Monday, January 9, 2012

Bangabandhu's homecoming day today

The nation observes the historic homecoming day of father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman today.

On this day in 1972, Bangabandhu returned in an independent country after nine and a half months of captivity in the Pakistan jail and termed his return "a journey from darkness to light".

Pakistani occupation forces arrested the architect of country's independence on March 25, 1971 at his Dhanmondi residence during the late-night crackdown on the people of Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) and sent him to the then West Pakistan.

In the wake of the military crackdown, Bangabandhu, who became the undisputed leader of the then Pakistan following the massive victory of his party Awami League in the 1970 general elections, declared independence of Bangladesh through the then EPR wireless.

After the nation earned victory on December 16, 1971 through a nine-month-long war, the then Pakistan junta was compelled to free Bangabandhu -- the icon of Bangladesh's struggle for independence.

The Awami League and different organisations have drawn up elaborate programmes to observe the day.

The programmes include hoisting of national and party flags at the central office of the party, Bangabandhu Bhaban and party offices across the country at 6:30am.

At 7:00am, leaders of AL and its associate bodies would place wreaths at the portrait of Bangabandhu in front of the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum on Road 32 at Dhanmondi.

Discussions on the glorious political life of Bangabandhu and milad mahfil will also be held at different places including Bangabandhu International Conference Centre at 3:00pm. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, also chief of ruling AL, will address the discussion as the chief guest.

A team of AL leaders will lay wreaths at the grave of Bangabandhu at Tungipara in Gopalganj today. A doa and milad mahfil will be held there.

Bikalpa Dhara for restoring CG

Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh (BDB) on Monday suggested restoration of caretaker government system before formation of a new Election Commission.

Participating in a dialogue with President Zillur Rahman, a BDB delegation said the incumbent EC could be extended until the next caretaker government is formed by amending the constitution.

Bangladesh National Awami Party (NAP-Mozaffar), on the other hand, stressed the need for enacting a law to form the new EC. 

On caretaker government issue, NAP leaders said it is a parliament related affairs and therefore they did not discuss the issue with president.

The two political parties made their suggestions while taking part separately in the dialogue with the president at Bangabhaban. 

“The government must restore the caretaker government system at first as per the court verdict as well as people’s demand,” BDB chief AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury told reporters emerging from the talks. 

"Besides, people’s demand, the Supreme Court in its observation opined to hold the next two general elections under caretaker governments. We have demanded the president to take steps to this end,” said the former president of the country. 

AL out to turn country India's vassal state: Khaleda

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia on Monday said that the Awami League government wants to destroy Bangladesh Army in a bid to make the country a vassal state of India. 

"We achieved independence not to become a state of India. Rather, we want to be a neighbour of India with similar status," added the leader of the opposition.

"They (India) have built barrages on all common rivers. But, our government failed to address the problem," said the former premier. 

Khaleda is addressing a mammoth rally at Polo Ground in Chittagong city. 

The BNP chief alleged that the government of Prime Minster Sheikh Hasina has already given corridor to India in guise of transit. 

"Indian lorries are carrying arms and ammunition from its one part to another using the land of our country, but this government has nothing to say," Khaleda added. 

Thousands of people from different parts of the country have gathered at the venue after their road march to the port city.

BNP city unit President Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury is chairing the rally.

Our reporters covering the public meeting said supporters from across the country started flocking to the ground since 10:00am to express their solidarity with BNP’s anti-government movement.

Leaders and activists of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir occupied a large part of the ground since the morning.

After a daylong journey from Dhaka, the BNP caravan reached Chittagong Sunday night.

On her way, Khaleda addressed three wayside rallies at Chandina, Noor Manikchad and Poduar Bazar in Comilla and a public meeting on Feni Government Pilot High School ground on the first day of her two-day road march.

In the rallies, the BNP chief demanded a non-party caretaker administration for the next parliamentary election.

The road march comes over a month after the third one towards Khulna.

Senior leaders of the four-party alliance and other like-minded parties are accompanying the BNP chairperson.

Some three thousand vehicles carried at least 15 thousand party members from the capital.

BNP declared the road march, aimed at drumming up support for its demand to get the caretaker government system restored.

Last year, the caretaker government provision was scrapped from the constitution through the 15th amendment, allowing en elected government to oversee the parliamentary polls. The BNP-led four-party alliance strictly opposed the move.

Iran sentences CIA operative to death

Iran has sentenced to death CIA operative Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, who was earlier arrested by Iran's intelligence forces on charges of committing acts of espionage on behalf of the US. 

The verdict was issued by Tehran's Revolution Court on Monday after the defendant was found guilty of collaboration with the US government and its intelligence agency, the CIA, against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Mirzaei Hekmati was charged with attempting to infiltrate Iran's intelligence apparatus in efforts to implicate the Islamic Republic in sponsoring terrorism. The defendant was hired by the CIA in May 2009 to carry out espionage operations in Iran.

On December 17, Iran's Intelligence Ministry announced that it has arrested the CIA spy of Iranian descent, foiling an intricate American plot to carry out espionage activities in the Islamic Republic.

In a televised confession broadcast on the Iranian television a day later, Mirzaei Hekmati said he joined the US Army in 2001 and underwent decade-long intelligence training.

He added that he was sent to the US-run Bagram Airbase in eastern Afghanistan and given access to classified intelligence before flying to Tehran.

Hekmati served with the US Marines as an Arabic translator, and travelled to Iran some four months ago, said his father, adding that Amir was born in the State of Arizona in southwestern US and joined the Marines after he received his high school diploma.

JU student stabbed by 'BCL men' dies

A student of Jahangirnagar University (JU), who was stabbed allegedly by activists of ruling Awami League’s student wing Bangladesh Chhatra League Sunday, succumbed to his injuries at a city hospital Monday morning.

Zubair Ahmed was an honours final year student of English, Masudur Rahman, a sub-inspector of Savar Police Station, told The Daily Star.

The university authorities, following an emergency meeting Monday morning, expelled three students for one year for their link with the murder. 

Savar police arrested Khondoker Ashiqul Islam, a fourth year Zoology student of the university who was among the three expelled students, Monday morning for his alleged involvement in the killing. 

According to campus sources, Zubair was a BCL activist loyal to Safin Ahmed, former president of BCL university unit which was dissolved in July last year following a fierce clash on the university campus on July 5.
Zubair had no link with the BCL since then, the sources added.

To protest the death, many students of the university demonstrated on the campus. Beginning at 11:00am, the demonstration was going on at 1:30pm when this report was filed.

The aggrieved students chanted slogans against the vice-chancellor of the university. 

The expelled students are: Ashiqul, and Rashedul Islam and Rois Uddin, honours final year students of Philosophy.

Quoting Zubair’s friends, our correspondent reported that some BCL activists belonging to Shamim-Sharif group called Zubair after he had finished the last examination of his honours course around 5:00pm Sunday.

They forced him to accompany them to Mir Mosharraf Hall. Taking him behind the dormitory, they stabbed Zubair mercilessly. 

The assailants later took critically injured Zubair to Savar Enam Medical College Hospital.

As his condition deteriorated, Zubair was shifted to the United Hospital in the capital around 8:30pm. He died there around 6:00am Monday. 

Sources said Zubair died due to excessive bleeding.

Talking to The Daily Star, former varsity unit BCL chief Safin Ahmed blamed the Shamim-Sharif group for carrying out the killing.

Talking to The Daily Star, Badrul Alam, officer-in-charge of Ashulia Police Station, said he had heard that the university authorities were preparing to file a complaint.

“The victim’s family is yet to file any complaint,” he added.