Leader as Suspect
On Fabruary 5, law enforcers picked up AKM Abdul Quaiyum,
the Habiganj district vice president and president of Zia
Gabeshana Parishad, from his Shegun Bagicha home and had carted
him to Habiganj. He is a suspect in the January-27 grenade
attack that killed five including SAMS Kibria, the Awami League
lawmaker and former finance minister. On February 6, he was
officially declared arrested under section 54 of the Criminal
Procedure Code and was taken on eight- day remand.
Investigators involved denied having picked up Quaiyum at
the onset. It was his wife, Suraiya Afroza, who told a Daily
Star reporter that the cops just said they were picking him
up for questioning. The police sources earlier said that if
they were convinced about his involvement in the Habiganj
grenade attack after quizzing him he would be put under arrest.
Sources also said statements of the arrestees, Shah Alam and
Jainal Abedin Jalal and Momin brought the attention to Quaiyum.
His arrest predates the arrests of these two BNP men. On February
2, law enforcers picked up Lashkarpur Union BNP President,
Jamir Ali, and another by the name of, Jainal Abedin Momin,
Lashkarpur Union Ward-2 BNP Secretary, on January 31.
On February 5, Habiganj Sadar police showed two more local
BNP leaders as arrested under section 54 of the Criminal Procedure
Code and took them in seven-day remand.
Meanwhile, the ruling BNP high-command is closely observing
arrests and detentions of the local leaders and activists
of Munshiganj. They two are assessing whether the detainees
and the arrestees have anything to do with the attack.
Pen Mightier than Bomb?
The present spate of attacks proves that journalists seem
to be the most targeted species in Khulna. The February 5
bomb blast just in front of Khulna Press Club that wounded
four journalists, one critically, in the latest incident of
targeted violence against the journalists in the city. Belaluddin
Ahmed, Bureau chief of daily Sangram, Abu Hasan, bureau chief
of daily Prothom Alo, Jahid Hossain, staff photographer of
daily Jugantar, Tutul Ahmed, staff reporter of daily Loksamaj,
came out from the press club at around 9.15 pm on that fateful
night after the day's work. Belal suddenly spotted a bag on
the seat of his motorbike.
An unsuspecting Belal took the bag by the hand to see what
was there and the next moment a huge bang shook the entire
area. All four of them were injured but Belal suffered serious
injuries. Later he had to be flown to Dhaka CMH as his condition
deteriorated. Though there was supposed to be police patrol
in front of the press club, there wasn't any at that time,
for reasons best known to the local administration. The incident
evoked angry reactions from the local journalists as well
as the journalists all over the country. After Balu, the editor
of Janmabhumi, was killed his wife said she was not seeking
justice because no one gets justice here. Following the recent
bomb attack the local journalists are reported to have seriously
been thinking of leaving their profession -- Life is more
valuable than writing the truth. Is anybody listening?
Finally Given Full Access to
Evidence of Bomb Blast
An inside source from the home ministry claimed that the government's
request for detectives to investigate the January 27 grenade
attack in Habiganj is yet to receive a response from Washington.
The government will be providing full access to evidence to
the FBI to investigate the January 27 grenade attack in Habiganj
that killed former Finance Minister SAMS Kibria and four others.
According to the US embassy source, close communication between
Dhaka and Washington at different levels is on to determine
the terms of this investigation. Christina Rocca, Assistant
Secretary of State for South Asia, called Foreign Minister
M Morshed Khan on January 30, to inform that she would convey
Bangladesh's request to Washington, the source said. According
to a US embassy press release, Rocca further said that the
FBI assistance would be useful and that it would be important
for the government to establish clear terms of reference and
to make other provisions to ensure that the FBI consultants
are given full access to all relevant evidence and witnesses.
Yet another home ministry source said that Interpol has already
been given 'full access' to all relevant evidence and witnesses
regarding the August 21 grenade attack on an Awami League
rally in Dhaka.
While talking to The Daily Star, State Minister for Home,
LZ Babar, said that the government has given top importance
to the investigation into the August 21 and January 27 attacks
to identify the criminals. "I have not mentioned the
name of the FBI or any other agency in my request. I have
asked for expert investigators. They have many detective and
investigation departments and it is up to them whether they
send the FBI detectives or detectives from any other department,"
Hartals Lead to Rice Price Hike
Due to the frequent hartals in the country, traders say that
a short supply of rice in markets has led to an increase in
the prices of different varieties of rice in a week in different
districts. In Barisal, prices of rice have increased by Tk
200 to Tk 400 per kg in a week and are to continue till April.
The lowest price in the retail market is Tk 18 per kg and
the highest Tk 24. According to Siddique Hossain, a trader
at Fariapatty rice market in the city, only 45 to 50 tons
of rice are being supplied in the market daily against at
least 100 tons earlier.
Truckers have also started to demand more fare due to fuel
price rise and risky road journey during hartal. A truck from
Kushtia or Jessore now demands Tk 8000 against at Tk 5000
earlier. Imports from India are also not arriving due to hartal.
Taking this advantage, traders have also increased the price
of flour, which now sells at Tk 18 per kg.
(R) thedailystar.net 2005