Dhaka, Jan 31 (UNB) – Seven people were arrested and 700 illegally imported mobile phones were seized from two shopping complexes in city’s Hatirpool area on Thursday.
A joint team of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) and Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) conducted a drive at 12 shops at Eastern Plaza and Motaleb Plaza in the area and fined shopowners a total of TK 19 lakhs, said a BTRC press release.
The mobile court headed by Director of BTRC Spectrum Division Lt Col Md Aminul Haque and Rab Executive Magistrate Md Sarwar Alam also sentenced the arrestees to different terms in jail.
Dhaka, Jan 31 (UNB) - Christine Schraner Burgener, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General on Myanmar, has hoped that Myanmar and Bangladesh can further strengthen their cooperation on the issue of Rohingya repatriation, and intends to travel to Dhaka in February.
She will also return to New York in February for internal consultations.
Her travel plans were established in December, and had not included Northern Rakhine state, as she had chosen to focus on restrictions on freedom of movement and spend substantive time with the people affected by this in and around Sittwe in a first instance.
“Dialogue will make Myanmar stronger,” the Special Envoy told leaders of the Arakan National Party during her visit to Rakhine, according to United Nations Information Centre, Yangon.
The Special Envoy encouraged them and ministers to publicly stand against discrimination and hate speech, and to embrace Myanmar’s diversity as an asset rather than a weakness.
She welcomed the stated willingness of the Rakhine leaders to accept the refugees’ return.
In light of recent assurances that the new NVC cards will no longer contain mentions of religion or ethnicity, she also encouraged the internally displaced people she met to consider applying for registration, so that they can move around within the country.
Christine Burgener was satisfied to hear the Rakhine State Minister explain in her presence to the internally displaced persons that the “NVC cards are not for foreigners, but for people residing in Myanmar. It is a first step towards citizenship. It applies to the whole country, even in the eastern part close to the Myanmar-Thai border, not just to Rakhine,” the Minister said.
She welcomed the recent creation of a Committee of the Pyithu Hluttaw to receive complaints related to on-going citizenship applications as an important step towards transparency in the process.
The Special Envoy visited Myanmar from January 18 to 29.
During that time, she oversaw the installation of her new office in Nay Pyi Taw, where she also met with Union-level ministers and with the Chairperson of the Independent Commission of Enquiry.
She travelled to Sittwe, where she engaged with relevant government ministers at the state level, as well as with humanitarian agencies, political parties, civil society and displacement affected communities.
Christine Burgener also met the United Nations agencies, international non-governmental organisations and with the diplomatic community in Yangon.
Her visit to Sittwe focused on the obstacles and potential solutions for freedom of movement, which is restricted for many people in Rakhine state for different reasons.
“Freedom of movement is key for all people and their access to livelihoods. Without freedom of movement, children cannot go to local schools, and people still cannot access hospitals,” she said. “It is important to rebuild trust.”
The Special Envoy welcomed efforts by the Union Government to draft a national strategy on “Closure of IDP Camps – Rebuilding Lives of IDPs in Safety and Dignity without Dependency” aimed at addressing and ending forced displacement that so many people all over Myanmar face.
She encouraged the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement to implement the strategy through concrete action plans as soon as possible, while adhering to international principles and standards and offering her assistance.
Christine Burgener lauded the drafting of an information sheet for the refugees in Cox’s Bazar that would help explain the process for their potential repatriation to Rakhine State, once the conditions there had become conducive for voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable returns.
She promised to request the Government of Bangladesh to help with its distribution during her next visit to Dhaka.
The Special Envoy understood that the current security situation in Northern Rakhine State made humanitarian access and the return of refugees to affected areas more difficult.
She nevertheless underlined the importance of allowing humanitarian organisations, international and local, to assist the civilian population in that area, and encouraged all sides to cease hostilities as soon as possible.
While expressing her condolences for the loss of life and displacement caused by the Arakan Army (AA) recent attacks by AA and the response by the Tatmadaw, the Special Envoy welcomed efforts by the parties to engage advocated for an inclusive negotiation process through dialogue.
When meeting representatives of the Tatmadaw, she welcomed the unilateral ceasefire declaration announced by the Commander in Chief on 21 December 2018, and urged them to reach out to all the ethnic armed organisations to invite them to dialogue.
She acknowledged that it was difficult to talk while fighting was on-going. Despite ongoing security challenges, the Special Envoy invited the army leaders to keep the door open for negotiations.
“Now it is even more important to talk,” she urged. In that context, she also welcomed the recent transfer of the General Administration Department to the Union Ministry of Government as a potential first step towards decentralisation and federalism, two key points in the peace process.
Panchagarh, Jan 31 (UNB) – A man was beaten to death as he was trying to save his son from attackers in front of the Land Office in Tepriganj union of Debiganj upazila on Thursday.
The deceased was identified as Faridul Islam, 45, son of Joat Ali of Bilashi Melapara area in Debiganj upazila.
Locals said Faridul and his son Golam Rabbani, 20, went to pay land fee at the Land Office in the afternoon when a group of young men led by Kamal Hossain, a youth from their neighborhood, attacked Rabbani, prompting Faridul to obstruct the attackers.
Instead of stopping, the attackers started beating Faridul as well leaving him severely injured.
Later the locals rescued the duo and took them to Debiganj Upazila Health Complex where Faridul succumbed to his injuries.
The animosity centered a game of cricket played a month earlier when another two youths - Kamal, 17, and Sujon, 18 - locked into arguments over the game, said Mosharaf Hossain, Tepriganj Union Parishad member.
On Thursday morning, Golam Rabbani had called for a meeting to settle the argument between the duo where without going for any settlement Kamal locked into a dispute with Golam Rabbani. The agenda of the meeting remained unresolved and the two groups returned to their houses.
Later in the afternoon Kamal with his accomplices again swooped on Rabbani, leading to his father’s death.
Meanwhile, Dr Arjun Saha of Debiganj Upazila Health Complex said Faridul did not have any physical injury marks and the doctors had asked to conduct electrocardiogram (ECG) and X-ray when he came in but he breathed his last within half an hour.
The cause of the death will be clearer after the post-mortem examination, he said.
Officer-in-Charge of Debiganj Police Station Rabiul Hasan Sarkar said the matter was related to previous enmity. The body was sent to Sadar Hospital for autopsy.
Victim’s family is preparing to file a case over the matter, he said.
Dhaka, Jan 31 (UNB) – The High Court on Thursday observed that the National River Conservation Commission (NRCC) and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) appear to be ‘dummy commissions’ as they cannot take any action against offenders except placing recommendations.
The HC bench of Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Md Ashraful Kamal came up with the observation while hearing a rule over a writ filed seeking its directives to dismantle illegal establishments and evict illegal grabbers from the banks of the Turag River.
The court was scheduled to deliver the rest of its verdict today after Wednesday’s partial announcement.
The court, however, said it will issue guidelines on Sunday after receiving a report on the activities of the commission.
In the partial judgment, the High Court declared the Turag River as a legal/juristic person or a living being to save the river from illegal encroachment.
At the beginning of the proceedings on Thursday, the court, pointing at writ petitioner Manzill Morshed, said illegal establishments are being built grabbing rivers illegally and separate cases are filed and there come separate verdicts.
“Following High Court order, the administration removes illegal establishments which stage a comeback with a few days. Thus, the issue of reclaiming the rivers remains in the dark,” it said.
There will be rivers and there will be no want of people with the mentality to occupy those, the court said. “It’s like a hide-and-seek game. This can’t be allowed to happen. The hide-and-seek game over the river encroachment should be stopped.”
It said the National River Conservation Commission was constituted following a verdict and guidelines issued by then Chief Justice ABM Khairul Haque to protect four rivers surrounding the capital. “This commission is working. This was not mentioned in the writ.”
In reply, Manzill Morshed said the commission should settle the river-related complaints and take action accordingly. “But, the commission is doing nothing except putting forward recommendations. The same is the situation of the National Human Rights Commission. These commissions can only place suggestions against any irregularity but can’t take any effective step.”
At the point, the court asked the petitioner to file a report on the activities of the commissions, saying they will issue some guidelines on Sunday after reviewing the reply.
The court also made observation on investigative journalism. “We can come to know about social irregularities following informative reports of journalists. The journalists are like whistleblowers. They file reports against all types of irregularities, including river grabbing. That’s why we’re extending thanks to the journalists.”
It, however, lamented that there is hardly any investigative journalism in the country. “The standard of journalism should be enhanced in our country.”
Referring to the US journalism, the court said an investigative report of two journalists ensured the fall of a government there. “This type of effective journalism should be practised in the country which will establish people’s rights.”
On November 7, 2016, Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh filed a writ following a report published on an English newspaper on grabbers’ feast on the Turag River.
Later, the High Court directed the government to take steps to reclaim the river within 48 hours and also issued a rule.
Later on January 5, 2017, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) submitted a report on their actions to save the river.
On October 11, 2017, the chief judicial magistrate of Gazipur submitted a report before the HC, saying 30 structures were set up illegally along the banks of the river in the Gazipur part.
On December 13, 2017, the HC directed the authorities concerned to demolish the structures immediately.
As several institutions filed an appeal with the Appellate Division against the HC order, the apex court on January 14, 2018 stayed the HC order and asked it to dispose of the rule.
Then, the HC bench started hearing on the rule.
Chandpur, Jan 31 (UNB) – A cargo ship carrying around 850 tons of fly ash was forced to anchor in the Meghna River near Chandpur Launch Terminal early Thursday after its workers noticed a crack developing on the floor of the vessel.
The vessel ‘MV Abdul Jalil' was heading towards Narayanganj from India. As soon as the workers noticed the fracture around 2am, they docked the ship at the nearest terminal around 5am.
Mahmudul Hasan, Joint Director of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority, said the Fire Service arrived at the scene shortly after receiving the information. Members of the Bangladesh River Police and Bangladesh Coast Guard were also present.
A primary inspection revealed that the cause of the crack was the vessel’s poor navigability fitness apart from being overloaded, Mahmudul added.