lalbagh on March 23. The Daily Star report
said that the confrontation took place during a day-long strike
called in a large area of Old Dhaka by over 40 local business
bodies protesting a police raid on the business establishment
of a local AL leader and subsequent ransacking of it allegedly
by Jubo Dal cadre on Monday.
Shops stretching from Lalbagh to Islampur were kept shut and
a human chain was formed on Chawk Circular Road as part of the
strike that also codemned the rampant extortion, threats and
murder in the area.
Targets the Stalwarts of Palestine
Israel is out to wipe out the entire leadership of Hamas. Security
sources said on March 23, citing a decision made by Israeli
chiefs following the assassination of Hamas’ founder Sheik Ahmed
Yassin. The wheelchair-bound cleric was killed in an Israeli
missile strike outside a Gaza mosque on Monday, March 22. For
Israeli Internal Security Minister Tahai, the world is in black
and white. "Anyone who is involved in the Gaza Strip or
the West Bank or anywhere else in leading a terrorist group
knows it from the beginning that there is no immunity",
he declared on March 23.
Meanwhile, the killing of Yassin threatens to make the situation
from bad to worse, as Hamas vowed to avenge the death of their
revered leader. The threat put the Israeli forces on high alert.
And there is widespread speculation that the next target would
be Yasser Arafat.
Women, War and Valour
The epithet ‘guerrilla women’, may make many sit up and take
notice, as Bangalis have long forgotten the role of the masses
in the war of liberation in 1971. Women fought shoulder to shoulder
with their men counterpart besides extending support to them
by way of playing the other half.
of our valiant fighters shared their memories with The Daily
Star on the occasion of the Independence day. The report
of Julfikar Ali Manik clarifies any misgiving about women's
participation in the war. He writes that these women have never
been rewarded for taking up arms to free the nation. They look
like ordinary rural women in ordinary garbs, but they proudly
nourish memories of a glorious war they fought to win freedom.
Kanchanmala of the village Goriganj in Munshiganj, remembers
how difficult it was for a village woman back then to go to
war. She had been picked up by the army and kept confined in
Birishiri camp for 18 days. Mother of a son, at 22, she was
tortured in captivity. After she lost her sense, she was dumped
in a ditch outside the camp. She was found by a boy, and later
she went to Netrokona to join with the Muktibahini.