Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Titas dam being demolished

The dam built over Titas to transport Indian Over Dimensional Cargo is being brought down.

Roads and Highways Division executive engineer Jahangir Alam told that the demolition had begun on Tuesday as per agreement.

"The dam will be demolished within Jan 15," he added.

A spokesperson from the Indian company ABC confirmed it and said the dam was being brought down as the contract had ended.

The ODC transportation began on Aug 11 last year to move power plant parts to the Indian state of Tripura.

The 15-kilometer road was constructed from Sarail Bishwaroad to Akhaura landport parallel to 13 bridges as the existing bridges were incapable of bearing the weight of the 132-wheel vehicles.

A temporary road was constructed over Titas at the same time, which became controversial as it was reported that it blocked the flow of water.

Brahmanbaria deputy commissioner Abdul Manna, however, refuted the allegation and said 15 large pipes under the dam were allowing the flow of water.

District environment official Hasan Ali also claimed that there had been no environmental or agricultural damage from the dam. 

Khaleda involved in BDR mutiny: Hasina

The prime minister has alleged that the opposition leader was involved in the border forces rebellion of 2009 that killed at least 74 people.

"She went out of her Cantonment house on the day of mutiny very early, contrary to her habit, and disappeared for three days," Sheikh Hasina said at a discussion on Tuesday.

"She must answer why she did not stay at the Cantonment house for the next one-and-a-half months," she said. "I urge the army authorities to give the matter a thought."

The bloodbath in the headquarters of the Border Guard Bangladesh, formerly known as Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), killed at least 74 people, including 57 army officers deputed to the paramilitary force, on Feb 25-26, 2009.

"Leaders of almost all parties rushed to the scene to calm the situation," she said, adding, "The only people I did not see are the leaders of the four-party alliance."


The prime minister said that despite her party's stance against the use of electronic voting machines, BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia was beginning to accept them.

"She greeted her party man with flowers after winning the Comilla City Corporation elections," she pointed out.

For the first time in Bangladesh an entire election was held using EVMs in the Comilla city polls.

"Our party believes in democracy and therefore is taking many steps to strengthen the Election Commission," Hasina said.

She argued that by claiming "elections cannot be fair without caretaker governments" the opposition leader had accepted that 2008 elections had been fair.

"A caretaker government wouldn't cradle you to power," she said and added, "Awami League has no plan to steal votes like BNP."

The Awami League president said opposition chief Khaleda Zia was dabbling in a conspiracy with war criminals to destroy democracy.

"They don't believe in liberation and economic freedom, all they believe in is militancy, terrorism, corruption, murder and bombardment," she said.

"Those who do not believe in independence cannot do any good to the nation," she added.


Hasina invited the opposition to join parliament, saying, "If you try to kill, destroy and launch arson attacks on the streets instead, the people will not accept that."

She said there would be no bar on peaceful protests but violence would be dealt with strong hands.

The prime minister said the BNP chief's promises of development were farcical, citing that the World Bank had shut down nine of its projects for corruption during Khaleda's term as prime minister.

Senior Awami League leaders were also present at the discussion. 

Army personnel being 'abducted': Khaleda

BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia has alleged that the government is 'abducting' army personnel, apart from opposition activists, as a part of its policy of oppression.

"The government is eliminating opposition's leaders and activists not only through oppression but also through abductions and secret killings. Not only this, even army personnel are being abducted," she told a rally at the port city's Polo Ground at the close of her two-day Chittagong road march.

Although her remarks came at the rally in the afternoon, banned Islamist militant outfit Hizb-ut Tahrir Bangladesh had in the morning sent leaflets in sealed envelopes to several local daily newspaper offices reading the same allegation attributed to Khaleda.

The leaflets also asked the army to come forward to oust the ruling Awami League-led government.

Khaleda in her allegation also said that the government is also conspiring to destroy the army. "Conspiracy is being hatched to destroy the army just like BDR (now Border Guard Bangladesh - BGB). In the last three years, the government has failed to finish the trial of killers of 57 army officials in the BDR headquarters."

"Many army officials were fired. Their goal is to create a puppet army by destroying ours," she said.

Over 70 people, 57 of them army officers deputed to the border force, were killed in a mutiny at the capital's Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) headquarters at Pilkhana on Feb 25-26, 2009. Rebellion also spread to BDR outposts in several districts in the country.

In Sunday's rally, Khaleda also criticised the present government by recounting its 'failures' over the last three years during her 45-minute speech.

The main opposition chief also announced that BNP would hold a grand rally in Dhaka on Mar 12 demanding ouster of the government. 

3 expelled for life over JU student's death

Demonstrations on campus demanding punishment of killers.

The Jahangirnagar University authorities Tuesday morning expelled three of its students for life for their alleged involvement in the killing of Zubair Ahmed, a fourth-year student of the university.

Zubair, 24, a student of the university's English department, was critically stabbed on Sunday and succumbed to his injuries at a city hospital the following day.

The victim belonged to Shafin-Sammo faction of the university unit Bangladesh Chhatra League, a student wing of ruling Awami League.

The Vice-Chancellor of the university Prof Shariff Enamul Kabir took the action against the trio according to the disciplinary code of the university. 

The expelled students are -- Khandaker Ashikul Islam and Khan Mohammad Rais, both fourth-year students of Zoology department, and Rashedul Islam, fourth-year student of Philosophy department.

The trio belong to the Shamim-Sharif faction of the BCL university unit. Of the three, Ashikul was arrested. 

Meanwhile, several hundred students of the university under the banner of Sadharon Chhatra-Chhatri Parishad and a section of teachers under the banner of Bishwabiddaloy Shikkhak Somaj staged demonstrations on the university campus for over two hours since 10:00am Tuesday demanding exemplary punishment of the killers.

As part of the demonstration, they also formed separate human chains in front of the university Shaheed Minar.

The demonstrators also demanded resignation of Arzu Miah, the proctor of the university, and Azimuddin, the security officer of the university.

Meanwhile, nearly two hundred students, belonging to the Shamim-Sharif group, also brought out a procession on the campus around 10:30am demanding punishment of the killers. 

General students and a section of teachers alleged that the BCL procession was an attempt to divert attention from their demand of punishing Zubair's killers. 

In another development, the vice-chancellor of the university held a press briefing at his office around 12:30pm in the awake of the death and its consequence. 

During the briefing he condemn the killing and said if the involvement of any other students was found, action would be taken against him.

Replying to a query, he denied the allegation that Zubair was a victim of BCL infighting. 

When The Daily Star contacted Badrul Alam, officer-in-charge of Ashulia Police Station, he said detained JU student Ashikul during the primary investigation divulged that some seven to eight others were also involved with the killing of Zubair.