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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Gunfire Erupts At BDR HQ, Dhaka unrest, And...

Panic keeps visitors off Book Fair
Dhaka, 25 February : The Amar Ekushey book fair witnessed a very poor turnout on Wednesday as very few book lovers, panicked by the BDR rebellion at their Dhaka city headquarters, visited the fair.
A good number of stalls remained closed during the fair hours and two of the three entrances of the Bangla Academy premises did not open.

West Bengal border districts alerted on Dhaka unrest
Kolkata, 25 February : All border districts in West Bengal have been put on alert following the mutiny by Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) troopers in the neighbouring country's capital city of Dhaka.
"The district magistrates and superintendents of police in the border districts have been told to be alert. They have been asked to take all steps," WB state home secretary Ardhendu Sen told reporters.
Sources said the Border Security Force has also been alerted by the union home ministry. India shares a 4,095 km-long border with Bangladesh, including the longest 2,216 km in West Bengal, part of which is porous, riverine and unfenced and prone to frequent infiltration and skirmishes.

Heavy gunfire at Bangladesh border security HQ

Bangladesh Rifles soldiers hold officers hostage
Dhaka, 25 February : Heavy casualties are feared as intense gunfire rocked the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) headquarters in Dhaka’s Pilkhana area on Wednesday after a mutiny broke out in the border force with renegade soldiers holding their top officers hostage over an apparent pay dispute.
Though the army and the rapid action force of police had encircled the BDR headquarters located in the heart of Dhaka, there was no word on what was happening inside the complex which was a scene of heavy firing for hours in the morning. However, at least one civilian was killed and scores injured in the gunfire outside BDR headquarters after the rebel soldiers stormed out and briefly seized a nearby shopping mall.

Speculation was rife that several senior BDR officials, including its Director General Maj Gen Shakil Ahmed, were among those taken hostage by the mutinying soldiers. According to local ATN Bangla television channel, the mutinying soldiers threatened they would destroy everything in and around Pilkhana if attacked by the army. "We have taken all the officers hostage," an unnamed BDR soldier told the channel. He did not specify the number of captives or whether there had been any casualties.
He said they would not free the captives unless the government declares general amnesty for all of them, meets the rebels' demands and withdraws army from outside the complex. A statement issued by the Army Inter-Services Public Relations told the BDR soldiers to lay down their weapons in "greater interest of the country".

Tripura Assembly adjourned twice followed by walk out of opposition Agartala, 25 February : Tripura Assembly today witnessed two subsequent adjournments at the beginning of business, followed by termination of Question Hour, and finally the opposition walked out from the House, demanding implementation of sixth pay commission recommendations and sending of an all-party delegation to Meningitis affected areas.
Speaker Ramendra Chandra Nath adjourned the House within five minutes after beginning the session when opposition Congress demanded pay hike for state government employees at par with the Central government employees. When the House reassembled after 15 minutes, the opposition MLAs stormed into the well with the same demand but the speaker disallowed any discussion on pay hike issue during Question Hour and finally the House was adjourned till 1200 hours.

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