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     Volume 4 Issue 75 | December 16, 2005 |

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News Notes

Bomb hurled at pick-up van at Gulshan, 2 hurt
The latest trend today: bombing away anyone instead of wasting time with arguments. Following these trends, unknown criminals, in front of a pick-up van waiting for passengers, blasted a bomb last week in Gulshan. A woman and minor boy were hurt. No one knows who hurled the bomb or who exactly the target was.
It seems that 30-year-old Sathi, a resident of Mohammadpur and the manager of a beauty parlour in Gulshan, sustained minor injuries to her back and the boy, aged about eight, received also minor injuries.
Sathi was waiting at Gulshan-2 roundabout for a bus and the boy along with his mother was passing by when the bomb exploded at around 6.30pm.
According to Nazrul Islam, who was crossing the road when the bomb went off said that he saw something falling in front of the pick-up van.
The windshield of the vehicle shattered into pieces as the bomb exploded. Intelligence personnel rushed to the scene after the blast and found out that it was a small home made bomb blown just to scare people.

Swim Meet Under Threat
The recent acts of terror have certainly had the effect of perpetuating sentiments of fear and insecurity throughout the nation. This is not only true for those who have been directly hurt or involved in the blasts, but the effects have spread much further. Not only are the public now more wary of venturing out to busy and high profile locations, but the fanatics have managed to stop a sports competition in its tracks.
On Friday the Bangladesh Swimming Federation (BSF) postponed its annual long-distance competition after threats were made by Islamic extremists. The general secretary of the federation said 'We've postponed the national competition for security fears following threats from militants'. The annual competition was scheduled to be held on December 12th on the Chitra River in Narail.
The BSF received a fax from the district organisers, Narail Sports Association, stating that the deputy commissioner had received threats on his life over recent arrests and that there were fears of violence.
This postponement follows the cancellation of the Women's event in Chandpur last year after a fatwa was given by fundamentalists against women competing in swimsuits.
The authorities were forced to cancel this week's event as they do not have the resources to ensure the safety of all spectators along the 15km stretch of river. This situation highlights the urgent need for action to be taken against these fanatical Islamists who seem to be gaining power by forcing events such as this to be cancelled.

Huge cache of arms and ammo seized
PARAMILITARY Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) on December 10 seized four AK47 rifles, seven 9mm pistols, three local guns and a large cache of ammunition from Naikkhongchhari. This recovery of arms adds and brings the total of AK47 rifles to six, 9m pistols to 17 and bullets to 10,000 in the last month. The latest arms and ammo were found dumped in the dense jungle by Naikkhongchhari Batalion Comander Lieutenant Col Abdul Awaland and his team. BDR sources said that the stash was left behind as the terrorists escaped for their own security. In Dhaka, detectives recovered one AK47 and 141 bullets from two persons in Shyampur. The two were on a motorcycle and managed to flee. Though a lot of arms and ammunition are being recovered, most of the criminals in possession of such weapons remain at large.

A Hindu JMB?
ON December 9 State Minister for Home Affairs Lutfozzaman Babar said that the JMB (Jama'atul Mujahidden Bangladesh) added a new dimension by engaging a Hindu in its suicide squad, referring to the Netrakona suicide bomber as Yadav Biswas. Wire was tied around his whole body and evidence from the bombings showed he was a JMB man and Hindu, said the minister. Later the authorities claimed that Yadav Das was by "no means" involved in Thursday's blasts in Netrakona and was rather persuaded to go to the explosion site. Ripon Sarker, injured in the blast said that he requested Yadav his friend to accompany him to the vicinity of the first bomb explosion in front of the Udichi office. Yadav's neighbours at his work-place and village, his employer, rescuers, locals and his relatives strongly denied the accusation that Yadav was a militant. The Superintendent of Police (SP) explained that lots of small wire pieces, used as splinters in the bomb, pierced both his thighs, and smoke was seen coming out from them. Police later expressed their confusion when three more bodies from the carnage bore similar injuries. The primary reaction of the state minister for home also weakened as a police constable, Humayun Kabir said he saw a cyclist with a carton entering the crowd after the first blast. About six yards away from the cyclist, Kabir asked him to stop, but he then quickly pulled a string from the carton, detonating off the bomb, the policeman said. The superintendent of police (SP) of Netrakona and an officer-in-charge (OC) have given contradictory statements about picking up the father and brother of Yadav Das after they had spent over 36 hours in police custody. The town was rife with rumours that police are pressing them to admit Yadav embraced Islam to substantiate the claim of the state minister for home. OC Mostak Hossain of Barhatta Police Station claimed that the two have been kept in police custody for their own safety. But SP Ali Hossain Fakir said that the police detained the two to quiz them about Yadav and his activities. However, OC Mostak told The Daily Star that Yadav's father and brother were detained following an order from the high-ups. Dipa Das, Yadav's sister, told newspersons her father and brother were not detained on security grounds, rather the law enforcers have been harassing them since the blast.



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