The Chittagong Port Authority has taken back the last 52 acres of Laldia Char in Patenga after over 2300 families residing there without legal ownership of the land left in advance of a deadline announced earlier by the CPA, which was obeying a court order. It was a much more cordial occasion than most eviction drives witnessed in the capital, that often take place without warning.
The eviction drive, that was announced for Monday, March 1 well in advance and clearly communicated to the residents, was hardly noticeable in the end, passing without any untoward incident.
The 52 acres recovered today was cordoned off with barbed wire. Laldiar Char would now be used for a multipurpose terminal.
Most of the residents of the area were moved there by the newly independent Bangladesh's government in 1972 from their original residences in nearby Patenga, where the Port City's airport was being expanded. But they never gained legal ownership of the land, which was purchased for CPA in 1935.
Many residents voluntarily relocated in the last few days since the eviction was announced. Residents who were waiting until the last minute to see if the eviction could be stopped started leaving their homes on their own initiative this morning. Many people sold off furniture for a nominal price. Some have been seen sitting helpless with luggage due to lack of rickshaws, vans and trucks.
In the morning, the executive magistrate of the port, the magistrate of the district administration and senior officials of the port visited the char area of Laldia. A large number of RAB, police and Ansar members were deployed before the eviction.
Port authorities said mosques, primary schools and cemeteries would be excluded from the eviction.
Rear Admiral M Shahjahan, chairman of the port authority, held a press conference in the morning at the Patenga Boat Club during the eviction.
He said, “The port authority owns the Laldia Char site in Chittagong. Now we need the place for backup of PCT (Patenga Container Terminal). We have already evicted 26 acres before. Today we recover 52 acres of land.
"We have encouraged residents to leave voluntarily. As promised, 90 percent has gone. There is no need to apply force. We will fence our area so that no one can occupy it, he added.
Regarding their rehabilitation, the port chairman said, "The government arranges rehabilitation for the grassroots through the deputy commissioner in case of eviction of illegal occupants." We have sent a list to help them. "
The High Court directed the Chittagong Port Authority to evict the illegal establishment from Karnafuli Laldiar Char in Patenga in the light of the writ filed by Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (Writ No. 6306/10).
A virtual high court bench comprising Justice Ashfaqul Islam and Justice Mohammad Ali ordered eviction of illegal structures from Laldia Char in the port area of Karnafuli river bank within the next two months on December 8.
Chittagong Police Commissioner, DC, RAB Commander, CDA Chairman and City Corporation Administrator have been named as defendants in the case. Lawyer Manzil Morshed appeared in favour of the writ petition. On the other hand, lawyer Murad Reza appeared for the Chittagong Port Authority.
A massive fire has destroyed houses in Gazipur’s Konabari area.
The fire was reported from a colony in Baimail.
Four firefighting units initially worked at the spot. They were later joined by two more units.
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The six units contained the blaze around 10pm.
Gazipur Fire Service Deputy Director Md Hamid Mia said the fire was first reported around 8pm from a warehouse in the colony and spread rapidly to nearby tin-shed houses.
The cause of the fire could not be known immediately.
At least 2 persons were killed in separate road crashes in Sitakunda.
The deceased were identified as Shams Tahiyat Maunota (16), a class 10 student of Bangladesh Military Academy High School and Touhidul Islam Jafor (51), an assistant teacher at Sadak Mastan (RA) High School in Fakrihat Upazila.
According to the highway police and locals, Maunota was hit by a minibus in Kasem jute mill area, while returning home in the morning. She was taken to the hospital by locals where she died at around 12 pm.
Bar Aulia Highway Police Station SI Md. Babul Moiya said, We came to know after the accident. The bus was detained at the police station. The locals handed over the bus and its driver to the police."
Touhidul was killed as he was hit by a motorcycle on Saturday night. The incident took place at Sarij Bhuiyan Road in the upazila around 8pm on Saturday. Although he was rescued and rushed to a hospital in Chittagong, he died at 12:30 am.
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Abu Zafar Saad, the headmaster of the Sadak Mastan High School, said Tauhidul was hit by an unidentified vehicle as he was crossing the road from his home at night.
Police have arrested a leader Khulna Sramik, Krishak, Chhatra-Janata Oikya Parishad ‘for his Facebook post condemning the custodial death of writer Mushtaq Ahmed’.
Detectives picked up coordinator of Khulna Sramik, Krishak, Chhatra-Janata Oikya Parishad Ruhul Amin and its organizer Niaz Murshed from their residence on Friday night and later freed Niaz at 12:30 am.
Niaz Murshed told reporters that a team of DB police and KMP picked them up from their rented house and took to them DB office.
Deputy Commissioner of Khulna DB police BM Nururzzamn said a DB inspector filed a case against Ruhul Amin under the Digital Security Act(DSA) for various reasons including destabilizing the state.
He will be produced before a court with a remand prayer, he said .
Meanwhile, leaders and activists of Sramik, Krishak, Chhatra-Janata Oikya Parishad brought out a protest procession in the city protesting Ruhul Amin’s arrest.
Mushtaq reportedly suffered a heart attack inside his cell at Kashimpur prison on Thursday evening.
"He was rushed to Shaheed Tajuddin Medical College Hospital where he was declared brought dead," Senior Jail Superintendent Md Gias Uddin said.
An unnatural death case has been filed with the Gazipur Metropolitan Police's Sadar Police Station in connection with Mushtaq's custodial death.
The 53-year-old writer, who published the book "Kumir Chaasher Diary" under the pen name Michael Kumir Thakur, was picked up by Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) personnel from his Lalmatia home on May 2, allegedly for posts over the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
On August 20, he was shifted to Kashimpur prison, Gias Uddin said.
Calls for Mushtaq's release were widespread and sustained throughout his time in prison. Soon after his arrest, more than 300 dignitaries in Bangladesh issued a joint statement demanding his release, including cartoonist Ahmed Kishore.
However, his bail applications were turned down on at least on four occasions.
Left-leaning student bodies, including Bangladesh Chhatra Front, Chhatra Federation and Bangladesh Students Rights Protection Council, on Saturday staged demonstrations on the Dhaka University campus for the 2nd consecutive day protesting the death of writer Mushtaq Ahmed under police custody.
A seven-year-old girl has been raped allegedly by a brick kiln worker as she was alone at their Shotokhali home in Shalikha upaizla of Magura district.
The victim’s mother filed a case with Shalikha Police Station on Friday evening, a day after the incident, said Tariqul Islam, officer-in-charge of the police station.
According to the case statement, the parents of the girl went out of their home on Thursday morning for work at a brick kiln in Shotokhali, leaving behind their child alone.
Sensing the situation, Hanif, a brick kiln worker and son of Arshad Ali of Paikgachcha upazila in Khulna district, reportedly went to the victim’s house and violated her.
When the victim’s mother returned home, she found her girl crying and took her to a local hospital. The little girl is now undergoing treatment at a one-stop-crisis centre in the district, the OC said.
Later, the victim’s mother filed a case against Hanif.
Police said they are trying to arrest the accused.
Also read: Bangladesh introduces death penalty for rape
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Rapes in Bangladesh
Rape cases are on the rise in Bangladesh although the government has introduced death penalty for the heinous crime.
According to data compiled by Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), a rights group, 1,018 children were raped last year alone, but only 683 cases were filed with police stations. Among them, 116 victims were 6 years old or below.
Overall, 1,627 rape cases were reported last year and 53 of the victims were killed by the perpetrators after the crime while 14 took their own lives, the ASK data reveals.
In November last, Bangladesh introduced the death penalty for rape, following days of protests against sexual violence against women.
In October last, the country was rocked by huge protests after a woman was attacked and raped in Noakhali district. In another case in Sylhet a week later, a woman was gang raped at a hostel, triggering nationwide protests again.