Bangladesh News and Discussion

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby ramana » 07 Mar 2009 21:40

Can someone post the gist of the original Economist article for comparison?

Thanks, ramana

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby Gerard » 07 Mar 2009 21:50

Bangladesh after the rebellion - Bad or mad?
From The Economist print edition
Sheikh Hasina has a good mutiny

She has emerged from this crisis with her reputation enhanced. Having recently ended two years of rule by army-backed technocrats, during which she was jailed on corruption charges, Sheikh Hasina has reason to fear the generals. Yet she co-operated with them during the mutiny. When army officers began to rage at the killing of their comrades, especially as the bodies were disinterred amid excited casualty reports, she announced that there would be no amnesty for the killers, including five alleged ringleaders arrested this week.

But hopes that the crisis might lead to better relations between the mutually-loathing main parties have already been dashed. Having quietly supported the government while the bullets were flying, the BNP reverted to oppositional type this week, calling for the resignation of the home minister. Indeed, when Sheikh Hasina warned of more mutinous trouble on March 3rd—“The game is still on and the conspirators are not taking a break”—it might have been her political opponents she had in mind.

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby Stan_Savljevic » 08 Mar 2009 01:40

Request to Gerard: Please let the first two pieces stay in full, rest are fine with me if you shorten them...

An important piece --- China-Pak-BNP-DGFI axis exposed ... ?nid=78896

The Daily Star
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Consignment from China
Reveals an interview of defence magazine representative to Prothom Alo

Anthony Davis, representative of Asia Region of Jane's Intelligence Review (JIR), a UK-based leading defence magazine of the world, said that the seizure of 10 truckloads of arms in Chittagong was not a normal event. Seizure of arms was nothing but an accident, he added. Before smuggling arms consignment it was ensured that everything was okay so as not be caught, he said. He also said the first plan was to smuggle the arms through the Chin province in Myanmar after offloading the consignment at Cox's Bazar but sensing the route unsafe they did it through the coastal area of Chittagong.

Davis revealed the information while giving an interview to the correspondent of the Bengali daily Prothom Alo, at Bangkok February last year. "I am quite sure that the consignment seized in Chittagong originated from China. I firmly believe that the arms were purchased from a semi-government weapon producing factory 'North China Industry Corporation' through an agent of Hong Kong-based Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN)," he said.

"A Pakistani intelligence agency is known to have arranged the money for the NSCN agent," he said adding, "But there is no documentary evidence of it." He said that intelligence agencies like that perform their jobs so subtly that it is very hard to get any documentary evidence.

Ruling out any possibility of the presence of any Bangladeshi at the meeting held in a hotel in Bangkok about arms purchase and transportation planning, Davis said that nobody from Bangladesh knew about the matter. But, it was supposed to be in the knowledge of intelligence agencies of Bangladesh that arms would be delivered over the land of Bangladesh, as it was hard to believe they wouldn't know about such a huge consignment of arms haul being transported through the country, he continued.

Davis believes that people involved in transportation of arms and ammunition knew the matter. Mentioning the huge network of India's United Liberation Front of Assam (Ulfa), he said it was gathered from different sources that Ulfa owns the two trawlers for reshipment at the outer harbour and ferrying them to the Chittagong coast. "A reliable source of Ulfa confirmed me that they own some trawlers that travel to Chittagong," he said, adding, "Which is why, I think, they use their own trawlers for smuggling arms for their own safety and security.

When asked about his report on the Chittagong arms haul and his sources of information, he said "I have been working on such issues for long 30 years.” “Besides, I mentioned in the report what I made out after close scrutiny of opinions of intelligence officials, information provided by people involved in the international network of arms smuggling and some reliable sources.


Jane's Information Group is known worldwide as the most acceptable and information provider on defence and terrorism. About 180 government and non-government agencies are Jane's subscribers. Jane launched Jane's Intelligence and Jane's Terrorism and Information Centre on online in 2003 for its subscribers. John Frederick Thomas Jane, an English journalist and litterateur, published a newspaper in 1898 with a hand-drawn photo of a warship and named it as Ironclads of the World.

In 1909, another issue was published with a photo of aeroplane on the cover page. Jane was the founder of the British Intelligence agency MI5. With the passage of time the very defence-related magazine of Tomas Jane turned into 'Jane's Information Group'. Jane's Defence Weekly has regularly been published since 1984. Jane's Intelligence Review is another magazine of the group. It publishes investigative and research reports on international security, regional conflict, organised crime and arms smugglings.

Anthony Davis has been working as an investigative journalist in the London-based Jane's Information Group since 1988. Before that, he worked with many powerful newspapers like Washington Post, London Observer, Time and Asia Week. Conflict in Afghanistan, Kashmir crisis, Sri Lanka's ethnic crisis, activities of the terrorist groups of Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand and the Philippines and emergence of militancy in Bangladesh are among the issues he wrote on.

Davis has long been preparing reports on arms smuggling and terrorist activities through spot investigation. His first report on the Chittagong arms haul was published on May 1, 2004. His second investigative and informative report on the same issue came out on August 1 the same year. On July 1, 2006, Davis's investigative report on emergence of militancy in Bangladesh was published. Later, the Prothom Alo contacted the JIR and fixed the date of meeting with Anthony Davis. In the last week of February last year, the Prothom Alo correspondent met Davis in Bangkok.

[Judging importance of the Prothom Alo news, we decided to re-run the report for our readers in English]

Posting in full cos its important ... ?nid=78893

The Daily Star
Sunday, March 8, 2009
10-Truck Ammo Haul --- Indian rebel leaders were in Chittagong
Confession of main accused linked intelligence agencies with protection of consignment

Military wing commander of the United Liberation Front of Assam (Ulfa) Paresh Barua, Naga rebel leader Anthony Shimray and several more people were stationed in Chittagong by using fake names before the abortive Ulfa arms shipment in 2004. They checked in Hotel Golden Inn but left Chittagong immediately after the arms were seized, according to a report of the Bengali daily Prothom Alo. Principal accused of the case Hafizur Rahman alias Hafiz in his confessional statement said he was introduced with one Zaman before the 2001 election. Later, he came to know that the said Zaman was Ulfa military commander Paresh Barua.

Zaman told Hafiz a huge consignment of machinery would land in Chittagong and he assigned him (Hafiz) to hire a trawler and decide on a jetty for offloading the delivery. Zaman also said they themselves would handle the rest. Paresh Barua assured him of not worrying about anything as chiefs of the National Security Intelligence (NSI) and Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) had already made all arrangements.

As per the records of the Hotel Golden Inn register on Station Road in Chittagong where Ulfa operatives stayed, room-305 was allocated to Asif Zaman at 5:45am on March 28, 2004, just three days before offloading the arms cache. Asif Zaman's address was recorded as 97/5 Sher-e-Bangla Road, Mohammadpur, Dhaka. It is the same Zaman who actually went by the name of Paresh Barua. Asif was believed to be another fake name of an Ulfa leader.

Anthony Davis in the August 1, 2004 issue of Janes Intelligence Review wrote Naga rebel leader Anthony Shimray also accompanied Paresh Barua when the arms were being offloaded in Chittagong. Anthony Shimray who is based in Manila in Philippines had flown to Chittagong via Bangkok around the time of the shipment. Proofs were found that Asif, Zaman, Abul Hossain, Shahidul Islam and several others believed to have been involved in offloading arms and ammunition rented rooms in Hotel Golden Inn during March 28-30 in 2004. They left the hotel never to return after the caches of weapon were seized in the morning of April 2.

Shahidul Islam rented room-317 of the hotel at 5:45 on March 28, 2004. The address of this Islam was also shown as 97/5 Sher-e-Bangla Road, Mohammadpur, Dhaka meaning that Shahidul Islam and Zaman lived in the same address. Visit to the address in Dhaka reveals that none by the name of Shahidul Islam or Zaman had ever lived in that building. Four more youths checked in the Hotel Golden Inn at the dead of night of March 28, 2004. They are Farhad Ahmed (Gulshan, Dhaka, room no-314), M Rahman (12/10 Islampur, Dhaka, room no-207), Shafiqur Rahman (459/2 South Kafrul, Dhaka, room no-405) and Anisur Rahman (459/2 South Kafrul, Dhaka, room-505).

Earlier 10 rooms of the hotel were rented for 20 Indian nationals; most of their addresses in the hotel register were shown as Babupara of Habra, West Bengal, India. They were not found in the room from the moment of the seizure of arms. Investigations also revealed that the register book in which the names of those allegedly involved in the arms smuggling were recorded, disappeared from the hotel.

Hotel authorities said they sold the old register books with other odds and bits. But, a source close to the hotel management said intelligence agency men seized the register book six to seven months into the arms seizure. The hotel authorities, however, denied the matter. The investigation says Hafizur Rahman knew all about arms smuggling. Then chief of CID Chittagong region AKM Kabir Uddin and inspector Mohammad Shah Alam sent a review report on the arms haul to the CID headquarters in the last week of April in 2004.

The report reads Hafizur Rahman is proved to have had link with the international smuggling network of Pakistan's largest intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The same report also goes on to say that Hafiz met a Pakistani at a room of Hotel Sundarban in Dhaka six months before the ten truckloads of arms seizure. After that Hafiz went to Pakistan, China, Rangoon (Myanmar) and Bangkok, sources close to Hafiz told the CID.

[Judging importance of the Prothom Alo news, we decided to re-run the report for our readers in English] ... ?nid=78891

2,000 BDR men still on the run -- New chief convenes a coordination meeting today with surviving officers

About two thousand suspected mutineers of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) are still on the run ignoring the government orders to get back to barracks. The Daily Star has had the rough figure from army officers preparing a list of directly-appointed BDR personnel who were at the Pilkhana headquarters during the bloody mutiny that left scores of army officers killed on February 25-26. New BDR Director General Brig Gen Md Mainul Islam has asked the surviving officers of the paramilitary force to meet at Senakunja in Dhaka cantonment this morning.

He told The Daily Star that BDR has lost its all 12 sector commanders and commanding officers of a good number of battalions based in the capital and elsewhere. The remaining battalion commanders and staff officers from the battalions that do not have any commanding officer at the moment will participate in the coordination meeting. Meanwhile, an army officer involved in the rescue operation yesterday said, “Roughly speaking, I'd say about nine thousand BDR men were inside Pilkhana during the carnage. We need a few more days to have the exact figure."

He said some 451 rebels stayed put at Pilkhana after laying down arms in response to the prime minister's general amnesty first declared on February 25 and then on February 26, but the rest 8,500 escaped. "Those who surrendered on amnesty announcement have been kept in Pilkhana hospital," he said. Following the government notice for them to report for duties within 24 hours ending at 4:00pm March 1, around 6,500 BDR personnel rejoined the BDR headquarters. "About 2,000 border guards who did not return to barracks yet will be considered deserters," said another army officer concerned. Around 6,500 BDR men who had fled despite the amnesty but later joined in response to the 24-hour notice will be considered to have been 'absent without leave', he added. According to BDR rules and regulations, they will face minimum 15 days' rigorous imprisonment and maximum 28 days' for absence without permission.

Sources said the BDR DG can hand down an offender up to seven years' rigorous imprisonment for grievous offences like mutiny. If those still at large return they will face departmental actions both for not joining in time as well as for mutiny. The officials are preparing a detailed list of BDR personnel who were inside headquarters during the mutiny and from where they came. "Of the nine thousand BDR troops, around five thousand were from battalions based in Dhaka. Some of them were staying at Pilkhana as it was their station, while some were there for training and other purposes,” said the army officer. The remaining BDR jawans came from battalions outside the capital. "We are working to draw up separate lists of the BDR personnel who were in Darbar Hall when the mutiny began and those who were inside the compound at that time," said the officer. They are also making lists of BDR weaponry to know the volume of firearms and ammunition mutineers used in the carnage and took away while fleeing. ... ?nid=78892

15 tcf offshore gas calls for $50b investment -- Gas pricing adjustment, financial incentives key factor to attract oil companies

While the ever-deepening energy crisis demands that Bangladesh vigorously begin oil and gas exploration in the Bay of Bengal besides other initiatives, the Bay needs a staggering investment of $50 billion to explore and develop gas fields having at least 15 trillion cubic feet (tcf) gas. Analysts from some foreign oil companies say such a huge investment also requires specialised operational skill and demands involvement of oil companies. But Bangladesh has not done much homework in recent years to attract oil companies, they observe.

However, the Bay also promises chances of hitting more than 15 tcf gas, as the neighbouring India has discovered at least 100 tcf gas and Myanmar 7 tcf there in recent years. But the third round bidding of 2008 that involved only offshore oil and gas blocks generated poor response from international oil companies (IOCs) due to lack of financial incentives and lack of any sign that the government would increase the gas sales tariff to ensure a healthy financial condition of the sector, analysts say.

Something is a-cooking, why is this conversation going on in the first place?! ... ?nid=78894

Give BDR proofs to probe body --- PM urges Khaleda

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday urged her political archrival Khaleda Zia to divulge every piece of evidence she has before the probe body on the BDR mutiny for a fair investigation to identify the culprits. "I earnestly request her [Leader of the Opposition and BNP chief Khaleda Zia] to hand over all the evidence she has to the probe committee so that a fair investigation is carried out into the incident [BDR mutiny] to identify the culprits," said Hasina.
Last edited by Gerard on 08 Mar 2009 02:00, edited 3 times in total.
Reason: added date and source. Complete articles will remain for archiving. These two should be cross posted in the Internal Security thread.

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby Stan_Savljevic » 08 Mar 2009 01:57

No militant links found so far: CID

The CID chief has said his investigators have yet to find any link to militants in the bloody BDR mutiny. "We are investigating, information is still coming in, but we have found no such links so far," CID chief Javed Patwari told, in the face of media speculation on militant 'linkages' to the Feb 25-26 massacre. Patwari also said CID special superintendent Abdullahhel Baki, who was overseeing the investigation of the case, has been replaced by Misarul Arif.

Arif will now keep tabs on the investigation being led by ASP Abdul Qahhar Akhand, who famously conducted the Bangabandhu murder inquiry in the late 1990s. Qahhar told Saturday eight more BDR men were named in the case, bringing the total to around 40. Lalbagh police filed the case on Feb 28 against more than 1,000 BDR members, though just six were initially named.

Another six detained suspects were shown arrested in the case on Saturday and two suspected mutineers were arrested from inside the Peelkhana headquarters, said Qahhar. Akhand said they were interrogating more people and still amassing evidence. Three revolvers, a sub-machine gun and 36 bullets were recovered from inside the headquarters Saturday, which had allegedly been used during the armed uprising. CID took over the investigation on Mar 1. ... ?nid=78899

BDR Mutiny Trial -- Govt waits on probe reports

Law Minister Shafique Ahmed yesterday said BDR jawans who were involved in the Pilkhana killing can be tried under the Army Act 1952 while outsiders under the International War Crimes Tribunal Act 193 or the Special Tribunal Act. He also said the government will decide after getting the probe reports on the Pilkhana killing on what law--conventional law or special tribunal act--the culprits will be tried and punished.

Should ideally fall in BD-Burma news... but anyway, we are party to it cos we were the ones who saved the Rohingyas ... ?nid=78843


My attention is drawn to a report entitled “Rohingyas to be taken back if they claim to be Bengalis,” a report based on the announcement by Myanmar authorities at the recently held ASEAN summit (The Daily Star, 01 March 2009). This is ridiculous and only a military regime like that of Myanmar could say so. This proposal should be rejected outright. Bangladesh should register a strong protest with regard to the attempt at labelling the Rohingyas as Bengalis.

This latest declaration by the Myanmar authorities means that the regime is not taking back the Rohingyas who are the persecuted ethnic Muslims from the western Rakhine state (formerly Arakan) of Myanmar bordering Bangladesh. And the Myanmar authorities are now bluntly and openly trying to push back the responsibilities of the Rohingyas to the shoulder of Bangladesh.

The ASEAN nations and international communities as a whole should press the Myanmar authorities hard for stopping persecution against the Rohingyas (also on other ethnic groups), and taking those back who are out of their country. Also they should press for restoration of democracy at the top. Bangladesh which has been hosting thousands of Rohingyas for decades should ask for a regional or international solution to the problem. Nothing could be gained from a bilateral approach that we are now looking for.

Bangladesh should also immediately take the initiative to register all the Myanmar nationals including the Rohingyas in the territory of our country. It should seek assistance from development partners and relevant UN agencies in this task. I have been advocating for a national strategy for Bangladesh to deal with the Rohingya issue. There has been a dire need for a national legal framework to deal with the refugee issues including the Rohingyas. The latest development on the Rohingyas proves the necessity of the policy and legal framework once again.

Barapukuria deadlock ends, extraction resumes

A deadlock between locals and the Barapukuria mine authorities appeared to be resolved as coal extraction resumed Saturday at 11pm after an 11-day break.'s correspondent reported miners returned to work after the Barapukuria Coal Mine Company Ltd and the mine's Chinese operator CMC-XMC assured locals of meeting their demands.

The mine was forced to stop extraction at coal face 1114 on Feb. 25 in the face of protests by local residents for compensation and relocation over subsidence and loss of arable land due to open-pit mining. CMC-XMC had given a Mar 5 (Thursday) deadline to BCMCL to restart extraction, threatening to pull out of Bangladesh if the deadline was not met.

The Chinese consortium also served notice of retrenchment on Thursday to hundreds of miners, telling them not to return to work after paying off their dues, sparking fresh protests. On Friday, state minister for forest and environment Mostafizar Rahman Fizar met with locals to resolve the crisis. CMC-XMC eventually agreed to extend the deadline until Sunday on BCMCL's requested.

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby Stan_Savljevic » 08 Mar 2009 02:03

The Hidden Emirate Of Anarchistan --
A larger theme unites 26/11, the BDR mutiny and Lahore terror ... sid=1&pn=1

The Great Game
It's the 21st century subcontinent version of the Great Game, which is essentially a strategic battle between two powers in a particular region. In South Asia, though, Islamist terror groups and sections of the establishment have combined together for their agenda.

The Theatre: Bangladesh, India, Pakistan

The Agenda: Islamists and their supporters want to destabilise democratically elected governments friendly to India. They want to Islamicise society, grab power, and arrest India's rise as an emerging power.

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby Stan_Savljevic » 08 Mar 2009 02:05 ... /cover.htm

BDR Mutiny: Eyewitness Accounts and Analysis - The Bloody Durbar --- by Ahmede Hussain

On that fateful Wednesday, Nadeet Haque, son of slain sector commander of the Bangladesh Rifles' (BDR) Dhaka Battalion Col Mujibul Haque, was awakened by a loud thump on the door. “It was our waiter,” he says, “Who told me that a group of men in BDR fatigues were running towards our house.” Nadeet, who is doing his A' Level as a private student, called his mother, who was in the gym; she advised him to lock himself up in their room. Mili Haque, Nadeet's mother, was herself in grave danger. Another bunch of murderers were looking for her in every nook and cranny of the BDR compound. The guard of the gym locked Mili up and told the killers that no one was there.

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby Stan_Savljevic » 08 Mar 2009 02:16 ... 637977.jsp
BDR gets raise, BSF to follow

BDR soldiers wait to report for duty in Dhaka

New Delhi, March 6: Bangladesh Rifles soldiers are reported to have got a raise today, just over a week after the mutiny that shook their country and stunned the world, and Indian paramilitary forces are also on their way to getting better allowances. The Sheikh Hasina government in Dhaka today increased the border area allowance for BDR soldiers cutting across ranks, intelligence sources said. “We have received reports that the allowance was raised from Taka 260 to Taka 500,” a source said. ... adesh.html
Declassified US documents on Bangladesh coups in 1975

We do not know what message the US Embassy in Dhaka had sent to the State Department after the Pilkhana massacre. We will have to wait for another 30 years to get full text of the official message from the US Embassy. However, I can share with you the message the US Embassy in Dhaka had sent after the August 1975 coup. This declassified document confirms Sheikh Mujib was warned by the US about the coup but he simply brushed the information aside.

The Embassy also provided early analysis of the August 15 coup against President Mujibur Rahman. It tentatively predicted that the United States would enjoy greater influence under the government of new president Khondakar Mushtaque Ahmed. The Embassy had also provided a narrative account and analysis of the military unrest and resulting coup of November 3–7, 1975.
Intelligence failure caused BDR disaster --- by M. Shahidul Islam

Every crisis must traverse a slotted path to come to its end. The BDR mutiny of February 25 was just the beginning of a major crisis that has long way to cross the finishing line. That is why the carnage and the genocide of February 25 have begun to alter the internal political dynamics of the country while the prospect of foreign military intervention remains as vibrant as it was on February 25.

It said transcript, but thats BS... There are no transcripts here. ... eting.html ... adesh.html
Last edited by Stan_Savljevic on 08 Mar 2009 04:07, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby anjali » 08 Mar 2009 03:02

Older article but v interesting
What in God's name is India going to do when calamity strikes BD?

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby Stan_Savljevic » 08 Mar 2009 03:17

Highlighting some main points from the above articles now that I am reading them...
From the Outlook article,

Proof of this came during a closed-door meeting of a motley group of about 50 Congress leaders hailing from different states earlier this week. Addressing them in the capital’s Mavalankar Hall, foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee disclosed a conspiracy was afoot to destabilise the elected governments in Bangladesh and Pakistan. He let out a hitherto unknown fact to the audience: "I had to go out of my way to issue a stern warning to those trying to destabilise the Sheikh Hasina government in Bangladesh that if they continued with their attempts, then India would not sit idle." In other words, New Delhi had conveyed it was willing to take counter-measures in the Great Game, including the possibility of direct intervention.

Pranab’s is not the only voice expressing worries over the concerted efforts directed against India. "There’s no doubt that elements of the Pakistani army and the ISI were behind the Dhaka and Lahore incidents," former foreign minister and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha told Outlook.

The plan, Delhi feels, was to ensure a violent reaction from the Bangladesh army, thus plunging the country into chaos. A senior diplomat told Outlook that New Delhi advised Hasina and the Bangladesh army to tread cautiously and avoid creating a 1975-like situation, when most members of the country’s founder Mujibur Rahman’s family were gunned down. That was perhaps the reason why Hasina announced general amnesty to secure the surrender of BDR mutineers.

From Star Weekend Magazine article,

In fact, the way some of the murderers have melted into thin air on the night of last Friday supports Lt Gen Harun's observation. “Not only that,” says an officer of the Rab who wants to remain anonymous, “Their escape plan has been done meticulously. They have used chairs to climb the wall near Hajaribagh. All of them have followed the same pattern. The three graves that the killers have dug are all evenly squared; so neatly the whole affair of killing and dumping has been done tells us that a group of people has orchestrated the massacre long ago. We are trying to pinpoint exactly where the plans were done and we have so far come across the area near 36 Rifles Battalion, which we think have been used to hatch the conspiracy.” He has also said that to do their killing smoothly the murderers wore red, yellow and blue vests. Some killers also fled with a procession that came near the Gate 5 of the Pilkhana. On the first day of the carnage the gate remained unguarded amidst intermittent shelling of the degenerate jawans. Some of these disgruntled mutineers abandoned their weapons in different areas of the compound; some, it is widely believed that, have carried small firearms with them. Some of these disgruntled mutineers abandoned their weapons in different areas of the compound.

Lt Gen (Retired) Harun points out that the ammos used in the first attack do not match the ammos issued for the day's duty. “The ammunition fired by the killers is much more than the ammunition issued for routine duties. It suggests that extra ammunition has been collected beforehand from some sources. We do not know where the rest of the ammos that they have used have come from,” Lt Gen (Retired) Harun says.

The armoury, from where the weapons have been looted, is a heavily guarded affair. There are ironed collapsible gates, which are locked with two padlocks. All the rifles are on rifle racks and each and every one of them are chained to each other. Ammunition are kept in a different room, one has to go to a separate room to get them. There is a strip or magazine inside the ammunition box made of steel. Even the fastest loader will have to spend 10 minutes to get and load the ammo. The promptness with which the mutineers have turned up with automatic weapons also suggests that they have planned the massacre long ago.

Brig Gen Anam thinks the Darbar mayhem was “pre-planned and all the so-called demands and grievances of the mutineers were excuses to draw public sympathy which the electronic media helped them gain by highlighting them.”

During the mutiny, unruly jawans repeatedly railed against their officers. They called for appointing officers from their own ranks rather than sending army officers on deputation.

Retired Major Yead Ali, formerly commanding officer of 21st Rifles Battalion, thinks there is another, darker, reason for the BDR soldiers to resent army officers. “Unfortunately, some jawans in the border areas become involved with smuggling rings,” he said. “Army officers are sent on deputation for relatively short periods of two to three years. It is difficult for the corrupt jawans to operate if the officer is honest. Sometimes they try to involve their officers. But by the time that happens, it's time for the officer to go, and another one comes in his place.”

So if the rank-and-file Jawans were not that dissatisfied with their superiors, who started the killing spree? The evidence points to the existence of a hardcore element within the BDR headquarters on that fateful day. This core group was intent on eliminating the officers. This group planned and carried out the murders. They then incited other jawans by a variety of techniques. A rumour was spread that the DG had shot a soldier in the Darbar hall. Others were told that the army was coming and if they did not take up arms they would be massacred. Still others were swayed by the inflammatory rhetoric against the alleged oppression of army men.

In the last few days, some suggestions have emerged that agents may have come in from outside to lead the mutiny. But BDR soldiers, speaking to the Star magazine, have debunked that theory. “The soldiers are used to obeying their own JCO (Junior Commissioned Officers) and NCO (Non commissioned Officers),” said Imamul Hossain of the 14th Rifles, who won a BDR Medal for bravery from the prime minister the previous day. “They are not stupid enough to obey just anyone and start shooting.” Imamul said he was supposed to receive a cheque worth Tk 50000 from the DG during the Darbar, but fled when the firing started.

The sequence of events clearly demonstrates that both the government and the army were aware of the fatal attacks by 9.30 AM. Eye witness testimony said the DG Major General Shakil spoke to the Prime Minister by phone immediately after the first shots were fired outside the Darbar hall. The officers who fled the Darbar hall also contacted their superiors. “I called my cousin Lt Col. Elahi Manzoor Chowdhury at 10.15 AM,” said Abdul Mugni Chowdhury who works at a university. “In a whisper, he said he was holed up in a bathroom with other officers. He said he had called the cantonment for help."

The answer may lie in the killers' exit strategy. The rebels initially took control of the Rifles Square shopping mall, although they left in the evening. Why capture the shopping centre? Could it be because it had a birds' eye view of the Pilkhana? For two days the rebels claimed on TV that the DG and other officers were “in custody”. But they must have known both the government and the army were in possession of the real facts. So who were they trying to deceive? Could it have been the general public? Nasir, a shopkeeper in the Azimpur area, said he had seen BDR jawans escaping. “Many locals actually helped them,” he said. “If we knew then what we know now, we would have caught them and handed them over to the authorities.” The Pilkhana is surrounded by densely populated areas, and any exit plan would be heavily dependent on sympathy from the public. The rebels knew that if the atrocities became widely known, they would be mobbed as soon as they scaled the wall.

HAK yakking

SECRETARY KISSINGER: That they would be pro-U.S. was not inevitable. In fact, I would have thought at some turn of the wheel they were going to become pro-Chinese, and anti-Indian I firmly expected. I always knew India would rue the day that they made Bangladesh independent. I predicted that since '71.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: The principle being we only embrace on the sub-continent those who oppose us. What is the principle? {Wow, is this what the Amrikans have learned from the chinese? Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer. That explains the embrace of pakisatan despite knowledge that pakisatan is perfidious!!}
MR. SISCO: Just continue. That memo said also we have to check all this with the Indians, as if to give the Indians a veto. I certainly don't agree with that.

MR. ATHERTON: I think it would be useful --

SECRETARY KISSINGER: We certainly shouldn't go to the Indians. {What a chooo--- this HAK was}

MR. ATHERTON: I think there might be some merit in an exchange of views with them.


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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby Stan_Savljevic » 08 Mar 2009 04:16

The picture that I am getting of BD's top leaders is:
1) Sh. Mujib: An Islamist who can sing anyside depending on the circumstance, a man known for his survival instincts and ability to read which side the bread is buttered, who was corrupt or tolerated corrupt people in his post-71 years, and who was smug about his position in history and the safety of his own self.
2) Gen. Zia-ur-Rehman: A pro-Islamist with deep survival skills, knows how to read the coin flip well, pro-Pakistani with deep abhorrence of IG and India in general partly due to his experiences in the 1971 liberation movement, pro-chinese in parts, and pro-Amrikan in parts, but Islam trumps all these sidekicks, corrupt or tolerated corrupt people and did nt care too much about building institutions worthy of name, believed that army will be firmly entrenched even after his departure, thought politicians were bound to be corrupt.

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby sum » 08 Mar 2009 20:51

Proof of this came during a closed-door meeting of a motley group of about 50 Congress leaders hailing from different states earlier this week. Addressing them in the capital’s Mavalankar Hall, foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee disclosed a conspiracy was afoot to destabilise the elected governments in Bangladesh and Pakistan. He let out a hitherto unknown fact to the audience: "I had to go out of my way to issue a stern warning to those trying to destabilise the Sheikh Hasina government in Bangladesh that if they continued with their attempts, then India would not sit idle." In other words, New Delhi had conveyed it was willing to take counter-measures in the Great Game, including the possibility of direct intervention.

So, this is why the 50th,Para was mobilised?


Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby Raju » 08 Mar 2009 21:13

the ring of fire .. is not being masterminded by China. It is someone else.

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby Stan_Savljevic » 08 Mar 2009 21:47

Raju wrote:the ring of fire .. is not being masterminded by China. It is someone else.

The US and china are partners in crime when the alliance suits them best. Two sides of the same coin often enough.

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby svinayak » 08 Mar 2009 22:06

Stan_Savljevic wrote:
Raju wrote:the ring of fire .. is not being masterminded by China. It is someone else.

The US and china are partners in crime when the alliance suits them best. Two sides of the same coin often enough.

Add Pak into the group who are interested in reversing 1971

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby Hiten » 09 Mar 2009 11:38

NDTV reporting: 2 senior BD Army officers killed in helicopter crash in Tangail dist

for some reason BRF is the only site opening here right now :(

not able to provide links

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby Stan_Savljevic » 10 Mar 2009 01:22

Arms-laden boats anchored at CUFL without permissios -- Officials say during questioning

Former officials of Chittagong Urea Fertiliser Ltd (CUFL) during the grilling yesterday claimed that the engine boats did not have permission for using CUFL jetty on the day of seizure of huge amount of arms and ammunition on April 2, 2004. The matter raises questions as to how then the illegal offloading went unchallenged and what responsibility did the CUFL security personnel do, sources said. Sources said investigators questioning of the former officials of Chittagong Urea Fertiliser Ltd (CUFL) yesterday tried to know how the engine boats carrying arms and ammunition could anchor at the restricted CUFL jetty.

“All the officials declined to shoulder the responsibility and blamed each other,” said investigation officer (IO) Muniruzzaman, also the senior ASP of CID (Chittagong). The former CUFL officials who were questioned included Managing Director Mohsin Talukder, General Manager (admin) Enamul Haque, General Manager (marketing) Sarwar Kamal and Security Officer Zainal Abedin. The query started at CID, Chittagong Divisional Headquarters inside Dampara Police Lines at 3:30pm and continued till 10:00pm. Questioning of the CUFL officials would continue today when former Assistant Security Officer Mobin Hossain would also appear before the investigators, CID sources said.

“However, we are trying to know the fact and find a lead to the incident following the enquiry being conducted on the basis of the confessional statements made under 164 CrPC by Hafizur Rahman and Din Mohammad - the prime accused in the case,” the IO added. CID Chittagong Divisional Additional Special Superintendent (SS) Abdul Hamid said, “MD Mohsin Talukder and GM (admin) Enamul Haq claimed the offloading of the consignment was illegal and beyond their knowledge.”

“GM (marketing) Sarwar Kamal tried to shirk the responsibility claiming that he was on leave obtained verbally at that time while Security Officer Zainal Abedin expressed ignorance about the matter,” Hamid said. CID Chittagong Divisional Special Superintendent Mohammad Muslim said that they would hear from all the persons mentioned by the CUFL officials during the questioning. “Besides, a process is underway to question the former high officials of Director General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI), National Security Intelligence (NSI) and Bangladesh Coast Guards as well as others in this connection," said Muslim.

BDR Mutiny --- Probe on to find JMB patron link

Investigators in Rajshahi are trying to detect whether there is any link between BDR rebels and the patrons of outlawed Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). The investigators have information about recruitment of a number of JMB or other outfits' operatives as border guards since 2004 on political recommendations, say officials involved in the Operation Rebel Hunt. A number of politicians were arrested, went into hiding, or were affected in some ways since the 1/11 changeover following their alleged patronage of militancy.

"We have asked the BDR Headquarters for a list of new recruits from Rajshahi and neighbouring districts. Identifying the recruits will take time as necessary documents are now scattered," says a senior officer. He adds they are likely to take help from the computerised database prepared during the voters' registration with photograph for properly identifying these men.

The official informs that they will emphasise how many soldiers were recruited since 2004, if any of them was involved with Pilkhana mutiny, who recommended their recruitment, and whether those were engaged to militancy before. "If any soldier is found to have links to militancy before, the people concerned who issued their clearance will also be brought to book," he says replying to a question. Militants might have been recruited as their prize for taking part in the so-called vigilante actions against underground operatives belonging to Purba Banglar Communist Party, the investigators argue.

Meanwhile, a rebel hunt team of police, Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) and army personnel raided different villages including Polasi, Kamarbari, Maria, Sakoa and Goalkandi in Bagmara upazila Wednesday night. The targeted fugitives -- Anwar, Altaf, Ismail and Kawsar -- escaped the dragnet, while a mobile set of a fugitive was seized. Relatives of the families told newspersons some 10 to 12 mutinous soldiers took shelter at Ismail's house in Sakoa after they fled from Pilkhana on February 26. The soldiers include Rohidul, Saiful, Hossain Ali, Barik and Golam Rabbani.

Locals say all these BDR men were directly involved with JMB as they were seen roaming with hockey sticks with JMB's executed leader Siddiqul Islam Bangla Bhai in 2004. They were present during the Pilkhana carnage, their family members confirm. After hiding for two days, they left Ismail's house saying they were returning to the headquarters. "We have yet to know whether the fugitives have joined Pilkhana," an investigator told The Daily Star. He added, "We knew four of them had links with JMB."

JMB under the banner of Bangla Bhai's Jagrata Muslim Janata, Bangladesh (JMJB) emerged in a "jungle rule" for the first time in Rajshahi allegedly with state sponsors during the BNP-Jamaat coalition rule in April 2004. The outfit brutally killed some 25 people in broad daylight and maimed some 500 others in Rajshahi region in only three months in the name of vigilante actions against the underground communist operatives.

Former BNP bigwigs Barrister Aminul Haque, Ruhul Quddus Talukdar Dulu, Alamgir Kabir, Nadim Mostafa and Mizanur Rahman Minu and a number of other former ruling coalition leaders allegedly blatantly patronised the militants using the police and administration. Even the then government high-ups supported the militants in 2004-05. Aminul went into hiding since the 1/11 changeover. Later he was convicted in a case for militancy abetting and jailed for 31 years, while Dulu has been sentenced to 18 years imprisonment in two cases for abetting arson prior to the launch of militant activities.

Haque and Dulu are facing trial in some other militancy abetting cases that are now stayed. Alamgir Kabir was sued in two cases for abetting militancy, but his name was dropped from police charges. Minu was named in a militancy abetting case, but the case was withdrawn later. Former BNP lawmaker Nadim Mostafa, who is sentenced to ten years imprisonment in two cases of extortion and criminal activities, is also named in three cases for abetting militancy. He went into hiding after the 1/11.

450 BDR men found involved so far -- Investigators say about 12 led several groups of mutineer

Investigators have so far found involvement of around 450 Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) personnel in the mutiny at the BDR Headquarters while at least 12 of them led several groups of mutineers. An investigation into the BDR mutiny revealed that some outsiders had knowledge about the rebellion, said a top official of a law enforcement agency investigating the mutiny in which 74 people including 51 army officers got killed. "We are now investigating whether they took part in the bloody mutiny," the official said wishing anonymity.

Meantime, the 11-member enquiry committee, formed by the government to probe the mutiny, interrogated a few accused at Taskforce for Interrogation (TFI) cell in the capital for about four hours from 11:00am yesterday. "We have found involvement of around 450 BDR officials and jawans in the mutiny scrutinising the video footages and photographs," the investigator said. The official said they are now trying to get details about the 450 mutineers by interrogating the arrestees.

"We have so far identified 10 to 12 BDR members who led several groups of mutineers during the 33-hour-long bloody mutiny," said the official. Two of them were in the team of 14 BDR personnel who conducted negotiation with the government. Another investigator said they have primarily found that the rebels killed 90 percent of the army officers by 11:00am since the mutiny broke out on February 25.

"The investigation found that it was done in a planned way. When a group of mutineers attacked and killed BDR Director General Maj Gen Shakil Ahmed at the Darbar Hall, another group simultaneously attacked his residence and injured two guards there," he said. After killing army officers at the BDR headquarters, the rebels dumped the bodies in the sewer and mass graves in such a way that the rescuers found it difficult to trace those. Investigators said they are finding it hard to identify the BDR personnel who were on duty at the BDR gates and five armouries inside the BDR headquarters as the duty rosters had either been burnt or torn up. {This was what they might have hid in the hole they dug up where the BDA folks found a lot of ashened stuff.}

"This suggests that it was a pre-planned act and we are trying to find out the mastermind behind it," said an investigator. Asked about the involvement of United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) and militants in the mutiny, the investigators said they are yet to find their involvement in it. Meanwhile, the probe committee members held a meeting with Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) officials at its headquarters in the afternoon and asked the law enforcers to give them information about the mutiny.

Jessore GOC killed in chopper crash -- Pilot Lt Col Shahidul also died

General Officer Commanding (GOC) of 55 Infantry Division and Jessore Area Commander Maj Gen Rafiqul Islam and pilot Lt Col Md Shahidul Islam died in a helicopter crash at Rouha of Kalihati upazila in Tangail yesterday morning. Co-pilot of the helicopter Major Saif sustained serious injuries in the accident. An Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) press release said the Bell 206 helicopter of Army Aviation crashed after hitting an electric cable around 7.50am. Locals and witnesses told The Daily Star's Tangail correspondent that the helicopter first hit an electric line, then crashed into a banyan tree before falling into a pond.

The chopper was heading towards Mymensingh Cantonment from Jessore Cantonment to pick up the GOC of 19 Infantry Division. The helicopter's final destination was Dhaka Cantonment where the two GOCs were supposed to attend a conference at the Army Headquarters, the ISPR release said. After the crash, locals recovered the dead and the injured from the wreckage. An army team from Jamuna Cantonment, an army rescue team from Ghatail Cantonment, an Air Force rescue team from Pahar Kanchanpur Air Force Base, fire service, police and Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) rushed to the spot. Injured Major Saif was flown to Dhaka Combined Military Hospital. The bodies of the deceased were also airlifted to Dhaka, reports UNB.

Abdul Wares, a resident of Rouha, told The Daily Star that he was working in his paddy field when the helicopter crashed into the banyan tree. He ran to the spot and saw the helicopter fall into the pond. "I pulled the dead and the injured out of the helicopter," he said. After the accident, GOC of Ghatail Cantonment Maj Gen AKM Mujahiduddin, Commander of 98 Composite Brigade Brig Gen Nasimul Gani, Lt Col Shakil Ahmed Biswas, Tangail Superintendent of Police Abdul Mannan, Tangail Deputy Commissioner Maksudur Rahman Patwari, Tangail Rab Camp Commander Maj Nasir Uddin went to the spot and supervised recovery operations. It could not be known why the chopper hit the electric cable.

Meanwhile, President Zillur Rahman, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Leader of the Opposition Khaleda Zia expressed deep shock at the death of the two army officers. President Zillur said the deaths caused an irrecoverable loss to the nation. Hasina said the army lost two talented officers and the nation two of its best sons. "The tragic deaths of the two officers came as a double blow to the nation before it had overcome another shock," said the prime minister in her message. Khaleda in her message said the nation suffered a great loss through the demise of Maj Gen Rafiqul Islam and Lt Col Md Shahidul Islam. They prayed for the salvation of the departed souls and expressed sympathy to the bereaved families. The ISPR release added that Maj Gen Rafiqul Islam was commissioned in East Bengal Regiment on December 25, 1977 and promoted to major general on March 8, 2007.

BDR HQ hardly cordoned off -- Rebels fled in hundreds through gate 1

Hundreds of rebels of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) could flee from Pilkhana headquarters almost unobstructed during the 33-hour bloody mutiny as law enforcers and security personnel did not cordon off a vast stretch of areas alongside the boundary, people of nearby areas said. A large portion of the boundary wall around the BDR headquarters in between BDR gate No 1 and Bay Tannery used by fleeing BDRs as a safe passage remained totally unguarded. No law enforcers were deployed over the long stretch of one kilometre area along the boundary wall, they said.

As for the other areas alongside the boundary of the BDR headquarters law enforcers and security personnel were very scantily deployed making rooms for runaway rebels to elude the grasps of the law enforcers. Cross-section of people nearby areas said the rebels in hundreds used Ganaktuli and Hazaribagh Tannery Zone areas as safe passages and escaped between 3:00pm and 5:00pm on February 26. The authorities of the law enforcement agencies, however, claimed that they had instructed police and Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) members to prevent BDR jawans from fleeing the scene.

Talking to a cross section of people it is also gathered that members of the army and Rab were deployed around a quarter or half a kilometre away from the points through which most of the 6,700 BDR personnel ran away by scaling the high boundary. Hours into the breaking out of mutiny inside the BDR headquarters, the locals saw presence of police and Rab personnel at Ganaktuli and Hazaribagh areas but soon they retreated amid indiscriminate firing from inside the BDR headquarters by mutineers.

"As the areas were unguarded some BDR rebels even easily came out of their headquarters after the revolt and returned to it after 11:00pm on February 25," said Mohammad Russel, a fruit vendor at BDR Gate-1. Some others also gave similar account. After 8:00pm on February 25 a group of eight to 10 policemen were seen patrolling at the BDR Gate-1 while only one patrol team of Rab went past the area soon after 10:00pm. "After 2:00am on February 27, two Rab patrol vans pulled off at the Gate No 5 and till morning they were seen foraging in the sewerage lines in the area," said Mozammel Hossain, a resident of Ganaktuli Sweeper Colony.

While talking to The Daily Star around 50 people of the areas gave the same account of how the rebel border guards escaped. Around 6,700 BDR members fled their headquarters mostly on February 26 soon after the prime minister's address to the nation. Locals said they saw a team of army men on February 25 at Azimpur Battola near the graveyard, which is about 200 yards off the places through which BDR jawans fled away. The locals added they did not see the army team there for a few hours from February 25 midnight and then again they came to the spot at 11:00am the next day.

The army personnel, however, rounded up a handful of BDR rebels when they were passing by the army team, they added. Rab Director General Hassan Mahmood Khandker said, "We instructed our force to arrest the fleeing rebels and they worked accordingly." He also claimed his force arrested over 200 BDR jawans from across the country. When asked whether Rab members were deployed along the boundary wall of BDR headquarters, he said, “I don't know whether they were near the boundary wall or not. They were instructed and worked as per the directives.”

When asked Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner Naim Ahmed said they also directed their force to arrest the runaway BDR personnel and they arrested a number of fleeing BDR personnel on the day of mutiny and after it was over. "Our force was busy with various duties. So we could not deploy enough manpower to cordon off the vast stretch of the areas along the boundary of BDR headquarters," he said replying to a query. Locals said as around 1,800 BDR families reside at Ganaktuli, Hazaribagh, Badda Nagar, Moneswer Road and Nababganj areas next to the BDR headquarters locals initially helped thm to flee.

Some of them even provided BDR men with clothes, shelter and information about the position of law enforcers to ensure their escape. As the brutality by the disgruntled BDR personnel came to light, now many of the locals feel repented for all the assistances they extended to the BDR rebels. "If I had known that they had killed so many people and looted their valuables we would not have allowed them to flee," said sexagenarian Habibur Rahman of Azimpur area venting his pent-up anger on BDR personnel.

A very similar episode that we see here across the border

2 relations of mutiny victims among 36 picked by AL

The Awami League (AL)-led grand alliance has nominated 36 candidates to contest the election to reserved seats for women in the Jatiya Sangsad. AL Assistant Office Secretary BM Mozammel Haque MP announced the names of the candidates at a press conference yesterday afternoon at the Dhanmondi office of the party chief Sheikh Hasina.

Out of them, Momtaj Begum (Munshiganj) is the mother of Major Mahmudul Hasan Swapan and Farida Rahman Hira (Panchagarh) is the mother-in-law of Major Gazzali Dastagir who were killed in recent BDR mutiny.

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby Stan_Savljevic » 10 Mar 2009 01:24

Give your evidence: Hasina to Khaleda

Dhaka, March 7 ( – Prime minister Sheikh Hasina has asked opposition leader Khaleda Zia to give the investigators any evidence she has on the BDR mutiny. "She (Khaleda) has said she has evidence on this incident. I am entreating her to hand it over to the probe committee," Hasina said at a March 7 programme Saturday. The prime minister vowed again that all who were linked to the BDR bloodbath would be punished.

"Army officers were killed in a plot to push the country into civil war," she said. Pointing a finger at the main opposition BNP, she said, "Those who came to power through bloodshed after [Aug. 15, 1975 military putsch] are plotting again now. "Their game has not finished." She asked all to be united to overcome the crisis.

"The people have to be cautious, avoid conflict and go forward patiently without being misguided by allegations and rumour in this difficult time." She expressed sympathy with the bereaved families of the slain army officers. Daughter of independence leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who was killed after independence, Hasina said, "I lost 18 people, including my parents and brothers, in 1975. I perceive these families' woe and pain."

"I, as head of government, tried to save them (mutiny victims)," the prime minister said. "I concentrated mainly on saving people and averting civil war. I called chiefs of three services and discussed with them. "I saved 43 army officers and their families." She urged restraint on all parts, avoiding violent path and said, "It took place just when people were relieving a bit."

Hasina was speaking at the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh to mark Sheikh Mujib's historic March 7, 1971 call for independence at Ramna Race Course, now Suhrawardy Udyan. Senior Awami League leaders were present.

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby ramana » 10 Mar 2009 01:53

I didnt know the call was from a race course named after me!

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby Stan_Savljevic » 10 Mar 2009 03:28

What’s happening in Bangladesh?
http://www.wordsfromsolitude.blogspot.c ... adesh.html

Bangladesh In the Midst of Global Crisis, an Opportunity -- by Ramtanu Maitra ... loads.html

Bangladesh has blocked youtube and many other websites

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby NRao » 10 Mar 2009 21:00

To be sure, these are the "bad Taliban" of Obama theory, the ones that Zakaria wants us to live with:

Islamists blame India for Bangladesh mutiny


As agents of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation arrived here to help probe last week's mutiny, rightwing Jamaat-e-Islami party Sunday accused India of being behind the killings inside the Bangladesh border guards' headquarters.

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby Rupak » 11 Mar 2009 23:20

For those who understand Bengali, the youtube recording of the meeting between Sheikh Hasina and the Army is worth listening to. Gives you are real sense of what kind of crisis the government has had to deal with and strong sense of anguish (and anger) on the part of the Army for not being allowed into to deal with the BDR earlier. ... re=related

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby ramana » 11 Mar 2009 23:24

So what precipitated the BDR coup aka mutiny? And who are the supporters - internal and external? Among the officers killed what were their future plans that are on the fritz now?Who would have benefited from the coup and now that its foiled who lost? And who gained?

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby Stan_Savljevic » 12 Mar 2009 00:53

This is my theory, take it for what its worth....

What seems to have been the aim of the mutiny?

An army takeover in the short run, perhaps followed by an army + BNP compromise caretaker government in the medium to long run. Anything better than an AL government that goes hammer and tongs at the BNP cadre. {Recall that corruption cases under the CTG were small fries when compared with cases (re)-opened up on the BNP + Razakars by the AL government.} A need to manufacture a mammoth internal crisis, create an "India is going to move" hysteria, and generate a logical premise in the minds of an easily malleable population towards the goal of an army takeover.
Who are the actors? And who are the supporters - internal and external?

Looks like many of them played different cogs in the wheel: 0) Pakistan in the background providing the ideological motivation, 1) Razakars/Islamist causes being the force that channelizes the energies of the disparate identities into a cogent whole, 2) The BDR low-level cadre providing the beef for public consumption, 3) Some sections of AL and large sections of the BNP providing the political fronts to calm the BDA in the immediate aftermath and probably in the long run.
Why did it fail?

The fact that there are many actors and each actor has(d) its own priority in either exploiting the situation or setting an agenda of its own. No common ground, in short.
ramana wrote:So what precipitated the BDR coup aka mutiny?

The fear factor precipitated by external forces. Fear by the Razakars/Islamists + BNP combine that the new AL government would go hammer and tongs at them for the past deeds and misdeeds, including wide-scale corruption, 1971, Sh. Mujib assassination, support for JMB and the orchestrated bombings, support for ULFA etc. and more.

Among the officers killed what were their future plans that are on the fritz now?

Maj Gen Shakil Ahmed Chowdhury had been vocal in trying to get transit rights for India in return for Tata-type investment. Some of the officer cadre who got killed seem to have been a part of the UN contingent. The lead organizer also seems to have been part of the Sierre Leone mission. There could have been some beef from the past.

The BDA has lost massive face and would seek some revenge against BDR very soon -- overt or covert. It is highly unlikely that BDR will stay in one piece henceforth. And most BDA deputations are going to be shit scared of BDR cadre. The Islamisation of BDA, BDR, RAB continues unabated. But thats only expected in a country that is in itself Islamist to the core. It was never a case of if, but when. So lets stop blaming J-e-I type organizations for the Islamisation of the polity.

Who would have benefited from the coup and now that its foiled who lost? And who gained?

Who have gained: 1) AL in its handling of the crisis which it can use to get more cash from WB, west, export quotas as a LDC etc, 2) BDA in terms of image as seen by the west that it is not its paki counterpart in some form, 3) RAB in trying to fill the void created by the spoiling of reputation of BDR, 4) West -- read US, UK, Germany -- in terms of intelligence coups, 5) India as the border defence apparatus seems to have been weakened a bit, 6) Burma as it can keep exploring for oil in Bay of Bengal without much worries in the short term, 7) Islamist forces that can immediately fill in the power vacuum caused by loss of face of AL, BNP, BDA, BDR and mass disenchantment with established organs of civil society, 8) China as it continues the encirclement regardless of who is in power with episodes such as Ruppur nuke plant, Brahmaputra water management, arms for ULFA, NSCN-xx etc.

Who have lost: 1) Pakistan as it overstretches its hands and legs and its plan to exert strategic depth far away from its borders seems to have come awry, 2) Razakars as their need for a fear factor has not borne fruit, 3) India as smuggling continues rampantly across the border still and a power vaccum has set in, Maj Gen Shakil Ahmed Chowdhury seemed to be vocal in offering transit rights so we lost a pro-India card in that sense, 4) BDR as its image as a disciplined force is in complete shatters leading to reorganization aplenty, 5) BDA lost a significant number of its trained senior officer cadre even more than in 1971, 6) AL as its hands are tied down in internal crisis management than in handling the Razakars issue even half-heartedly, has to make peace with the BDA for letting them down, has to face the brunt of attacks from everyone internal and external as the buck stops with AL.

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby ramana » 13 Mar 2009 04:11

Pioneer, 13 march 2009

EDITS | Friday, March 13, 2009 | Email | Print |

Islamic Right plotted mutiny

Sunanda K Datta-Ray

In those agonising weeks of Bangladesh’s bloody birth, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto observed that if ‘Muslim Bangla’ was seceding because of language, it should logically merge with West Bengal. But if it felt more Muslim than Bangla, it should remain in Pakistan.

Many Bangladeshi Muslims (nearly 90 per cent of the 154 million population) have not been able to resolve that dilemma in 38 years of sovereign existence. It is a continuation of the complex that prompted Mian Mumtaz Daultana, a Muslim League politician of aristocratic Rajput descent who became Chief Minister of Pakistani Punjab in 1951, to confess that a Muslim in pre-independence India “did not really quite know whether he was basically a Muslim or an Indian”.

Problems of identity, underlying explosions like the Bangladesh Rifles’ February 25 rampage, transform law and order problems into a major political challenge to everything that Prime Minister Hasina Wajed and her Awami League represent. New Delhi was being strictly formal when it described the turmoil as “an exclusively internal matter”. But almost everything that happens in Bangladesh has an external dimension, as confirmed by Dhaka Press reports accusing India’s Border Security Force of exploiting the crisis. Mr Pranab Mukherjee’s guarded utterances, confirming the complexity of India-Bangladesh relations, justified India not joining Scotland Yard and the FBI in probing the mutiny.

In a seminal address to the Dhaka (then still Dacca) Rotary Club nearly 30 years ago, India’s then High Commissioner, Mr Muchkund Dubey, hit the nail on the head. “To a very great extent, our problems are psychological,” he said. “This psychology is derived from our common past. At times it is also due to what one can call small neighbour-big neighbour syndrome.” He might have added that the Bangladeshi elite’s perception of West Bengal and Kolkata compounds the complex.

Mr IK Gujral had the same ambivalence in mind when he advised Sheikh Hasina Wajed in her previous incarnation as Prime Minister to sell gas to India through an American consortium. Its commission would be a small price for freedom from ‘political pressures’, like some Indians wanted the Kolkata-Dhaka-Kolkata Moitree Express discontinued because the Harkat-ul-Jihad-ul-Islam, suspected of being behind the Hyderabad bombing, was believed to operate from Bangladesh.

Geography reinforces psychology. Being surrounded by Indian territory on three sides induces a siege mentality and gives half-a-dozen Indian States a stake in Bangladesh’s stability. The 4,400-km land border also encourages hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants — mainly Muslim economic refugees — who are responsible for demographic change in West Bengal’s sensitive border districts, as well as in Assam and other North-Eastern States.

Ideally, strong cultural links, economic inter-dependence, shared inland water resources and overlapping maritime claims should make for close cooperation and even an open or soft border. That was the lost hope of liberation under Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. A friendly Bangladesh can still activate river, road and rail traffic to facilitate communication with North-Eastern States that are politically, economically and strategically vital for India.

An unfriendly Bangladesh can compound India’s problems there with armed secessionists, as Mr Hafizur Rahman’s confession about the clandestine arms consignment seized in Chittagong in April 2004 proved. Bangladesh can also abort India’s search for energy in Burma. At the same time, Bangladesh cannot interact with landlocked Nepal and Bhutan except through Indian territory.

Closer ties with India are precisely what Bangladeshis who are uncertain of their identity fear most. They opposed liberation, plotted Mujib’s elimination and are now afraid of Sheikh Hasina Wajed’s call for a South Asian anti-terror task force and her election promise to punish the 1971 ‘war criminals’ which the Jatiyo Sansad has unanimously ratified. The Jamaat-e-Islami, which was a coalition partner of Begum Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh National Party and is suspected of being close to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, is understandably concerned.

That also explains Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari sending a special envoy, Mirza Zia Ispahani, scion of a prominent Calcutta political family that migrated to Pakistan, to Dhaka on a five-day visit just before the mutiny to persuade Sheikh Hasina Wajed to abandon the move. While Ministers, MPs and the Sansad Speaker objected to his intervention, the most vehement criticism was by the Workers Party MP, Mr Rashed Khan Menon, a member of a leading Pakistani-Bangladeshi family. He is anathema to the Islamic Right which resents his leftist politics as much as his aversion to beef, and predictably identifies him with Hindus and India.

True, the mutiny’s immediate and more specific reasons had nothing to do with India. The BDR men complain of pay and perquisites and resent the Army monopolising United Nations peace-keeping assignments carrying monthly wages of $ 1,100 or 75,680 Bangladeshi takas. But these alone may not have precipitated a coordinated massacre in Dhaka’s Pilkhana barracks with simultaneous revolts in Rajshahi, Satkhira and Teknaf without a powerful emotional motivation. Sheikh Hasina Wajed speaks of “a wider conspiracy” and blames a “plot by a section of conspirators”. Her Local Government Minister, Mr Jehangir Kabir Nanak, says “millions of takas” were spent on fomenting the revolt. Bombed bridges and road ambushes bear out the Government’s charge that it was “pre-planned”. There is evidence of truckloads of armed strangers in BDR uniform in Pilkhana.

The mutineers cannot have expected to achieve better employment terms by slaughtering their officers, including the commandant, Maj-Gen Shakil Ahmed, and his wife. Perhaps, agents provocateur hoped to provoke the 67,000 BDR men and the 250,000-strong Army into massacring each other in a repetition of the horrors of 1971. Perhaps they convinced the mutineers that sections of the Army would join their revolt. Either way, but for Sheikh Hasina Wajed’s swift and decisive actions, the Government would have been swept away in an anarchic torrent leaving the field open for other forces to seize control.

That might explain not only the mystery surrounding the mutiny but also reports that the Jamaat indoctrinated many new Army and BDR recruits. The Islamic Right cannot have been pleased when Gen Shakil succeeded in healing the anger the Indian authorities had nursed ever since the BDR killed 16 BSF jawans at Boraibari in Assam in 2001. Nor when Gen Moeen U Ahmed, the Army chief, buried another hatchet with a well-publicised visit to India. A period of harmonious partnership seemed to lie ahead. That was — and is — intolerable for those Bangladeshis for whom ‘Muslim’ will always take precedence over ‘Bangla’.


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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby Stan_Savljevic » 13 Mar 2009 04:17

JMB hand found in BDR carnage -- Says probes coordinator Faruk Khan

Commerce Minister Lt Col (retired) Faruk Khan yesterday linked the carnage at BDR Pilkhana headquarters to Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). He said some of the border troops rounded up for alleged role in the bloody mutiny are found to have connections with JMB, the banned Islamist outfit responsible for terrorist attacks including the near-simultaneous countrywide blasts in 2005. Faruk, who has lately been tasked with coordinating the probes into February 25-26 bloodbath at Pilkhana, was talking to reporters at his secretariat office around noon.

"We have gathered that a number of BDR jawans arrested in the mutiny case were involved in JMB somehow or other. "I won't give more details as that might alert others having links to the mass killings," he said. The minister made the disclosure at a time when speculation runs rife that militant groups might have something to do with the BDR massacre. The way Col Gulzar Uddin Ahmed's body was mutilated adds weight to that line of reasoning. Gulzar, who had recently been posted to BDR from Rapid Action Battalion, was revered for his role in anti-militant drives.

Criminal Investigation Department (CID), which is investigating the case in connection with the mass killings, however would not say anything about JMB links to the carnage that left 74 people including 52 army officers killed and scores injured. ASP Abdul Kahar Akand of CID said, "As investigation officer of the case I cannot say at this stage if JMB were involved. At least not until the investigation is complete."

Recently, a team working under 'Operation Rebel Hunt' has raided in vain houses of four suspected BDR mutineers--Anwar, Ismail, Kawsar and Aftab--at Bagmara in Rajshahi, an area once considered a militant bastion. The four are believed to have been JMB operatives before joining the paramilitary force. Of them, Anwar gained notoriety as a close associate of Bangla Bhai, JMB operations commander executed along with Mujahideen supremo Shaikh Abdur Rahman and four others in 2007. He was allegedly involved in Awami League leader Yasin's murder at Bagmara in 2004. An officer who is among those in the hunt for the four, said around a dozen rebel soldiers took shelter at Ismail's house at Sakoa village in Bagmara after February 26.

Coming out of the inaugural session of the annual general meeting of International Business Forum of Bangladesh (IBFB) at a city hotel yesterday morning, Faruk Khan said JMB links to the BDR massacre have been found, and that things would get clear after inquiry. Earlier, addressing the function there, he said, “The barbaric acts of violence at Pilkhana were a deep-rooted conspiracy against the country and its secular-minded people." Faruk blasted the opposition parties for 'not standing by the government' during the crisis stemming from BDR mutiny. He alleged they [BNP and allies] were nowhere to be seen on the first two days of the mayhem. They did not utter a word at that time.

Meanwhile, a Dhaka court yesterday placed 12 more suspected BDR mutineers on five days' remand each for interrogation. Those remanded are subedar Gofran Mallick, havildar Rezaul Karim, lance nayeks Gausul Alam and Yusuf Ali, sepoys Joyanta Kumar Sarkar, Jamir Ali, Abdul Latif, Sohrab Hossain, Shariful Islam, Rafiqul Islam, Ismail Hossain and Masudur Rahman. Metropolitan Magistrate Mohammad Abdur Rahim passed the order after CID produced the 12 with a prayer seeking a 10-day remand for each.

Missing BDR arms cause for concern-- Law-enforcers yet to confirm number of arms taken away

Daisy Ahmed missed a heartbeat when she saw something wrapped in BDR uniform lying abandoned at the entrance to her house in Ganaktuli, a locality adjacent to the fifth gate of border guards' headquarters. After the February 25-26 mutiny that degenerated into a bloodbath at their HQ, most of the riflemen reportedly fled through the gate 5. It was 9:00 in the night the next day when everybody thought the wrapped thing was a rifle. But the police discovered a sub-machine gun (SMG) and also recovered 408-round bullets. Till date the law-enforcement agencies could not confirm how many firearms were taken away from the headquarters or eventually fell to the hands of criminals, posing a threat to law and order.

Hazaribagh police and Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) recovered an SMG, a pistol, 630-round Chinese rifles' bullets, 470-round SMG bullets, three grenades including two Arges, a wireless set and 15 bullet-chargers abandoned in different areas until March 5. Locals allege some youths took away some firearms and might have sold those by now. The suspicion and allegations of hiding some abandoned firearms and ammo were substantiated after Hazaribagh police held two people in the act of fleeing with arms after the mutiny.

The police say the recovered weapons are in their custody and will be handed to BDR once the paramilitary force gets back to normalcy. "The reality is that many firearms have gone missing and the number cannot be confirmed yet regarding how many arms there were during the mutiny or how many have gone missing," Inspector General of Police (IGP) Nur Mohammad told The Daily Star. "If we fail to recover the firearms, very normally those will land in the hand of criminals and the law and order would definitely witness a slide," Nur Mohammad added. "I just left 250 rounds of bullets inside Sweepers' Colony. Give me a lungi and help me flee," a fleeing BDR man was quoted by Sagarika, a resident of Ganaktuli.

The BDR man, who introduced him as Masum at around 11:00pm on February 26, was injured in his knee and claimed to have suffered the wound when he jumped from a two-storey building to escape. "At first the border guard fainted at the entrance to my house. When he recovered, he made the statement. Almost all the border guards who fled Pilkhana through this area had ammunition in their pockets. They changed dresses at places and left behind those with the ammo," she added.

The BDR men left arms and ammunition wherever they could while fleeing, especially near the places where they took shelter. Besides Ganaktuli, abandoned firearms were found in Birban Kasra, Moneshwar Road and Kilkhana in Hazaribagh. Lalbagh police say they recovered only 26 bullets abandoned by the BDR men, while Kamrangirchar police did not make any such recovery. "Covers of some grenades suggest somebody might have taken away the hand-bombs. Even now you can find grenade holders in drains and sewage" a sub-inspector involved in the recovery of weapons told The Daily Star. As locals refused to give shelter to some of the fleeing BDR men, many of them took shelter at Madina Masjid in Ganaktuli and abandoned a grenade and 224 bullets on the mosque premises.

Food security gets major boost -- UK pledges Tk 560cr, WFP Tk 1,242cr

The United Kingdom will give Bangladesh assistance for coordinated development of the country's coastal areas under a £60 million (over Tk 560 crore) trust fund. The UK also pledged to help the country's food security programme. Visiting UK Minister for International Development Mike Foster gave the assurances when he met with Food and Disaster Management Minister Md Abdur Razzak at the latter's ministry office yesterday, says a ministry press release. Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) said it would provide Bangladesh $180 million (Tk 1,242 crore) to strengthen food security.

Agricultural development, employment generation and increasing income are being thought to be included in the coordinated programme for development in the coastal belt. Sources said the UK has advised Bangladesh authorities to prepare these projects. Only one crop is produced in the vast area of land in the country's coastal region as cultivation is not possible there in other seasons because of salinity. Food Minister Md Abdur Razzak said Bangladesh can produce surplus food if salinity-tolerant varieties could be invented and cultivated in this region. Increase in cooperation in agricultural research is necessary for this. He thanked the UK for assisting Bangladesh in different development programmes including coordinated disaster management programme.

Ctg Ammo Haul --- 2 top ex-CUFL officers held

Two former high officials of Chittagong Urea Fertiliser Limited (CUFL) were arrested in connection with the sensational 10 truckloads of arms haul case yesterday. The then managing director Mohsin Talukder and general manager (Admin) Enamul Haq of Chittagong Urea Fertiliser Limited (CUFL) have been shown arrested on charge of non-cooperation with the interrogation. They were hauled before a Chittagong court in the afternoon and the Court of Metropolitan Magistrate Osman Gani sent them to jail custody rejecting their bail prayers.

"The former MD had the authority to allow any vessel to use the jetty of the Key Point Installation (KPI). During the questioning both the former MD and the former GM (Admin) claimed the engine boats that carried the arms did not obtain permission for berthing at the jetty and the offloading of the arms and ammunition was beyond their knowledge," said CID Chittagong Divisional Special Superintendent Mohammad Muslim. "During a face-to-face interrogation former assistant security officer Mobin Hossain Khan claimed to have informed the MD and other high officials of the offloading instantly," said Muslim, who is entrusted with supervising and monitoring of the case.

"The former MD later admitted that the then assistant security officer informed him of the offloading. He said he had suggested the security officer to inform the police of the matter," he added. "Both the MD and the GM (Admin) continued claiming themselves as innocent while refraining from saying what they had done on their part to check the offloading at the restricted jetty of such a Key Point Installation," Muslim told The Daily Star. "The two officials may be interrogated in remand," he commented.

"We would also interrogate others mentioned in the confessional statement [by principal accused Hafizur Rahman] and in the interrogation," he said. "But first of all we would try to know how the deadly consignment could be offloaded at CUFL jetty," he added. Investigation Officer (IO) Muniruzzaman Chowdhury said the two former CUFL officials were arrested following face-to-face interrogation and statements made by the security officials in the questioning.

"We need to further interrogate the two former CUFL high officials," said the IO, a senior ASP of CID, Chittagong Division. Former CUFL GM (Marketing) Sarwar Kamal, former security officer Jainal Abedin and former Ansar commander Havilder Abu Tayub have also been interrogated so far. Two sergeants -- Alauddin and Helal Uddin -- and Havilder Siddiqur Rahman, who was on duty at Koilar Depot Police Camp just opposite to CUFL Jetty that night, also appeared for questioning.

"We have recorded statements of the two sergeants as witnesses. We could not bring them for questioning since they are facing another case at this moment," said the IO. Mentionable, the two sergeants were the first to challenge the consignment of deadly weapons and ammunition hauled at CUFL Jetty in the early hours of April 2, 2004. They were suspended after they got arrested with two AK47 assault rifles that went missing from the seized arms cache. After suffering detention they were later freed on bail.

9 sued for killing FF during War of Liberation

A case was filed with a Khulna court on Wednesday against nine people for killing freedom fighter Moslem Golder of Baliadanga village, Batiaghata, during the War of Liberation. The court of Senior Judicial Magistrate Abu Ibrahim took cognizance of the case yesterday and fixed March 22 as the date for hearing on it. Abdullah Golder, son of Moslem Golder, filed the case against Rafiqul Morol, 68, and his younger brother Belayet Morol, 64, Mostafa Molla, 72, Mohor Sheikh, 62, Ashraf Ali Sheikh, 65, Gaffar Golder, 69, Abdul Hakim, 67, Rajab Ali Sarder, 77, and Karbala Sarder, 64.

In his complaint, Abdullah Golder stated that the murder was committed on December 11 in 1971. He said the alleged Rajakars gunned down his father in the morning of December 11 in the compound of Phulbari union council office in Batiaghata. Of the accused, Rafiqul Morol and Rajab Ali Sarder acted as Rajakar commanders during the War of Liberation, he said. The killers also cut the body of his father into pieces and dumped them into Kazibacha river, Abdullah said in his complainant. He has named eight people in the petition as witnesses, including his mother Khodeza Begum. Officer-in-charge (OC) of Batiaghata police station Abdus Salek said that he has not yet received any order from the court for conducting an investigation into the allegation of the petitioner.

Martyred FF's son sues 11 'rajakars' in Bagerhat

Son of a martyred freedom fighter (FF) yesterday lodged an FIR (first information report) with Kachua Police Station accusing 11 'rajakars' of killing his father during Liberation War in 1971. Alamgir Howlader, son of freedom fighter Ataher Ali Howlader, lodged the FIR accusing Afzal Howlader, 60, Monir Howlader, 62, Jalaluddin, 61, Shahid Howlader and his elder brother Sarwar Howlader, 65, Abdul Aziz, 60, Maksud Mollik, 70, Anower Seikh, 62, Basharat Howlader, 55, Lokman Mollik, 62, and Anwar Fakir, 52, of Madhobkhati, Larkul, Khandhapara and Bogha villages under the upazila.

The complainant stated that on December 3 in 1971, the rajakars gunned down his father Athaher Ali Howlader near Bhasa Bazar of the upazila. Officer-in-Charge (OC) Md Masudul Alam of Kuchua Police Station recorded the FIR under sections 302 and 334 of Bangladesh Penal Code. Sub-Inspector Akram Hossain has been made investigation officer (I0).

2 Gens retired, new 9 Div GOC named

Dhaka Mar 12 (—Two of the army's most senior generals have been ordered into retirement, and the GOC of the crucial 9 Infantry Division based in Savar replaced. A highly-placed source said Thursday that Lt Gen Aminul Karim, the commandant of the National Defence College, and Maj Gen Fatmi Ahmed Rumi, chairman of BIISS, would leave the army with immediate effect. The order, according to the source, was dated Wednesday.

Maj Gen Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan, now head of the Staff College, returned to command troops again as he replaced Maj Gen Ashab Uddin as the Savar area commander. The two generals swapped their positions. Gen Aminul Karim, a cadet of the second Short Service Commission that passed out in 1975, was made a three-star general only last year and sent to run the NDC.

A former GOC of the 9 Infantry Division, he had served as the military secretary to president Iajuddin Ahmed before becoming the NDC chief. Gen Rumi, a former head of the DGFI during the second BNP government, commanded the Rangpur-based division for two years before recently becoming the titular head of the government think tank, Bangladesh Institute of International Strategic Studies. Rumi was a cadet of the 4th SSC. Maj Gen Ashab Uddin, of the Bangladesh army's first regular batch, was promoted to the two-star rank and made GOC of the 9 Division in the early months of the emergency government. Gen Bhuiyan, of the 3rd SSC, had commanded two divisions and been the army's chief of general staff before his assignment at the Mirpur-based Defence Services Command and Staff College (DSCSC).

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby Stan_Savljevic » 14 Mar 2009 05:03

9 sedition cases filed against 15 Tahrir men

Nine sedition cases were filed yesterday and Thursday against 15 activists of Islamist outfit Hijb ut-Tahrir. Officers-in-charge of Gulshan, Uttara, Pallabi, Mirpur, Darus Salam, Ramna, Sabujbagh, Mohammadpur and Khilgaon police stations filed the cases against 15 out of 27 Tahrir men arrested after the carnage at BDR headquarters in Pilkhana. Gulshan and Uttara OCs each accused four Hijb ut-Tahrir men. Anwar Hossain, deputy commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Mirpur zone, told The Daily Star, "The cases were filed after getting the required government approval."

According to police, the activists of the outfits were first arrested under section-54 of the Criminal Procedure Code and then charged with sedition. Police said after the mutiny at BDR headquarters on February 25 and 26, the accused distributed provocative leaflets urging people to oust the government. Sources said after the arrest of the Hijb ut-Tahrir men, the government approved 14 police stations for filing sedition cases against them.

JMB suspect held at border

Immigration police yesterday arrested a suspected Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) member from Benapole border in Jessore. Moulana Munsur Alam, 45, was rounded up from the cheek post of the Benapole when he was returning from India after five months, police said. Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) is now grilling Munsur, said Rab sources.

Immigration Acting Officer Kazi Akbar Hossain said Munsur went to India on October 10 with a one-month visa and stayed at different places of India in the last five months. An Indian mobile SIM card was seized from Munsur. He said he stayed at different madrasas in India during his five-month stay there. Munsur is the son of Abdul Karim of south Isakhali village in Chittagong.

Workers returning in alarming numbers --- Overseas employers send many of them on long vacation

The number of Bangladeshi workers returning from South East Asian and Gulf countries is increasing every day, as their employers cannot afford to employ or pay them due to the economic meltdown. Many returned from the United Arab Emirates said their employers sent them on long vacation due to the slowdown especially in construction sector. Around 300 workers returned home in the early hours yesterday. About 160 workers came from Malaysia, 90 from Singapore and 40 from the Maldives on board a Malaysian Airlines plane around 1:00am. Around 90 more workers were scheduled to depart from Singapore yesterday night.

“The number of workers returning home from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia has increased significantly since mid-January,” said an official at Zia International Airport (ZIA). A source said the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET), which records the number of deported workers and those with out-passes, reported that in February 8000 workers returned from different countries, while the number was only 4000 in January and 3500 in December last year. Out-pass is a document issued by the Bangladesh missions abroad when the workers become illegal immigrants after visa expiration or are taken to custody for violation of laws. Till March 11, over 3000 workers were deported with out-passes. BMET, however, is not keeping records of those returning with proper documents for long vacation.

Nayeem, a worker who just returned from Malaysia yesterday, said he went to Malaysia two years ago, but was provided with jobs only for six months. For the rest of the time, his agents kept him and many other Bangladeshis confined in different places. “I did not receive any cooperation from our High Commission,” he told The Daily Star, adding that his employer did not renew his work permit though he gave assurance repeatedly. Another returnee Abul Kalam said he went to Singapore last March, but was not provided with any jobs. “We were 500 Bangladeshis altogether. Empower, our manpower agency, provided us with food and lodging for two months, but thereafter they took no care of us,” he said. The employers did not pay levy for the workers. So the workers became irregular, Kalam said. Thousands of other workers would also come for the same reason, Kalam told The Daily Star.

Nasreen Jahan, labour councillor of Bangladesh High Commission in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), also said that job opportunities were declining in the UAE. She said many construction companies have already slowed down their activities making workers uncertain about their future. “We are conferring with the companies so that they temporarily allow our workers to go home on long vacations, instead of terminating them, so that the companies could re-employ them immediately after the recession is over,” Nasreen said. She said in some cases, on some of the workers' demand their regular visas were cancelled to allow them return home. She however said there was no record of such returnees.

Meanwhile, in the wake of the financial meltdown, overseas employment has also come down by around 50 percent since December last year. Contacted, Expatriate and Overseas Employment Minister Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said they were aware of the facts and therefore decided to visit these countries so that the workers could be reassigned to other jobs or kept in the existing companies even at minimum salaries. “We also directed our foreign missions in this regard,” he said.

Ramna Batamul Blast Cases --- Decision on framing charges against Huji men Mar 23

A Dhaka court will decide on March 23 whether charges will be framed against 14 Harkatul Jihad (Huji) men, including its chief Mufti Abdul Hannan, in connection with the Ramna Batamul blast cases. After hearing the prosecution and defence on Thursday, Judge ANM Bashir Ullah of the Metropolitan Sessions Judge's Court fixed the date for delivering the order on the issue. Metropolitan Public Prosecutor Advocate Abdullah Abu made submissions, saying that the charges brought against Hannan and 13 others were preliminarily proved and they would be brought under trial.

On the other hand, defence lawyers for Hannan and Maulana Akbar Hussain submitted discharge petitions, saying that their clients were implicated in the cases as part of a conspiracy to harass them. So, they prayed for discharging them from the charges, lawyers said. The bomb attack at Ramna Batamul took place during Pahela Baishakh celebrations on April 14 in 2001, leaving 10 people dead and scores injured. Mufti Hannan, Arif Hassan Sumon, Shahadat Ullah Jewel, Maulana Abu Taher and Maulana Abdur Rouf, now in jail custody, were produced before the court during the hearing while Akbar, now on a bail, was also present.

Former deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu's brother Maulana Tajuddin, Maulana Sabbir alias Abdul Hannan, Maulana Shaokat Osman alias Sheikh Farid, Jahangir Alam Badar, Selim Howlader, Mufti Shafiqur Rahman, Maulana Yahya and Mufti Abdul Hye have been absconding since the cases were filed. On November 29 last year, Criminal Investigation Department submitted charge sheets to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court of Dhaka against Mufti Hannan and 13 others.

With a large number of people jobless and coming from mid-east and elsewhere, the following article only adds to the worries.

JMB still active in remote villages, lonely chars

Islamist militants belonging to Jama'atul Mujahedeen Bangladesh (JMB) are allegedly conducting their organisational activities from makeshift camps in different char areas and remote villages in Sirajganj and adjoining districts. The makeshift camps in different remote villages including Jamuna chars and Chalan Beel are used by JMB activists for recruitment of new members and their training, sources said. JMB militants are choosing remote areas of Sirajganj, Bogra, Gaibandha, Rangpur, Dinajpur, Panchagarh, Lalmonirhat, Joypurhat, Natore, Rajshahi, Chapainawabganj, Pabna, Kurigram, Thakurgaon, Naogaon and Nilphamari districts for setting up camps, as law enforcers are less vigilant there due to communication problem.

When the people of the country are yet to reel from the shock of Pilkhana massacre and law enforcers are busy to find out those involved in the carnage, the JMB activists are getting reorganised with preparations to carry out their mission, sources said. They are also working to recruit new members from different madrasas, especially Quami madrasas in the areas. The fanatics have targeted needy, uneducated people to recruit in their organisation. They also distribute money among the targeted people.

Villagers of Chalan Beel and Jamunar Chars told this correspondent that they often see unknown faces roaming about in the area. “We think these people might be activists of JMB and they are working in the area to recruit members and give them training,” they said. Several villagers said they hear sounds like that of explosion from different remote chars at deep nights. It might be sounds of bomb blast or firing, which are used during training, they said. “Once JMB activists were active in different places including Khetlal, Kalai, Joypurhat, Chapainawabganj, Gaibandha and Gabtoli in northern region. Following arrest and conviction of JMB bigwigs including Bangla Bhai and Abdur Rahman and drives by law enforcers, they took shelter to other places,” said an official of a law enforcement agency seeking anonymity.

Ever since I saw the pics from the Taj at Mumbai, anything grand seems like a planned event to me.

Blaze at Bashundhara City --- 7 killed, 20 injured; 6 top floors gutted; govt orders probe; electric short-circuit suspected; mall closed for 2 days

A raging blaze yesterday reduced the upper levels of the capital's Bashundhara City shopping complex to a skeleton, killing at least seven people and injuring 20 others. Ill-equipped to douse high-rise flames, the fire fighters could do little as the fire that broke out on the 17th floor at around 1:45pm swallowed up two floors above and three below. Later, military, police and Rab personnel joined them and brought the flames under control at around 9:00pm. For hours, they fought an uphill battle with miserably inadequate equipment at their disposal.

Since Fire Service and Civil Defence's only aerial ladder cannot gain access beyond 13th floor, six floors of the 20-storey mall-cum-office tower remained out of the fire fighters' reach to be left in ruins. Black plumes of smoke from the high rise spiralled upward, while blazing windowpanes, furniture and other objects rained down on the pavement. Of those dead, Baki Billa, a member of Bashundhara's own firefighting department, slipped and fell trying to climb down a rope. Three others however made safe landing while an air force chopper rescued another fireman from the rooftop. The injured were rushed to nearby clinics and hospitals and treated for burns and smoke inhalation.

Lt Commander Shahidul Islam, who led a 36-member rescue team from the navy, said they searched through the affected floors, but found no-one. However, locals said a number of people might be trapped inside as smoke and heat made it difficult to come out to safety. Their fears came true as the rescuers in a post-fire search found six bodies beside the elevator doors on the 17th floor. Witnesses said none of the corpses could be identified as they were charred beyond recognition.

Some staff of the shopping complex, the largest in the country, said they were afraid the bodies retrieved might be their six missing colleagues'. Earlier, hundreds of panic-stricken shoppers scrambled for exits as summer winds fanned the flames on the floors overhead. Those who were in the cineplex and gymnasium in the shopping centre were brought out of the building through gates on the west. The sight of upper Bashundhara burning fiercely caused panic among occupants of the neighbouring buildings. With the television channels broadcasting live the inferno leaping across the landmark structure, thousands of people crowded the Panthapath area to see first-hand how things develop. As a result, fire trucks struggled to reach the scene.

Director General (DG) of Fire Service Brig Gen Abu Naim Mohammad Shahidullah said cause of the fire could not yet be known. Some of the shop-owners at the mall however said short-circuit might be responsible. In the evening, the government formed a three-member committee to probe the incident. Shahnoor Miah, public relations officer of the home ministry, told The Daily Star that Abdul Hanif, joint secretary (police) of the ministry, will head the committee that has been asked to submit report within seven workdays. The other two members are from the police and fire brigade.

State minister for home, local lawmakers, inspector general of police (IGP), DG of Rab, Dhaka Metropolitan police commissioner and other senior officials visited the scene immediately. State Minister for Home Tanjim Ahmed Sohel said the fire could not be put out due to lack of proper firefighting equipment. "The fire brigade should have at least five ladders, while they have only one," he observed. Vehicular movement on Panthapath, Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, Sonargaon Road and Green Road were suspended to avert accidents and help the fire fighters and others reach the spot. Casualties would have been much higher had all the offices not been closed on the weekend.

Shibir, BCL go on the rampage at RU --- Shibir leader killed, 100 injured in clashes; RU, RMC, Rajshahi College shut down

Rajshahi University (RU) was closed for an indefinite period yesterday following sporadic clashes between Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) and Islami Chhatra Shibir (ICS) that left university unit ICS general secretary Sharifuzzaman Nomani killed and at least 100 people injured. The RU authorities at an emergency meeting held at 1:00 pm also asked the male students to vacate their dormitories by 5:00 pm yesterday while the female students by 10:00 am today. Rajshahi Medical College (RMC) and Rajshahi Government College were also closed sine die following the RU clash.

RU sources said the clash ensued on RU campus yesterday following Wednesday's attack by ICS men on the BCL activists. Besides the BCL and ICS men, some general students, journalists, police, local businessmen, local Awami League (AL) activists were also injured in the yesterday's violent clashes while around 100 rooms of BCL were ransacked. Seriously injured 60 persons, mostly BCL men, were admitted to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital (RMCH) while the rest were given first aid at RU Medical Centre and private clinics. Additional police were deployed on the campus where a tense situation was prevailing.


Earlier on Thursday night, BCL RU unit president Ibrahim Hossain Moon filed a case against 500 Shibir men in connection with Wednesday's incident that left at least 20 BCL men injured. Following the case, police started raiding in all the 11 male dormitories at about 3:00am and detained about 68 Shibir men. After the raid, Shibir cadres locked entrances of all the dormitories and attacked BCL men who were asleep at about 4:30 am and took control of the halls. Over 30 students were injured, 15 of them seriously, in the attack at Suhrawardy and Shamsozoha halls. BCL activists with the help of police rescued their fellows from the two halls at about 7:30 am. In the meantime, BCL men locked the entrances to all the male halls from outside, confining Shibir men inside of the halls.


The Shibir activists who reside in Binodpur area near the university also attacked BCL activists and local Awami League (AL) workers protesting the confinement of their fellow students at the halls. Later, an hour-long clash ensued at about 10:00 am between Shibir activists and local businessmen and AL activists on Dhaka-Rajshahi highway that left 12 people injured. Shibir cadres also ransacked local business establishments, AL activists houses and BCL men controlled messes during the clash. Hearing the rumour of the death of Rajshahi City unit Swechchhasevak League member Robiul Islam Robi, several hundred local people blocked the highway. However, the condition of Robi, also a local businessman, was stated to be critical.


At about 12:00 noon again clash erupted between BCL and ICS while ICS men tried to enter into the Sher-e-Bangla hall to rescue their fellows. Sources said, both groups exchanged 100 rounds of bullet during the clash, leaving two Shibir activists wounded. Jahangir Hossain, assistant commissioner of police, Motiher zone, said police used tear gas shells and rubber bullets to control the situation. At one stage, BCL men swooped on the hall that left 30 people injured, including the RU unit ICS general secretary. The injured were admitted to RMCH where Nomani died after admission. After the clash, ICS men physically assaulted RU proctor, assistant proctor and students adviser in Bangabandhu hall as they had gone there to rescue the BCL men.

RU Vice Chancellor Prof Abdus Sobhan told The Daily Star that university authorities took the decision of closing it to deal with the situation. BCL RU unit president Ibrahim Hossain Moon alleged that Shibir attacked on his men in a preplanned way. Shibir president Delwar Hossain Sayeedi blamed BCL for the attack and demanded exemplary punishment of those who killed its secretary.

Bangladesh's share in US RMG market widens

Bangladesh's share in the US apparel market is getting larger as cheap clothing (basic garment items) sales in that market are increasing in global recession, market operators said. Recession-hit retailers in the US and Europe are purchasing garments from Bangladesh in enhanced volume as the cost of the item is less here because of cheap labour and the better state of economy, reported some Indian dailies recently. The strong presence of locally made garment items in US market, the largest importer, has surpassed even India, a stronger competitor, for the first time. Bangladesh has now taken the fifth position, which was previously occupied by India, on the list of largest garment-exporting countries to the US.

While Bangladesh's share increased by 10 per cent, India's share went down by 3 percent in the US market in August 2008, as some newspapers in India report. The US imports of knitwear and woven garment from Bangladesh during July-December 2008 were more than $558 million and $1.21 billion respectively, according to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data. USITC (United States International Trade Commission) says the total import of knitwear from the world in the US was 1.56 percent down during June-December in 2008, whereas knitwear imports from Bangladesh marked a 24.87 rise in the same period.

When global woven imports in the US for this period were 3.72 percent down, the item's import from Bangladesh increased by 12.02 percent. The 5.1 percent rise in February 2009 retail sales of Wal-Mart, globally known for cheap clothing, reflects a strong presence of Bangladesh RMG products in the US. However, the entire US retail sales of clothing marked a 2 percent drop during July-November in 2008, compared to the same period a year earlier. The USITC data show a 5.60 percent decline in the US imports of knitwear from Cambodia in the July-December period, 4.60 percent increase from China, 0.13 percent decline from India, 12.56 percent increase from Indonesia, 2.38 percent decline from Pakistan, 0.06 percent increase from Sri Lanka, 10.93 percent decline from Thailand and 23.56 percent increase from Vietnam.

During the same period, the import of woven items by US from Cambodia declined by 6.30 percent, 5.13 percent increased from China, 9.51 percent declined from India, 8.25 percent declined from Indonesia, 4.33 percent increased from Pakistan, 3.85 percent declined from Sri Lanka, 6.57 percent declined from Thailand and 7.79 percent increased from Vietnam. US imports more than US$70 billion garment items annually from all over the world. The world's export market of readymade garment (RMG) items is $410billion where Bangladesh's market share is only 2.0 percent.

Meanwhile, EPB data show that Bangladesh's RMG exports reached US$6.05 billion during the first half of the current fiscal year 2008-09, registering a 24.18 percent growth. Of the total export target, $12.267 billion has been fixed for the two main sub-sectors of RMG. Of this amount, US$6.583 billion is for knitwear, 19 percent up from its last year's export performance, and $5.684 billion for woven, 10 percent up from the last year's figure. Bangladesh fetched $10.7 billion from RMG exports in the same period of 2007-08.

BKMEA President Fazlul Hoque said Bangladesh has large factories than many other countries and they are more productive and have low labour cost, which is helping them in attracting buyers from the US and Europe. Bangladesh is the only country that can produce textile items at least 20-30 percent cheaper than China, Hoque said. "We are more competitive than others, as we have cheap labour, less production costs and we could establish strong capacity base of textile and clothing items," said the chief of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association.

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby Stan_Savljevic » 14 Mar 2009 05:08

No decision yet on BDR's 55000: Gen Moinul

Dhaka, Mar 13 ( – The new BDR chief, battling to reorganise the border force, says a government decision is still awaited on whether some 55,000 members will be assimilated or new soldiers recruited. "We'll start implementing what the policymakers finally decide upon, which may take a little time," said Brig Gen Moinul Hossain, the director general, speaking exclusively to Thursday night. "A new force is a must," Gen Moinul said and added there was no alternative to restructuring the BDR after the Feb 25-26 mutiny by renegade members at their headquarters in Dhaka.

A senior army general recently said the government had already decided to rename the border force. The mutiny killed at least 57 army officers, including its director general Maj Gen Shakil Ahmed, deputed to the paramilitary border force. "The border guards have been completely spoilt," he said. "Their morale, ethics and sense of discipline have been shattered." "Nothing good or meaningful can be expected from them any more. There's no alternative to raising the border troops afresh into an effective force. We have the morale and capability of rearing these riflemen afresh and we're working in that direction."

Gen Moinul said they were now busy screening the soldiers who were returning—a process seen crucial to the efforts digging into the horrendous genesis to the Peelkhana massacre. "We are not rushing, because haste might destroy valuable alibis and evidence. The force has to be nurtured and reformed so that its members get back their old life." Asked about the name or uniform of the reorganised force, the general spoke of listening to 'people's wishes', hinting the change was almost a certainty.

"I don't think Bangladeshis will like to hear the name 'BDR' or see the familiar uniform again after what happened there in late Feb." He dismissed reports that the army officers already deputed to different battalions across the country were now feeling insecure to return to their posts. "This is a total lie. A number of media outlets have published wrong news…All officers have actually joined their new postings Wednesday and Thursday. The rest are on leave. Journalists should verify before they report."

On rumours that the BDR soldiers were starving or getting insufficient food inside the Peelkhana, he said, "The Peelkhana residents are being given food regularly." Gen Moinul, who was appointed DG on Feb. 27, said, "Salaries have already reached those units of which the commanding officers have not been killed. Those units who lost their commanders are late in receiving the salaries due to change in command and related banking formalities."

Asked if anything can be done to allow more families to see the detained BDR members inside the headquarters, the chief said, "This is not a civilian concern, you got to understand. We are currently allowing the soldiers' pregnant wives and mothers to see the soldiers inside. Besides, people can connect with each other through telephone, intercom and letters. I'd love the relatives to meet their dear ones inside the Peelkhana and urge them to disclose whatever they know of the atrocities."

Asked if an account of the looted arms and ammunition has been possible to draw so far, the DG said, "It will take little longer to ascertain the number of arms lost. The ammunition loss may be possible to gauge in a day or two." On the number of BDR members present at Peelkhana during the killings and of people present there now, Gen Moinul said, "A lot of documents and evidence were torched during the massacre. There are about 7,000 troops residing in the Peelkhana now."

Another indication that the fire was planned????

Blaze baffles Bashundhara architect

The man who designed Bashundhara City shopping complex says he is baffled by the speed at which the fire spread out Friday although modern fire-extinguishing equipment were on hand. "It has all the modern, automated systems to extinguish fire and prevent all other accidents," architect Md Foyez Ullah told There is a fire-detection system and trained staff on each level of the complex. They are supposed to douse flames shortly after the fire is detected, he said. "Now my question is why the fire spread so fast!"

Security system of the complex is maintained from a control room on the ninth floor under an automated building management system. The air conditioning, ventilation and power supply systems are also controlled there, he added. There is also a backup system if the main control panel collapses. Asked whether there were any fault by the authorities, Foyez Ullah said nothing should be said on assumption, as there might be other factors. He, however, added that primary steps to put out the fire might not have been taken at the right time on a lack of workforce on the weekend.

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby Stan_Savljevic » 14 Mar 2009 23:26

Bangladesh authors says anti-India forces involved in mutiny

Agra (PTI): As Bangladesh comes to terms with the bloody mutiny by its border guards, leading authors from the country on Saturday said they do not have any doubt about involvement of anti-India forces and elements opposed to the liberation movement in the mayhem. Renowned authors, attending the SAARC festival of literature here, were also unanimous in pointing finger at "a country opposed to Bangladesh's liberation in fanning violence" as part of a "big conspiracy" to destabilise the Sheikh Hasina-led government.

"I think elements opposed to India and opposed to creation of Bangladesh were behind the conspiracy," Mr. Khondakar Ashraf Hossain, a popular literary figure in Bangladesh, said without naming Pakistan. Known as one of the finest voices on the literary horizon of the country, Ashraf alleged that "Pakistani ISI is working in Bangladesh" and there were reports that "crores of rupees have been given to common jawans to rise in rebellion." "The big plan was to plunge the country into total chaos," he further alleged.

Asked about the Bangla author's view, Pakistani writer Zahid Nawaz said the allegations were not acceptable. "We do not accept what has been said. We should live in peace and work for a peaceful environment around us," he said. Over 70 army officers were killed in the revolt at the headquarters of the Bangladesh Rifles last month.

Major shake-up in police, Shahidul Haque new DMP commissioner

In a major reshuffle in police administration, the government reshuffled 56 top police officers including the additional inspector general and commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police. AKM Shahidul Haque, deputy inspector general for Chittagong Range, has been made the DMP commissioner. DMP Commissioner Naim Ahmed has been transferred to the Police Staff College as Rector.

bdnews adds: The government transferred Saturday 59 senior police officers, including DMP commissioner Naim Ahmed, CID's acting chief Md Javed Patwari and SB acting chief Baharul Alam, in a wide-ranging police shuffle. AKM Shahidul Haq, deputy inspector general of Chittagong range, has been made acting commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police. His predecessor Naim Ahmed has been made rector of Police Staff College.

Acting Criminal Investigation Department chief Md Javed Patwari was sent to the Special Branch as acting additional IGP. Acting additional inspector general at the Police Headquarters Syed Shahzaman Raj will take his place as CID acting additional IGP. Baharul Alam has been posted to the Police Headquarters as an acting additional inspector general police. Three of the 59 transferees were made officers on special duty at the Police Headquarters. They are rector (additional IG) of Police Staff College AKM Mahfuzul Huq, Barisal range DIG Khan Sayeed Hasan and Barisal Metropolitan Police commissioner (acting) additional DIG Ali Akbar. The establishment ministry made the transfers Saturday.

Basundhara fire

The chief of the investigation committee on Bashundhara blaze today said they would find out if there were any conspiracy behind the fire that killed at least seven people and injured dozens. "We will see how the fire spread so quickly and if it was a sabotage," said investigation committee chief Iqbal Khan Chowdhury, a joint secretary of the home ministry.

Three members of the committee came to the complex in the afternoon. They also had a meeting with the Bashundhara authorities. Bashundhara authorities however denied the allegation of fire fighters that the complex did not have adequate water at the time of fire. "Our own fire fighting system was fully functional when the fire broke out. Investigation is going on and every thing will come out," said Mostafa Kamal Mohiuddin, adviser of the Bashundhara City chairman.

Mohiuddin said the claim of inadequate water was false. "You will see that the navy personnel said they worked with the water available at the complex. Every thing will come out in the investigation." Meanwhile, the identified bodies of seven people, who were burnt dead in the blaze, were handed over to their relatives today without autopsy. This afternoon Finance Minister AMA Muhith and Home Minister Sahara Khatun visited Samorita Hospital in city to see the injured.

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby ramana » 15 Mar 2009 04:26

Stan, Time for weekly summary. What new info do we have?

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby Stan_Savljevic » 15 Mar 2009 07:06

There is wide consensus in the AL that those responsible for the Pilkhana massacre are closely tied to the Razakars, BNP, JMB and J-e-I. The hypothesis that the massacre was organized to destabilize the AL government is gaining significant ground with much proof coming in the last week or so.

Bhaskar Roy @ saag starts off with

Had the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) mutiny on Feb 25-26 been successful, it would have brought the BNP rightists and Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI) Islamists coalition back to power in the country. The mutiny was a meticulously planned conspiracy in which disgruntled BDR men were used cleverly as a foil for a much larger game plan. ... r3096.html

The 11 henchmen on the ground (3 BDR DADs + 8 low-level cadre) who went to bargain with Sh. Hasina on Feb 25 are now safely behind bars. Investigation into their connections with JMB and J-e-I is going on. Army is not trusting the AL and is doing its own investigation. Most of the folks involved have been tight-lipped so far, but leaks come in once a while.
"At least four of the mutineers of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) are believed to have been active members of Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) before they joined the paramilitary force."

The blame falls squarely on BNP for widening the Islamist clique in the army and BDR. Recall that before the last elections, the CTG participated in a major culling of the electoral rolls and threw away many of the dead people/double counts/people who have moved away etc. from the rolls. Kati (or someone else) immediately after the poll results came in said that the only difference between this elections and the last in 2001 was that BNP/J-e-I/JP combine indulged in massive rigging last time, but the army's culling has ensured that this is not repeatable now. The Pilkhana massacre could have been a response to this culling + loss of elections. The timeline for planning of the Pilkhana massacre is now known, which adds more oomph to the above hypothesis.

A Bangladeshi security investigator who is examining intercepts of telephone conversation of the BDR mutineers, told the press that the conspiracy was planned at least two months in advance. That would set the date approximately the time when the Awami League won the December 29, 2008 Parliamentary elections with more than two-third majority, giving it the numbers to amend the constitution.

BNP has also been caught with its pants down in the Chittagong arms smuggling case. AL is going hammer and tongs on this case. In the Chittagong smuggling case, Bhaskar Ray says the following which is more or less verbatim from the Daily star reporting of Hafizur Rahaman's confessional statement:
Paresh Barua started developing Hafizur Rahaman from January 2002, paying him 50 to 70 thousand Taka a month. In March, 2004 Barua gave Rahaman Taka 50 lakhs to arrange for the landing of smuggled machinery. According to Rahaman, Barua assured him that the Chiefs of the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI), and the National Security and Intelligence (NSI) were on board. The then NSI Chief Maj. Gen. Rezakul Haider Choudhury, was a close confidante of Tareque Rahaman, the elder son of Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia. Tareque was also the Senior Joint General Secretary of the BNP and reputed to be the most powerful and corrupt man in Bangladesh through sheer muscle power. Maj. Gen. Haider is reported to have accompanied Tareque and businessman Giasuddin Al-Mamun for a meeting with Indian underworld don Dawood Ibrahim in Dubai in 2006. The meeting was allegedly to procure arms for the elections and also had to do with some property in Dubai.

NSI is the agency that is helping in the Pilkhana massacre investigation. There could be cover-ups aplenty going on.

Other crises are brewing already. 1) The fire in the biggest mall in Dhaka, Basundhara towers, seems to be a sabotage attempt. We will have to wait and see if this can be established, but my initial suspicion was that this is sabotage. 2) Two more BDA officers were seriously injured in a helicopter crash. One of them is dead now, but the other is recovering. 3) The economic downturn means that loadsa BDeshis are returning from the gulf, SE Asia and elsewhere. Malaysia has chucked out quite a large number of BDeshis last week alone. These guys are going to be restless. 4) JMB has been seen trying to lure some of these folks into their wings. I am sure they will succeed in some parts also. 5) Massive amounts of arms went missing after the massacre. These have not been found at all. Many BDR low-level cadre are also missing. It seemed like the rebels burned a lot of paper records on Feb 25. That explains the initial confusion as to how many had actually died in the massacre. Numbers went all the way to 180 and came down to ~75. Still, the army seems to have no clarity on how many are actually absconding. The guesstimated number is 250 now.

Too many things are going wrong too quickly for BD and AL. For India, there is much cause to be paranoid. If the Pilkhana massacre had the blessings of BNP, which it looks like, there is going to be a return of the jedi very soon. India has no reason to trust the army or the AL. I hope the GoI is not going to be caught yet again cos the question of another crisis is not if, but when. In the short-term, the BSF needs to pull the fence tight and watch out that there is no fall out across the seven sisters and WB. Easier said than done given the treacherous terrain. In the medium- to long-term, Sh. Hasina, like her father, is going to compromise with the Razakar clique if the going gets tough. To coax AL, GoI may try to bargain with the sea boundary demarcation process, transit rights to Bhutan/Nepal, Tata Inc and things like that. But the likelihood of being double crossed is rather high, far higher than during 71-75. How I wished someone could sit in India and remote control bust some of the razakar oiseaules? Anyway, as Bhaskar Roy ends,

Dhaka, today, is in the grip enormous tension. The people there say anything can happen at any time as the forces against the bifurcation of Pakistan are very much alive and have ingrained themselves in the arteries of the government and sections of the society. This is an ideological and historical war.

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby Tilak » 15 Mar 2009 07:29

BD arrests 27 for anti-govt leaflets
Sunday, March 15, 2009
DHAKA: Twenty-seven Bangladeshis have been arrested for distributing leaflets criticising the government’s handling of a savage mutiny by border guards against top military officers, police said on Saturday.

The men were taken into custody following the February 25-26 revolt in the capital in which more than 70 people were slain by rank-and-file guards, Masudur Rahman, a senior official of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, told AFP.

“The men arrested are members of the Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir. They have been distributing leaflets that contained provocative statements which were anti-government about the mutiny,” Rahman, assistant deputy police commissioner, said.

“They were arrested at 14 locations throughout the capital. They have not been charged with treason and we don’t believe they helped stage the mutiny.

Most killed in the mutiny were senior army officers and the incident has exposed deep tensions between elected leaders and the military and raised fears about the survival of the government, according to political analysts.

The government said this week some border guards arrested in connection with the mutiny appeared to have links with banned Islamic group Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby Stan_Savljevic » 15 Mar 2009 07:30

Commerce Minister Lt Col (retd) Faruk Khan yesterday said the motive for the last month's carnage at BDR Pilkhana headquarters was to destabilise the country and hinder its progress under a democratic government. "They [mutiny plotters] thought the army would counter-attack in response to the BDR mass killings, and things would eventually lead to a civil war-like situation," he observed.

Lately assigned to coordinate probes into the February 25-26 bloodbath, Faruk was speaking to reporters at Pilkhana after over three hours long meeting with the inquiry committees. The meeting that began at 12:45pm was the second of its kind. The minister said, “We have some evidence that several militant organisations had links to the bloody revolt.” He however did not elaborate on the proofs. A couple of days back, he said Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) had a hand in the vicious killings of 74 people including 52 army officers on February 25.

Meanwhile, 11 BDR personnel suspected of leading the carnage were sent to Dhaka Central Jail yesterday on completion of their remand in CID custody. They include Deputy Assistant Directors Tauhidul Alam and Abdur Rahim, havildar Azad Ali, nayek Mohammad Firoz Ahmed, sepoys Fasiur Rahman, Sirajul Islam, Emran, Shah Alam and Shahjahan, and cook Amirul Islam.

At the Pilkhana meeting, the commerce minister expressed satisfaction over progress in the work of the government, army and Criminal Investigation Department's probe bodies. He however stressed the need for more coordination between them. Sources said reorganising the paramilitary force under a new name was among the issues discussed. Replying to a query, Faruk Khan said those who cannot stand the existence of Bangladesh and its progress were involved in the BDR massacre. They want to render the country a failed state.

He urged people to help arrest the border troops who have fled the headquarters with firearms and ammunition. Everyone having leads to the mutiny should report to the nearest police stations or army camps, he added. Queried how many jawans might be still at large, he replied, "Not many.” The minister said investigators have made some significant progress through interrogation of those arrested in connection with the BDR killings. So far, 236 border guards have been arrested and 25 of them have been grilled while on remand, he continued.

The four-member Scotland Yard team that came to Dhaka on March 11 to help in investigations into the February carnage left the country yesterday. Faruk Khan said the British officials have pledged further assistance.

Torab Ali, detained president of the BDR retirees' welfare association, have told interrogators that he had knowledge that there might be 'some kind of problem' at the Pilkhana headquarters on February 25, said sources in the Rapid Action Battalion. Zakir, a retired junior commanding officer's son, learned it from fellow students, mostly children of serving BDR men, at a coaching centre in Jhigatola. He in turn confided in Torab on February 24.

Also president of Awami League (AL) ward No.48 unit and father of top criminal Liton alias Leather Liton, Torab is now on a five-day remand. He was arrested by Rab at his Moneswer Road house on March 10. Despite knowing beforehand that something untoward might take place, he did not inform the BDR authorities about it, said a source close to the investigation. Asked why he did not contact the authorities concerned as president of the welfare association, he told interrogators that he indeed “made a huge mistake by not doing so”.

The fire may be an attempt to stretch the BD apparatus to its limits and hence limit the investigation into the Pilkhana case.
Probe begins, PM visits Bashundhara

The government-formed probe committee yesterday began its investigation into the Friday's fire incident at Bashundhara City Complex. After visiting the spot, the committee members said they would keep in mind all possible causes including sabotage behind the fire incident. The probe body will examine whether the complex was equipped with modern and automated fire-fighting equipment and if so, why those did not work.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday visited the mall where a fire broke out on the 17th floor at about 1:45pm killing seven people and injuring 20 others. PM's Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad told reporters that Hasina got down at the mall on the way to her Dhanmondi office from the PM's Jamuna residence. She enquired about the progress in the investigation and the damage done by the inferno. PM's adviser Maj Gen (retd) Tarique Ahmed Siddiqui was also present.

Meanwhile, the relatives of the seven victims burnt to death at the complex received the bodies without any autopsy. The dead are Bashundhara City Complex firemen Baki Billah, 40, Anisur Rahman Babu, 22, and Harun-ur Rashid, 48, electrician Ibrahim Mondal, 37, supervisor Mohammad Ali, 55, decorator Renu Sarkar, 27, and plumber Mohammad Hamidul, 25. Of them, Baki slipped and fell while trying to climb down a rope. The rest were burnt to death getting trapped on the 17th floor.

Home Minister Sahara Khatun and Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday visited the injured at Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Both the ministers admitted that the Fire Brigade lacks necessary equipment. The home minister said Fire Brigade will be modernised soon with state of the art equipment and fire fighters will be given training to tackle such fire incidents efficiently in future.

The finance minister said the three-member enquiry committee will examine all aspects of the fire incident. Fire Brigade Director (Training) Maj Matiur Rahman, also a member of the probe body, told The Daily Star, "The fire gutted five floors -- from 15 to 19 -- and damaged the 14th floor partially." He said they talked to two Bashundhara Complex architects about the mall's fire-fighting system. Iqbal Khan Chowdhury, joint secretary (Police) of home ministry and also head of the committee, said, "We are collecting information from the witnesses to find out the cause of the fire."

Start process of trying war criminals --- Nirmul Committee memo to prime minister

Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee in a memorandum to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday urged her to start the process of trying war criminals quickly in a special tribunal. In the memorandum, the committee, a forum for secular Bangladesh and trial of war criminals of 1971, also demanded arrests of the godfathers of militant fundamentalists and reinstatement of the basic principles of the 1972 constitution. A five-member delegation of the forum led by National Prof Kabir Chowdhury met the premier at her official residence Jamuna on Friday and submitted the memorandum, according to a press release.

The forum leaders thanked Hasina for aptly ending to the BDR rebellion, rescue of the hostages and abort the conspiracy of civil war, adding that the barbaric killings of 55 army officers during the BDR mutiny at Pilkhana on February 25 resemble the massacre by Al Badr in 1971. They said the planners of the mutiny wanted to put the army and BDR men face to face and create a civil warlike situation in the country. If they succeeded, several thousand citizens, including other alive army officials at Pilkhana, members of their families and civilians, would have been killed.

The leaders further said that if there was a clash between army and BDR, it would not have remained confined to Pilkhana. It would have spread throughout the country and the state security would have been jeopardised. The prime minister's strategic announcement of general amnesty was aimed at rescuing the hostages and created a background for talks for the arms surrender of the mutineers, they added. The forum leaders said the prime minister's address to the nation on February 26 would be written in golden letters in the history of the country.

They mentioned that the way the BDR mutiny was ended and conspiracy of civil war foiled has not only been praised at home, but it has also been lauded internationally. In the memorandum, they called on the government to publish a 'White Paper' on repression of the minorities, violations of human rights from 2001 to 2008 and corruption by the four-party alliance government. The memorandum demanded implementation of CHT Peace Treaty, cancellation of Vested Property Act, compensation to the affected persons and punishment to those responsible.

The leaders said it has formed two civic commissions to cooperate with the government for trying war criminals and checking militancy. The two commissions would submit their reports to the prime minister in the next one month. Sheikh thanked the civil society members for their support and cooperation in the welfare-oriented activities of her government. Foreign Minister Dipu Moni and Deputy Leader of the House Sajeda Chowdhury were present.

JMB suspect still a police SI --- 100 militants active in Bogra

A sub-inspector (SI), listed by police as an activist of outlawed militant Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) after the countrywide bomb blasts on August 17 2005, is still working in the police department. Shortly after the countrywide 2005 bomb attacks, police headquarters sent a list of 49 'JMB men' active in several areas of Bogra district, suspecting their involvement in the serial blasts.

The name of AKM Alamgir Jahan Rana alias Masud Rana, hailing from Hindukandi village in Sariakandi upazila of Bogra district, was mentioned in serial No 11 in the list of 49 suspected JMB activists, Bogra police said. His father's name was mentioned as Motiur Rahman, they said. Talking to this correspondent over cell phone yesterday, SI Rana said he was once a Chhatra Dal worker and now he is posted as an SI in Tangail Sadar Police Station.

Rana said he got help from Shibir leaders for admission to Economics Department in Bogra Azizul Haque College. He, however, denied his involvement with JMB activities. Tangail Superintendent of Police Abdul Mannan told this correspondent yesterday that SI Rana has already been released for transfer. Before joining police, Rana started a physical tanning centre for local youths in a rented room at Sariakandi Sarker Market in Sariakandi upazila, local people said.

Bogra police sources said some 100 JMB activities of several upazilas under Bogra secretly resumed their activities in the area. At least eight absconding JMB activists including Saiful and Latif of Gabtoli upazila are now active in Bogra with the leadership of newly nominated Sura member for their 'Bogra Division' (eight organising districts) 'Bhagney' Shahid of Saghata upazila in Gaibandha district, JMB sources said. Many locals of Gabtoli and Sariakandi upazilas keep close contact with SI Masud, sources said. Masud, however, said some local people, not JMB men, contact him as they are his relatives and acquaintances.

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby Stan_Savljevic » 15 Mar 2009 07:41

First, a background on March 25, 1971 --- from wiki

On the 25 March 1971, rising political discontent and cultural nationalism in East Pakistan was met by brutal[8] suppressive force from the ruling elite of the West Pakistan establishment[9] in what came to be termed Operation Searchlight.[10] The violent crackdown by West Pakistan forces[11] led to East Pakistan declaring its independence as the state of Bangladesh and to the start of civil war. The war led to a sea of refugees (estimated at the time to be about 10 million)[12][13] flooding into the eastern provinces of India[12]. Facing a mounting humanitarian and economic crisis, India started actively aiding and organizing the Bangladeshi resistance army known as the Mukti Bahini.

A letter from the Daily Star

Pakistan-Bangladesh cricket series --- A reader, On e-mail

The above series has come in the court of a politician after facing trouble in the court of cricket bureaucracy. I was so shocked to listen to the minister for sports at prime time news cast on Channel-i. If I am not wrong, the minister was more keen to plan for the protection of the Pakistani players, of course we will do at an appropriate time, than putting due weight to the security of thousands of young men and women who might be allured to attend the proposed cricket match. The proposed date of arrival and possible date of curtailed matches seem to be an wild idea of a few cricket organisers and policy makers.

I hope the sports minister has heard the prime minister while she was addressing an audience at the Engineering Institute. According to the prime minister, the national security and public safety are still under threat from unknown enemy quarters. How come her sports minister can think to bring the Pakistani team on March 25, a black day in our history, and arrange the matches pushing the security of cricket lovers at stake in this critical and uncertain security atmosphere? Moreover, the country is mourning the deaths of the innocent on-duty patriotic soldiers. The nation is awaiting the trail of the killers, and not any international cricket match. We need not be over enthusiastic to show normalcy by arranging international cricket matches at this stage. Do not be worried, things will be normal in the normal process shortly, God willing.

I only hope that our cricket board and the sports minister would kindly stop thinking about the Pak-Bangladesh cricket match and spend their time and efforts for organising local level internal sports game in Dhaka and outside to gradually cope with the national grief and security of the people and game participants. I think it is time for the cabinet to take a look at it and give a final decision to stop the bureaucratic game in cricket. Pakistan definitely needs our support to survive in the international cricket arena, but we need not go further and take any irrational decision without keeping in mind our own national security and safety issues.

I only hope the cricket lovers would not misunderstand my stand. I also love cricket. I would advice the organizers to kindly coordinate their thinking with the PMO and the home ministry to fix any new dates for the series. Be transparent and tell the full story why it is so urgent to organise the series now in March, why not at an appropriate time later?

The BCCI needs to embrace the BCB more firmly, ask the BCB to send their second rung team for Deodhar and Ranji matches, all facilities paid for by BCCI. BCCI is already doing that for Zimbabwe in some sense. Same for WI (Guyanese and Trinidadian players are most likely to be of Indian origin anyway) and SL second rung teams. Call it cricket diplomacy a la ping pong bs.

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby Stan_Savljevic » 15 Mar 2009 08:15

Some news from the last week, which I missed
Chief of Bangladesh Army, General Moeen U Ahmed is set to get one more year extension when his tenure finishes on 6th April this year. A highly placed source in Awami League, on condition of anonymity said, the government decided to extend the service tenure of General Moeen. Meanwhile, there are indications of massive changes in the army administration following the post-massacre situation.
Sh. Hasina getting uncomfortable with the army men around her...
Two of the army's most senior generals have been ordered into retirement, and the GOC of the crucial 9 Infantry Division based in Savar replaced. A highly-placed source said Thursday that Lt Gen Aminul Karim, the commandant of the National Defence College, and Maj Gen Fatmi Ahmed Rumi, chairman of BIISS, would leave the army with immediate effect. The order, according to the source, was dated Wednesday. Maj Gen Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan, now head of the Staff College, returned to command troops again as he replaced Maj Gen Ashab Uddin as the Savar area commander. The two generals swapped their positions.

How Sheikh Hasina handles wavering army support is also being monitored as a key indicator of her government's ability to survive. Ultimately, the crisis represents her finest balancing act: her negotiations to address army grievances risk her being seen as too far in its camp, which would cost her the public legitimacy she appeared to win in epic proportions during last December's election. And if she is unable to win army favour in the coming weeks, she faces the risk of military discontent, raising the threat of a possible coup. There is also the question of whom an independent, full investigation implicates. If there are actors involved in the mutiny who are in current positions of power and responsibility, Sheikh Hasina will face the tough test of removing them, even if they have previously served her interests.

It is worrisome indeed that the law enforcing agencies of the country have yet to make a full assessment of the number and types of firearms that are missing from the BDR armoury since 25 February. We infer from various reports that a large number of weapons of various descriptions have been taken away by fleeing BDR personnel and their cohorts after perpetrating the carnage inside Pilkhana. And it is most disconcerting that there is no clue as to whether these looted arms and ammunition remain abandoned in some remote places or have already been sold to anti-social elements.

"We have gathered that a number of BDR jawans arrested in the mutiny case were involved in JMB somehow or other." This comment from the top figure who has been assigned by the government to coordinate the investigation process is very significant. But at the same time, this comment will surely influence the investigation report, especially of those non-army bodies and more precisely of Criminal Investigation Department [which is controlled by the Home Ministry] in exclusively alleging JMB behind the entire massacre, thus excluding many of the potential culprits who belong to the ruling party as well the opposition quarters. Yes, Faruk Khan's statement is partially correct.

There was JMB hand behind the massacre, possibly, otherwise, why Colonel Gulzar was killed in the most barbaric manner? Moreover, it is important to note that, Mirza Azam, brother-in-law of JMB kingpin Shaikh Abdur Rahman, who is a whip in the Parliament from the ruling party was evidently having some contact points inside the BDR headquarters, which let him and Jahangir Kabir Nanak entering the massacred area right on February 25, 2009, when no one else [even members of the press or Red Cross Society] could even approach the area. But, this is only one fraction of the entire conspirators. For, example, Jahangir Kabir Nanak is not connected to JMB. Or, how about Awami League leaders like Abdul Jalil, Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir, Liakat Sikder, Hassan Mahmud [now state minister for Foreign Affairs], Bahauddin Nasim, Sajeda Chowdhury [who is now deputy leader of the house], Jahangir Kabir Nanak or BNP leaders like Moudud Ahmed, Mirza Abbas, Nasiruddin Pintu, Shah Abdhul Hannan, Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, Khandekar Delwar Hossain etc., who had been demanding 'stern action' against army officers? Their body language in a number of television talk-shows were sufficiently vindictive.

A New Crisis For India Is Waiting To Explode --- by S Roychowdhury

Mumbai’s 26/11, the Great Mutiny in Bangladesh, and now Lahore’s 3/3, all set against the overall background of the coming Lok Sabha elections brings a surfeit of diversion and spectacle to a hungry Indian media and its public to last for a while. However, real life remains in perpetual motion whether television cameras are rolling or not, with new events unfolding and new hotspots emerging. One of these might erupt sooner than we think. North Bengal, a long-dormant volcano in an obscure corner of India well outside the public eye, has been rumbling for quite some time. Here lies the Siliguri Corridor, perhaps the most prime strategic real estate in the country, India’s Chicken’s Neck if you like, an isthmus of territory linking mainland India with the seven (now eight) sisters of the Northeast by road (National Highway 31) and rail (the Delhi-Guwahati link). North Bengal is situated at the quadri-junction of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan - within easy marching distance of four international borders, and with the Chumbi Valley in China’s Tibet Autonomous Region not all that far away.

The region is a deceptively peaceful mini-ecosphere by itself, a lush tropical paradise of jungle foothills, tea gardens and rice fields, at times eerily and sometimes ominously reminiscent of Vietnam (as indeed is most of India’s Forgotten Frontier in the Northeast). But more important, it is also around here that Southeast Asia actually commences ethnographically, with the stratified social structures of the Gangetic plains giving way to freer, more egalitarian tribal cultures, and perhaps as a consequence, North Bengal is inhabited by a widely heterogeneous and highly volatile medley of ethnicities, to which have been added large doses of illegal migrants from Bangladesh, as well as so-called “non-state actors” from a variety of militant organisations ranging from the United Liberation Front of Asom and Kamtapuri Liberation Organisation, to Bangladeshi jihadis from Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami Bangladesh (HuJI-B). The whole thing makes for a highly combustible social and political tinderbox prone to sudden and spontaneous conflagration.

The region has long featured in the war games of unfriendly neighbours as a high priority objective and a prime target for disruptive activities because it can be easily interdicted, whether by natural disasters, political unrest, civil disturbance, terrorist sabotage or external aggression. Indeed, a view can be taken that the process of slow fire ignition may already have commenced with political turmoil and civil disturbances in the region, by a variety of agitations demanding separate ethno-regional states, so far within the Constitution of India (but let’s see what the future brings), but definitely separate from West Bengal. The agitating groups include the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), with its demand for Gorkhaland in the Darjeeling hills and the Dooars, followed by the Kamtapuri Liberation Front and the Greater Coochbehar Movement, with their own demands for separate lebensraum in the Dooars.

The Left Front in West Bengal has become identified, rightly or wrongly, as a party with essentially Bengali affiliations, which is naturally opposed to any diminishing of state boundaries, and accords tacit approval to movements like the Uttar Banga Jagaran Mancha, and Bangla O Bangla Bhasha Bachao Samiti, which counter-agitate in favour of maintaining the territorial integrity of West Bengal. The resulting confrontation between the state government and the agitating groups have vitiated long-established social and community relations, leading to polarisation and tensions between Gorkha and Bengali populations, with tea garden adivasis (”tea tribes” in Army recruiting parlance) forming a third ethnic factor. The West Bengal government has lost the battle for the hearts and minds of the hill communities, and seems unable to control the Gorkhaland agitation, which enjoys wide popular support in the Darjeeling hills, where it has de facto replaced the writ of the government.

In the Dooars region, Gorkhas do not form the majority population, and the efforts of the GJM to enforce its diktat have resulted in violent clashes with adivasi and other plains organisations. There are therefore three players and a host of “non-state” influences at work in this sensitive gateway region. The West Bengal government is in direct conflict with ethno-regional groups demanding separate states in terms of Gorkhaland, Greater Kochbihar and Kamtapur, which in turn are in conflict with pro-Bengali groups, with a substantial adivasi ethnic population bloc standing uncommitted locally, but adversely influenced by the events in Lalgarh and Jhargram in the adivasi belt elsewhere in West Bengal. Waiting in the wings are shadowy non-state groups which have a fairly substantial presence here, and are on the lookout to contribute to unrest. Political and civil confrontation by aggressive political workers periodically breaks into sporadic violence which interdicts and disrupts movement on the road and rail communications through the Siliguri Corridor, cutting off Sikkim, the Brahmaputra Valley and points further east from the rest of the country, something which surely sends encouraging signals to watchful eyes and listening ears in the appropriate quarters. even as whispers of “Maha Nepal” float in the air from nearby Nepal where the “Maobadi” Red Corridor commences towards the heart of India’s Naxalite regions.

The Siliguri Corridor and the rest of North Bengal is now literally a witches’ brew in a devil’s cauldron, ideal conditions for hostile agencies to strike at India’s strategic communications by fomenting instability and unrest. Therefore, despite the political differences at the Centre and scant sympathy towards the Left and its government in West Bengal, the national interest demands proactive and constructive engagement by both the Centre and the state authorities with the situation in North Bengal to secure this strategically vital region before disorder escalates out of control. To adopt a hands-off standoff posture in a situation of potential crisis is shortsighted, the same sort of political games which have bought endless grief in the past. The firefighters in Kolkata and New Delhi must join hands even in the midst of election rivalries to ensure security and stability in this region. ... o-explode/
The South Asian Federation of Exchanges, made up of 16 stock and commodity exchanges, and Dow Jones Indexes launched two benchmark indexes for the region. The Dow Jones Safe 100 Index is expected to attract money into Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Mauritius and Bangladesh because they are grouped into an index with India. ... 0CFB416F27
Following mutiny by BDR and killing of army officers the whole BDR may be divided into different parts across the country having regional headquarters to avoid any untoward incidents in future. A high up in the ministry said after BDR incident the government is taking comprehensive steps to bring accused soldiers to book and rectify BDR structure simultaneously. Although offices of the Prime Minister, Home Minister and Defence Minister are performing their respective tasks with regard to investigation, finding out missing army officers, recovering arms and ammunition, compensating affected families and reorganising BDR but a committee is set to be formed to coordinate the foregoing functions. The coordinating committee will be headed by Commerce Minister Lt Col Faruk Khan. It has been learnt that much arms, ammunition and grenades are missing and in such a situation the government is very much anxious over the safety of people and country at large. Law enforcers in association with army personnel are already searching absconding BDR soldiers and missing arms and ammunition's. As all these works are required to be coordinated to effectively tackle post BDR situation, the government has decided to form the committee.

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby sum » 15 Mar 2009 18:21

Was just reading the print edition of "India Today".The salient points it mentioned regarding the "mutiny" were( sorry if posted earlier):

* South block has prepared a document on the events from 25-28th and it clearly implicates the ISI in it.
* Our agencies have scores of intercepts of the Paki attache in Dhaka talking to Dubai consulate and giving detailed inside info of going-ons within the BDR HQ, something most BD army men themselves were unaware of, meaning that the ISI had plants inside the HQ.
* BDR commanders were paid 50 lakh takas and soldiers 4-5 lakh taka to take part in the revolt.
*India feels it was done by Pak to ensure their assets within the BD establishment are not purged if the 71 war tribunal comes about.
* GoI warned Hasina about her safety by the 28th and ensured that she was taken to a safehouse guarded by trusted BDA soldiers/officers. This warning was based on further intercepts and fearing a 1975 like situation.
* GoI activated 2 teams of Para SF in a forward base in Tripura and one in Kolkata( this must be the 50th Para which media talked about) to get Hasina to India if situation deteriorated. However, this plan didn't go ahead when things improved dramatically after 28th.
*Tons of intercepts with India of JeI leaders in BD talking to known ISI assets in London, Dubai and other places, discussing the revolt and future plans after the revolt.
Last edited by sum on 15 Mar 2009 18:45, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby Dilbu » 15 Mar 2009 18:37

Good job by GOI and agencies. I hope all of it is true.

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby IndraD » 15 Mar 2009 21:47

The government says investigators have now uncovered a link between the mutineers and a militant group responsible for a series of bombings.

Commerce Minister Farukh Khan said some of those arrested had links to the Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh (JMB).

We have found in the process of examining their files that some of them have links to the JMB," he said.

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby Stan_Savljevic » 16 Mar 2009 00:57

A series of posts on labor woes in BD....

The BD garment industry is bound to hit the toilet just like all other countries, despite the surfeit of BD apparel I find in massa land. In a country thats bound to shake with every small vibration, that means a lot of churning.

Businesses ask for Tk 6,000cr bailout --- Govt mulls 'special package' to help fight global meltdown fallout

The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) yesterday sought a Tk 6,000 crore rescue package to cope with the global financial meltdown. "We proposed a Tk 6,000 crore bailout package to deal with the economic recession. We have also asked the government to take initiatives to help boost the country's economy," FBCCI President Annisul Huq told reporters after a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO). ... ?nid=79866
Manpower sector looks down the barrel --- Recruitment slips to half for global meltdown, unscrupulous middlemen

Poor labour recruitment arrangements coupled with ongoing financial meltdown have dealt a double blow to overseas employment, which is moving towards a precarious state. On an average, monthly 46,288 jobseekers left the country in the last three months, while the same rate was 75,516 in the first eleven months of 2008, according to the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET).

Malaysia, home to around 4 lakh Bangladeshis, has recently cancelled work visas of 55,000 jobseekers, adding to the woes due to a shrinking job market. Besides, workers who paid high cost for overseas jobs are returning home empty-handed in increased numbers. They complain that they were not provided jobs and given only what was necessary for survival in Malaysia or Singapore.

Employers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bangladesh's second largest labour market with around 9 lakh workforce, are either sending back workers on long-term vacation or cutting salary due to slowdown in construction projects. Businesses and experts say overseas employment might come down to 4 lakh this year against 8.75 lakh last year. Remittance sent by expatriates stood to around $9 billion, the highest foreign exchange earning in real term.

"Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain now have full or partial bans on recruiting Bangladeshi workers. These bans had no link with current financial downtrend," says a recruiting agent. Saudi Arabia, which is home to around 20 lakh Bangladeshis, significantly reduced recruitment from Bangladesh in March. It used to recruit 5,000 to 7,000 workers a month in the previous years, but the number has come down to 1,000-1,500 now. There are now around 2 lakh Bangladeshis in Kuwait, which used to recruit monthly around 3,000 workers, but hired only 319 Bangladeshis throughout last year. On the other hand, by partial ban, Bahrain also recruited not more than 1,100 workers monthly last year, while the number was around 1,300 earlier. ... ?nid=79865
Fellow ummah-ite to whom Shri. Sh. Mujib kowtowed is throwing morsels when doom is near. Maybe this crisis will let the BD civil society to realize that in cooperation and synergy with India their future lies. Bwahaha, dream-effin-land....
Malaysia cuts 70pc foreign work permits

Malaysia has slashed its work permit approvals for foreign workers by almost 70 percent so far this year, faced with the twin threat of layoffs and recession, according to a report Sunday. In January and February, an average of 250 permits were approved daily compared to 800 last year, following a more stringent vetting process by the authorities, a Home Ministry official told the Star newspaper. "Those requesting for foreign labour have to prove that they have made the effort to employ locals," the ministry's senior deputy secretary-general Raja Azahar Raja Abdul Manap was quoted as saying. "If they can prove it, then they will get the clearance," he said. ... ?nid=79871
Kuwait expat workforce in first fall since 1990 invasion

The expatriate workforce of the oil-rich emirate of Kuwait decreased last year for the first time since the Iraqi invasion of 1990, official figures showed on Sunday. The number of foreign workers dropped to 1.75 million at the end of 2008 from 1.77 million a year earlier, a decline of 0.85 percent, as the global economic slowdown and a sharp fall in world crude prices bit, the figures showed. Overall employment, including Kuwaiti citizens, also posted its first fall since 1990, inching down 0.19 percent to 2.088 million. The fall in the foreign workforce saw the emirate's expatriate population record its lowest increase since the 1991 Gulf war in which a US-led coalition expelled Iraqi forces, rising just 0.4 percent to 2.35 million. ... ?nid=79832
Sh. Hasina is doing what she can, but it may not be enough...
Govt plans to overhaul KL mission

The government is going to replace officials at the Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lumpur to ease labour problems in Malaysia. The high commissioner and the labour counsellor at the Bangladesh mission have been called back, Labour and Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain told reporters at his office yesterday. "We are sending a full set of officials to the mission in Kuala Lumpur to deal with the problems," he said. Malaysia recently cancelled 55,000 work visas to Bangladeshis. Thousands of unemployed workers are also returning home from different countries. ... ?nid=79870
The following is called the saga that ensues after one is blindsided in suspicion. When Tata came to them, they could nt bargain a good deal for BD. They fail to pull in the industry from India which can offer more. Well the canadians are just colonialists in a different name, ensoi dear folks....
Invest more in Bangladesh --- President urges Canadian entrepreneurs

President Zillur Rahman yesterday urged the Canadian entrepreneurs to invest more in the country's potential sectors, including power, energy, textile, garments and food processing, and avail the investment facilities offered by the government. “In this regard, the envoy can play a great role in providing comprehensive information about the Bangladesh's incentives, including tax exemption and full repatriation of capital and profit,” he said while Canadian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert McDougall paid a courtesy call on the president at Bangabhaban.

Welcoming the envoy, the president thanked him for his supportive role at different times and expressed his great appreciation for the people and the government of Canada for their assistance in strengthening democracy in Bangladesh providing 240,000 transparent ballot boxes for general elections held on December 29 last year. ... ?nid=79942
But despite all this, there may be some hope with entrepreneurs like Md. Yunus doing something useful. Just like across the border, BD is hopeful not because of its politicians, but despite them...
BASF Grameen Ltd launched

BASF SE and Grameen Healthcare Trust announced the establishment of a joint venture social business company 'BASF Grameen Ltd' in Ludwigshafen, Germany on March 5 as part of a social commitment with an entrepreneurial twist. Dr Jürgen Hambrecht, chairman of the board of executive directors of BASF SE, and Dr Muhammad Yunus, Nobel laureate and managing director of Grameen Bank, signed an agreement in Ludwigshafen to establish the joint venture. The purpose of the company is to improve health and business opportunities of the Bangladeshi poor. BASF Grameen will start by utilising two products from BASF's portfolio -- dietary supplement sachets containing vitamins and micronutrients and impregnated mosquito nets that offer protection against insect-borne disease. Given the substantial need for dietary supplements and mosquito nets, BASF and Grameen have decided to locate their joint venture with these two products in Bangladesh. ... ?nid=79943
The major health issues that BD needs to address in the short- to medium-term are: 1) Malaria, 2) Arsenic in ground water, 3) Malnutrition of kids, 4) Family planning.

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby Stan_Savljevic » 16 Mar 2009 01:06

Int'l Confce On Water, Flood Management Begins --- Water sharing deal with India for Teesta stressed

Food and Disaster Management Minister Abdur Razzaque yesterday said the government is trying to sign an agreement on water sharing with India for the river Teesta. Not only the trans-boundary rivers or distribution of water with India, but the government has also a complete package of issues to be settled regionally, he added. The minister said border {read fencing + smuggling issues}, transit {to NE and to Bhutan/Nepal for BD}, distribution of common natural resources {shifting river boundaries, ex-im of coal and natural gas, excess electricity from Nepal and Bhutan across the Indian grid}, maritime boundary {with Burma and India} and coordination against terrorism {read JMB, ULFA, NSCN, KLO, J-e-I, razakars, Saka Chowdhury etc} are among the key issues to be prominent in the negotiations.

Razzaque told reporters on the sidelines at the three-day second biennial 'International Conference on Water and Flood Management' organised by Institute of Water and Flood Management of Buet at Bangladesh-China Friendship Conference Centre in the city. Speaking as the chief guest, he said being a small downstream country of a mighty river system, the country has little control over its water resources.

About India's stance on the issues, he mentioned the comments made by Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee during his recent visit to Dhaka that all the issues would be settled after the upcoming general elections in India. The minister said, “Problems may be sensitive and awkward, but will have to be solved on the negotiating table. We are taking preparation to settle the issues with neighbours.”

Among 57 trans-boundary rivers, the country has agreement for sharing only one that is the Ganges. {And even the Farrukkah barrage is a painful episode with major takleef across the border} Buet Vice Chancellor Prof AMM Safiullah mentioned the challenges facing the country for management and the complexities of its water resources system. He said the system is largely depended on the intricate river network with fluctuating sediment and flow, delicate groundwater system severely contaminated by arsenic and large areas of natural depressions locally called 'Haor' 'Baor' and 'Beel', adding that the priorities and scales of problems are very different in nature in the rural setting and rapidly growing urban centers.

Fritz Meijndert, deputy ambassador and head of Development Cooperation at Dutch embassy, also addressed the programme and put emphasis on the river erosion management and the concept namely 'Building with nature'. He said Bangladesh has a climate change strategy, but it lacks the broader vision and commitment which is needed to properly address the issues in the coming 10 or even 50 years. Absence of common approach and long-term vision bears a high risk, the envoy added. Prof Abul Fazal M Saleh, chairman of the organising committee, and Prof Anisul Haque, director of the institute, also addressed the ceremony.

The problem with BD is that it has enormous ground water, more than most parts in India, being in the Ganges-Brahmaputra basin. But the water is laced with arsenic and hence not potable. What BD needs is a good, low-cost, simple and reliable water purification system. There were many options on the table, but most of them are capitalist enterprises, so at the end of the day, the dirt poor who are the most vulnerable cannot afford them. It is not like WB does not suffer from the same problems. Maybe WB and BD can collaborate and come up with a solution to their woes. If wishes were horses.....
Implementation of CHT peace deal demanded

Indigenous leaders here yesterday demanded full implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) peace treaty without further delay. At a rally organised by the hill district unit of Pahari Chhatra Parishad (PCP) at Bandarban Press Club, speakers warned of tense situation in case the treaty is not fulfilled immediately. In his address as chief guest, Dipayon Khisha, a central leader of Parbattya Chattagram Jono Sanghati Samity (PCJSS) said, "We surrendered arms according to the peace treaty." "Now it is government's duty to ensure CHT people's rights,” he said.

Among others, CHT Mahila Samity leader Wai Ching Prue, PCJSS leader U Cho Mong and PCP leader Romesh Tanchangya adressed. Earlier, a procession was brought out at the hill town. PCJSS supporters, student leaders and a cross section of people took part in the procession.

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Re: Bangladesh News and Discussion

Postby Stan_Savljevic » 16 Mar 2009 01:10

Arms count begins 17 days after BDR carnage

Authorities at the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) headquarters began to count up their arms and ammunition yesterday, 17 days into the bloodbath, to figure out exactly how many of them are still missing. Director General (DG) of BDR Brigadier General Moinul Hossain told The Daily Star, "Until the calculation is done we can not possibly say how many arms and ammunition are missing and how many were used during the revolt.” Asked about the delay in estimation the DG said, "It took time to gather them up from different places where they were abandoned by mutineers."

"All recovered arms and ammunition will come in handy as evidences during investigation,” the DG said adding that investigators, law enforcement agencies, army, BDR, navy -- all are involved in the count up. Most of the mutineers abandoned their arms while fleeing BDR headquarters during the mutiny and after it was over while others are suspected to have taken to their heels along with firearms and ammunition, said sources.

Members of law enforcement agencies later picked them up from different nook and corners of Pilkhana and these were deposited haphazardly causing serious disorder in keeping proper account. Besides, Bangladesh Navy and Fire Brigade members recovered a good number of those arms from places around Pilkhana and its nearby ponds. An army major engaged in the process of counting arms and ammunition said, "Now we are counting out and putting serial number on them to expedite the process.”

Moinul told The Daily Star, "We have started it today and when we are done it would be made public." Meanwhile, BDR authorities have already started disbursement of monthly salaries of BDR personnel at the headquarters, said the DG. The DG also informed that BDR members outside Dhaka had already received their monthly salaries several days ago. Explaining the reason of deferred payment he added, “The payment was delayed due to the procedure of appointing new commanders in places of those who were killed during the mutiny.” Meanwhile, yesterday 14 BDR members were allowed to meet their kith and kin. A total of 82 BDR personnel have had the opportunity to meet their near and dear ones so far. Apart from this, the authorities provided three mobile phones to each barrack for BDR jawans to talk to their relatives for two to three minutes each day.

EU meddling has begun... There is a saying in Tam, "if there is fire in the jungle, the man who plays the monkey has a lot of work on hand."
EU ambassadors meet Khaleda --- Hope for neutral probe into BDR massacre

Ambassador Stefan Frowein, head of the delegation of the European Union (EU) countries' envoys yesterday hoped that there would be a neutral investigation into BDR massacre as people want to know what really happened. He made the remarks to reporters after an hour-long meeting with BNP Chairperson and Opposition Leader Khaleda Zia at her Gulshan office. Frowein said instead of considering the number, the very presence of the opposition in parliament, like the ruling party, is considered "vitally important" in parliamentary democracy.

He said a delegation of the European Union will come to Dhaka on March 24 to release the final report of the EU election observation mission. Former foreign secretary Shamser Mobin Chowdhury told reporters that Bangladesh has multi-faceted relations with the EU, particularly in economic cooperation. “BNP will extend all cooperation to strengthen the relationship.” BNP Secretary General Khandaker Delwar Hossain, Former Adviser for Foreign Affairs Reaz Rahman and EU Councillor Charles Whitley were present during the meeting.

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