Supreme Court upholds deth sentences for '75 killers
Agencies, Dhaka, 19 November : The Bangladesh Supreme Court rejected on Thursday an appeal by the convicted killers of the nation's founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, paving the way for their execution after a 13-year trial.
The country's highest court dismissed the five men's appeal, upholding their 2001 guilty verdicts, drawing an end to a case that has haunted the nation since the death of Sheikh Mujib in 1975. "The Supreme Court has accepted our argument that the men are guilty and dismissed their appeals. They are going to go to the gallows now," said Syed Anisul Haque, chief counsel for the state. The killers first went on trial in 1996 and were convicted five years later.
Bangladesh on Thursday eagerly awaited the final verdict in the protracted murder trial of its, 34 years after he was killed in a military coup. Security agencies enforced a tight security vigil in the capital and vital installations elsewhere, fearing sabotage as five of the 12 condemned ex-army officers were still hiding abroad to evade justice.
Earlier, the five Appellate Division judges who were to deliver the judgement in the trial reached the Supreme Court complex amidst unprecedented security measures in the run up to the verdict. "The five judges have arrived" under heavy security escort as they are set to deliver the judgement at 11 am, a Supreme Court official told Bengal Newz.
Witnesses said armed police and elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) troops escorted the five judges separately to the Supreme Court complex, where over 1,000 extra police and RAB men laid a security blanket. They said the people were allowed inside the complex after conformation of identities and body and vehicle searches, while sniffing dogs were also engaged. Officials said extra security vigil was also enforced at other important installations including the nearby secretariat complex Dhaka Central Jail where five of the convicts were kept in isolated cells to avert any possible subversive acts ahead of the delivery of the verdict.
Dhaka, 19 November : Bangladesh Prime minister Sheikh Hasina has asked for people to remain calm and patient following Thursday's verdict.
Hasina, eldest daughter of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, expressed satisfaction with the final judgment on her father's killers, deputy press secretary Nakibuddin Ahmed told reporters. She also asked all to offer prayers for the just verdict, Ahmed added. Hasina cut short her visit to Italy to return home just hours before the landmark verdict that upheld the death sentences of five convicts, rejecting their appeals.
She was at her official residence Jamuna when the verdict was delivered. AL's advisory council members Amir Hossain Amu, Suranjit Sengupta, Tofail Ahmed, Abdur Razzak, presidium member Matia Chowdhury, general secretary Syed Ashraful Islam and joint general secretary Dipu Moni were with her.
Guwahati, 19 November : Two senior United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) leaders have admitted to the police interrogators that the outlawed outfit has set up bases in China. Which Bengal Newz columnist Subir Bhaumik mentioned earlier, "Paresh Barua, ULFA C-in-C first flew to Kumming in Yunnan province from Dhaka and had two meetings with Chinese Military intelligence officials between 13-17 February this year. Then he flew into Beijing from Bangkok on 23rd May and was in the Chinese capital for four days." at his 11 September's column.
ULFA ‘foreign secretary’ Sasha Choudhury and ‘finance secretary’ Chitraban Hazarika, now in police custody since 6 November, told interrogators that apart from Bangladesh they have bases in China and other foreign nations. The interrogation testimony was submitted to the Chief Judicial Magistrate's court in Guwahati on Tuesday.
PTI, New Delhi, 19 November : The Indian Defence Ministry has asked the Army to hasten inquiry into a land scam in Darjeeling in which three Lt Generals, including Deputy Chief of Staff-designate Lt Gen P K Rath, are under a cloud of suspicion.
In a communication to the Army, the Defence Ministry has asked it to expedite its probe and come clean on the role of the senior officers in the scam as it was harming the image of the force, both within and outside it, Defence Ministry sources said here. The letter has been written to Army Adjutant General's branch, which looks after corruption-related matters. The AG Branch had submitted its preliminary findings to the Defence Ministry earlier and given the in the case, they added.
The allegations against Lt Gen Rath have led to a dilemma in the ministry over his movement to the post of Deputy Chief of Staff.
District Forest Officer, Kharagpur division Milan Kanti Mondal said, "The herd numbers 78, which includes 25 tuskers and four new born calves is currently stationed at Kotibol forest near Jhargram." The elephants after after tearing down a 11-km-long electric fence, which ran on solar power entered villages like Koptibol, Royberia, Chunpara, Pungiri to feast on the crops, he said.
Asked what was preventing the forest office from driving the herd away, Mondal said, "There are four new born calves in the herd. Hence, we cannot drive them away unless they move away of their own.
This was decided by an international jury chaired by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today, the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust said. 62-year-old Hasina has been chosen for her "outstanding contribution to the promotion of democracy and pluralism, her determined drive to alleviate poverty and secure social and economic justice for her people through inclusive and sustainable development and her consistent commitment to peace", it said.
The award, which carries a cash prize of Rs 25 lakh and a citation, would be presented to her at a function to be held at a later date.
Barasat, 19 November : West Bengal Forest department officials and police seized 1,985 Gangetic turtles at Barasat on Thursday. Police said the turtles, packed in 20 bags, were being transported on a truck to Bongaon. The driver and his help were arrested and remanded in police custody after being produced in Barasat court.
Forest officials said the turtles would be released in the Hooghly.
“Erosion of the most vulnerable islands is not only taking place along the lines of a model predicted by us in a NATCOM report in 2003, but doing so at an accelerated rate. For example, the shape that Ghoramara island was supposed to attain in 2010, it has reached in 2009 itself,” said Sougata Hazra, director, School of Oceanographic Studies at Jadavpur University. READ FULL STORY
Midnapore, 19 November : Suspected Maoists shot dead a ration dealer at Bhadulia village of West Midnapore district, police said today.
Bhanguram Hansda, a former CPI(M) activist, was picked up from his house by about ten suspected Maoists and taken to a nearby jungle last night and gunned down in cold blood in front of family members. The militants fired two bullets at his head killing Hansda on the spot. He was a gram panchayat member a few years ago, police said.
"The idea behind the show is not to promote fashion per se, but to kickstart the 150th year celebrations in a manner that would draw the youngsters' attention. So, we have chosen people, who are quite well-known in their respective fields, rather than professional models to parade the outfits. The show will be interspersed with poetry and choreography," said Chatterjee. Kathak dancer Rubina Chatterjee will choreograph the show to be held at Aqua, The Park. Whyte & Mackay will sponsor the show that starts at 9 pm.