Home  -  Back Issues  -  The Team  -  Contact Us
     Volume 4 Issue 24 | December 10, 2004 |

   Cover Story
   News Notes
   A Roman Column
   Food for Thought
   Slice of Life
   Straight Talk
   Book Review
   Dhaka Diary
   New Flicks

   SWM Home


News Notes

Bandarban Safe Heaven
for Terrorists

According to a Daily Star report, Bandarban has become a prime spot for gunrunners to smuggle in and hoard sophisticated firearms and deadly explosives. With little security at the Bandarban border, which cordons off Mayanmar, this stretch of land has become ideal for this dangerous trade to thrive. Till date Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) has only one border outpost deep inside the hilly district. BDR sources said that more border outposts are needed in the area to ensure proper security. The surrounding deep forests provide a safe heaven to the arms smugglers.
Meanwhile, in the last two months BDR personnel have seized 15 AK 47 assault rifles, 11 submachine guns, two M 16 rifles, 11 submachine guns, two M16 rifles and a whole assortment of firearms, from the bordering areas of Naikkhangchhari.
According to a BDR official, thousands of Rohyanga refugees living in Naikkhangchhari and surrounding areas are linked to arms smuggling. Unfortunately, although law enforcers managed to seize arms, they couldn't catch the smugglers.
The BDR claims that they have sent written requests to the home ministry to increase the number of border outposts on the Bangladesh-Mayanmar border, but no such measure has been taken.
Apart from this, although the Naikkhangchhari Upazila is in Bandarban district, Naikkhangchhari BDR zone is under the control of BDR Chittagong sector. Chittagong Hill Tracts is also under the Bandarban Army region. These complexities are creating anomalies in security at the border.
In 1984 and 1998, joint-border forces from Myanmar and Bangladesh had taken initiatives to clear demarcate their borders but they postponed their activities after some mines planted along the border by Myanmar authorities, exploded. Why the joint-patrol has not resumed for the last six years is a mystery.

Alleged "Janajudho"
Operatives Arrested

Two suspected operatives of outlawed "Janajudhho" (People's War) arrested by the Police last week seemed to have a plan to explode a time bomb at the Biswa Ijtema ground in Tongi, where the second largest Islamic pilgrimage after Hajj took place and ended on December 5. Feroz Alam Lablu and Sheikh Mohammad Russell, the two outlaws who were alleged to have been found with a powerful time bomb, a shotgun and some ammunition from a house in Kafrul in the capital, have both been on the wanted list of Khulna Police for a long time.
Denying their involvement with Janajuddho or the PBCP, Feroze claimed to be a fish trader while Russell a peon of Election Commission Office in Dhaka. The bandanna-headed Rab decided to take matters into their own hands once again, due to which the suspects were admitted to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) with fatal injuries. As their conditions deteriorated, they were rushed to Suhrawardy Hospital, whereupon the doctors sent them back to DMCH. The police, upon search, actually seized 1-kilogramme of explosive, a shotgun, 24 bullets, 14 spent bullets, and pistol covers from the house the suspects had taken shelter in.

Geneva Camp's
Devastating Fire

A devastating fire caused the destruction of over two hundred houses at the Geneva Camp in the Golahat area of Syedpur on December 4, 2004. Firefighters from neighbouring areas such as Rangpur and Nilphamari rushed to the scene to put out the fire. It started at around five p.m. and it took forty minutes to demolish all the houses in its path. Fortunately, there were no casualties. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

Life Time Achievement Award Given
Bangladesh Federation of Film Society has awarded "Life Time Achievement Award" to six film personalities for their outstanding contribution to Bangladeshi films. These awards were handed over on the fifth day of the Second International Film Festival. The Siraj-au-ddowlah famed Anwar Hossain, designer of the first cinema poster, renowned actor and celebrated director Subhas Dutta, famous cinematographer Baby Islam, talented music director Subal Das, actress Sulktana Zaman and film producer and distributor Iftekharul Alam.

No Sign of Arson?
Though there has been widespread allegation of arson behind the November 21 fire incident in the New Bangabazar Hawkers' market, the probe committee has found nothing of that sort. "We have found no evidence of arson," reveals MA Razzak Chowdhury, Director, Administration, Operations and Development, Fire service and Civil Defense, who headed the 3-member probe committee. Meanwhile, suffering for some 400 traders, who lost their merchandise partially or entirely goes on. More than two weeks have gone by since the market was turned into ashes, but the fire victims have so far received no compensation from any quarter in spite of big promises. They are now passing anxious hours in the hope of getting a new place where they can start their business anew, specially during the winter when their business picks up. In fact, the Mayor promised that he would arrange a place for them as quickly as possible. But when asked the Mayor had this excuse to offer: "It's very hard to accommodate such a huge number of traders. We are however still looking for a place." Some of the traders however are not sitting idle for indefinite times in the hope of getting new place, they have already occupied the pavement and going on with their business, though in a very limited way.

Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2004