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Friday, July 23, 2010

BD govt unlikely to ban religious parties to restore secular spirit

PTI, Dhaka, 23 July : Bangladesh is unlikely to ban religious parties or drop the Islamic verse "Bismillahir Rahmani Rahim” from the preamble of the constitution that will be reviewed by a top parliamentary panel in a bid to restore the "secular" spirit of 1971 'Liberation War'
Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina told party lawmakers that she was personally opposed to the idea of banning any political party, sources said today. "I am not in favour of banning any political party," Hasina was quoted as saying by the private Bdnews news agency after parliament constituted a special committee to amend the constitution two days ago. “We want to revive the spirit of Liberation War and enable people to reap the dividends of democracy," Hasina told parliament yesterday.
A senior Awami League MP told PTI that the ruling party lawmakers and the prime minister also agreed not to delete 'Bismillahir Rahmani Rahim' from the preamble of the constitution. He said Hasina told the lawmakers that no amendment should be made to the constitution which could hurt people’s religious sentiment.
Several religious political parties, including the largest Jamaat-e-Islami, have threatened to take to the streets amid speculation that they could banned.

Maoists kill Headmaster in Jhargram
Jhargram, 23 July : Suspected Maoists killed a headmaster of a primary school in broad daylight here because he defied a diktat of the Maoist-backed People's Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA) here.
According to our sources reports, PCPA had asked the school authorities to declare a holiday, which the headmaster did not. Six Maoists stormed the school and shot at the headmaster before stabbing him to death. The murder took place right in front of the students.
Some students have falen ill following the act. Photo : PTI

Five more swine flu cases in WB, taking the number to 26
Kolkata, 23 July : Five more people tested positive for swine flu in West Bengal Friday, taking the number of confirmed cases of influenza A (H1N1) to 26 in the state this year, the health department said.
"Five confirmed cases of swine flu were reported today. The cumulative confirmed cases are 36 during the year 2010," the department said in a statement. Sixteen people are now in hospitals. Two of them are critical, it added. A 58-year-old man died last week due to swine flu, becoming the first victim of the flu in the state.

RMG worker's death again ignites unrest in Bangladesh
Dhaka, 23 July : Readymade garments workers had barricaded roads at Mirpur section one and vandalised vehicles to protest the death of a female co-worker, who fell off the factory roof on Friday.
Police have charged the mob with batons and fired tear shells in a bid to bring the situation under control. The deceased worker, Beauty, used to work at Vertex Garments Limited in the area. Police sources said that workers had blocked the road after Jumma prayers and began to vandalise vehicles after they heard news about the death of their co-worker. The clash erupted when the police tried to stop workers and bring the situation under control. At least ten people, including law enforcers and readymade garments workers, had been injured in the clash.
Witnesses said that the clash continued until around 3.30pm(BDST) and that workers vandalised five vehicles. Additional RAB and police have been deployed in the area to keep the situation under control. Workers have taken stands sporadically in various alleys. Photo : Mustafiz Mamun

Peace broker Haldar meets ULFA leaders in Guwahati jail
Guwahati, 23 July : Government-appointed peace broker PC Haldar on Friday met jailed ULFA leaders in an ‘icebreaker’ meeting to prepare the grounds for start of formal negotiations with the banned outfit.
Haldar, a former Intelligence Bureau chief, held discussions with the ULFA leaders behind bars, including ‘chairman’ Arabinda Rajkhowa, for about 45 minutes in the Guwahati Central jail. Without giving away details of the meeting, Haldar said, “This was my first meeting with the ULFA leaders. It was more of an icebreaker meet.” He termed the meeting as ‘good and constructive’, though he refused to elaborate on the details. “It was a very preliminary meeting. I am just starting the consultations,” he added.

Kishenji aide Rajesh Munda among Maoists held in Salboni
Salboni, 23 July : The specialised anti-Maoists force on Friday apprehended four Maoist extremists including an alleged close confidant of top Maoist leader Kishneji in an operation in the Salboni area of West Midnapore.
Official sources said Rajesh Munda and three others were apprehended during a search operation in Sabli village in the district. They were being interrogated by a joint team of the Special Action Force and local police. The SAF is a specialised force within the CRPF created to carry out anti-Maoist operations.

Petrol pump owners observe daylong strike in West Bengal
Kolkata, 23 July : Vehicle owners and public transport operators had a difficult time in West Bengal Friday as petrol pump owners went on a day-long strike, demanding an increase in commission in the wake of recent fuel price hike.
"The fuel prices have increased a lot. In current scenario if our commission is not increased then it is next to impossible for us to run the petrol pumps," said Tushar Sen, president, West Bengal petroleum dealers association.

"We have informed the state government earlier about our 24-hour strike 23 July. In all 1900 refilling stations across the state there will be no persons and no selling will be recorded," said Sen.
Few petrol pumps across the state have been kept open for emergency services, he added.
DGP reprimanded, Speaker fined
Kolkata, 23 July : West Bengal Director General of Police Bhupinder Singh was reprimanded and fined by Speaker HA Halim on Friday for taking a photo in the House with his mobile phone camera.
The Speaker asked the DGP, who was produced by the marshal in a temporary dock set up in the well of the Assembly whether he had taken a photo in the House with his mobile phone camera on Thursday. The DGP, who was in civil dress, replied that the flash on his mobile phone camera went off by mistake, but no photo was taken.
The Speaker then said, “You say yes or no. I don’t need any explanation.” Since the DGP was speaking softly and there was no microphone in the well, his answers were conveyed by the marshal using the microphone of CLP leader Manas Bhunia. The DGP replied he had not taken a photo.
Halim said, “When I called you to my chamber yesterday you said you received an SMS from Darjeeling and when you tried to see it, by mistake you took a photo. It was not intentional. “But today you are saying that you did not take a photo, but the flash on your mobile went off. Why the contradiction?”
The DGP replied that he did not know if a photo was taken and the mobile phone had to be examined.
The Speaker then asked, “Don’t you think you have committed a grave mistake?”
The DGP replied, “Yes, sir.”
“Do you regret it?” the Speaker asked.
The DGP replied, “I regret it and apologise unconditionally.”
Speaker Halim then ruled that since the DGP had admitted his mistake and apologised standing in the dock in the House, his mobile phone stood seized and he was fined Rs. 1000 which would be sent to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. File Photo

Father and son among 3killed in Bangladesh Rail accidents
Dhaka, 23 July : Three people, including a father and his son, were killed in two separate train accidents on Friday.
In Kustia a father and son were ran over by a train at Poradah village of Mirpur Upazila at noon. In another incident an unidentified man, was crushed under the wheels of a train , on the Dhaka-Mymensingh railway route, at Samantapur area of Tongi Upazila in the early hours of Friday.

Month-long 'Hilsa food festival' organized at "Oh! Calcutta"
Kolkata, 23 July : Bengali-cuisine restaurant called Oh! Calcutta has organized a month-long ‘Hilsa Bhoj’ or Hilsa food festival beginning on Thursday, which will feature wide variety of delicacies made of Hilsa fish.
The festival is attracting a huge crowd, as this fish is a favourite among all the Bengalis. "It’s queen of fish, and Bengali always prefer Ilish (Hilsa) fish, whether costly or less costly. As far as the taste is concerned, a Bengali would never compromise on the money; they prefer the taste and the fish," said Debashish Ghosh, Regional Manager of the Specialty Group of Restaurants.
Many Hilsa-lovers feel the fish is also integral to the culture of West Bengal. "Bengalis love Hilsa fish. Lot of people from different regions and different personalities come here especially to this restaurant. Different caste and different community enjoys Calcutta ilish and they know Bengalis because of ilish. So, we can say that ilish is trademark of Bengalis and Bengali culture," said Kausavi Burman, a Hilsa-lover.
A wide variety of Hilsa delicacies are on offer at the festival that include steamed Hilsa, Hilsa cooked in poppy seeds, Hilsa cooked with mangoes, a creamy dish called ‘Ilish Malai’, Hilsa cooked with tamarind, and similar. The ‘Hilsa Bhoj’ festival would continue for 15 days.