Monday, January 2, 2012

BCL at it again

Bangladesh Chhatra League, the student wing of the ruling Awami League, yet again hogged the headlines, needless to say, for the wrong reasons. This time, its activists have allegedly taken charge of distributing seats at a residential hall of Dhaka University among freshers which is solely stipulated for the hall authorities concerned. According to a New Age report on Monday, a number of posters have been pasted on walls of the university arts faculty building asking the students, who are going to start their pursuit of higher education in the forthcoming 2011-12 session in the university, to contact three BCL activists of Zahurul Haque Hall unit in need of any accommodation at that hall. The posters bear the mobile numbers of those three BCL activists alongside the logo of the university seemingly to impress the former that they have been vested with the task by the university authority.

Accommodation crisis has long been very acute in Dhaka University like all other public universities across the country which, in fact, leads, particularly the first year students, to desperately look for seats at the residential halls of the university. On the other hand, with the apparent complicity of the administrations concerned, the student organisation, affiliated to the ruling party in particular, has usually tried to cash in on the situation in a bid to strengthen its control over the campus by alluring those sections of students. Unfortunately, it has become a general experience for years in Bangladesh that in the wake of assumption of power by a government, the administrations of all public universities, including Dhaka University, invariably undergo a reshuffle along the incumbents’ partisan line. Additionally, the leaders and activists of the ruling party’s student wing establish their control over the campus by driving out their opponents with the help, direct or indirect, of the administration concerned and law enforcing agencies. Needless to point out, the situation in different public universities is no exception under the incumbent Awami League-Jatiya Party government. Rather, in addition to all this, ever since it took office in 2009, the leaders and activists of Chhatra League engaged in extortion, abduction, rent seeking, admission trade, tender manipulation etc.

Meanwhile, in the face of huge criticism and protests on the part of conscious sections of the society and the media in particular, the key functionaries of the government and the AL, including the prime minister, have pledged on several occasions to take tough actions against the wrongdoers in chhatra league, in the past three years or so. But, regrettably, no action has been taken to make that pledge a reality thus far, which is, perhaps, why, the troublemakers in chhatra league have become emboldened to even extend their arc of criminalities.

Be that as it may, the university authorities immediately need to go tough, as the vice-chancellor told New Age, on the errant BCL activists, and streamline the hall administrations so that distribution of hall seats can be ensured only on the basis of the merit of the students. The government also needs to shun its policy to leave the unruly BCL workers unpunished.

Indian diplomat attacked in court by Chinese traders

An Indian diplomat was injured and hospitalised following an assault by a large group of Chinese traders in a court, as he tried to secure the release of two Indians who were held hostage by locals, demanding payment of their dues in the eastern business hub of Yiwu. 

S Balachandran, a diplomat at the Indian Consulate in Shanghai was rushed to hospital when he fainted after being "manhandled" by the crowd that tried to snatch two kidnapped Indians who clung to him. 

The incident happened when he was leaving the court after prolonged negotiations on the night of December 31. 

The two Indians had been held hostage by the local traders for two weeks for non-payment of dues by their company, whose owner had allegedly fled the country. 

Riva Ganguly Das, the Consul General of the Shanghai Consulate of India told PTI in Beijing that Balachandran, working as Consul at the Consulate fainted when he was "manhandled", while attempting to get the release of Deepak Raheja and Shyamsunder Agrawal. 

Balachandran, 46, tried to negotiate for their release for over five hours at a court in Yiwu, a big trading centre for a host of commodities. 

He was assaulted when the two Indians, being held captive for over a fortnight clung on to him to leave the surcharged place. The incident took place in the court and in the presence of police and the judge.

A high drama ensued as the crowd prevented the two from going along with him demanding that they pay millions of Yuan owed to them for commodities purchased from them.

BJP, Islami Andolan for restoring CG

Bangladesh Jatiya Party (BJP) and Islami Andolan Bangladesh (IAB) on Monday demanded the restoration of the caretaker government (CG) system, saying a neutral and fair election is impossible without it.

A nine-member BJP delegation met with President Zillur Rahman at his official residence Bangabhaban for about an hour till 1:00pm.

BJP Chairman Andalib Rahman Partho urged the president to take steps to reinstate the caretaker system to ensure fair polls. 

In response, the president said he does not have the constitutional power to take steps towards CG restoration. 

Andalib requested the president to pick up the initiative to reinstate the caretaker system just like he initiated the dialogue with political parties to appoint a new chief election commissioner and election commissioners based on their recommendations. 

When the president asked for recommendations for election commissioners from the party delegates, BJP said they were not interested in suggesting names, but want the caretaker system back. 

During their dialogue with the president, Islami Andolan leaders stressed that the caretaker government system should be restored before the appointment of a new EC. 

A delegation of IAB led by Mosaddek Ali Nadani met with the president between 11:00am and the noon. 

Arrest warrant against Tuku, Alal

A Dhaka court on Monday issued arrest warrant against Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal President Sultan Salahuddin Tuku, Jubo Dal President Moazzem Hossain Alal and 15 others of BNP, Jamaat-e-Islami and their front organisations in connection with December 18 violence in Dhaka.

Others who are facing the warrant of arrest include Jubo Dal General Secretary (GS) Saiful Alam Nirob, JCD GS Amirul Islam Alim, Swechchhasebak Dal President Habib-un-Nabi Khan Sohel and GS Sarafat Ali Safu.
Issuing the order, Metropolitan Magistrate Mostafa Shahriar Khan directed the officer-in-charge (OC) of Paltan Police Station to arrest the 17 in a month.

It also ordered the OC to confiscate their movable properties during the period. 

On December 18, several homemade bombs went off in the capital's downtown as hundreds of BNP-Jamaat activists clashed with police and vandalised and torched around a dozen vehicles. A 24-year-old man, Arifuzzaman Arif, was killed when a bomb exploded in Motijheel area.

Police later filed 18 cases against around 7,000 leaders and activists of the opposition parties for going on the rampage. They detained 289 activists of BNP and Jamaat and their front organisations in the capital and interrogated 120 of them for six days in connection with the cases.

In one case filed with Paltan Police Station, 58 persons were accused for damaging vehicles, halting traffic, causing anarchy and preventing police from discharging their duties at Paltan, Motijheel and Shahbagh areas on the day.

Muktar Hossain, a sub-inspector of Paltan Police Station and investigation officer of the case, pressed charges against all the 58 accused.

He mentioned 17 of the accused including Alal, Tuku and Sohel as fugitives though several of them obtained ad-interim bail from the High Court. The remaining 44 who were arrested earlier are now in jail custody.