Home  -  Back Issues  -  The Team  -  Contact Us
     Volume 4 Issue 36 | March 4 , 2005 |

   Cover Story
   News Notes
   Straight Talk
   Food for Thought
   Time Out
   In Retrospect
   Life Style
   Dhaka Diary
   Book Review
   New Flicks
   Write to Mita

   SWM Home


News Notes

Probe into Aug21 Attack: Questionable Role of the Police
An investigation by high-profile lawyers into the August 21 grenade attack on an Awami League (AL) rally questions the role of the police. The police made way for the attackers to leave the venue immediately after the explosions observes the lawyers' body that conducted the unofficial probe.

Instead of helping the victims, the attending policemen moved to safe distance observes the report, released by six senior lawyers on February 27. Supreme Court Bar Councilo President Rokanuddin Mahmud headed the investigation. It highlights the fact that immediately after the series of blasts that killed 22 AL activists including Ivy Rahman, a national leader, police lobbed tear gas shells making the spot dark with smoke. It allowed the attackers to escape, notes the report signed by Dr Kamal Hossain, Abdul Malek, Amir-ul-Islam, Dr M Zahir and Muhammad Ayenuddin. Presenting the report at a press conference at the Bar Association Office, the lawyers concluded "beyond doubt" that AL chief and Leader of the Opposition Sheikh Hasina was the prime target of the attackers.

IPremier Bank Scam
MD's hand in fake account opening

Premier Bank has violated banking rules in the opening of around 19,000 accounts with the different branches of the bank around, revealed a central bank investigation. The branch managers were forced to open these accounts after they got verbal instructions from Kazi Abdul Mazid, managing director, and Syed Nowsher Ali, manager of the Banani branch of the bank. The central bank rules had totally been ignored in opening these accounts where certain guidelines of Banking Rules and Policy Department (BRPD) and Anti-Money Laundering Department are followed.

According to a circular of BRPD, the banks should collect photographs of every account holder and his or her nominee while opening an account, which the Premier Bank did not comply with in most cases. The rules also state that a client is supposed to fill in a prescribed form of the bank concerned with his or her own signature, mentioning name and address and providing photocopy of passport or a domicile certificate from the local ward commissioner. However, sources say that in some cases accounts were opened without filling in such forms.

"The way these bank accounts have been opened is a criminal offence," said a former top official of the central bank. "It is clearly understandable that these accounts have been opened with a specific motive." Some accounts did not have any address of the account holder, where as in other cases, the same address was mentioned in opening several, thousand accounts. In some cases, the branches did not take the initial deposit needed for opening an account while no transaction took place against the accounts.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on February 12 suspended a Tk 55 crore public floating of Premier Bank after 25,000 fake beneficiary owners' (BO) accounts were found in its preliminary investigation. The Bangladesh Bank on February 14 launched an investigation into the Premier Bank public floating scam after being informed officially by the SEC.

Apart from the Dhaka Stock Exchange, both small as well as big investors suspect that the Premier Bank might have tried to manipulate the initial public offering (IPO) process.

Abdul Latif, musician and Language movement veteran died of old age at the Suhrawardy Hospital on February 26. He was 68. Born in 1927, Latif actively participated in the language movement of 1952 through his songs and writings. In fact, he was the first composer of the famous song Amaar Bhayer Roktè Ragano Ekusheye February, Ami Ki Bhulite Paree. During the liberation war the singer-composer, who was famous for numerous folk songs, inspired the nations by singing several patriotic songs. The singer joined the civil service in 1974, and in his 19-year-old career, Latif served as a government officer in various capacities before retiring in 1993 as a deputy director of the department of mass communications. A fellow of the Bangla Academy, Latif was awarded Ekushey Podok in 1979 and the Shadhinata Podok in 2002. He is survived by his wife, two daughters and two sons.

Death in Congo
After the biggest casualty on December 25, 2003, where 15 UN Bangladeshi peacekeepers were killed in a plane crash in Benin that killed a total of 119 people, one of the bloodiest attacks on a UN peacekeeping mission in the recent years, took place in the lawless Ituri region of the former Zaire. Nine UN peacekeepers from Bangladesh were killed on Dec 25 and 11 others wounded when two UN patrols were ambushed in Northeast Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Since the end of last year, there had been a surge of violence in Ituri where the militia have gone on a spree of looting, rape and murder against civilians, driving more than 70,000 people from their homes.

According to one UN source the patrols were attacked in Ndoki, some 19 miles east of Ituri's main city of Bunia and an area controlled by a predominantly ethnic Lendu militia known as FNI. It seems that there is a possibility of the peacekeepers to have been killed on spot or if some of them were first taken into the bush and murdered later. "Lendus are not people that take hostages, they just kill," the source said, adding that it was raining heavily in Ituri, making search and rescue operations difficult.

The government has brought the bodies back home and has buried them according to the desire of their families with full military honours.

The Truth Unveils
According to a study by Mass-line Media Centre (MMC), a media research organisation, most of the cases that are related to rape and repression of women and children in the country go unreported. The miscreants go scot-free and are never taken to trial as they intimidate the victims and, in some cases, the victims themselves fear social stigma. According to their analysis, an average of eleven women are killed each day while close to 25 women fall victim to various forms of torture. The study took place from October to December of last year. At least 2,140 incidents of human rights violations took place during the same period whereas only 570 cases were filed, followed by 533 arrests. The figures were from the MMC quarterly study based on reports in 12 national and 154 regional dailies. A total of 342 women were raped in the three-month period, with an average of four rape incidents a day. Of them, 37 were killed after rape. A total of 122 women were killed over dowry across the country and there were 247 incidents of dowry-related repression. Only 124 cases were filed in connection with the dowry-related torture as the victims wanted to avoid separation in conjugal life, social stigma and further torture. There were 98 incidents of acid attack on 110 women, but only 18 cases were filed, leading to 31 arrests. 318 women committed suicide during the same period and Rajshahi saw 148 victims, the highest at divisional level. Also according to the study, 269 children fell victim to rape and other forms of sexual abuse. Of them, 16 were killed after rape. In addition, 351 children are reported to have been abducted and 11 were killed after abduction. Among the divisions, Rajshahi tops the list of sexually abused children, with 95 victims. Besides, 460 children died in accidents and violence during this same period.

Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2005