BNP's student wing Jatiyabadi Chatra Dal (JCD) and Islami
Chatra Shibir (ICS) activists swooped on a protest rally organised
by general students in the Rajshahi campus the attack, left
about two hundred people, including students, teachers and
journalists injured. Instead of catching the attackers the
police launched several hundred tear gas shells, fired 50
shots and charged with batons to disperse the protesters.
The trouble began when inmates of the female dormitory Tapashi
Rabeya Hall spotted three youths on the roof at around 1 am.
The furious students at first chanted slogans and at one state
confined Provost Professor Shahuria Inam, house tutors Selina
Sultana and resident teachers Mahbuba Begum and Monwara Begum
for not cooperating with them in finding the culprits.
Unlike the regular campus conflicts a few teachers allegedly
took part in the attack along with JCD and ICS cadres. Among
the most badly injured is law department student Molly, who
was hit on her head with a stone thrown by Science Faculty
Dean Professor Nurul Absar. Then Absar along with IER Director
Professor Nazrul Islam assaulted Prothom Alo photojournalist
Azar Uddin, Amar Desh correspondent Asaduzzaman and ATN Bangla
Correspondent Sujauddin Chotton. Another teacher Aurangajeb
Rahman, Chairman of ICT (Information and Communication Technology)
department allegedly slapped a student named Nupur. The RU
syndicate has filed two separate cases against the female
students who confined the hall provost and others in the provost's
room and another against the RU students that caused damage
around the campus. What action they are taking against the
teachers who abused the female students, and the authorities
who did nothing when female students were asking for help
and protection, however, still remains a mystery.
The Ahmadiyyas have once again come under attack. This time
the venue was Brahmanbaria, the eastern district of Bangladesh
where Ahmadiat was first preached in 1912. A gang of about
100 zealots led by local BNP leader Abdul Quddus under the
banner of International Tahaffuz-e-khatme Nabuwat Committee
swooped on the Ahmadiyya mosque in Bhadughar just before the
Juma prayers on October 29. The advancing party was joined
by two imams of two nearby mosques who led about 1,000 people
armed with sticks, machetes and axes. They stormed into the
tin-roofed, bamboo-walled mosque and started to hit the devotees
ruthlessly. Imam Sabuj who was delivering sermon at the time
of attack was also hit on his head. While beating them up
the fanatics ordered them to vacate the mosque immediately
and never show up there again. They also declared that they
would set up a madrasa here, Monjur Hossain, district amir
of the Ahmadiyya Jamat, told. When the family members of the
Ahmadiyya devotees heard about the raid and came forward to
rescue their relatives, they were also not spared. A number
of women and girls were injured. Some 10 to 12 nearby Ahmadiyya
houses were also vandalised and plundered by the fanatics.
The police, as usual, came to the spot one hour after the
incident, and did not record any case. While our government
never tires of claiming Bangladesh a country of great communal
harmony the Ahmadiyyas are being subjected to continuous torture
and harassment by a group of fanatics again and again. Will
the government do anything about it?
Across the Border
Bangladesh Rifles was put on high alert last week along Bangladesh's
border with India as heavy deployment by both India and Bangladesh's
border guards near the border continued. The situation along
the Panchagarh border remained volatile for a few days as
BSF maintained its heavy reinforcements there after massive
exchange of gunfire between the border guards of two countries.
Tension escalated mostly along the northwestern frontiers
of Bangladesh as the Indian Border Security Force is frequently
changing their tactics to push more 2,000 Bangla-speaking
Indian Muslims into Bangladesh through the Panchagarh border.
Meanwhile Dhaka sent an aide-memoir to New Delhi venting concern
over the 'push-in' attempts to forcibly deport Banglai-speaking
Indian nationals to Bangladesh through different border points.
Indian Deputy High Commissioner S. Chakravarti was called
to the Foreign Ministry and handed the protest note.
Foreign Minister M Morshed Khan said the problem between the
two close neighbours could be resolved through flag meetings
at BDR-BSF level, as the two border forces are at loggerheads
over the issue. "We've expressed our concern through
the aide-memoire," he said.
" We have friendly relations with India, and if there
is any such problem, it should be resolved through flag meetings.
It is not right to push people into another country,"
the Foreign Minister said.
However, the BSF side was apparently maintaining a 'go-slow'
policy to attend a sector commander level flag meeting proposed
by the BDR to defuse the tension along these frontiers. The
Indian Border Force is yet to agree to hold the flag meeting,
and instead, has been continuing push-in efforts, the BDR
the World Bank
The government introduced a bill in the parliament providing
immunity to international financial organisations, including
the World Bank and the IMF. The International Financial Organizations
(Amendment) Bill 2004 was brought in the face of opposition
from opposition parties last Sunday in the Parliament.
Finance Minister M Saifur Rahman said the proposed law would
provide immunity to World Bank as a body--a liberty already
being enjoyed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Under the existing legal provision, only officials and employees
of the World Bank are given immunity from prosecution, not
the Bank as a body.
Under the proposed indemnity law, the World bank will enjoy
immunity from every form of legal process except in the cases
arising out of or in connection with the exercise of its powers
to borrow money, to guarantee obligations, or to buy and sell
or underwrite the sale of securities.
Another provision says: "No action shall be brought against
the Bank, by any agency, or by any entity or person directly
or indirectly acting for or deriving claims from any agency
or entity or person. There shall be recourse to such special
procedures for the settlement of controversies between the
Bank and the Government or the agency or entity or person,
as the case may be." As per the proposed law property
and assets of the Bank shall be immune from all forms of seizure,
attachment or execution, before the delivery of financial
judgement against the Bank. The preamble of the Bill says
that the Bank includes International Development Association
(IDA), International Bank for Reconstruction and Development,
and International Monetary Fund.
Political leaders and development activists, meanwhile, threatened
to go for a mass agitation, if the WB was given immunity for
its activities in the country. All the major left-leaning
political parties said Bangladesh's economic interest would
be jeopardised if the government went on with the proposed
law. Speaking at the rally held on 28 October, Workers Party
president Rashed Khan Menon said the WB had no contribution
in the development of Bangladeshi economy.
"If the activities of the WB are not questionable, then
why should it be given immunity through passing law in the
parliament?" Menon asked.
Jatitya Samajtantrik Dal (National Socialist Party; JSD) leader
Shirin Akhter said general people of Bangladesh were afraid
of the WB as it was responsible for shutting down mills and
factories in the country. "The WB produces poverty as
it always suggests the government to shut down mills and factories,"
Zakaria Mohammed Zakaria of Action Aid Bangladesh said.
(R) thedailystar.net 2004