Saturday, December 17, 2011

5 abducted, missing for 10 days

The five youths, who were abducted from Maligram Bazar of Bhanga upazila in the district on December 6, remain traceless. 

A group of six, claiming themselves as personnel of Detective Branch of Police, picked them up in a white microbus around 2:30pm that day, witnesses said. 

The abducted youths are Rubel Kha, 18, Belayet Kha, 23, Kiyum Munshi, 32, Sobhan Kha, 19, and Fayez Hawlader, 23 -- all from Atra Bhasra village of Kala Mridah union. Rubel was a madrasa student while the four others were unemployed, their family members said. 

Two days after the abduction, Sobhan's father Anwar Kha filed a case with Bhanga Police Station. Ten days on, police have yet to catch the kidnappers. They, however, arrested two local youths -- Kamal and Faruk -- for interrogation.

Incidents of disappearance, abduction and subsequent killing across the country have risen sharply of late.

Over the last few days, Munshiganj police recovered seven bodies amid allegations that some of them had been picked up by plainclothes personnel of law enforcement agencies. 

Fishermen in Barguna on December 11 came across at least seven bodies floating in the deep sea, about 160 km southeast of Pathorghata upazila in the district.

Meanwhile, family members of the Faridpur victims at a press conference on Thursday said they were frustrated at the police failure in rescuing their boys. They demanded that the police "act faster". 

Rafiqul Islam, nephew of Rubel Kha, said at the press conference that one Nirob of Algadia village under Nagarkanda upazila called Sobhan over the phone around 2:30pm on December 6, asking him to go to Maligram Bazar. 

As Sobhan along with Rubel, Belayet and Fayez reached there, the gang hustled the four in a microbus.
Informed by Fayez over the phone, Kiyum, accompanied by Asad Sikder, rushed to the scene to rescue them, Rafiqul added. 

But they, too, were forced in the microbus, Asad, who was dropped near Bakhunda on Dhaka-Barisal highway two hours later, told The Daily Star yesterday.

Aged around 35, the six kidnappers, including the driver, were wearing black coats, Asad said, adding that the microbus drove towards Faridpur town. 

On picking them up, he said, the abductors blindfolded all but him. When he protested and demanded to be released, the kidnappers punched him in the face and other parts of the body. 

Asad, a rural medical practitioner, claimed the kidnappers freed him as he pleaded for his life.
Rubel's mother Rashida Begum told reporters that the abductors demanded Tk 10 lakh in ransom for the five, which they could not manage.

Dadon Fakir, officer-in-charge of Bhanga Police Station, said the missing youths might be members of local groups that cheat people over the phone, and that they might have been kidnapped by rival groups.
Victims' family members, however, said their boys were never involved with those groups.

Locally known as "Welcome Party", members of these groups call people identifying themselves as officials of mobile phone operators. They then tell the receiver that he has won a lottery. But to get the prize money, he should send a certain amount of money to a certain mobile number.

On receiving the money, the gang, which has been operating in the area for several years, sells the SIM card to telephone recharge shops, police said.

Contacted for comments about the abduction, Additional Superintendent of Police of Faridpur Bijoy Basak said, "We've names of four people, including Nirob, who might be involved in the abduction. We're trying our best to arrest them." 

Shakib hammers ton in fight back

A brilliant partnership by Shakib Al Hasan-Shahriar Nafees took Bangladesh past 200 as the Tigers fought back after top order collapse on the first day of the second Test against Pakistan Saturday.

Bangladesh were 234 for five wickets at stumps at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in the capital's Mirpur. 

Shakib, also a former captain, hammered a century off 159 balls with his partner on the crease Nafees going back just three runs short of century.

Skipper Mushfiqur Rahim, who took to the crease after Nafees’ fall, will resume the second day’s play with Shakib.

The first day’s play came as quite a different experience for the local spectators who were not expecting anything another than short temperament and regular fall of wickets from the host side as the new Test began.
Winning the toss, Pakistan sent Bangladesh to bat.

As feared, opener Nazimuddin, who hit a century in the first Test, went back in the second over. Right arm medium fast bowler Aizaz Cheema made the first blow, trapping him leg before when he was yet to score any run.

He tore through Bangladesh bating line-up bagging three top wickets in 8 overs conceding only 18 runs.
Tamim Iqbal went back to the pavilion in the seventh over scoring 14 runs.

Later, Mahmudullah returned to pavilion in the eighth and Nasir Hosain 14th over.

Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Nazimuddin, Shahriar Nafees, Nasir Hossain, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Elias Sunny, Shahadat Hossain, Robiul Islam and Nazmul Hossain.

Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez, Taufeeq Umar, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Asad Shafiq, Adnan Akmal, Abdur Rehman, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal and Aizaz Cheema.

Source : 

7 die as Egypt's military clashes with protesters

Soldiers stormed an anti-military protest camp outside Egypt's Cabinet building Friday, beating women with sticks and hurling glass onto protesters from the roof of the parliament in a resurgence of turmoil only a day after millions voted in parliamentary elections.

At least seven protesters were shot to death in the clashes, including a prominent Muslim cleric, activists said. The heavy-handed assault was apparently an attempt to clear out protesters who have been camped out in front of the building for three weeks demanding the ruling military leave power.

But the mayhem — which came despite promises from the army-appointed prime minister that the protesters would not be cleared by force — threatened to spark a new round of violence after deadly clashes between youth revolutionaries and security forces in November that lasted for days and left more than 40 dead.

Several women protesters cowered on the pavement as military police beat them with truncheons and long sticks. Another woman was seen bring dragged away by her hair by soldiers.

Plainclothes and uniformed security officers threw slabs of concrete and stones on protesters from atop the parliament building, according to state TV footage and videos and photos posted by protesters on social networking sites. Protesters threw fire bombs and rocks at the security officers, lighting a part of parliament on fire and chanting "Down with the military."

"It's pretty ironic that the military is throwing rocks at protesters from the parliament building, where a sign is hanging that says democracy is the power of the people," protester Mostafa Sheshtawy said.
A human rights activist said gunshot wounds killed at least seven protesters in the clashes.

Ramy Raoof of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights said bodies arrived overnight at a nearby hospital. Raoof said it was difficult to tell what kind of bullets killed the protesters and that full autopsies were expected.

Hours after sunset, the crowds of protesters had grown to hundreds and clashes continued, with youths hiding behind a makeshift barrier of metal sheets and an overturned car, throwing volleys of stones at military police lined up in the broad avenue in front of the parliament and Cabinet headquarters.

There were reports of live gunfire from the rooftops. One protester, Islam Mohammed, said a fellow protester pushed him aside and was hit by a bullet in the stomach. "He took a bullet instead of me and fell to the ground. I have his blood on my shirt and hands," Mohammed said. The condition of the wounded man was not known.

Sahar Abdel-Mohsen, a youth activist, said she saw the bodies of two slain protesters brought to a Cairo hospital, both with gunshot wounds. "The blood is still dripping from the head of one of them," a 22-year-old man, she told The Associated Press. The other was shot in the chest, she said. A Health Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of he was not authorised to talk to the press, confirmed the two deaths.

Also killed was Sheik Emad Effat, a cleric from Al-Azhar, Egypt's most eminent religious institution, said Ibrahim el-Houdaiby, a prominent activist. He said Effat — who has taken a pro-revolutionary position, criticising the military and issuing a religious decree forbidding voting for former members of the regime in elections — was shot in the heart after joining the protesters outside the Cabinet.

A member of the prominent April 6th movement, Ahmed Mansour, was also killed, Raoof said.
The Health Ministry said at least 222 people were injured, including broken bones and gunshot wounds.
The assault was likely to re-ignite the tensions between revolutionaries and the military, which took power after the February 11 resignation of Hosni Mubarak. The youth activists who led the protests that ousted Mubarak accuse the military of acting in the same authoritarian way as the former president.

Ziad el-Oleimi, an activist who won a parliament seat in the first round of elections on November 28-29, told AP that military police beat him with sticks on his torso and arms and told him, "Don't imagine the parliament will protect you."

"So long as Egyptians are being humiliated and beaten on the streets, that means the revolution has not reached its goals. Taking to the streets will continue," el-Oleimi said.

The clashes took place as election officials counted ballots from the second round of parliament elections, considered to be the freest and fairest vote in Egypt's modern history. A third of Egypt's provinces voted Wednesday and Thursday. Election results from the first round of voting placed Islamist parties ahead of more liberal parties.

The armed forces retain support among many Egyptians who see it as the only entity able to run the country until presidential elections scheduled for next year.

But the new violence exacerbates the political tensions.

Members of a civilian advisory panel created by the military this month as a gesture to protesters suspended their work, demanding an immediate end to violence against protesters and a formal apology from the ruling military council. The panel is also seeking an independent investigation into the clashes. Two of its members resigned in protest.

A number of newly elected lawmakers condemned the military for the violence.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the biggest winner in parliamentary elections so far, said in a statement that it rejects the assault on protesters and the use of the parliament building to attack people.

In a Tweet, leading reform figure and Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei wrote, "If the sit-in broke the law, isn't the cruelty and brutality used to break it up a greater violation of all human rights laws? This is not how nations are managed."

The protesters have been peacefully camped out in front the Cabinet building for three weeks, preventing the newly appointed prime minister, Kamal el-Ganzuri, from entering his office.

In a statement read on state TV Friday night, the ruling military said its forces did not intent to break up the protest and said officers showed self-restraint, denying the used any gunfire. It said the clashes began when a military officer was attacked while on duty and protesters tried to break into the parliament compound.

But witnesses said the clashes erupted late Thursday after troops snatched a protester, taking him into the parliament building and beating him severely. The troops later moved in, burning protesters' tents.

Hundreds of people rushed to join the protest after online video and photos showed people carrying the wounded man, his face bruised and swollen, his head wrapped in gauze and blood dripping from his nose.
Protester threw rocks and firebombs at military police, who fired back with water cannons and stones from inside parliament. Several cars were set on fire.

An American producer for Al Jazeera English, Evan Hill, was beaten by military police and his equipment and passport confiscated, the network reported.

The military's assault is also a potential embarrassment to el-Ganzuri, who vowed last month that he would not use force to break up the sit-in. El-Ganzuri had been touted as being more independent of the military than his predecessor, whose government stepped down amid the November protests amid criticism that it was simply a facade for the ruling generals.

"Who has power and who is responsible?" asked ElBaradei on his Twitter account.

Minister’s Brother Begins Controversial Airport Construction

Long suspended project to revive to assure work for the controversial IPCO, owned by minister Faruk Khan’s brother Aziz Khan.


A syndicate is out again with its long suspended project of constructing hotels and a golf course in front of the Shahjalal International Airport soon after Faruk Khan took charge of the civil aviation ministry.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh has started moving the file of its controversial agreement with Singaporean company IPCO in which over 58 hectares of Caab land was leased out for 60 years in 1999.

The construction work of the project&mdashtwo multi-star hotels, a shopping mall, a country club and a large golf course&mdashhas even resumed this week without informing Caab, an official told daily sun, preferring not be named.

The project had remained totally suspended for the last three years&mdashwhen GM Quader was the civil aviation minister&mdashbecause the IPCO had violated conditions of the agreement which resulted in Caab's decline to allow the lease.

Talking to daily sun, workers said they have been asked to resume the construction in full swing soon.

When contacted, engineer Mosharraf Hossain, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on civil aviation ministry, refused to make any comment on the issue.

"I am not interested in talking about the issue," he said. Another high official of Caab said, "We will allow leasing to the IPCO as much land as is needed for building two hotels and a shopping mall. Caab requires the rest of the land for further development of the airport."

The value of the leased land was about Tk 70 billion in 1999, but it now stands at about Tk 450 billion, he said, requesting anonymity.

Sources in the civil aviation ministry said the previous minister, GM Quader, decided to cancel the lease of 52.6 hectares (130 acres) of land as per Caab's requirement.

The IPCO, which was allowed to use the rest, wrote a letter to Caab, saying it wants all of the 58 hectares (144.73 acres) of land that was agreed upon.

The agreement was signed allegedly to benefit engineer Mosharraf Hossain personally when he was in charge of the civil aviation ministry in 1999.

But soon later, the Summit Group and the United Group of Bangladesh said they bought the ownership of the IPCO, thus becoming the owner of the agreement, which violates rules.

The major share holder of the project is Summit Group owned by Aziz Khan, elder brother of the current civil aviation minister, Faruk Khan.

According to the agreement, the IPCO was supposed to complete a three-star hotel, a five-star hotel, a country club and a golf course by 2005, but the project could progress very little in the last 12 years.

BSF kills 4 in Kurigram, Dinajpur, Meherpur

The Indian Border Security Force (BSF) killed three Bangladeshi citizens in the bordering areas of Kurigram, Dinajpur and Meherpur since Friday evening.

The Kurigram victim has been identified as Alamgir Hossain, 25, son of one Ismail Hossain of Krishnananda Bakshigram area in Phulbari upazila, our Kurigram correspondent reported.

The BSF troops from Narayanganj Camp No. 46 opened fire on him when he went to Camperchhara area adjacent to Gorakmondal bordering vicinity of Phulbari upazila around 6:30am, Subedar Emran, Shimulbari company commander of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) told The Daily Star.

The BGB officials have sent a letter to the BSF protesting the killing, Emran added.

Talking to The Daily Star, locals said the victim used to work for local cattle traders. He would sneak into Indian side and bring cattle in for the traders, they added.

In Dinajpur, the BSF men opened fire on 4/5 Bangladeshi citizens when they went to Katla bordering area in Birampur upazila to bring cows from Indian side around 4:00am Saturday.

Motiar Rahman, 20, son of one Siddiq Hossian of Dakkhin Daudpur village of the upazila died on the spot while Tajul Islam, 26, son of one Anis Uddin of Rongaon village, received bullet injuries.

The BSF men later took away Motiar's body, Tareq Iftekhar Ahmed, commander of Phulbari camp of the BGB 40 Rifles Battalion, told The Daily Star.

The BGB official said the Indian border troops fired four shots during the incident. 

A flag meeting is scheduled to be held sometimes later in the day, he added.