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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Begum bridge exchanged greetings after 18 years !!

Hasina broke the ice, Khaleda smiled
Dhaka, 21 November : Bangladesh’s “battling begums”, former Prime Ministers Sheikh Hasina Wajed and Begum Khaleda Zia, today exchanged good wishes for the first time in last 18 years. The long-time rivals shook hands, smiled and spoke during the Bangladesh Armed Forces Day parade here to applause from guests, including top officials of the army-backed interim government.
The pair, who never spoke to each other during the last 15 years they rotated as Prime Ministers, were perhaps brought closer by adversity. Arrested last year for alleged corruption, they have been freed to persuade their parties to take part in the 18 December elections.
Some 10 chairs separated the two women, but they managed to come face to face on one occasion. Hasina broke the ice, asking: “How are you?” Khaleda smiled and replied: “I have been fine. What about you?” “I am fine too,” Hasina said. “It’s strange that when we were in jail in adjacent buildings at the Parliament complex, we never got to talk or even see each other. It’s nice to have met you.” They spoke a while longer before parting. Hasina and Khaleda had last sat down together in 1990 when they jointly led a people’s revolt to oust military ruler H.M. Ershad.
KOLKATA INPUTS : In September, two other Bengali rivals, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Mamata Banerjee, had come face to face for the first time but failed to solve the Singur standoff.
Hasina’s Awami League and Khaleda’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party too retain their differences. Awami has agreed to fight the polls but the BNP wants a 10 day postponement.

Bangladesh's policewomen go global, first in Asia
Dhaka, 21 November : Bangladesh's police women have joined a worldwide network of police women as they launched 'Bangladesh Police Women's Network' on Friday. As part of police reform process, it will arrange training programmes and take other initiatives to give the women members of police a boost.
"Bangladesh gets connected to the international network as the first Asian nation, which will contribute in eliminating violence against women and children, and in the fight against dowry in the coming days," home adviser MA Matin said while inaugurating the network at a hotel in the city.
"The network will also help increase the recruitment of women in the police," he said, adding that women now counted only 1.2 % of the the country's police force. The police women have been serving efficiently in the United Nations Peacekeeping Missions in East Timor, Sudan, Congo, Ivory Coast, Liberia and Kosovo, the home adviser told Bengal News.
Bangladesh primary and mass education adviser Rasheda K Chowdhury, home secretary Abdul Karim, inspector general of police Noor Mohammad, UNDP resident representative in Bangladesh Renata Lok Dessallien, among others, attended the ceremony.
Ethnic violence may erupt in Derjeeling Hills : Intelligence Report
Kolkata, 20 November :
The Centre has asked the state government to find out if there were any chances of ethnic violence in the Derjeeling Hills post the second tripartite meeting due in November-end.
Sources said the ministry of home affairs has information that there could be large-scale violence in the Hills following the second tripartite meeting, which is likely to be held between November 26 and 28. The MHA fears that the meeting might fail and lead to intense clashes. "The report must be filed on a priority basis, because the tripartite meeting is nearing," said a senior official at Kolkata's Writers' Buildings. The WB state home department, has, therefore, already started its investigations. WB home secretary Asok Mohan Chakrabarti is supposed to travel to Darjeeling next week, but the MHA wants the report within a couple of days.
The IB has informed its state counterpart that quite a few foreign hands are supporting those involved in the ongoing agitation in the Hills.
The Indian home ministry wants the state to step up vigil on army installations located along National Highways 31A, 31 and 55 - specifically on Binaguri, Kalimpong and Sukna points and the Mountain Division in Sikkim. It fears that an outbreak of trouble in the Hills and the Dooars may affect the movement of security forces. The Centre wants the state government to categorically mention the group who masterminded the Salboni blast, as the Centre is anxious about the Left-wing extremists.
Following the Centre's instructions, the WB home secretary advanced his visit to West Midnapore by a day and visited the district on Wednesday so that he could meet officials before compiling his own report to the Union home ministry. Earlier, he was supposed to go to West Midnapore on Thursday.

2 Journalists dead in bike mishap in the way to cover news at Salar
Behrampore, 20 November : Two journalists died on Thursday when the motorcycle they were travelling in collided with a private bus near Gangedda village under Bharatpur police station.
Milan Mondal (48), Murshidabad district correspondent of Star Ananda and Sisir Maiti (26), a reporter for Bartaman newspaper, were on the former's motorcycle, going to cover an incident at Salar. According to an eyewitness, the bike was going at a high speed. At a blind turn near Gangedda, it collided head-on with a private bus, which was also speeding.
Mondal died on the spot and Maiti was thrown into a roadside pond. Local residents later brought out Sisir from the pond. He was admitted to Kandi Sub-divisional Hospital. Both his legs had been fractured and he also suffered serious head injuries. He was referred to Behrampore New General Hospital, where he died. Police have seized the bus, but its driver and helper managed to flee.

BNP ready for 28 December vote: Khaleda
Dhaka, 20 November : BNP will to go to the general election on 28 December, if conditions are met, Khaleda Zia announced in a televised briefing after back-to-back meetings of her party and the four-party alliance on Thursday night.
In an immediate reaction, commerce adviser Hossain Zillur Rahman, the government's spokesman, said they had nothing to say at the moment but would give a decision after further discussions. The Election Commission voiced satisfaction over the announcement, however, calling the apparent compromise "fair progress".
Khaleda had steered an hour-long 'critical meeting' of her party's top policymaking forum to come to a decision on joining the general election, 72 hours after she announced the four-party alliance's four-point demands. The standing committee meeting began around 7pm at the chairperson's Gulshan office, followed straight on by the four-party talks beginning at 8pm.
"We will contest the election if it is held on 28 December, but the rest of our conditions -- one month deferment of Upazila election, repeal of RPO's 91E provision and total lift of state of emergency have to be met," Khleda said after a four-party alliance meeting. She had given the government 48 hours on Monday to meet four demands, including a fresh schedule, for the four-party alliance to go to elections.
The government launched into frantic discussions with the Awami League and BNP-led alliances on Tuesday, but the stakeholders failed to reach consensus over delaying the polls.
Finally, the government on Wednesday announced that the election would be held on 18 December as scheduled.

Rizwanur death case : Kolkata Cops summoned in court
Arrest order for Rizwanur's industrialist father in-law Todi & Co.
Kolkata, 20 November : A court here has directed three police officers accused in the Rizwanur Rahman death case to appear before it on 24 November even as the Calcutta High Court had earlier ordered them to surrender by 21November.
Judicial Magistrate Madhumita Roy, taking into account a plea by lawyers of the police officers that they moved an appeal challenging Tuesday's high court order directing them to surrender within three days, asked them to appear personally on 24November.
The court also directed the CBI to arrest and produce Rizwanur's industrialist father in-law Ashok Todi, his brother Pradip Todi and brother in-law Anil Saraogi by December three. They have been evading arrest and have not appeared in the court despite summons, CBI counsel Partha Tapaswi said.
Former deputy commissioner (detective department) of Kolkata Police Ajoy Kumar and two officers from his department, Ashok Todi, Pradip Todi and Saraogi along with Pappu were accused of abetting the suicide of computer graphics teacher Rizwanur, criminal intimidation and criminal conspiracy.

Suspected B'deshi national ISI agent nabbed after 5 years
Kolkata, 19 November : A suspected ISI agent, on the run for the past five years, was arrested by Kolkata Police's special task force (STF) on Wednesday morning.
Abdul Kasem, a Bangladeshi national with at least four aliases, escaped from a Mekhligunj court lock-up in 2003. Since then, he is believed to have visited India at least four times. Each time he used a different passport. Kasem, a resident of Noakhali in Bangladesh's Fenni district, was arrested in Jaisalmer on 9 September, 2002. Several incriminating documents on military bases in North Bengal's Jalpaiguri were found on him. "Most of these were about the Binnaguri cantonment," a senior officer said.
On receiving information from Jaisalmer, a case was started by Banarhat police station against Kasem. On 13 September, another case of forgery was started against him at the Mekhligunj police station. "He had a fake visa and passport with him," an officer said.
On 25 June, 2003, Kasem escaped from the lock-up of Mekhligunj court after breaking through the ventilator. Since then, he was on the run. The SIB issued a red-corner notice against his name. On Wednesday morning, the STF received a tipoff that Kasem was in the New Market area. A team immediately left for the locality to hunt him down. Kasem was finally located and arrested. Three Bangladeshi passports were found on him. These had been issued in the names of Nazrul, Ratan and Shah Alam. He had another alias Sushil Roy. No other document or arms were found in his possession.
Police suspect that Kasem was primarily used to garner information about military bases, especially in the eastern region.

Govornment decision unacceptable : BNP
Dhaka, 19 November : The BNP and its allies have stopped short of refusing to join the general election after the government announced it would press on with the 18 December, voting on a lack of consensus, but termed the decision "one sided" and "unacceptable".
BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia met with the leaders of the four-party alliance at her Gulshan office in the city as the government 's announcement came from the commerce adviser.
"The commerce adviser's announcement has put a barricade to each party's participation in the polls. He has made the announcement without any discussion with us," BNP secretary general Khandakar Delwar Hossain said, emerging from the four-party meeting.
Delwar alleged that the government was trying to keep the four-party out of the election.

Nomination deadline 23 November,Election dates remain unchanged
Dhaka, 19 November : The nomination deadline for parliamentary and Upazila elections has been pushed back three days to 23 November, but the election dates of 18 December and 28 remain unchanged, the chief election commissioner told Bengal News Wednesday night.
Adviser Hossain Zillur Rahman had earlier announced that the government wanted to defer the general election to 28 December and Upazila polls to 8 January,2009. But now they planned to go ahead with parliamentary polls on 18 December since major parties failed to reach consensus, he said.
The announcement apparently capped two days of intense negotiations after BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia on Monday gave the government 48 hours to meet four demands, including a fresh schedule, for the four-party alliance to go to elections. Khaleda met with leaders of the four-party alliance Wednesday evening as the deadline came to a close.
Chief election commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda had said hours before they were ready to reschedule the general election for 28 December if the government could get all parties to agree on the date. However, the Election Commission had not received any directives from the government until in the evening, he told reporters.

Bail of police officers in Rizwanur case cancelled
Kolkata, 18 November : The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday cancelled the bail plea of three former Kolkata police officers, accused of abetting the suicide of computer graphics teacher Rizwanur Rahman and directed them to surrender within three days. A division bench comprising justices Amit Talukdar and P S Banerjee, upholding the prayer of Rizwanur's mother Kishwar Jahan seeking cancellation of bail to the trio directed them to surrender before the metropolitan magistrate by Friday. The three officers are former deputy commissioner of Kolkata police (detective department) Ajoy Kumar, former assistant commissioner in detective department's anti-rowdy section Sukanti Chakraborty and inspector Krishnendu Das.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is investigating the Rizwanur death case on a directive by the high court, had supported Jahan's prayer for cancellation of bail to the three officers claiming that they could try to influence witnesses in the case.
Seven persons, including the police officers, were accused under sections 306 (abatement to suicide), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy). Rizwanur's father in-law Ashok Todi, his brother Pradip Todi and brother in-law Anil Saraogi could not be arrested yet, as the CBI could not trace them, while another accused Moinuddin alias Pappu is behind bars.
Rizwanur, coming from a modest background, was found dead near the railway tracks on 21September, last year, a month after his marriage to Priyanka, daughter of industrialist Ashok Todi. The police officers had allegedly summoned the couple to the city police headquarters thrice in early September last year and threatened him to make him part with his wife.

Khaleda Zia, advisers hold 'fruitful' meeting
BNP keen to go to elections
Dhaka, 18 November : One of the five advisers who held talks with BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia for an hour and a half on Tuesday evening said the meeting to discuss the four-party's four conditions for joining the general election was "fruitful".
Bangladesh Govt. Commerce adviser Hossain Zillur Rahman called the meeting "fruitful". "More discussions will take place," he added. Emerging from the meeting, BNP secretary general Khandaker Delwar Hossain said: "We are satisfied with the outcome of this evening's discussions. BNP is a pro-election party. We are very keen to go to elections."
Foreign adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, communications adviser Ghulam Quader, law adviser AF Hassan Ariff, local government adviser Anwarul Iqbal and Hossain Zillur were at Khaleda's Gulshan office from around 6:45 to 8:15pm. BdST. The meeting was also attended by BNP joint secretary general Nazrul islam Khan and standing committee member Dr Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain.
The talks come after chief election commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda and fellow election commissioners met with chief adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed at his office Tuesday afternoon, in the wake of the four-party's ultimatum Khaleda had issued on Monday.
The BNP-led four-party alliance gave the government 48 hours to meet their four conditions, including a new schedule, on which they would take part in the general election. Election Commission officials said that Huda met with Fakhruddin Tuesday to discuss with the interim government head whether the polls could be rescheduled. BNP and its allies have called for total withdrawal of the state of emergency and re-announcement of the election schedule for the sake of pilgrims who are now in Saudi Arabia to perform hajj.

NB : Rival party Awami League and its allies have said they are against any deferral of the election date.
Bulldozers roll to remove roadblocks, but not in Lalgarh
Officers,Police gheraoed and walked back by armed tribals
Jhargram, 18 November : The West Midnapore district administration began removing roadblocks around Bengal’s Jhargram town but stayed away from nearby tribals stronghold Lalgarh a day after some tribal leaders agreed to the move at a peace meeting.
This is the state’s first initiative to clear the blockades angry tribals had set up to prevent police raids in Lalgarh and surrounding areas after a Maoist mine blast on 2 November, narrowly missed the WB chief minister.
The West Midnapore district authorities deployed bulldozers to remove tree trunks from the road at Kalaboni that branches off National Highway 6. Trees placed on the road connecting Jhargram with Bandwan in Purulia were removed at Dahijuri More. But the road continued to be blocked in at least two other places.
Officials led by Jhargram deputy magistrate Shasanka Shekhar Roy were gheraoed by a group of tribals on this road when they went to Magura, some 4km from Dahijuri, this evening. Roy and Binpur police station officer-in-charge Kushal Mitra left their vehicles behind and walked back to Dahijuri.
Around 3,000 tribals armed with bows, arrows, spears and axes took out a procession challenging the move to clear roads in Belpahari. “It is a movement for our rights. Who are they (the Marwa leaders) to decide whether the roadblocks should be withdrawn?” asked Padmalochan Mahato of Aguibill village.
Sidhu Soren, the secretary of the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities, said: “Our movement will continue till all our demands are met.Among its other demands are the release of all tribals arrested from the region in the past 10 years and an apology by the superintendent holding his ears for the police action after the 2 November blast.

Rare trees cut in Howrah botanical garden, Inquiry order given
Howrah, 17 November : Over 100 rare trees have been chopped down at the Botanical Survey of India garden at Shibpur in Howrah reportedly as part of a development programme, prompting an inquiry by the West Bengal government. WB Forest minister Ananta Roy said, "I have asked the chief conservator of forests to inquire into it."
"So far we have proof that at least 20 to 25 trees were felled and auctioned," chief conservator of forest Atanu Raha said. He said that forest department officers were making a detailed inquiry. "We are questioning people and trying to trace the felled trees. We will seize them when they are found."
The matter came to light after environmentalist Subhash Dutta lodged a complaint at the Shibpur police station. "I will take the matter to the high court and seek justice," Dutta said.
Joint director of the garden Girija Shankar Giri, however, said, "this is part of a development programme and we don't need to take any permission. We have felled the trees for the betterment of the garden."

Khaleda Zia has given the govt. 48 hours to meet 4 demands
Dhaka, 17 November : BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia has given the government 48 hours to meet four of the four-party alliance's demands, including a new general election date, for the alliance to run for the parliament.
The demands are total withdrawal of the emergency, fresh electoral schedule to allow hajj pilgrims now in Saudi Arabia to return to vote, amendment of the clause of the Representation of the People Ordinance that gives the Election Commission power to cancel candidacy, and deferment of Upazila polls.
Khaleda issued the ultimatum at a press conference after a 10-minute meeting of the BNP and its allies, to decide whether the alliance will run for the parliament, said a BNP spokesperson. Immediately before the alliance meeting, Khaleda chaired a meeting of BNP's national standing committee with the same agenda.

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