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Monday, July 12, 2010

Bangladesh charges 824 BDR guards for deadly mutiny murders

AFP, Dhaka, 12 July : Bangladesh on Monday charged 824 people for the massacre of scores of senior army officers during a mutiny in February last year that briefly threatened the government, a state prosecutor said.
"We have charged 824 people with murder, conspiracy, aiding and abetting murder, looting military weapons and arson," state prosecutor Mosharraf Hossain Kazal told AFP, adding the trial would take at least one year to complete. 74 people, including 57 senior army officers, were killed in a 33-hour siege at a military base in the capital Dhaka that was the first major crisis for the newly elected government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. All of the accused, who are being tried in Bangladesh's civil courts, have been charged with murder and could face the death penalty, Kazal said.
Police investigators on the civil case, which is the country's single largest criminal probe, have interviewed 9,500 border guards and civilians and have detained 2,307 people suspected of involvement. The killings were pre-planned, leading police investigator Abdul Kahhar Akhand told AFP, and stemmed from pent-up anger among Bangladeshi Rifles (BDR) soldiers over their superiors' refusal to increase their pay and improve working conditions.
"They mowed their officers down in cold blood, using semi-automatic weapons and rifles they'd looted from the barracks," Akhand said of the mutineers, who took over the BDR headquarters on 25 February, 2009. Photos : Reuters, Nashirul Islam

Tribal body opposes renaming Agartala airport after Tagore
Agartala, 12 July : A tribal body today opposed a resolution adopted in the Tripura Assembly on renaming of Agartala airport after Rabindranath Tagore and demanded that it be renamed after the last tribal king of the state.
"We want the airport to be renamed after Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya, who built the airport, and also designed it during World War II," Tripura Tribal Professional Students Association (TTPSA) Convenor Sunil Kalai told a press conference here. Kalai said the King of Tripura had acknowledged the greatness of Tagore even before the entire world came to know about him and helped him in many ways.

Forest officials propose elephant census in Darjeeling dist
Silliguri, 12 July : Forest officials in West Bengal have proposed to carry out a survey to map the dwindling numbers of elephants in Darjeeling district.
The census would cover the entire region from Mechi to Sankoch, former Indo-Nepal border, and later include the West Bengal-Assam border. No formal dates have been announced so far, but the census is expected to take place in September. “Basically, what we are thinking is that the census can be done by two methods. One is statistical method, where we will find the dung decay rate, and find out the probable number of elephants which can be here, and the other method is the direct sighting method. So these are the two methods,” said Tapas Das, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Darjeeling district.
The census is expected to take around three to four months to complete. “The last census says that there are 400 plus elephants here and I think this year after census, we will find out the exact number,” Das added. The elephant census was last conducted on 2007, and forest department is expecting a rise in the figures this time.

'Congress delegations' manhandled by 'Trinamool workers'
Khejuri, 12 July : A Congress delegation led by All India Youth Congress general secretary Usha Naidu was allegedly forcibly prevented by Trinamool Congress supporters from entering Khejuri in East Midnapore district Monday.
Naidu alleged that more than 100 armed agitators belonging to the Trinamool Congress stopped them at Miya More, some 15-20 km from Khejuri, bordering Nandigram. They also manhandled Dipak Maity, district president of Congress Seva Dal, in front of police and damaged two vehicles including that of the party's district president, she alleged.
Tribal outfit undecided on supporting Gorkhaland creation
ANI, Jalpaiguri, 12 July : The Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad, a tribal outfit, met in Jalpaiguri District, and is still indecisive about supporting the demand for a separate Gorkhaland state.
The Parishad, the dominant tribal organisation in West Bengal’s Terai and the Dooars foothills region, has already released a map comprising the tribal belts demanding Sixth Schedule status, which would grant more autonomy and powers to help develop the backward tribal region.
“Yesterday, my party members went there and heard the views of the Morcha (Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, which is spearheading the movement for the separate state). Today, we didn’t discuss anything about the so-called Gorkha Adivashi Pradesh. It is nothing but a slogan of the Morcha. We do not agree with their proposal. Our committee will decide whether we will go for a meeting with the Morcha or not in future. But still we demand the Sixth Schedule (status), which is our constitutional right, for Terai and Doars (region),” said Birsa Tirkey, the state president of the Parishad. File Photo : Arnab Mitra

Andaman administrator calls on Minister of Rural Develop
PIB Press Release, New Delhi, 12 July : Union Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister C.P.Joshi has assured full cooperation from Centre to Andaman & Nicobar Islands Administration in respect of timely aid by the ministry for the implementation of Mahatma Gandhi NREGA along with other flagship programs of the Government under the Ministry of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj in the Union Territory. READ FULL RELEASE

List of 36 suspected war criminals at Bhomra Check Post
Satkhira, 12 July : A list of 36 suspected war criminals of the country has been hung at the Bhomra Immigration Check Post in Satkhira.
Moreover, photos of 25 of the 36 have been also been hung. The top four leaders of fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami - Matiur Rahman Nizami, Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed MP, Delwar Hossain Sayedee, and Mohammed Kamaruzzaman, in addition to two former parliament members from Satkhira, and Jamaat leaders Mawlana Riasat Ali and Gazi Nazrul Islam, are included in the list.
India's 1st education loan for scheduled castes in WBengal
Kolkata, 12 July : The Left Front has taken a major step towards upliftment of the backward classes in West Bengal. It has emerged as the first government in the country to introduce education loan for the scheduled castes. It is also the first to introduce online facility for availing the loan.
The Government has tied up with the National Scheduled Caste Finance Development Corporation (NSCFDC) to make the recently introduced education loan scheme available for the backward classes. In order to facilitate easy as faster disbursal of loan, the West Bengal SC/ST Development and Finance Corporation (WBSCSTDFC) has launched a website for online loan application.
"A candidate can download the application and apply online sitting in the remote corner of the state. He has to show up only once in the final stage of the disbursement and the funds go straight to his educational institution," said Debashis Bose, managing director, WBSCSTDFC. The website is (
www.wbsed.gov.in/wbscstdfc). The loan limit for SC/ST candidates is Rs 7.50 lakhs for students availing it within India and Rs 15 lakh for those availing it for abroad studies.
Maoists kill two panchayat heads in West Midnapore dist
IANS, Kolkata, 12 July : Maoists shot dead a panchayat head and his associate in Jamboni area of West Midnapore district, police said Monday.
Soumen Bhakat and his close aide Kamal Mahato, both members of the Jharkhand (Naveen) group, were abducted from their homes late Sunday. Their bodies were found between Sirsa and Balidaha villages Monday. No one has been arrested, said an officer manning the state police control room here.
“A large contingent from the Jamboni police station has reached the spot. Preliminary enquiry is being conducted. The reason for the killing is yet to be ascertained,” the officer said.
Bangladesh government reopens embassy in Kabul soon
Dhaka, 12 July : Bangladesh has decided to reopen its embassy in Afghanistan soon. This was stated by Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni in Dhaka Sunday.
The process has been initiated as as Afghanistan is now a member of SAARC as well, she told a news briefing at the Foreign Ministry. An official team will visit Kabul to select the mission building offered by Afghanistan. Bangladesh mission in Kabul was shut down sometime in 1989. Late Sharjil Hassan was the last Bangladeshi ambassador to Afghanistan.
Around 40young rare cobras killed in North Dinajpur village
Raiganj, 12 July : Residents of Hemtabad village in West Bengal’s North Dinajpur District have claimed that they have killed around 40 young rare cobras.
The little cobras were found in a house. Villagers assumed that the snakes were in a hole under the house. Out of both curiosity and panic, several people came to see the snakes and killed them with sticks. The dead snakes were then placed in a bowl and burnt in a field.
"Cobras, called Naza Naza locally, is a rear species of snake. According to tradition, snakes should not be killed, but the villagers did so out of fear. We will look into the matter and we will ensure that it is not repeated. We are trying to make some plans to catch the snakes in future," said Apurba Sen, a divisional forest officer.

NIT seat distribution upsets Andaman & Nicobar students
Port Blair, 12 July : The seat distribution system of NIT Puduchery has upset the students of Andaman and Nicobar Islands as only ten students from the islands could manage seat in the institute.
Only 45 seats have been reserved for the students of both Puducherry and Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the newly establish NIT and the earlier practice of allotment of supernumerary seats in various NITs has been dispensed with by the Centre from this academic season.
West Bengal releases 3district human development reports
Kolkata, 12 July : An in-depth study of three districts in West Bengal reveals that where you live can determine your well-being as there are wide variations in human development between districts and also between rural and urban populations.
According to recent surveys, in the South 24 Parganas district gender gaps in literacy have been narrowing faster than the state average and more than one-third of women own land. In North 24 Parganas, however, the picture is mixed - with a rise in income and purchasing power in the ever-spreading urban areas, acute distress in the rural areas (in nearly 30% of rural households) and severe malnutrition in the slums. In Uttar Dinajpur district, women’s political empowerment is noteworthy at 35% of seats in Panchayati Raj Institutions even prior to reservation of seats for women but fertility rates of 4.9 are significantly higher than the state average of 2.4.
It is also reported that the Sunderbans in South 24 Parganas is highly vulnerable to climate change and it is estimated that 15% of the region will be submerged by 2020. Neglecting the Sunderbans can have global implications.
These are among the findings of the three District Human Development Reports (HDRs), for the districts of North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas and Uttar Dinajpur, released by the Government of West Bengal, maintaining its lead as the state far ahead in incorporating the human development approach in planning at district-levels.
Ind-Bangla chambers sign MoU to boost cross-border trade
Dhaka, 12 July : Two leading chambers of Bangladesh and India Sunday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Dhaka to perk up bilateral trade, business and investment with concerted efforts.
India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IBCCI) of Bangladesh and Merchants’ Chamber of Commerce (MCC) from India signed the MoU at the Commerce Ministry in presence of Commerce Minister Faruk Khan. The agreement was signed when the declining regional trade fell as low as 5 percent, which was 25 percent a few decades ago. IBCCI President Matlub Ahmed and MCC member Manish Jhajharia signed the agreement on behalf of their respective sides.

Mangrove massacre in Sunderbans
Kolkata, 12 July : Large-scale felling of lakhs of mangrove plantations in the cyclone-hit Sundarbans sparked the fury of local people who are yet to fully recoup from the ravages that the cyclone Aila had caused to their life and livelihood a year ago. People also put up road blockades in protest.

The Chief Minister's Office has asked the District Magistrate of South 24 Parganas to submit a report on the matter, Sundarbans Affairs Minister Kanti Ganguly told Bengal Newz. “I had asked the DM to submit a report on Friday on this matter, which is a very serious issue,” Ganguly said. Joynagar in Kultoli falls under the Sundarban Biosphere Reserve which is one of the two biosphere reserves in the country (the other being the Niligiris) in the global network of biosphere reserves. Because of its unique eco-system, the area was also declared a World Heritage Site in 1989 according to the site's website. The extent of mangrove reserve forest in the Indian Sundarbans is around 4,260 square km of which 55 per cent is over land vegetation cover and the rest under water body or tidal zone.
Ganguly said lakhs of trees which act as a sort of buttress against the frequent storms, gales and cyclones which sweep the delta have been systemically cut down over the past six days. He alleged that prima facie it seems this has been done at the behest of a local politician and also with the complicity of Forest Department officials. “The DM has assured that investigations will be conductedto identify the guilty.”