a Daily Star report, Bandarban has become a prime spot for
gunrunners to smuggle in and hoard sophisticated firearms
and deadly explosives. With little security at the Bandarban
border, which cordons off Mayanmar, this stretch of land has
become ideal for this dangerous trade to thrive. Till date
Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) has only one border outpost deep inside
the hilly district. BDR sources said that more border outposts
are needed in the area to ensure proper security. The surrounding
deep forests provide a safe heaven to the arms smugglers.
Meanwhile, in the last two months BDR personnel have seized
15 AK 47 assault rifles, 11 submachine guns, two M 16 rifles,
11 submachine guns, two M16 rifles and a whole assortment
of firearms, from the bordering areas of Naikkhangchhari.
According to a BDR official, thousands of Rohyanga refugees
living in Naikkhangchhari and surrounding areas are linked
to arms smuggling. Unfortunately, although law enforcers managed
to seize arms, they couldn't catch the smugglers.
The BDR claims that they have sent written requests to the
home ministry to increase the number of border outposts on
the Bangladesh-Mayanmar border, but no such measure has been
Apart from this, although the Naikkhangchhari Upazila is in
Bandarban district, Naikkhangchhari BDR zone is under the
control of BDR Chittagong sector. Chittagong Hill Tracts is
also under the Bandarban Army region. These complexities are
creating anomalies in security at the border.
In 1984 and 1998, joint-border forces from Myanmar and Bangladesh
had taken initiatives to clear demarcate their borders but
they postponed their activities after some mines planted along
the border by Myanmar authorities, exploded. Why the joint-patrol
has not resumed for the last six years is a mystery.
Two suspected operatives of outlawed "Janajudhho"
(People's War) arrested by the Police last week seemed to
have a plan to explode a time bomb at the Biswa Ijtema ground
in Tongi, where the second largest Islamic pilgrimage after
Hajj took place and ended on December 5. Feroz Alam Lablu
and Sheikh Mohammad Russell, the two outlaws who were alleged
to have been found with a powerful time bomb, a shotgun and
some ammunition from a house in Kafrul in the capital, have
both been on the wanted list of Khulna Police for a long time.
Denying their involvement with Janajuddho or the PBCP, Feroze
claimed to be a fish trader while Russell a peon of Election
Commission Office in Dhaka. The bandanna-headed Rab decided
to take matters into their own hands once again, due to which
the suspects were admitted to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital
(DMCH) with fatal injuries. As their conditions deteriorated,
they were rushed to Suhrawardy Hospital, whereupon the doctors
sent them back to DMCH. The police, upon search, actually
seized 1-kilogramme of explosive, a shotgun, 24 bullets, 14
spent bullets, and pistol covers from the house the suspects
had taken shelter in.
A devastating fire caused the destruction of over two hundred
houses at the Geneva Camp in the Golahat area of Syedpur on
December 4, 2004. Firefighters from neighbouring areas such
as Rangpur and Nilphamari rushed to the scene to put out the
fire. It started at around five p.m. and it took forty minutes
to demolish all the houses in its path. Fortunately, there
were no casualties. The cause of the fire remains unknown.
Time Achievement Award Given
Bangladesh Federation of Film Society has awarded "Life
Time Achievement Award" to six film personalities for
their outstanding contribution to Bangladeshi films. These
awards were handed over on the fifth day of the Second International
Film Festival. The Siraj-au-ddowlah famed Anwar Hossain, designer
of the first cinema poster, renowned actor and celebrated
director Subhas Dutta, famous cinematographer Baby Islam,
talented music director Subal Das, actress Sulktana Zaman
and film producer and distributor Iftekharul Alam.
Sign of Arson?
Though there has been widespread allegation of arson behind
the November 21 fire incident in the New Bangabazar Hawkers'
market, the probe committee has found nothing of that sort.
"We have found no evidence of arson," reveals MA
Razzak Chowdhury, Director, Administration, Operations and
Development, Fire service and Civil Defense, who headed the
3-member probe committee. Meanwhile, suffering for some 400
traders, who lost their merchandise partially or entirely
goes on. More
than two weeks have gone by since the market was turned into
ashes, but the fire victims have so far received no compensation
from any quarter in spite of big promises. They are now passing
anxious hours in the hope of getting a new place where they
can start their business anew, specially during the winter
when their business picks up. In fact, the Mayor promised
that he would arrange a place for them as quickly as possible.
But when asked the Mayor had this excuse to offer: "It's
very hard to accommodate such a huge number of traders. We
are however still looking for a place." Some of the traders
however are not sitting idle for indefinite times in the hope
of getting new place, they have already occupied the pavement
and going on with their business, though in a very limited
(R) thedailystar.net 2004