Home  -  Back Issues  -  The Team  -  Contact Us
     Volume 4 Issue 13 | September 17, 2004 |

   Cover Story
   News Notes
   Slice of Life
   A Roman Column
   Human Rights
   Time Out
   Straight Talk
   Book Review
   Dhaka Diary
   New Flicks
   Write to Mita

   SWM Home


News Notes

Another Threatening Missive
Bomb blasts and threatening emails and letters seem to characterise Bangladesh's socio-political scene. The latest chiller of letters was to World Bank Country Director Christine I Wallich, prompting her to leave town in a hurry. The letter was sent to her Gulshan residence and stated that she would be the next target of bomb attacks. Funnily enough, while the World Bank officials say that they had informed the government about the threat, the PM's political secretary, Harris Chowdhury, says that they (the government) had no idea that Wallich had received such a threat. He even said that the threat could be "for fun or real". Not much insight required to come up with that profound conclusion. Harris stated the much reiterated phrase regarding the nature of such threats: a vested quarter's effort to destabilise the country. The question is, who is this vested quarter?

Morshed Blasts India
Indo-Bangla relationship hit an all-time low when the foreign minister M Morshed Khan blasted India for restricting imports of Bangladeshi goods into India. Speaking as the chief guest at the inaugural session of an "India-Bangladesh Dialogue of Young Journalist", Khan said, "Bangladesh is India locked, Delhi also has to remember that the seven north-eastern Indian states are also Bangladesh locked." The meeting was organised by Bangladesh Enterprise Institute.

Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Veena Sikri and eminent Indian columnist Kuldip Nair were also present when Morshed said, "if Dhaka wanted to establish a win-win situation, we could end India's $3 billion trade in Bangladesh by issuing an SRO (Statutory Regulatory Order) on all Indian goods entering here."

Morshed also blamed Bangladesh's larger neighbour for turning a blind eye at what he said were anti-Bangladesh activities on the Indian soil. On Indian allegation about 195 insurgent camps in Bangladesh, the foreign minister said, "The list of insurgent camps from their side increases at every meeting between us. But they have not been able to provide us a single phone number or address of these camps." But, Khan alleged, India has done nothing to curb anti-Bangladesh insurgent groups like Bongobhumi Andolon, who are in India, and criminals, who are hosted by some groups there. "We have given phone numbers, fax numbers and office addresses of these outfits," he said.

On security issues he said, "The blame game will not help any country, be it big or small; if the blame game is not stopped, no further discussion will take place." Alluding to India's reaction to the August 21 grenade attack on the meeting of Awami League in Dhaka, an angry Morshed said, "Most countries said it was an attack on Bangladesh's democracy and phoned both the prime minister and the leader of the opposition. But some people thought it otherwise.

Delhi, meanwhile, summoned Hemayetuddin, Bangladesh's High Commissioner to India, and asked him to convey India's surprise and dismay over Morshed's comment. "India has always looked upon Bangladesh as a close friend and valued partner. At recent high-level interactions conducted in a friendly atmosphere, the two sides reiterated their desire to take the bilateral relationship further," a statement issued by the Indian external affairs ministry said.

Bangladesh and India fought a bloody two-day war over the tiny Bangladeshi hamlet of Roumari in 2001, in which four Bangladeshi and around 34 Indian soldiers died.


Two Indians Held While Smuggling TNT
Paramilitary Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) arrested two Indians along with a Bangladeshi accomplice from the Naokat village in Companyganj. The BDR recovered four packets of Indian-made plastic explosives and five fuses from them.The packets of plastic explosives containing TNT (trinitrotoluene) bear the name of Bharat Explosives Limited, Lalitpur, Uttar Pradesh, India, as the manufacturer.

"The three entered Bangladesh crossing the Ichhamoti River at Chhanbarhi Ghat near the border pillar No. 1246. A patrol team of border guards challenged and nabbed them at about 11:00am when they were about to start for Chhatak upazila headquarters in a hired boat," a BDR official said. Indian nationals are: Chandan Hajong, 35, son of Motindra Hajong, and Suresh Hajong, 32, son of Subhash Hajong. Both of them, according to the BDR, hail from Umflu village under Talab thana of Indian Cherapunji district.

The smugglers were later produced before the magistrate's court of the north-eastern city of Sylhet. Though the police prayed for a 15-day's remand, the court granted a 10-day one.

Meanwhile, the two Indian smugglers' 17-year-old Bangladeshi accomplice, Kalaganju, has confessed to smuggling contraband items into Bangladesh across the border for a long time. The boy, a poor day labourer, has said he was to carry the explosives to someone named Giasuddin of Balichar area of Companyganj. "A man named Onindara of the border area near Bholaganj stone quarry hired me Thursday morning for Tk. 200 to take the packets to Giasuddin. I do not know who this Giasuddin is; but I heard him to be a rich businessman," the boy was quoted as said by the officials. The two Indians, meanwhile, has so far kept mum to a number of queries.

TNT, which can be fitted to any structure, is usually used by regular armies to destroy buildings and bridges. It is also used in mining and in making of explosives.

RAB does it Again
Living up to its reputation of killing killers albeit in custody, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) have done it again. On September 10, members of RAB arrested notorious criminal Ahmudya Haq Chaudhury alias Ahmudya and 10 of his accomplices as they were coming out of the Aeochia Union Parishad office at Deodighirpar in Satkania (Chittagong). Ahmudya was the present chairman of the Union Parishad. After the arrest at around 11 PM, RAB members took Ahmudya and one of his accomplices to Aeochia to apparently recover arms. According to the official stay, when they reached the spot other members of Ahmudya's gang started shooting at the RAB members who shot back at them. It was during this shoot out that Ahmudya and his accomplice Minhaz were gunned down. Fire LG and a large number of arms were recovered. According to the police, Ahmudya a former Jamaat-e-Islami cadre, has been absolved of 13 cases since the coalition came to power. He was also reportedly evading a 17-year rigorous imprisonment (RI) sentence in an arms case before he joined the ruling BNP this July. So far 18 people have died in RAB's custody. Ahmudya's death is therefore another case of deja-vu.

Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2004