Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hasina ready to accept any result in next JS polls

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said she is not afraid of facing defeat in the next general election if people could freely exercise their voting rights. 

Addressing high officials of the police, Hasina said, “To me democracy comes first. I am ready to accept any results, win or loss, in the next election if the people can cast their votes properly and freely.”

The function was held at the International Conference Centre of the PM Office, marking Police Week 2012. 

The prime minister said the police ensured erasing the bad image of corruption, militancy and terrorism in the last three years and directed the police administration to ensure security of life and property of common people through sincerity, professionalism and efficiency. 

She also asked the policemen to facilitate the opposition party in observing their peaceful democratic programs, but strictly curb their “destructive” activities. 

The opposition's programs like road march are fine and the police have to help them holding such kind of activities, she said. 

“Opposition parties have their democratic rights; they can observe any peaceful demonstration. But don't allow them to indulge in destructive activities. The destructive activities of the opposition parties like December 18 must not be allowed.” 

Hasina said to raise the living standard of the people, employment generation is a must, and for the creation of employment opportunity, a congenial atmosphere to attract local and foreign investment must be ensured. 

She also thanked the police force for ensuring law and order favourable to economic growth and redeeming the country from image crisis through their outstanding jobs against terrorists and militants. 

Brushing aside the allegation of weak governance, Hasina questioned how the government became weak when it has implemented 93 percent of the annual development programs. 

The prime minister mentioned that the global community now considers Bangladesh as a model of development instead of a land of militants. 

In this connection, Hasina mentioned that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen in their recent visits highly appreciated Bangladesh for its remarkable advancements. 

Responding to various demands, the prime minister said the government is actively considering to enhance “risk allowance” of police.

Referring to the up-gradation of the status of the officer-in-charge to a first class officer and sub-inspectors to second class officer, she asked the police officials to uphold the dignity of the police force. 

Inspector General of Police Hassan Mahmood Khandker gave the welcome address while Additional IGP Shahudul Haque gave the vote of thanks. Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner Benazir Ahmed, DIG of Dhaka Range Asaduzzman Mia and Police Super Quamrul Hasan also spoke on the occasion. 

Home Minister Shahara Khatun, State Minister for Home Affairs Shamsul Hoque Tuku and Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Sheikh M Wahid Uz Zaman were, among others, present.

Naya Dignata warned over 'false reporting'

Wednesday's proceedings at the war crimes tribunal began with the tribunal cautioning a Bengali daily, the Naya Diganta and its reporter Mehedy Hasan for a certain report.

The International Crimes Tribunal, set up to try crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War, directed the reporter and the authorities of the newspaper to publish a clarification on Thursday.

Hasan's report, carried on Wednesday, stated that the ninth prosecution witness, testifying against Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee, who has been charged with 20 counts of war crimes, including murder, rape, arson and loot, had failed to recognise the accused.

Mohammad Altaf Hossain Howladar, a 58-year old farmer from Tengrakhali village of Parerhat Union, was asked by prosecutor Syed Haider Ali to identify Sayedee in the courtroom.

Howladar then looked all around the courtroom, beginning with the judges nearest to him and on his left, then he swung towards the prosecution and the defence with a cursory glance at the observers and journalists, but could not quite make out where Sayedee was.

Then he turned sharply and wondered out aloud that there was a man sitting all the way at the back but related to the court that he could not quite make out who was sitting there behind the thick wooden bars.

Howladar strained further, moving his head right and left, and in the end stated that the man sitting at the back was indeed Sayedee.

While this was being noted in the court records that the witness identified Sayedee, the tribunal chairman, Justice Nizamul Huq told Haider Ali that in such cases as Sayedee, who was a well-known person throughout the country, there was hardly any need for such identification since anyone could identify him.

But the Naya Diganta report only stated the first part of the witness statement when he appeared to be wondering who the person was which the tribunal said was misleading and created a wrong impression among the people about the proceedings of the tribunal.

Huq said in his order that having gone through the article that was brought to the tribunal's attention by prosecutor Zead-Al-Malum and having perused the contents of the deposition as well as the cross-examination, the tribunal was convinced that it was "false reporting."

He said that considering Hasan's apology and submission that he would publish a clarification, the tribunal accepted that the report had been the result of a misunderstanding.

Huq directed the paper and the reporter to publish another report explaining the entire matter on the front page of the newspaper.

The order went on to say that the tribunal had been lenient although more reports of Naya Diganta by the same reporter had been brought to its attention and as such sought to caution both the reporter and the newspaper about publishing reports that might create a wrong impression about the tribunal's proceedings.

The tribunal disposed of the matter and exonerated Mehedy Hasan. 

BCL men clash in Rajshahi, 5o hurt

About 50 persons were injured as two factions of Bangladesh Chhatra League clashed in Charghat upazila of Rajshahi over a trivial issue foiling an ongoing anniversary programme on Wednesday.

The clashing groups barricaded the Rajshahi-Charghat road setting fire on tyres in front of Sardaha Degree College snapping road communication for three hours until 3:00pm, reports our Rajshahi correspondent.
The clashes ensued around the noon when a BCL activist blamed another BCL man from rival faction for stealing his mobile phone during a procession brought out on the occasion of BCL anniversary, police and witnesses said.

Divided into two groups over the issue, the BCL men started beating each other with rods and sticks. They chased and counter-chased each other for one and a half hours sparking off panic.

The groups damaged several shops and damaged a passenger bus leaving almost all the passengers injured with pieces of broken glass.

Nayab Ali, a tea-stall owner said his shop was damaged moments after a panic-gripped young boy chased by opponents hid at his shop.

Golam Kibria, organising secretary of the district unit BCL, said Mohammad Sony, a BCL worker identified an unknown BCL worker for stealing his mobile.

A large group of BCL men swooped on Sony in support of the alleged “thief” thus triggering the clashes at the upazila Shaheed Minar area despite repeated calls through loudspeakers for remaining calm, he said.

The bus driver Mohammad Shahin was admitted to Charghat Health Complex where some 25 people took first aid, said hospital sources.

Hasanuzzaman, a passenger of the damaged bus, said he saw many of bus passengers including female and children running away for safe shelter despite injuries inflicted by broken glasses.

Upazila BCL president Ekramul Haque said the incident occurred due to “a misunderstanding” and senior party leaders were trying to solve the matter.

He said the incident occurred during a rally of some seven and eight thousand people, and, so, the clash could not be avoided.

Abdur Razzak, OC of Charghat Police Station said police took the situation under control and none lodged any complaint till Wednesday afternoon.

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