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Friday, July 2, 2010

War crimes trial: Dhaka fears undue pressure from Middle East

Dhaka, 2 July : Bangladesh government fears “undue pressure” from Middle East countries, including a risk to jobs of millions of its citizens working there, as it prepares to try Islamists accused of “war crimes” during the 1971 freedom movement, says a report.
“A number of middle and top-ranking leaders said the government made the move (on holding the trial) on assurance from influential countries in the West that they would tackle any backlash from Middle East countries against the arrests of Jamaat leaders,” The Daily Star said Friday. The trial process began after “influential countries of the West” assured Dhaka that they would “tackle” any such pressures, the newspaper said, quoting sources in the ruling Awami League.
Government arrested three top officials of the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) earlier this week following a court order on a charge that they had “hurt sentiments of Muslims” at a rally in March. Their custody is being utilised to question them about their alleged role as leaders of youth wings of Islamist parties that targeted unarmed civilians in the run up to the freedom movement.
These Islamists picked on intellectuals and killed thousands from out of three million who perished in 1971.
13 ATTF militants from Bangladesh surrender in Tripura
Agartala, 2 July : At least 13 hardcore tribal militants of the banned ATTF group laid down their arms on Friday afternoon before Assam Rifles in Tripura.
The militants decamped from Satcheri in Bangladesh and surrendered with 15 arms and a big quantity of ammunitions and explosive. "They laid down their arms willingly and surrendered to Assam Rifles with the assistance of Border Security Force. The number of weapons they have surrendered with is fifteen; 11 AK 47 rifles, two SLRs, one INSAS Rifle and one 303 rifle. Along with that they have brought lot of ammunitions, 600 round plus, 30 magazines, 2 grenades and 23.5 kg explosives which is used for making IED," said the Commander of 21 sector Range of Assam Rifles Brig S T Upasani on this occasion.
The militants surrendered under the leadership of self-styled captain Jagadish Debbarma alias Jester, wanted by police in many cases of killing and extortion.

West Bengal government seeks counterinsurgency schools
Kolkata, 2 July : West Bengal has again requested the union home ministry to set up Counter Insurgency and Anti-terrorism (CIAT) schools in the state to take on the Maoists, officials said.
“The state government has to send its police personnel to CIAT schools in other states for training to tackle the Maoist menace and subversive activities,” said a state home department official. Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has written to Home Minister P. Chidambaram, requesting him to take urgent measures to set up the schools in West Bengal at the earliest, he added.
Most West Bengal policemen now go to Orissa for training with CIAT. The state had nearly a year ago requested the central government to set up CIAT schools to impart commando training to the police.
Then state home secretary Ardhendu Sen wrote to the central government, suggesting three places to set up such schools. These were Salua in West Midnapore, Jalpaiguri and Bankura.
Stephen Court fire : Cal High Court rejects caretaker’s bail
Kolkata, 2 July : The Calcutta High Court on Friday rejected the bail plea of Tarun Bagaria, one of the caretaker of the Stephen Court, in connection with the fire that killed 43 people.
Rejecting the bail petition, Justices S P Talukdar and Mrinal Kanti Sinha said the incident was too sensitive to grant him the bail. Bagaria was arrested on 25 March, two days after a fire gutted a major portion of the heritage building. Seeking Bagaria’s bail, his counsel Sekhar Bose said the investigation has been completed and the police have already filed a chargesheet in the criminal court. So further detention of his client was not required, Bose added.

Ashulia's RMG workers agitate for detained co-workers
Dhaka, 2 July : Tension ran high again at Savar's Ashulia when some 2000 workers of a readymade garment factory demonstrated on Friday demanding release of five colleagues arrested overnight.
The authorities shut down the factory at noon fearing agitation when the workers halted work. On Thursday night, the police arrested workers Moslem Uddin, 'Razzeque', 'Razib', 'Rezaul', and Nazrul Islam in a case filed by a tea shop owner on 29 June.

Uproarious scenes witnessed in W Bengal state assembly
PTI, Kolkata, 2July : West Bengal Assembly today witnessed uproarious scenes with Opposition Trinamool Congress demanding resignation of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, accusing him of misleading the House on killing of former CPI(M) MLA Ananda Das.
TMC member and Opposition Leader Partha Chatterjee claimed the chief minister, who charged the Mamata Banerjee-led party with the killing, had misled the House. He warned the party is contemplating a privilege motion against Bhattacharjee. Chatterjee said the 29 June killing of the former legislator was an "example of failure of police and Bhattacharjee who is the minister in-charge of the department".
He alleged that police had failed to make headway in the probe into "killing of 300 Trinamool Congress and Congress workers including in Singur and Nandigram".

Haldia Petrochem strapped for cash as product prices drop
Kolkata, 2 July : The management of Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd (HPL) is examining ways of deferring routine payments to lenders and vendors to overcome a cash flow crisis - a throwback to the difficult times in the early 2000s when the company was struggling to stay afloat amid mounting debt.
The cash-strapped company considered scaling back production despite recently expanding capacity by around 30% at a cost of Rs1,260 crore, according to two persons familiar with the situation. They did not want to be named.
Major fire engulfs Rice mill at Kalna in Bardhaman district
Kalna, 2 July : A major fire engulfed Omerpur rice mill at Kalna in Bardhaman district early today, fire brigade sources said.
The blaze that broke out at 0230 hours was raging despite efforts to douse the flames by two fire engines. The firemen used ladders to go atop the roof of the mill to spray water cannons to control the flames. According to a local estimate, rice and paddy worth Rs 7 crore were destroyed in the fire. There had been no casualty. Investigatiion was on to ascertain the causes.
Folk songs are part and parcel of our rich Bengali culture
BSS, Rangpur, 2 July : Speakers at the inaugural ceremony of a three-day 'Bangla Link Rangpur Divisional Folk Song Festival-2010' (Vaoyaiya Utsab) here have said that the folk songs are part and parcel of the rich Bengali culture.
They also laid special stresses on preserving, flourishing and nurturing the rich cultural heritage of our predecessor forefathers and foremothers for knowing the roots of the proud Bengali nation and leading it forward with its own identity at home and abroad. They said this yesterday at the inaugural ceremony of the festival being organised by Rangpur Sound Touch with Bangla Link sponsorship at Rangpur Town hall auditorium with the participations of the best Vaoyaiya artists of eight districts in Rangpur division.
Earlier, a colourful rally participated by folk song artists of all ages from all eight districts under Rangpur division and distinguished personalities was organised in the streets of the city.