Valentine's Day ended in bomb blasts and a stampede at Dhaka
University (DU), injuring at least 16 people, 12 of them DU
students. Three bombs reportedly exploded one after another
behind the Swoparjito Swadhinata sculpture at the TSC road-island
where several thousand people were gathered for a function
organised for the special day. The crowds dispersed in seconds
after the blasts, causing a stampede. Another bomb went off
at the nearby Hakim Chattar, close to the Central Library.
The blasts follow a series of others around the country in
the past few years, including, on the university campus itself,
the Ramna Batamul blast in 2001 which killed 14 people and
blasts on the roof of Jagannath Hall last year as well as
a number of bomb threats at different faculties of the university.
As usual, the BNP's student front, Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal
(JCD) and the AL's student party Bangladesh Chhatra League
(BCL) were prompt to blame each other for the bomb blasts
soon after they took place.
Different organisations have condemned the attacks while vice-chancellor
Prof SMA Faiz has demanded exemplary punishment of the perpetrators
and promised the beefing up of security on campus.
Most people, however, seem to have all but given up hope of
justice in such cases, as they have seen none at all in the
past several years, with few being arrested and none punished.
Worried over "Crossfire" Deaths
Head of delegation of the European Commission in Bangladesh,
Ambassador Esko Kentrschynskyj on February 13 expressed deep
concerns over the recent 'crossfire' deaths during operations
of the elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (Rab).
While speaking at a press conference on future development
policy of the EU, at the delegation office in the capital,
Kentrschynskyj termed the deaths as extra-judicial killing
and said the government should look into the incidents of
more than 200 people being killed in 'crossfire'.
The editors of 23 national dailies issued a joint statement
expressing concerns over the deaths of their reporters and
the attacks on journalists all over the country. "We
are extremely concerned about the fact that journalists are
dying at regular intervals, yet the government and the administration
remain indifferent and unconcerned. So far, not a single incident
has either been properly investigated or the culprits punished,"
said the editors of Forum to Protect Journalists (FPJ), a
newly formed group of the national dailies.
The Forum came into being following the death of the Khulna
Bureau Chief of daily Sangram, Shaikh Belaluddin
following a bomb attack, which also injured three other Khulna-based
"We observe with deep regret that after every incident
of killing and bomb blast the perpetrators are able to dodge
the police noose. This has led to a natural sense of anxiety
and insecurity not only among journalists but also in the
society at large," they said.
"We cannot accept this situation anymore. Time has come
for a united action to protect the lives and professional
freedom of journalists. We call upon all editors, journalists,
publishers, and all those involved in the newspaper industry
to join hands to resist the killing, attack, threat and harassment
being faced by journalists. We have also decided to hold simultaneous
joint mass rallies in all the Press Clubs throughout Bangladesh
at 11:00 am on Saturday, February 19, 2005. The Dhaka rally
will be held at the Jatiya Press Club. We call upon all journalists
and everybody concerned with the profession of journalism,
to make our rally a grand success," the members of the
One doesn't have to only read and imagine the overwhelmingly
horrible human mentality involved while burning the so-called
witches or drowning them. It's still happening here, even
in this age.
Last week, 22-year-old Nur Banu, a mother of a three-year-old,
was almost buried alive by her in-laws, as advised by the
village fakir, since it so happened that Nur Banu
supposedly had affairs with several men. In a remote village
of Syedpur, all kinds of preparation were taken to bury the
dead, starting from boiling water to wash the body to digging
a grave at around 1 am that night. Fortunately, Nur Banu's
father came to the rescue with his clan just in time and took
his daughter away.
Nur Banu informed the press that her in-laws would torture
and beat her on a regular basis, in the hope of driving her
away and getting their son married again with a good dowry.
Her husband, 35-year-old Jahenur, informed the media that
his family had been torturing his wife for a long time and
that they deserve to be punished severely for this. One also
wonders as to how Jahenur's family got away with all this
right in front of him and if there is a slight chance of him
being involved as well.
Two people were injured when activists of Jatiyatabadi Chatra
Dal (JCD) and Islamic Chatra Shibir (ICS) clashed over forced
participation in holy Quran lessons at a college hostel in
Rajshahi on February 14.
The injured, Jewel and Wahidul, belonged to the JCD, the student
wing of the ruling party. They were admitted to Rajshahi Medical
College hospital. At least six rooms of the Shamsuddin Hostel
of Rajshahi New Government Degree College were damaged during
the half-hour-long clash.
Later, the police took control of the hostel and arrested
two ICS men, student front of the ruling coalition partner
Jamaat-e-Islami. Rajshahi city JCD President Abul Kalam Azad
Sweet alleged that ICS workers had forced one JCD activist
to attend holy Quran lessons at room no 118. He also alleged
that when the JCD activist refused to attend the session,
they hit him on the head with an iron rod.
Meanwhile, ICS leaders claimed that that the JCD workers launched
the attack first when they were in a meeting. General students
related to a Daily Star reporter that the ICS leaders often
put pressure on them to attend ICS meetings and Quran lessons.
(R) thedailystar.net 2005