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     Volume 4 Issue 2 | July 2, 2004 |


   Cover Story
   News Notes
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News Notes

Khulna Editor Killed in Bomb Attack
Humayun Kabir Balu, Editor of the Dainik Janmabhumi in Khulna, was killed in a bomb attack on June 27. The Janajuddha faction of Purba Banglar Communist Party claimed responsibility for the attack, which also injured the editor's son. A man disguised as a peanut vendor hurled two bombs out of his peanut basket at Balu's car while police retrieved to more live hand bombs in the basket left by the man in the park opposite Balu's house. Balu's younger son and daughter, who were in the car with him, survived the attack unscathed.

According to his family, Balu, President of the Khulna Press Club, received a number of death threats from outlaws for taking a bold stand against them in his newspaper and "fuelling anti-outlaw sentiment" in the wake of the killing of journalist Manik Saha.

The attack triggered a wave of protest in Khulna as well as around the country.

Thirteen journalists have been killed in the south-western region of the country, says a DS news report, of which only two have been given a court verdict so far.

Hannan's Arrest
Pichchi Hannan, one of the top 23 criminals most wanted by the police, was arrested on June 27. The Rapid Action Battalion zeroed in on him at a clinic in Savar. He was wounded in a shootout with the elite force two days earlier. A twenty member RAB team cordoned off Al-Insaf Clinic at Sripur at about six pm on Saturday 40 hours after the encounter where he took two bullets in the abdomen. Hannan told newsmen that he has been used by certain quarter with political clout. He started off with toll-collecting. It was the Karwan Bazar wholesale fish market that became a breeding ground for many of his likes. And it is in this area, where he got into phensidyl trading, that rose to the status of one of the top-ranked criminals. Dhakaites may breathe a sigh of relief after his arrest, but the fact remains that the political monopoly that creates such perpetrators shows no sign of letting up.

SQ Chowdhury's Rebuttal
After creating a hoopla out of practically nothing, Bangladeshi candidate Salauddin Quader Chowdhury lost his bid for secretary general of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) in a 36-12 decisive vote. The result came as a shock to the ordinary citizens, for during its one and a half years old campaign, the foreign minister repeatedly boasted "a strong endorsement from at least 27 member countries."

Though many blamed the defeat on Chowdhury's controversial past, M Morshed Khan, foreign minister defended Chowdhury's candidacy by saying, "Most representatives at the conference hailed him as the best among the three (candidate) after he made his speech." The defeat however has opened a whole new Pandora's box. While the opposition, led by the Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina, launched a verbal onslaught on the beleaguered candidate by terming him a gold smuggler, which prompted Chowdhury’s response that caused a stir. And when opposition MP Shuranjit Sengupta demanded the foreign minister's resignation, Chowdhury came with the flag of rescue. "He should at first be circumcised before commenting on an Islamic organisation like the OIC. If he does that I will support his demand for the foreign minister's resignation," Chowdhury said.

MR Akhtar Mukul Passes Away
MR Akhtar Mukul, writer-journalist, died of cancer and heart failure on June 26. He was 75. MR Akhtar Mukul was born in 1929 in the western part of the undivided Bangla but his family migrated to Mahasthangarh of Bogra after the partition. He later actively took part in the Language Movement of 1952. During the War of Liberation, Mukul, as a broadcaster, inspired the nation by his regular radio programme Chorompotro on Shadin Bangla Betar Kendro. The broadcaster however joined the government service immediately after the country's independence. The popular journalist later turned to writing. Ami Bijoy Dekhechhi, Mohapurush and Mujiber Rokto Lal are three of the 36 books Mukul wrote in his illustrious career. He is survived by two daughters and two sons.

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