Party's Month Long Agitation Plan
The mainstream opposition parties on March 2 announced a series
of identical agitation programmes demanding resignation of
the government, tackling the extremist groups and demanding
trial of all the killings in bomb attacks and arrest of criminals
involved in the biggest ever arms haul. The Awami League 11-party
alliance and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal made the announcement
from separate rallies in the capital. The agitation programmes
will commence from March 13 to April 6 to press the opposition's
various demands. The opposition leaders said that they would
enforce even tougher programmes after the public examination
end next month. The programmes include a dawn-to-dusk hartal
on March 27, the forming of human walls in cities and district
towns on March 13, a countrywide "hunger processions"
on March 23 and country-wide demonstration against rise of
extremist groups on March 20.
Five out of 14 police personnel accused of the gang-rape of
a housewife in Chuadanga were charge-sheeted last month. The
accused are camp-in-charge Kuddus, Habildar, Rokunuddin, constables
Harun, Sakil and Harunur Rashid. Nine other accused were exempted
from the charge. The policemen picked up a 25-year old housewife
from Bisnupur cillga while she was waiting for a rickshaw
to go home from Chuadanga. They took her to a police camp
nearby and raped her. After the rape, Kuddus and Rokunuddin
took the woman to a man who lived in that area and asked him
to send her to the hospital. The policeman also warned the
victim not to report the incident. After human rights organisations
from Dhaka and Kushtia launched a joint movement demanding
proper investigation the police formed a probe body. The 14
accused were suspended and five of them were arrested. But
the police probe report says that the woman was not raped
at all. The human rights organisations have demanded a fresh
investigation by a judicial committee and started a country-wide
campaign on the issue. What is most disheartening though,
is that even after fresh medical tests proved the rape and
even though all 14 were initially arrested, nine were released
on bail. The victim, meanwhile, is in the safe custody of
Mahila Parishad where she is undergoing treatment.
Jailed for Rape
BNP leader, Abul Kalam Shamsuddin filed a case with the Jessore
Kotwali Police Station on March 2nd, accusing ASM Abdur Rob,
President of ward no. 9 unit of Jessore Krishak League, and
his entire family, of rape and rioting. Unfortunately, officer-in-charge
of the thana, Abu Hena Mostafa Kamal did not bother making
any investigations to get the actual story, and ended up filing
the rape and rioting case in which one of the accused party
was a six-year old boy. Apparently Rob and his family members
were attacked by Shamsuddin and his men earlier in the evening,
which was followed by a dispute over the possession of a building
at Nilganj Tatipara under Jessore Kotwali thana. After the
dispute Shamsuddin went to the thana and filed a complaint
against the entire family, including, Rob's wife, elder son
and Chhatra League leader Reaz, daughter, and the seemingly
dangerous six-year old. The entire courtroom was shocked when
the family convened on Thursday, with the minor sitting in
Rob's lap. Unfortunately because the office hours had been
finished for the day, the petition for bail could not be placed
before the court and lawyers are hoping to place bail soon.
Although OC Abu Hena was condemned for allowing such an incident
to occur, he claims that he is not "bound to give an
account of my works to the press." Bound to the press
or not, he will be remembered for a long time as the OC who
allowed a rape and rioting case to be made against a six-year
old boy, causing him to spend three days in jail. And although
he may be in the ruling party's good books for this, the rest
of the nation is shaking their heads at his lack of common
and the Monster
Bangla Bhai, operations commander of the recently banned Jagrata
Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB) fled to India last week. The
dreaded leader, whose real name is Siddiqur Rahman, along
with fellow members of the notorious organisation crossed
the border at Naogaon. Sources in the group told newsmen that
their leader would come back home as soon as he got the "green
signal" from two cabinet ministers belonging to some
northern districts of the country.
Meanwhile, the government's recent move to crack down on these
militants has cast a shadow over Bangladesh Nationalist Party's
(BNP) alliance with the Jamaat and Islamic Oikkya Jote (IOJ).
Jamaat and IOJ have asked the government to stop what it called
"raiding Kawmi madrasas across the country". These
religious schools follow a syllabus that is approved by India's
Deoband University. Hundreds of Religious schools following
the Deoband Syllabus have plagued the South Asian subcontinent
since the school of thought was first born in northern India.
Mullah Umar and other members of the Taliban graduated from
madrasas in neighbouring Pakistan. In fact all the members
of the group follow Deoband school of thought. All the 15,000
Kawmi madrasas Bangladesh are believed to be a stronghold
of Jamaat and IOJ.
Perplexed by its partners' threat to break the alliance, the
BNP is in a dilemma over the recently launched crackdown.
"We are discussing issue at the party high level to determine
our strategy. If we continue with the drive it will hurt our
coalition partners and if we stop it, the donor agencies may
again criticise use," an unnamed government policymaker
told the Daily Star preferring anonymity.
The alliance's religious partners have reacted furiously to
the government move. "The government did not respond
positively to our demand to stop raiding Kawmi madrasas.
Even today police raided some Kawmi madrasas in Gazipur
and Kapasia," Fazlul Haque Amini, IOJ chairman said.
raid must stop immediately, Amini said, "If the government
does not do so, we'll decide our strategy at the March 16
meeting (of our party)." The party, in fact, has called
on all the senior faculty members of these schools to attend
At a rally on March 1, Amini said that an Islamic revolution
would be brought about in the country through Kawmi madrasas.
Newspaper reports, meanwhile, suggest that the intelligence
agencies have been too lenient on Muhammad Asadullah Al Galib,
leader of Ahale Hadith Bangladesh, who was arrested two weeks
ago along with four leaders of two other militant organisations.
Quoting an unnamed source a report published in the Daily
Star said, "The intelligence officials did not vigorously
interrogate Galib and his associates as expected even though
six day of Galib's 10-day remand have already expired."
Galib, who allegedly travelled to India, Pakistan and Afghanistan
with false documents, has so far denied any link with militancy.
(R) thedailystar.net 2005