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     Volume 6 Issue 45 | November 23, 2007 |

   Cover Story
   Straight Talk
   A Roman Column
   View from the    Bottom
   Food for Thought
   In Retrospect
   Dhaka Diary
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News Notes

The Lost Voice
Listening to Sanjib Chowdhury's voice on the radio reminds one of his smiling face and ever-youthful attitude. His fans and readers admired his music, lyrics and features, while musicians describe him as an icon in the music industry; a mentor who always had an encouraging word for every young musician.
Of the famous duo Bappa-Sanjib from the band, Dalchhut, Sanjib Chowdhury died from brain haemorrhage at Apollo Hospital on November 19 at around 12:10 am. His family members, fellow musicians and friends rushed him to the hospital last Friday when he began to have serious breathing problems. He had already lost a lot of blood and had gone into a coma. Sanjib's fans and well-wishers had begun to throng the hospital as soon as the news had spread. Sanjib was kept on life support for a while until it was finally taken off last week.
Sanjib's body was taken to the Teacher Student Centre (TSC) where admirers and fans paid their respect to him, before transferring his body to the Dhaka Medical College. According to his family members, Sanjib had always wanted to donate his body for medical purposes after his death. Renowned cultural personalities like Mamunur Rashid, Tapan Chowdhury, Fakir Alamgir, Subir Nandi, Andrew Kishor, Fahmida Nabi, Bappa Majumder, Biplob and others were there to pay their last respects. Different students' organisations from Dhaka University paid respect to Sanjib with flowers.

An exhausted and shocked Bappa Majumdar of Dalchhut was seen rendering support to Sanjib's family and friends. The band will sorely miss Sanjib Chowdhury's presence and inspiring lyrics. Along with Bappa Majumder, Sanjib formed Dalchhut in November 1996. In 1997, Dolchhut released their first album, titled 'Ah!' Dalchhut's second album, 'Hridoypur' soon became a hit. He rendered several popular songs of this album titled 'Ami tomakei bole dibo', 'Gari cholena', 'Bioscope'. Dalchhut recently released its latest album 'Jochona Bihar'.
Sanjib was also a journalist. He was the feature writer of many well-esteemed Bangla dailies like Ajker Kagoj, Bhorer Kagoj and others and had begun his career in journalism with the daily Ajker Kagoj in 1991. Born in Sylhet, Sanjib did his Masters in mass communication and journalism from Dhaka University.
The music industry in the country, now, has a void, which can never be filled.

Where did the light go?
The regular citizen feels the sting in the long hours of loadshedding during the summer months, when shops are forced to close at 8 in the evening, when power goes out during a cyclone and takes 24 hours to be restored. In monetary terms, losses caused to the country due to irregularities and mismanagement in the power sector in 2005-2006 fiscal year were Tk. 10,626, according to a study by Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) released last week. Voltage fluctuation and electricity shortage during this time caused industries a production loss of Tk. 8,355 crore. In the garments sector, the use of diesel-gas generators by 90 percent of garment manufacturers because of power shortage, caused losses of US$290 million. Thirty-nine percent of heavy industries and 35 percent of electrical equipment of residential clients were also destroyed due to voltage fluctuation. Bribery is rampant in the power sector and losses of Tk. 447 crore were caused by bribery in sanctioning new electricity connections alone. The list goes on -- from absence of transparency and accountability, irregularities in procurement and distribution, inefficiency and harassment of clients, the power sector is wallowing in corruption. To counter these, the TIB report stressed the importance of transparency -- making documents of major procurements and accounts public, for one. Also emphasised was the ending of political intervention in the power sector. The list of recommendations is also long and difficult, but, unless some strict measures are taken, this will be one tunnel without any light at the end.

Reopening August 21
Justice, although long overdue, is slowly but surely shining its bright light on the bloody August 21st grenade attack of 2004 during an Awami League rally on Bangabandhu Avenue. About 24 people were killed, including AL front ranking leader Ivy Rahman, who succumbed to her injuries a few days after the attacks, after losing both her legs in the grisly blast. The attack was an attempt on the life of AL President Sheikh Hasina, who was, at the time, giving a speech only a few feet away from where one of the grenades fell.

On October 1, 2005 RAB officials arrested a man named Mufti Hannan of Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, who confessed not only to being involved in the August 21st attacks, but also the attempt on Anwar Chowdhury, the British High Commissioner's life in May 2004 as wells as the Ramna Batamul bomb attack. However, despite the fact that he confessed to these heinous crimes and also found possessing jerycan chemicals, explosives and Tk. 1.5 lakh in cash, two members of the CID (Criminal Investigation Department) assistant superintendent of police Abdur Rashid, and his supervising officer, special police super Ruhul Amin, launched a fake investigation campaign, in which they apparently did not even interrogate the accused.
Under the Caretaker Government the investigations have been reopened and based on these allegations, a probe is now being carried out against these two suspected conspirators. In addition the CID is also carrying out an investigation against ASP, Munshi Atiqur Rahman, who allegedly accepted a bribe to divert the investigation on the attack of Chowdhury. On November 19 of this year, the CID seized detained Sheikh Hasina's SUV as evidence of the attacks since it was damaged considerably at the time.
It is a shame that even when these criminals are caught by the authorities, the hands of justice are sometimes bound by political manipulation and the greed of those officers who the city looks to for the enforcement of law and order. However, the re-investigation of these attacks is proof enough that at some point, the truth will come out and justice will, in some way, prevail.

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