Rangamati, Mar 18 (UNB) – Seven people, including an assistant presiding officer, were killed and an presiding officer among 13 was injured in a gun attack on a vehicle of a motorcade carrying election officials and law enforcers in Baghaichhari upazila on Monday evening.
The deceased were identified as M Amir Ali, 37, assistant presiding officer of a polling centre at Kanglak under Sajek and a teacher of Kachalong Girls’ School, Ansar VDP members Jahanara Begum, 40, wife of Tafsil Ahmed of Kachalong Bazar, Mihir Kanti Dutta, 40, son of Sadhu Basak of Karoshtali, Bilkis Akther, 50, daughter of Nur Ali of Paillagona, M Al Amin, 25, son of Selim of Sarikkha in the upazila, Toyeb Ali and bus helper Mantu Chakma, 25, said intelligence sources.
However, the professional identity of Toyeb could not be confirmed.
Superintendent of Police M Alamgir Kabir said the election officials and law enforcers were returning to the upazila headquarters in four vehicles after counting votes at the polling centre in the 2nd phase upazila parishad election.
Terrorists opened fire on the last vehicle of the convoy from a hill at Noymile of the upazila around 6:30pm.
The attack left the six dead on the spot and the others injured.
On information, members of Bangladesh Army and Border Guard Bangladesh rushed in, rescued the victims with the help of locals and took them to the upazila health complex.
The injured include presiding officer of the centre Abdul Hannan, five policemen and three Ansar VDP men.
Of them, six were airlifted to the Combined Military Hospital in Chattogram where one of them was declared brought dead.
Amid a tense situation, security was beefed up there.
Intelligence sources said members of United People’s Democratic Front (UPDF, Proshid Khisa) might have carried out the attack.
They said Barorishi Chakma, nominated by JSS (Santu Larma), contested the upazila parishad election from Baghaichhari against Sudarshan Chakma of JSS (reformists).
Barorishi, however, boycotted the election halfway through, they said, adding that after the announcement of the polls boycott, various posts were made on Facebook threatening to launch an attack.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission condemned the attack on the election officials, saying it will stand by the families of the deceased and the injured.
The commission also directed for ensuring proper treatment of the injured, said a press release.
Dhaka, Mar 18 (UNB) - Bangladesh has rejected the US State Department’s 2018 country reports on human rights practices saying many things about Bangladesh mentioned in the report ‘by and large’ more applicable to the US rather than Bangladesh.
“I’ve enough doubt about their own investigation. We welcome reports that are objective and fact-based ones,” Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told a media briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam and Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque were also present.
He said Bangladesh has already sent a protest note to US authorities in this regard and mentioned that it would be more objective if they have done their own investigation.
The Foreign Minister said the US report provided information in the name of individuals and organisations.
He said the US publishes such reports routinely and there is nothing to be worried about it.
Referring to attack on Prof Muhammed Zafar Iqbal, the Foreign Minister said the government deserves appreciation as the attacker was arrested and wondered how the US termed it a terrorist attack.
The Foreign Minister suggested the US authorities to go for a rigorous investigation and come up with an “informative and objective” report in the future which will help Bangladesh address the weaknesses, if any.
Talking about polls issues in the US and Bangladesh, he said Bangladesh practises better democracy than others.
US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo formally released the 2018 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices in Washington DC recently.
The report highlighted various rights issues and reported abuses and Bangladesh’s last national election issues.
Dhaka, Mar 18 (UNB) – Gono Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain on Monday called upon people to put up a strong resistance against those creating obstacles towards implementing Bangabandhu’s dreams of establishing democracy and ensuring free and fair elections in the country.
“Bangabandhu’s dreams were written in the constitution. His first dream was to establish democracy. He also gave the highest importance to ensuring free and fair elections,” he said.
Speaking at a discussion, Dr Kamal also said those hampering democracy and the path of fair elections are showing disrespect to Bangabandhu. “They’re also defying Bangabandhu. We must identify them and ostracise them. We’ll resist those defying Bangabandhu and creating barrier to materialising his dreams.”
Gano Forum arranged the discussion at the Supreme Court Bar Association auditorium, marking the 99th birth anniversary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Dr Kamal said the country’s 16 crore people are united over some basic issues, including the ‘restoration of true’ democracy, the rule of law and ensuring credible elections.
“Ensuring a free and fair election is a demand of all. There’s no controversy over the matter. But it’s not happening. We should find out those hampering it at every locality,” he said.
He said Bangabandhu gave importance to credible elections as the country was liberated for ensuring people’s voting rights.
Dr Kamal deplored that many of Bangabandhu’s dreams remained unimplemented even after 48 years of the country’s independence. “Many people sacrificed their lives for protecting democracy before, during and after the Liberation War, but we still can’t establish true democracy, basic rights and the rule of law.”
“If we want to genuinely pay homage to Bangabandhu, we must vow to devote ourselves to fulfilling his unimplemented dreams and performing the responsibilities he bestowed upon us,” he observed.
Dr Kamal also said the guidelines Bangabandhu incorporated in the constitution must be followed and implemented to show proper respect to him.
Dhaka, Mar 18 (UNB) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday urged the people of the country to remain vigil so that anti-liberation forces, killers, terrorists and militants cannot assume state power again for playing with their fate.
She made the call while addressing a discussion at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) on the occasion of the 99th birth anniversary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh is the country of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. "In this Bangladesh, people’s rights will be upheld. Inshallah, we’ll build a Golden Bangladesh free from hunger and poverty."
She said the government has already declared 2020-21 as the Mujib Year and will celebrate the year in a befitting manner. "We’ve constituted a committee. Preparations will have to begin at all levels, including unions, to celebrate the Mujib Year,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina, also Awami League chief, said Bangabandhu gave the country’s people independence. "We have to uphold this independence and make the country a prosperous one freeing it from hunger and poverty which was the dream of the Father of the Nation," she said, expressing her belief that the dream will be materialised.
She said Bangabandhu founded Bangladesh, setting up all basic structures required for its economic, cultural and political fronts.
The Prime Minister said the very birth of Bangabandhu was necessary for the emergence of independent Bangladesh. “People had confusions whether the birth of Bangladesh was possible without the birth of the great leader,” she added.
Since 1948, the Prime Minister said, Bangabandhu was preparing his people for independence defying all the pressures, intimidations and threats of the Pakistani rulers. “Bangabandhu had repeatedly been put behind bars, but nothing could bar him from heading towards his goal.”
Hasina said the Father of the Nation had made every step forward very carefully in his long struggle to independence thinking that any wrong step could impede people’s aspirations.
Talking about the election system which was introduced during Bangabandhu's tenure, she said under that system, the government had been responsible for the campaign of candidates. “In a poster, the government used to print the names and electoral symbols of all candidates. As a result, the candidate who used to reach people most gained their trust and used to be elected," she said.
The Prime Minister said two by-elections were held at that time in Kishoreganj and Patuakhali under the system. “In Kishoreganj, Syed Nazrul Islam’s brother was defeated to a schoolteacher,” she said, adding that had that system existed now, there would have been no bloodshed and killings which the country will realise gradually.
About the December-30 election where the BNP-led Jatiya Oikyafront suffered a debacle, she said the government in its last 10 years ensured development in all the sectors, including education, health, food security and communication, from the grassroots level. "People gave their verdict in favour of Awami League as peace and stability returned to their lives," she said, adding that they rejected BNP and its alliance for their association with war criminals.
"How would BNP win the election after indulging in corruption, killings, siphoning of money and other misdeeds and selecting over 700 candidates for the 300 seats?" she said.
Awami League leaders Amir Hossain Amu, Tofail Ahmed, Matia Chowdhury, Mahbubul Alam Hanif, Jahangir Kabir Nanak, Ahmed Hossain, Advocate Qamrul Islam, Fazilatunnesa Indira and Ajmat Ullah, among others, spoke at the programme.
Prof Dr Syed Anwar Hossain focused on different aspects of Bangabandhu's life.
Dhaka, Mar 18 (UNB) – The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on Monday attached the asset of Afzal Hossain, an accountant of Medical Education Department of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), on corruption charges.
With this, the Asset Recovery Unit of the national anti-corruption watchdog has launched its formal journey.
An ACC team, led by unit Director Khandaker Enamul Baser, started the confiscation activities hanging a notice in front of five-storey building, Tamanna Villa, at Road-11 of Uttara Sector-13 in compliance with a court order.
According to the ACC, Afzal allegedly accumulated huge wealth, including five houses in the capital and one in Australia.
As part of the drive, the ACC team will also confiscate Afzal’s other assets in Khulna, Faridpur and Rajbari.
On January 21 last, Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions’ Judge Court ordered confiscation of all the moveable and immoveable property of Afzal and his wife Rubina Khanam as well as to freeze all of their bank accounts in a case filed by the ACC.
Earlier on January 11, ACC deputy director M Samsul Alam interrogated the couple for around seven hours at its head office and found the evidence of accumulating huge illegal wealth against them.
Afzal’s wife has also been working as a stenographer at the same office since 1995.
According to the ACC, Afzal amassed the wealth misusing his power and taking bribe from candidates by ensuring jobs in different government and private offices.
Earlier, the ACC imposed a ban on Afzal’s foreign travel and the couple went into hiding immediately after the grilling.
The Health Ministry on January 14, 2019 suspended Afzal Hossain on charges of corruption.
Although Afzal was a fourth-grade government employee, his five houses, including one in Uttara, several plots and a house abroad, were inconsistent with his income, said a letter issued by the Health Ministry on January 13.
Besides, the ministry asked the authorities concerned to carry out a departmental investigation against him.