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     Volume 4 Issue 32 | February 4, 2005 |

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News Notes

Ruling Party's 'Intelligence'
After heavily cracking down on the opposition during the latest 60 hour hartal called to protest the brutal grenade attack that killed Shah ASM Kibria along with four other AL members, the government is all set to take even more stringent measures against their arch rivals. The ruling coalition has alleged a 'heinous conspiracy' by the opposition, to unseat it and has vowed to take a tougher line on opposition demonstrations after the Saarc Summit is over. According to a Daily Star report, a BNP leader has said that the ruling coalition would face the opposition in the street "both politically and with state machinery". BNP stalwarts insist that they have received 'intelligence' that the AL is desperate and will go to any lengths to mess up the Saarc Summit and try to topple the government by creating a state of anarchy in the country. The police have been instructed to show 'zero tolerance' against pickets during the hartal and 'minus tolerance' after the Saarc Summit. Law enforcers have been instructed to file fool-proof cases against AL activists charging them with violence, arson and ransacking of property. Even frozen cases against opposition maybe revived to foil anti-government initiatives.
The 60 hour hartal was indeed violent. Pro-hartal activists attacked buses and cars and even rickshaw vans leading to deaths and grevious injuries. Meanwhile law-enforcers had a field day clubbing whomever they could find including opposition bigwigs like former home minister Mohammad Nasim and MP Ekabbar Hossain as well as journalists who committed the crime of just doing their job. Obviously the police are already observing 'zero tolerance' as they always have no matter who the opposition is. It is heartening that the government's 'intelligence' is so efficient that it has established the opposition's devilish motives. Wonder what happened to this 'intelligence' prior to the grenade attacks of August 21 and January 27?

Who is responsible,
that's the question?

Responsibility is one quality that has been always in short supply among the people in power. The full ministers or half (read state) ministers are very alert and uncompromising when it comes to exercising power, but they are extremely shy when it comes to shouldering responsibility for any mishaps. When did we last hear of a minister tendering his resignation after accepting responsibility over some incidents or accidents, as is the tradition in the entire civilised world including the neighbouring developing countries like India? Many believe that the recent grenade spree that killed many and maimed many more merit resignation of the home minister (in this case state minister). After the Habiganj grenade attack the demand of Babar's resignation got louder, but Babar didn't bother. He however took action SP AMM Fakrul islam Khan and Sadar Police station OC Inam Ahmed Chowdhury were sacked for their negligence in taking proper security measures. One wonders how would the police forces, whose only job (as far as the opposition is concerned) is beating, would know that "sometimes" they are supposed to ensure their (of the opposition people) security. Many think these two police officials are being made scapegoats. A recent Daily Star report however hints at something more heinous. Local AL leadership has alleged that the sacked officers, who were investigating the grenade attack, were on the right track and would surely unearth the perpetrators. They suspect a particular group within the government has done this to keep the real perpetrators safe. One hopes their suspicion is proved wrong.

An Accused to Address Tafseer Mehfeel
A member of the Central Committee of Jammat-e-Islami, Imdadul Hoq Gopalganjee, is an accused in a case of 76 Kg explosive recovered from Gopalganj, and he is scheduled to address a religious congregation or Tafseer Mehfeel, as it is locally called. The Mehfeel will take place on 12 and 13 February in the Eidgah at the village Nehalee of Kaliganj upajilla, Lalmonirhat. Organised by the local madrasa-cum-orphanage, the publicity poster of the Koranic Mehfeel is unabashed in declaring the fact that Hoq is an accused in the Gopalganj explosives haul.
It was the Awami League government that linked Hoq to the explosives recovered from the outskirt of a makeshift helipad prepared for the then Prime Minister's visit. At present the case seems to have fizzled out altogether.
In their effort to whip up interest among the general mass, the organisers have taken the issue of the Moulana (preacher) being an accused in an explosive haul. However provocative and bizarre a publicity stunt it may seem, Hoq too reportedly have been enjoying the controversy that it created.
Though Hoq's name is linked to several other cases, the Jamaat-e-Islami had been running a campaign of sorts to put him on the podium. He has been in a sermon-giving spree, and at every occasion he has been introduced as an accused in the explosives haul case.

Hear them roar
Bangladeshi cricketers came back after loosing two matches in the CityCell one day series against the touring Zimbabwe and won the series after winning the remaining three games. Bangladesh recovered from the blow and wrapped up the series at 2-2 but it was in the final One Day International cricket match at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka, 31 January 2005, Bangladesh showed what they were really made of. They beat Zimbabwe by a crushing 8 wickets. Zimbabwe had won the toss and decided to bat first. They were going reasonably well and posted 100 losing only two wickets. But the colour of the game began to change when the formidable spin pair Rafique and Enamul Haque Jr were bowling in tandem. Wickets soon began to tumble in regular interval and finally the Springboks could manage only 198 runs. Bangladesh's opening pair faltered once again, but in the second wicket partnership, young Aftab and veteran Rafique began to literally murder the inexperienced Zimbabwe bowling attack, swinging their bats really hard and sending the ball all around the field. 198 seemed too paltry a total as Bangladesh rushed towards the victory margin. In the end Bangladesh reached 202 for just two wickets in just 33 overs. The man of the match was Mohammad Rafiq with 72 runs off just 66 balls and a strike rate of 109.09. He also bowled 10 overs giving 34 runs and taking 2 wickets. After their first test series win last month, Bangladsh now wins its maiden one day series. Congratulations.

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