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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

India trip paves way for peace, prosperity : PM Sheikh Hasina

Dhaka, 13 January : Bangladesh Prime minister Sheikh Hasina, landing home from India on Wednesday, said her trip had consolidated efforts for regional development and elimination of poverty.
Speaking to reporters at the VVIP lounge of Zia International Airport on her arrival, Hasina said the four-day trip was aimed at establishing peace in South Asia and strengthening relationship between neighbours. The trip had opened up new horizons for Dhaka-Delhi ties, the prime minister said. She also said agreements signed by Bangladesh and India during the visit would benefit the people of the two neighbours, as well as Bhutan, Nepal and the rest of the region.
Hasina, on her last day in Delhi, was very positive about progress made in Bangla-Indo relations. Addressing a press conference in New Delhi in the morning, before flying to Ajmeer, Hasina had said her visit marked the beginning of "a new era of friendship and cooperation" between the two countries.
Hasina had flown to Jaipur from Delhi to offer prayers at the shrine of Sufi Mainuddin Chishti in Ajmeer just before before her return. She boarded a special Biman Bangladesh aircraft at Jaipur around 3:25pm local time, landing in Dhaka at 5.40pm(BDST).
Thousands of people lined the streets of Dhaka, chanting 'Joy Bangla', waving banners and throwing flowers, to greet Hasina along her route from airport to her official Jamuna residence. Police and Rapid Action Battalion had to grapple with crowd control on the roads in a bid to keep traffic movements normal. Despite this, several hours of gridlock ensued on the Dhaka's main routes. Photo : Mustafiz Mamun

Kishenji will be arrested very soon : DGP Bhupinder Singh
Kolkata, 13 January : West Bengal police chief today said Maoist leader Kishenji would be arrested very soon.
"We have got a fair idea of the whereabouts of elusive Kishenji and very soon he would be arrested," Director General of Police Bhupinder Singh told reporters at the N S C Bose International Airport here. The DGP was talking to reporters after returning from New Delhi where he attended the meeting on Left wing extremism called by the Union Home Secretary G K Pillai attended by the chief secretaries and DGPs of nine states affected by Maoist menace.
B'desh and India governments mulling 'extradition treaty'
New Delhi, 13 January : Bangladesh Prime minister Sheikh Hasina, on the last day of her India visit, indicated that Dhaka and New Delhi were mulling a formal extradition treaty.
"We have signed three agreements (on combating crime). Side by side, discussions are being held on an extradition treaty," she told a news-conference in capital as her 4-day tour of India drew to a close. India and Bangladesh gave a boost to bilateral security cooperation by striking three deals during Hasina's visit, Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal Matters, Agreement on Transfer of Sentenced Persons and Agreement on Combating International Terrorism, Organised Crime and Illicit Drug Trafficking.

Mizoram will take back Reang refugees : Tripura CM
Agartala, 13 January : Mizoram will soon take back around 35,000 Reang tribal refugees who have been staying in Tripura since 1997 after fleeing their state due to ethnic violence, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said Wednesday.
"The Mizoram chief minister during his visit in north Tripura held a meeting with refugee leaders 8 January. He also asked the refugee leaders to study the proposed land and areas where the immigrants would be settled after their repatriation to Mizoram," Sarkar told reporters here.
He had Monday held talks about the repatriation of tribal refugees with Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla in New Delhi. Sarkar said: "I have also discussed about the Mizoram refugee repatriation with union home secretary Gopal Krishna Pillai in New Delhi. Pillai will visit Tripura next month."

Maoists issue diktat to thwart Mamata Banerjee's rally
Midnapore, 13 January : The Maoists are ready to take on Indian Railway Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee at their own turf in the Jungalmahal area and have issued a diktat to the locals against participating in the much-hyped Trinamool Congress rally in Jhargram.
Even as the state government granted permission for holding the rally in Jhargram under special provisions where Section 144 has been imposed, it will be a challenge for Banerjee to conduct a successful rally in the Maoist den.

Human Rights Commission told to payfor BSF torture
New Delhi, Balurghat, 13 January : Indian National Human Rights Commission has told the Union home ministry to pay Rs 5 lakh to the family of a South Dinajpur boy who died after BSF soldiers tortured him in 2007.
The rights panel has also asked the ministry to give Rs 50,000 each to the three others in Masud Rana Sarkar’s family who were assaulted. The Asian Centre for Human Rights filed the complaint on behalf of the family on 20 March, 2007, a fortnight after 19-year-old Masud was thrashed in his house.
On 4 March that year, two groups from the villages of Palipara and Nadipara clashed over sharing of irrigation water. The losing side sought the intervention of BSF personnel in the area. But instead of trying to resolve the dispute peacefully, around 20 BSF personnel went to the village of Daudpur, whose residents had nothing to do with the row, and raided Masud’s house. His father Latifur, mother Mazeda Bibi and sister Fenciara Begum were also tortured by the personnel, who were allegedly drunk and were armed with guns and lathis.
All four were admitted to the Balurghat district hospital, from where Masud and Latifur were taken to North Bengal Medical College Hospital in Siliguri the next day. Masud, a first-year student of Balurghat College, died on the night of 5 March.
The general security force court, which conducted an internal inquiry in the BSF, exonerated all five accused jawans. The BSF chief had requested the NHRC to close the case without providing reasons on how they were let off. Photos : Sankar Das

Bangladeshi villagers help themselves to Indian wood
Alastair Lawson, BBC News, Bangladesh-India border, 13 January : The thorny question of properly demarcating the maritime and land borders between India and Bangladesh has been highlighted during Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's first official visit to India.
One of the legacies of the hasty exit of the British from India in 1947 is the fact that the boundary has never been properly marked out. READ FULL FEATURE

Gorkhaland stir hits Darjeeling's Tea
IANS, Darjeeling, 13 January : Shutdowns
and agitations in support of a separate Gorkhaland state have begun to hit Darjeeling's tourism, apart from ruining the flavour of its tea industry.
'Tourists are still visiting Darjeeling, but the uncertainty is creating apprehensions among them,' said Pradip Singh Arora, vice president of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hotel Owners' Association. 'They can't stay here freely. There are apprehensions among tourists that when a bandh (shutdown) starts, they have to leave the place,' Arora told IANS. The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), which is spearheading the movement in the hills for a separate Gorkhaland state, have organised indefinite shutdowns over the past two years, severely hitting the tea and tourism sectors - the region's bread and butter. And during the past one month, intensified agitations have disrupted normal life even further.
Echoing Arora, Travel Agent Federation of India (eastern India) chairman Anil Punjabi told IANS: 'The frequent bandhs are affecting the tourism sector in a major way.' The tea industry is also not untouched, though pro-Gorkhaland agitators say they will exempt the tea and tourism sectors from shutdowns.
At least Nine Gangasagar pilgrims killed in Dankuni
Kolkata, 13 January : At least Nine pilgrims from Maharashtra were killed when their bus collided with a stationery lorry in thick fog and turned turtle at Dankuni in Hooghly district Wednesday, police said.
Fifteen others were injured in the accident that occurred near Dankuni toll plaza after the bus driver failed to spot the truck, a police officer said. Many of the injured were in serious condition.
Central Govt's Tourism sanctions 98tourism projects for NE
Shillong, 13 January : The Union Ministry of Tourism is providing financial assistance to the State Governments in the Northeastern region for development of tourism projects based on the proposals received from the States.
During the 11th Plan, the Ministry has sanctioned various projects in NE, which includes 63 in Sikkim, 37 in Nagaland, 28 in Arunachal Pradesh, 20 in Tripura, 18 in Manipur, 12 in Mizoram, 11 in Meghalaya and 9 in Assam.
The amounts sanctioned for the NE States for promotion of tourism are Rs 3379.51 lakh for Assam, Rs 7956.54 lakh for Arunachal Pradesh, Rs 5488.18 lakh for Manipur, Rs 3341.32 lakh for Meghalaya, Rs 2886.15 lakh for Mizoram, Rs 6087.36 lakh for Nagaland, Rs 16344.53 lakh for Sikkim and Rs 2981.28 lakh for Tripura.

Train-truck collision halting traffic movement on 'Dhaka-Agartala highway'
UNB, Brahmanbaria, 13 January : A train slammed into a stone-laden truck at the Mogra level crossing in Akhaura early on Wednesday, halting traffic movement on the Dhaka-Agartala highway for at least 12 hours.
The truck, coming from Sylhet and bound for Agartala land port, had broken down at the level crossing, when the Sylhet-bound Udayan train from Chittagong collided with the truck, "tossing" the vehicle aside, said witnesses. The right side of the train engine was also damaged in the accident, said senior deputy engineer of Akhaura rail junction, TA Chowdhury.

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