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     Volume 4 Issue 58 | August 19, 2005 |

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Bangabandhu Murder Case in a Limbo
Thirty years have passed by, but uncertainty over the fate of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibar Rahman's murder case, the founding father of the nation, is nowhere around from being cleared away. Even after the dissolution of the infamous indemnity act that barred perhaps the most infamous brutal killing in the country's history from getting a trial, about nine years have been spent, but there is no sign of the case getting resolved any time soon. Thanks to the present Law Minister Moudud Ahmed's ingenuous manoeuvring through which he has made sure that certain judges are promoted to the Supreme court, the case remains unresolved for an indefinite time. If nothing radical happens, like the AL coming into the power in the next general elections or good sense suddenly dawning on an re-elected BNP government, the case is due for hearing in the appellate division not before 2007. One however doesn't know if our much revered supreme court judges, by their wholesale expression of embarrassment to hear the Bangabandhu murder case, is part of Moudud's calculated scheme or a decision the honourable judges themselves took.

BNP's Media Bashing Continues
The present government's media bashing, both verbally and physically, continues and seems gaining in intensity and frequency day by day. This time it was a BNP MP Shahidul Alam Talukdar and the place of occurrence Bauful upazila.
Jugantor correspondent Monjur Morshed committed the great sin of reporting the looting of some 100 maunds of Hilsha fries called Jatka by BNP cadres on Monday last. The incensed BNP cadres, led by one Rafiq Talukdar picked up Monjur from his college campus Monjur also teaches Management at Engineer Faruk Talukdar Women's College on Tuesday noon and took him to the upazila engineer's office at around 1:30pm. Shahidul Alam, the local lawmaker, who was awaiting impatiently for the prey, then beat him up brutally, all by himself and contentedly left for Dhaka.
Upon information Aminul Islam, correspondent of the daily Ittefaq and president of Baufal Press Club, along with some other local journalists rushed to the upazila office complex to save their colleague. The journalists at first informed the local police station, but according to sources, Baufal Police Station OC Nur Muhammad has taken side with the lawmaker and has actually been intimidating the journalists joining hands with the ruling party men. The OC has reportedly told Monjur's family members that the MP has ordered him to implicate them, the newsmen, in non-bailable cases. The insecure journalists then informed the district police superintendent of the incident, but not even a case has been filed till the next day, that is Wednesday.
Most of the Baufal journalists then fled their homes, the only option that was left to them. Meanwhile the BNP cadres have been looking for Monjur to get a statement signed by Monjur denying that he (Monjur) was abducted and tortured by them. Monjur was also threatened that he would lose his job in the college if he does not express his loyalty to him.
The lawmaker, when contacted however denied point blank about his involvement in the Monjur beating incident, claiming that he and his party do not and never did believe in the politics of terrorism. He however hastened to add that this does not mean they will not tolerate everything done in the name of freedoms of press and speech… "..we cannot allow journalists writing whatever they wish and practise media-terrorism……..." he completed. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? The same line BNP big wigs have been toeing for quite some time.

Parliament's Thirty Sets of Ornaments
The Jatya Shangshad, the country's national parliament, has quite a few women members, though, apart from Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina, all of them have so far failed to make their presence heard. Women's presence in the legislature dwindled to an all-time low when the constitutional provision for 30-reserved seats for women expired around a couple of years ago. The clause, however, has never been an honourable one for members of the fairer gender, for it required reserved-women-members elected by an almost all-male parliament.
Military rulers ravished the constitution in the most blatant way: the prime victim was the clause that was meant to set women free from the clutches of a quasi-feudal society. Instead of doing it, different dictators, who seized power after the 1975-coup-de-etat, made women-members look and feel like a pack of neatly-dressed housewives, who did not have any clue of what was going on around them. In fact, prospective Women MPs were chosen from a legion of BNP and Jatya Party members' mothers, wives, aunts and daughters. These Ershad-babes, as they were rightly called, had surely made the Floor more colourful, but the only job they got done was to keep their mouths shut. The presence of their husbands; their sons; and son-in-laws, when the situation demanded, was a must when these 30 pitiable women sat to give interviews to the press.
The BNP, which came to power after the general elections in 1991, had failed to shred this trend. When it came to nominating reserved-women-members of the parliament, the party resorted to a flock of bored aunts and weary wives. The idea of "positive discrimination" has surely failed to deliver.
When this failed provision expired a couple of years ago, some Dhaka-based Women-rights activists demanded direct elections for women; their demand, it seems, has fallen on the deaf ears. The BNP government is bent on walking down the old path: September 6 is declared as the Election Day and the party is selling application forms to an enthusiastic bunch of women who boast a rather shady political background. Of them, Nuri Ara Safa, president of the Chittagong north of the BNP's women wing, has described a milestone in her career which she believes is going to land her at the door of the red-bricked building in the Manik Mia Avenue: that late President Ziaur Rahman knew her very well.
Like Safa 183 women collected forms to become an MP on the first day and more ambitious aunts and wives are going to crowd the BNP headquarters in the coming days. There is, however, a catch: one has to donate Tk 300,000 to the party fund to adorn the parliament.
In a time where it is getting increasingly difficult to draw a line between politics and moneymaking, one thing can be said with some degree of certainty: Tk 300,000 will yield a 100 percent profit within a month.


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