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     Volume 8 Issue 89 | October 9, 2009 |

  Cover Story
  Straight Talk
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  Human Rights:   National Child Rights   Week
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  Star Diary
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Banks' Excess Liquidity

Banks in Bangladesh are not receiving investment proposals, and are sitting on piles of excess money. This is a very worrying sign, and bodes ill for the country's medium term economic outlook. The country's banking sector is comprised of 48 banks -- 30 private, 9 foreign, 4 state-owned and 5 specialised -- all with large deposit bases.
Surplus liquidity reached Tk 34,762 crore in June 2009 from Tk 12,989 in June 2008 according to central bank data. Loan against deposits stood at 59 percent for state banks against 87 percent for private banks, thus depicting a gloomy investment scenario for the government owned banks in particular, and banking sector in general.
The above is a clear indicator that economy is stagnant, and the government must pay attention to his matter. Otherwise we will pay a heavy price. Investment opportunities must be created and a sense of confidence must return. A situation where ruling party men indulge in extortion and tender manipulation is not one in which our overall economy can prosper.
Rafiqul Islam
School of Business
Independent University Bangladesh

The Rule of Law
We often hear of people being caught red-handed with drugs like heroin. But after a few weeks he goes scot-free on the ground of either benefit of doubt or the heroin itself turning into some 'harmless powder'. There have been several shows of phensidyl bottles being crushed under the road roller. But the main culprits remain ever-obscured. If one is ever arrested, he suffers at best 'a pinch' and gets down to his business in no time with renewed vigour. That is the main reason why crime is ever-increasing in Bangladesh. If criminals were confident that the clutches of law are too fragile to keep them in hold, why would they desist from committing crime? Above all, when that is the shortest way to achieve both wealth and power?
The whole situation here is simply a burlesque of cat and mice game and in each case what is done, done as an eye-wash. The true intention is not to eradicate drug running; but covertly wrap it up with a legal rug. It's simple stupidity to think the above kind of games will ever free the country of drugs.
Not only drug running, but all the criminal activities here are in some way or other enjoy the lenient and half-hearted application of law. A double murderer gets bail not with much difficulty and thereafter, very soon eliminates the witnesses with even more brutality. Ultimately the case is decided in his favour on the plea that the case has not been 'adequately proved'. The same thing happens with rape cases. The rapists move about with impunity while the raped hide her face under the earth in shame and disgrace.
Considering the prevailing situation here in Bangladesh, crime would never come down. Bangladesh is now suffering from the worst disease of unjustified and bipartisan complacence to criminals on various excuses. The law has, time and again, proved very inadequate to award befitting punishment to the culprits. A half-hearted effort to control crime with blunt laws is sure to meet failure. While stringent laws are needed to effectively control crime; our law-makers have miserably failed to give due attention to that essentiality though they haven't lagged behind to enact laws for enhancing their personal and group benefits. Until and unless this attitude changes there is little hope of the crime situation getting better.
M Shawkat Ali
Uttara; Dhaka

Unhealthy hospitals

Bangladesh, like every country, consists of rich and poor. But it seems in our country only the poor have to struggle at every point .The healthcare service in Bangladesh is very lavish and very modern only the private hospitals, which only the rich can afford. Of course we all know about the government Medical college hospitals and it's also true that the medical college is well equipped but the instruments are old and need renovation. The doctors are very few and the number of patients is relatively very high. The patients are therefore deprived of care and medical assistance and the condition is such that none but the ultra rich are assured of adequate healthcare. The condition of the beds and surrounding environment is terribly unhygienic. The rich sleep in cabins while poor patients are lying on the floors and even near the stairways. This should not be the state of healthcare in a democratic society.
Mahbubur Rahman
Student of a government medical college, Dhaka

Hostage to Criminals
Recent incidents of rape and violence in the country are truly shocking. Ten activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) allegedly gang-raped a teenage girl recently and were later handed down token punishment at village arbitration arranged to ensure their escape by local Awami League leaders, according to reports in leading newspapers. Family sources said the AL leaders compelled the victim's father not to go for legal action and also took their signatures on three blank sheets to stop any future move to that end. Police also released two of the accused held on the spot.
Local sources said the ruling party leaders got annoyed after the incident was reported in national dailies. They intimidated the poor peasant family of the victim and made them publicly refute the allegations of rape at a press conference. The victim was intimidated to sue a local journalist who reported the incident of rape to his newspaper in Patuakhali.
This outrageous crime follows immediately after a leader of Pirojpur district unit of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) lured a class X student to a love trap, raped her and recorded it in a cellphone. The video footage has reached local youths through cellphone, flash drives and CDs and is also on sale in video stores.
Incidents such as these challenge the rule of law, and make us wonder whether we live in a civilized country. The government ministers can say all the good things they like, but the reality on the ground is very different. The perpetrators of such crimes clearly think they face little or no risk, because they have backing from powerful politicians. Even if they are “expelled” from the party or “fined” in a village Salish, in reality they can get away with anything. Our society seems hostage to these criminals in the disguise of politicians.
Naima Sultana
West Kazipara,

Due to the Eid holidays there will be no issue of The Daily Star newspaper on September 25, 2009 and therefore no issue of The Star magazine. Eid Mubarak and Shubho Bijoya to all our valuable readers!

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