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     Volume 4 Issue 42 | April 16, 2005 |

   Cover Story
   News Notes
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News Notes

Justice for Ahsanullah Master?
After months of agonised waiting family members of slain AL leader Ahsanullah Master may start hoping for justice as prosecution lawyers have stated that the charges against the accused have been proved beyond doubt. The court proceedings established that Ahsanullah was killed because of his role against the drug business led by Jatiyatabadi Jubo Dal leader Nurul Islam Sarker the prime suspect in the case. Nine of the accused including Nurul Islam Sarker are now in custody while four others have been released on bail and seventeen others are absconding.

On May 7 last year, Ahsanullah Master was killed when around 20 gunmen fired on an AL rally he was attending near his house in Tongi. A schoolboy Omar Faruq Ratan was also killed and at least five others were injured in the incident. The prosecution has sought exemplary punishment to the killers.

Bangladeshi teenager arrested in the US Victim of post-9/11 paranoia?
A 16-year-old Bangladeshi girl, along with her Guinean friend, have been arrested in the US, branded as "an imminent threat to the security of the United States based on evidence that they plan to be suicide bombers." The nature of the evidence -- except that it has been derived from computer records of internet chatting between the girls -- is as yet unknown. Even to the arrested girls -- upon whom lies the burden of proving that they are not suicide bombers.-- " to protect national security law and enforcement interests."

The 16-year-old's parents, in a New York Times report on their daughter's case, related that she was very drawn to Islam, their family religion. She started wearing a long veil when she was 14 and teaching Islam at city mosques. She often came home from school traumatised at typical, American teenager talk regarding boyfriends and the like, and at jokes and movies that offended her religious values. A teacher, who said that the school had tried to accommodate the girl's religious beliefs, also said that she did not mingle with her peers, but that she did not seem to be posing any threat either.

A 17-year-old girl with whom the arrested girl used to teach classes on Islam was quoted as saying that a terrible mistake had been made, and that her friend would never become a suicide bomber for she was totally against suicide bombings. According to the girl's mother, however, her daughter had told her during a short visit at the detention centre that the FBI had threatened her saying, if she did not confess to having terrorist links, they would deport her parents and put her two younger siblings in foster care.

Jamaat under Fire
The Jamaat-e-Islami in facing increasing criticism from various quarters. Naziur Rahman Manzul, chairman of Bangladesh Jatiya party (BJP) told the BBC Bangla Service recently that the Jamaat-e-Islami should be excluded from the government and ruling four-party alliance as religious fanatic groups are proliferating under the shelter of the Jamaat. Meanwhile the rose-branded Zaker Party's chairman popularly known as Atroshi Peer (his real name is far too long Peerjada Alhaj Mostafa Ameer Faisal) has bluntly blamed the Jamaat-e-Islami for all grenade and bomb attacks. At a press conference, the Zaker Party chairman referred to Jamaat's controversial role during the Liberation war and even proclaimed that it was not an Islamic party at all. The Peer Shaheb, however, conceded that if Jamaat changed over a new leaf, his party would think about forming electoral alliance with the party.

Forest land puzzle
A forest department report claims that a large amount of its land, around 558 acres, along Dhaka Mymensingh is now occupied illegally. The alleged illegal occupiers list include big shots like State Minister for Health and Family Affairs Mizanur Rahman Sinha, ruling BNP lawmaker MA Hashem, FBCCI President Abdul Awal Mintoo among others. A number of reputed companies including Square, BRAC, Social Marketing Company, Bangas company Ltd, Jamuna Sugar Mills also feature in the occupiers' list. Those named in the list however have vehemently rejected the allegation, giving rise to confusing questions among the general people. Sinha whose company Acme Group of Industries Ltd is named to have occupied 30 acres of land at Habirbari, has claimed that Acme Group doesn't have any land in the address mentioned in the report. Mintoo and Partex Group owner MA Hashem have also categorically denied the allegation and claimed themselves as the real owners of the 'disputed land'. Obviously, both the forest department and the alleged persons cannot be telling the truth. Now, who is lying is a real puzzle.

JCD men run amok at RU
A total of 55 rooms were ransacked and three teachers as well as 10 students were injured when Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) men went on a rampage on April 10 at Rajshahi University over vice chancellor's panel. Newspaper reports confirmed that the offices of the proctor and student advisor at the Administrative Building were also ransacked whole the police stationed nearby stood by.

Reports also said that the Attackers, who allegedly belonged to anti-Jamaat-e-Islam faction of BNP's student wing JCD, also damaged all the 45 rooms at the three-story Dean's Complex and more than 10 rooms at the biochemistry and molecular biology as well as geology and mining departments at the second Science Building and set fire to the pro-Jamaat teacher's chamber.
Teachers assaulted by the JCD workers were Dr Sultan-ul Islam, Prof Chowdhury Sarwar Jahan and Shafiqul Alam. Faruk Ahmed, Mintu, Rafique, Fatik, Sumon, and Rabbani were among the injured students.
The rampage began at 10:00 am as some 40 JCD activists of the faction led by formal General Secretary Aslam Reza stormed into the Adminstrative Building. Luckily the vice chancellor had already left for Dhaka at 9:00 am. In his absence all the office rooms were ransacked. Then they rampaging activists went on to launch assault on Dean's office.
The rampage was another example of anti-Jamaat JCD sentiment that is becoming more and more difficult for their leaders to contain.


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