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     Volume 5 Issue 85 | March 10, 2006 |

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News Notes

Rat! Rat!
Most of the election pledges that the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) made immediately before the last general elections have remained unfulfilled. These include publication of statement of wealth of ministers and MPs, a commitment the party took up back in 2001 to wheedle voters. "No effort for development and people's welfare will be successful unless unabated corruption is rooted out from the state and social life," the BNP manifesto read.
The party's pledge to wage a Jihad against corruption and nepotism went down well among the masses, most of who were scared to find their nation crowned as the world's most corrupt for the first time.
Five years after that, the voters-- weary and disenchanted as ever-- have discovered themselves in the murky world of dashed hopes.
The BNP policymakers, are, sadly, under this illusion that they can fool the voters once more, for the prime minister, recently told the parliament that her party would succeed in curbing corruption if it was voted to power again.
Khaleda's urge has come at a time when the country is abuzz with news of grafts and corruption by the BNP Faithful. Both of Khaleda's parvenus sons have so far been successful in averting increasing number of allegations showered on them by the opposition and the media. These imputations are all opposition's conspiracy, BNP loyalists cry. But the neither the party nor the government has so far done anything to prove the critics wrong. In a country where the citizens are fast losing faith in the politicians, the BNP's flip-flopping with a burning issue like this may turn out to be futile.

Shaekh Rahman and Bangla Bhai are Finally at the Dock
No matter how he is being dubbed today, the tyrant or the fallen militant kingpin, Bangla Bhai on the onset enjoyed the constant favour of the administration. The man whose shenanigans used to send shock waves through the nation once was allowed to freely go about his business, which was to torture and kill scores of people, whom he considered the enemy of the nation. The BNP-led coalition government was in denial when Bangla Bhai rose to notoriety under their very nose. In the beginning they apparently gave into the belief that he was a fictitious character concocted by journalists. The subsequent arrests of Shaekh Abdur Rahman and Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai have changed all that. The coalition government is now considering the arrests of these two kingpins as 'trophy catches', something to rejoice about.
If Rahman was meek during his arrest and surrendered without much hassle, Bangla Bhai wanted to show the arresting party that he had still some firepower left. He was captured wounded on March six from his Mymensingh hideout following a shootout with the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). He was hit by a splinter of a bomb and was burned by explosive. As he was carted along the rutted roads of Rampur village in Muktagachha the curtain dropped on his reign of terror.
Bangla Bhai's arrest came four days after the dramatic surrender of Jagroto Muslim Janata (JMB) supremo Rahman who was arrested from Shaplabagh in Sylhet along with his wife and children.
Bangla Bhai was the second in command of the organisation that strove to introduce sharia law and to secure on the spot justice that actually meant taking law in one's own hand. As they directed their wrath mostly towards members of the outlawed left-wing extremist party that once reigned in the northern Bangladesh, the administration turned a blind eye. Though the press highlighted the tales of murder and torture perpetrated by Bangla Bhai and his cohort, it was not until the country-wide serial bomb blasts which shook the country on August 17 that the authorities started to wake up to the danger that faced the country. The subsequent acts of suicide bombings that killed scores at last sealed the fate of these militants with religious tint. They finally fell foul of the people at the helm.
It is reported that 180 people were killed in the bomb attacks in last seven years. The killing spree, to which the JMBs connection has been confirmed, left more than one thousand maimed.
Among the seven stalwarts who were the members of the Majlish-e-Shura, the policy making mechanism of the terrorist outfit JMB, five have been captured so far. Behind the bars are Abdur Rahman, Bangla Bhai, Ataur Rahman Sunny, Abdul Awal and Hafez Mahmud. Salahuddin and Khaled Saifullah are still absconding.

Photo: Syed Zakir Hossain

Today we don't find women only as executives, doctors, teachers, pilots and other professions. To survive the hard and crude world, we see them earning a living at a pump station as well. At the Plana Fuel Station in Langalbandh in Narayanganj, five out of eight employees are women. This only shows how women are slowly breaking the social norms and facing the world. In also shows how men are changing their stereotypical views about women and their contribution to the society


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