The Ministry of Foreign Affairs today (July 02, 2023) summoned Jakob Etaat, Chargé d’Affaires (CDA) at the Swedish Embassy in Dhaka, to protest burning of a copy of the Holy Quran outside a mosque in Stockholm. Salwan Momika, said to be an Iraqi living in Sweden, set fire to a copy of Islam’s holy book outside Stockholm’s central mosque on Wednesday, according to BBC. Earlier on Thursday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the “deplorable act” in a statement published on the ministry’s official Facebook page. Also read: Dhaka strongly condemns burning of Quran outside Mosque in Sweden “Bangladesh expressed grave concern over such heinous acts of insulting the sacred values and religious symbols of the Muslims in the name of ‘freedom of expression,’” the statement read. “Bangladesh yet again urged all concerned to put an end to such unwarranted provocations for the sake of harmony and peaceful coexistence,” the statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs added. Also read: Sweden arrest 5 suspected of terror, ties to Quran burning The Quran burning was condemned by many Muslim-majority countries. Meanwhile, the Swedish government said it strongly rejects the Islamophobic act committed by individuals in Sweden. This act in no way reflects the opinions of the Swedish government, according to the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Also read: Bangladesh strongly condemns burning of Holy Quran in Denmark
Four Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) activists were detained from a protest march - called in response to the recent attack on a JCD leader Nadia Nusrat allegedly by Chhatra League men and her subsequent arrest on false charges in Feni. Sala Uddin Mamun, president of Feni district Chhatra Dal, said as part of their peaceful program, a procession was initiated, commencing from the trunk road and moving through Shaheed Shahidullah Qaiser Road. Also Read: Narsingdi JCD killings: BNP central leader Khokan, his wife among 70 implicated Police baton-charged their procession and detained four activists, he said. The detainees are Mohammad Yasin, Sharif, Jasim, and Hriday. Feni district Chhatra Dal's general secretary, Morshed Alam Milan, said 15-20 JCD activists were injured in the incident. Also Read: BCL attack injures five JCD members “During our peaceful program, the police unexpectedly started baton charging and arrested four people,” he said. According to the police, the clash between two factions of Chhatra Dal erupted during the procession, compelling them to employ baton charges to control the situation. Also Read: Over 150 sued in two cases filed over Chhatra Dal’s factional clash in Brahmanbaria Officer-in-Charge of Feni Model Police Station, Nizam Uddin, said, “When two groups of Chhatra Dal began clashing during the procession, the police arrested four individuals through baton charge to restore order” A case is being prepared regarding this incident, he added.
The BNP will hold an hour-long sit-in programme in front of all the district offices of the Power Division across the country on June 8 to protest the ongoing loadshedding and 'corruption' in the power sector. Besides, the party will also submit a memorandum to the district power offices on the same day. BNP's Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi announced the programme on Tuesday at a press conference at the party's Nayapaltan central office. Also Read: People suffer as severe load shedding continues countrywide He said the programme was worked out at a meeting of their party’s standing committee, the highest policy-making body, on Monday night. “A sit-in program will be observed from 11am to 12pm in front of the power office at the district headquarters on June 8 and a memorandum will be submitted there in protest against the unbearable loadshedding and massive corruption in the power sector,” the BNP leader said. Also Read: Imagine if electricity generation capacity were still 3000 MW like in BNP-Jamaat govt period: Nasrul Hamid He said people are going through unbearable suffering due to terrible power outages across the country. "In villages and towns, people get electricity for one or two hours in 24 hours. People are experiencing loadshedding for five-six hours during the day as well.” The BNP leader also said power is also not available in the capital for more than 3/4 hours every day. He alleged that the government looted thousands of crores of taka in the name of quick rental power projects and subsidies for the power sector. “Their (govt) fraudulence is now clearly exposed before the people through the rampant loadshedding.” Also Read; Sylhet BNP expels 43 leaders for contesting city polls “The Awami government has committed a criminal offence by creating scope for looting in the power sector. The indemnity law has been enacted to legitimize looting in the power sector. That is why those involved in these quick-rental projects should be arrested. They’re the biggest enemies of the people,” the BNP leader said. He condemned the attack at on the peaceful road march programme of Ganatantra Mancha in Bogura.
A case was filed on Sunday against 200 people in connection with staging demonstrations at Ajimnagar railway station, vandalizing the station and assault on the station master. Among the accused, four people were arrested, said Mihir Ranjan Deb, officer-in-charge of Ishwardi GRP police station. Assistant station master Aminul Islam filed the case naming four people including the convenor of the protest Nadim Alam. Read: ‘Death threat’ against PM: BNP leader Chand on 3-day remand again Protesters blocked the rail line demanding a stoppage of the newly inaugurated Chilahati Express train at Natore’s Ajimnagar station on Sunday. During their protest, the Tungipara Express train didn’t stop and the agitated protesters vandalized the railway station. The arrestees will be produced before the Pabna court, said the rail police.
NATO will send 700 more troops to northern Kosovo to help quell violent protests after clashes with ethnic Serbs there left 30 international soldiers wounded, the alliance announced Tuesday. The latest violence in the region has stirred fear of a renewal of the 1998-99 conflict in Kosovo that claimed more than 10,000 lives, left more than 1 million people homeless and resulted in a NATO peacekeeping mission that has lasted nearly a quarter of a century. The clashes grew out of a confrontation that unfolded last week after ethnic Albanian officials elected in votes overwhelmingly boycotted by Serbs entered municipal buildings to take office. When Serbs tried to block them, Kosovo police fired tear gas to disperse the crowd. Also Read: 25 NATO-led peacekeepers injured in Kosovo in clashes with Serbs outside municipal building More violence followed on Monday when Serbs clashed with police and NATO peacekeepers. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said an additional reserve battalion would be put on high readiness in case additional troops are needed. "These are prudent steps," said Stoltenberg, who made the announcement in Oslo after talks with the Norwegian prime minister. The NATO-led peacekeeping mission in the region is known as KFOR and currently consists of almost 3,800 troops. Also Tuesday, KFOR's multinational peacekeepers used metal fences and barbed-wire barriers to reinforce positions in a northern town that has become a hot spot. The troops sealed off the municipal building in Zvecan, where unrest on Monday sent tensions soaring. A former province of Serbia, Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence is not recognized by Belgrade. Ethnic Albanians make up most of the population, but Kosovo has a restive Serb minority in the north of the country bordering Serbia. Stoltenberg condemned the violence and warned that NATO troops would "take all necessary actions to maintain a safe and secure environment for all citizens in Kosovo." He urged both sides to refrain from "further irresponsible behavior" and to return to EU-backed talks on improving relations. The United States and most European Union nations have recognized Kosovo's independence from Serbia while Russia and China have sided with Belgrade. China on Tuesday expressed its support for Serbia's efforts to "safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity," and Moscow has repeatedly criticized Western policies in the dispute. In response to the confrontation last week, Serbia put the country's military on the highest state of alert and sent more troops to the border with Kosovo. The Serbs protested again Monday, insisting that both ethnic Albanian mayors and Kosovo police must leave northern Kosovo. The confrontations worsened when Serbs attempted to enter the municipal offices in Zvecan, 45 kilometers (28 miles) north of the capital, Pristina. They clashed first with Kosovo police and then with the international peacekeepers. In a video message issued Tuesday evening, Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti said the mayors elected on April 23 "are the only ones who have the legitimacy to be at the municipal buildings and to the citizens' service." Instigators of the violence have been identified, according to the prime minister, who named some Serb businessmen who oblige their employees to protest. "In Kosovo, power is won through elections, not with violence and crime," he said. The United States and the EU recently stepped up their efforts to negotiate an agreement between Serbia and Kosovo, fearing instability as Russia's war rages in Ukraine. The EU has made it clear to both Serbia and Kosovo that they must normalize relations if they're to make any progress toward joining the bloc. "We have too much violence in Europe already today. We cannot afford another conflict," the EU's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, told reporters Tuesday in Brussels. As a first step to easing tensions, he said, Kosovo police should suspend the operation focusing on municipal buildings in the north, and violent protesters should "stand down." In response to the recent unrest, NATO has decided to increase its KFOR troops with the deployment of "operational reserve forces" for the Western Balkans, a statement said, without specifying a number. Another unit will be on standby "to be ready to reinforce KFOR if necessary." A statement issued Tuesday by KFOR said 30 soldiers — 11 Italians and 19 Hungarians — were hurt, including fractures and burns from improvised explosive incendiary devices. Three Hungarian soldiers were "wounded by the use of firearms," but their injuries were not life-threatening, the statement added. Serb officials said 52 people were injured, including three seriously. Four protesters were detained, according to Kosovo police. "Both parties need to take full responsibility for what happened and prevent any further escalation, rather than hide behind false narratives," KFOR commander Maj. Gen. Angelo Michele Ristuccia said. Belgrade and Pristina have blamed each other for the escalation. Meanwhile, ambassadors from the so-called Quint countries — France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the U.S. — met Monday with Kurti in Pristina and on Tuesday with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade. Vucic later also met with the ambassadors in Serbia of Russia and China. In a statement from his office, Vucic expressed "immense dissatisfaction and strong concern" over what he described as international "tolerance" of Kurti's actions that fueled violence against Serbs. Urgent measures to guarantee the security of the Serbs in Kosovo are a precondition for any future talks, Vucic insisted. Kurti has thanked KFOR troops for "valiant action to preserve peace in the face of violent extremism." Russia and China both have sharply criticized Western backing for Kosovo's independence. Russian President Vladimir Putin often has cited the "precedent" of NATO bombardment of Serbia in 1999 to justify his unlawful annexation of parts of Ukraine. The conflict in Kosovo erupted in 1998 when separatist ethnic Albanians rebelled against Serbia's rule, and Serbia responded with a brutal crackdown. About 13,000 people, mostly ethnic Albanians, died. NATO's military intervention in 1999 eventually forced Serbia to pull out of the territory and paved the way for the establishment of the KFOR peacekeeping mission.
Police on Sunday foiled an attempt of some demonstrators to lay siege to Nagar Bhaban, the Dhaka South City Corporation’s headquarters, protesting its decision to cut down trees in Dhanmondi’s Saat Masjid Road in the capital. Around 200 people took part in a possession under the banner of Saat Masjid Gaach Rakkha Andolan (Movement to protect trees on Dhanmondi’s Saat Masjid Road) in the morning, said our correspondent from the spot. The progamme was announced from a press conference on Saturday by Saat Masjid Gaach Rakkha Andolan to protest felling of trees by DSCC in Dhanmondi’s Saat Masjid Road in the name of development. As part of the programme, the protesters gathered at Shahbag’s Doyel Chattar on Sunday morning. Various cultural and environmental organizations including Poribesh Bachao Andolon (Poba, Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers’ Association (BELA) and people from different walks of life joined the possession. The protesters left Doyel Chattar in Shahbagh at 11:30am to lay a siege to Nagar Bhaban to press home their 4-point demand. However, when they reached Bangabazar intersection in Dhaka’s Gulistan area, police obstructed them from moving forward, Alamgir Kabir, the general secretary of Poribesh Bachao Andolan (PoBa) told UNB.
The arrest of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan earlier this week has shown how quickly his fervent loyalists can mobilize in large numbers. Within hours of his detention, his supporters torched vehicles and buildings, and attacked police and military facilities to express their fury over the treatment of the 70-year-old opposition leader. Khan’s supporters have emerged as a major force, challenging the authority of the government and military, aware that they can shift the political balance through unrelenting pressure. Although Khan has since been released from detention, it's clear his supporters are ready to stay on the streets. Here's a look at who they are and what's driving them: Also Read: Pakistan government supporters to stage rare sit-in, protest release of former Premier Imran Khan WHAT IS IMRAN KHAN'S APPEAL? Khan has been a star in Pakistan for decades. As an athlete, in 1992 he led the country to its only World Cup victory in cricket, a massive sport in South Asia. That made him a hero to tens of millions of people before he even entered politics. He founded Pakistan’s first cancer hospital, named after his mother, and ventured into philanthropy. His anti-corruption mantra is a hit in a country riddled with graft. And he has claimed he is the only leader who can stand up to the West and, in particular, the United States. It's a popular narrative in Pakistan, where resentment of foreign involvement in domestic matters is deep-seated. Also Read: Pakistani court frees former Prime Minister Imran Khan WHO ARE HIS SUPPORTERS? Khan's appeal spans social classes. Loyalists include young educated Pakistanis without links to the two main political dynasties, the Sharifs and the Bhuttos. He also appeals to the diaspora and illiterate people in rural areas who have no access to social media or the internet. Unifying these groups is Khan's message about challenging the elites and the status quo. He feeds his supporters' sense of disenfranchisement. Men, women, young and old travel by the thousands to hear him speak at open-air rallies. His support among people in their 20s and 30s explains his party's dominance of social media, especially Twitter. Most of his powerbase lies in the eastern Punjab province and the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. HOW IS THIS OUTBREAK OF VIOLENCE DIFFERENT? Neither this week's violent clashes with law enforcement nor the mass arrest of activists and leaders from Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party have deterred his followers. They say they will not allow harm to be done to Khan, and swear to take revenge against anyone daring to cross what they call their red line, in this case his arrest. Also Read: Pakistan deploys troops to halt unrest after ex-Prime Minister Khan is ordered held on new charges This level of violence hasn’t been seen since 2007, when then-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated and her followers rampaged for days. The suspension of social media and mobile internet hasn't stopped Khan's supporters from turning out in the thousands. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? The turmoil this week has placed the government, security forces and judiciary in a tough position. While Khan's supporters haven't brought Pakistan to a standstill, they have disrupted daily life. Educational institutions have shuttered temporarily, consumer spending has fallen as people stay home, industry has slowed, daily governance has ground to a halt, while the suspension of mobile internet has impacted services like food delivery and ride-hailing apps. Also Read: Pakistan on edge as court decides whether ex-PM Imran Khan goes free or is rearrested Khan's arrest and what critics view as the government’s fixation on him have only stoked the passions of his loyalists, who say they are prepared to do anything to save him.
Convoys of buses and vehicles filled with Pakistani pro-government supporters are flooding the main road leading to the country's capital on Monday to protest the release of former Prime Minister Imran Khan. Thousands are making their way toward the Supreme Court for a rare sit-in against its decision to give Khan, now opposition leader, an “undue reprieve” following his arrest in a graft case. The 70-year-old Khan was released on bail and given protection from arrest until later this month. Also Read: Pakistani court frees former Prime Minister Imran Khan The call to protest is a sign of escalating tensions between the judiciary and the government of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who replaced Khan after his ouster in a no-confidence vote in Parliament in April 2022. Pakistan Democratic Movement, an alliance of 13 political parties affiliated with the ruling Pakistan Muslim League has called for the sit-in over the weekend. The radical Islamist political party Jamiat-e-Ulema-Islam is leading the protest call. Also as part of the alliance, Pakistan People’s Party led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari — the son of assassinated Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto — is also joining the protest. The sit-in is expected to take place despite a ban on rallies and public gatherings that the government imposed in the wake of the crisis. “Our peaceful protest is against Chief Justice (Umar Ata Bandial) for facilitating the release of Imran Khan,” said Fazalur Rehman, the head of Pakistan Democratic Alliance. As he spoke, more than 3,000 supporters had already gathered near the sprawling court building. In a televised statement on Monday, Defense Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif accused the Supreme Court of siding with Khan. He suggested the court “examine the conduct of the chief justice" and take legal action against him. Last Tuesday, Khan was dramatically arrested from a courtroom in Islamabad and dragged out by agents of the National Accountability Bureau on charges of accepting millions of dollars worth of property in exchange for providing benefits to a real estate tycoon. Also Read: Pakistan on edge as court decides whether ex-PM Imran Khan goes free or is rearrested Khan’s arrest triggered a wave of violent protests across Pakistan. Supporters of Khan and his Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf party, clashed with police, set fire to more than 100 police vehicles, and burned down government buildings and even military facilities, including the residence of a top regional army commander in the eastern city of Lahore. A year after his ouster, Khan, a former cricket star turned Islamist politician, is still widely popular in Pakistan. Khan blames Sharif, the country’s military and Washington for his removal from power, saying it was part of a conspiracy to discredit him. All three have denied the charge. Later in the day, Khan will appear before a top court in Lahore city to seek bail and protection from arrest in terrorism cases filed against him because of last week's violence instigated by his supporters. Cash-strapped Pakistan is facing political turmoil amid stalled talks with the International Monetary Fund for the revival of a 2019 bailout to avoid a default on sovereign payment.
Leaders and activists Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) of different hall units of Dhaka University demanded arrest of Prothom Alo editor Motiur Rahman blocking Shahbagh intersection for about two hours on Saturday. The BCL men under the banner of 'general students' blocked the area around 10.20 am and continued till 12.30 pm. Jaman Sami, a student of 2017-18 academic session of Law department also organisational secretary of Sir AF Rahman hall Chhatra League, said, " Today we came here to protest yellow journalism practiced by Prothom Alo. Motiur Rahman, the editor of the daily, has been accused of child exploitation, killing a student of Dhaka Residential Model College and so more." Also read: Prothom Alo Editor Matiur Rahman sued under Digital Security Act “We, the conscious students of Dhaka University, are protesting this heinous activities of Prothom Alo. For doing such heinous acts, Motiur Rahman have to be arrested soon," he added. On March 26, Prothom Alo published a ‘ graphic card’ with a photograph and a quotation of a day labourer Zakir Hossain for sharing a news report on Facebook. However, the national daily later removed the post from online due to a discrepancy regarding the photo that was used with the news.Later, the report was republished with necessary amendments and a note below the report regarding the correction.Later, Shamsuzzaman Shams, the paper’s Savar correspondent, who wrote the report was sued in a separate case under the DSA on Wednesday afternoon, around 10 hours after being picked up from his house near Jahangirnagar University by members of the Criminal Investigation Department of police.Editor of the country’s leading daily Motiur Rahman was also sued under the Digital Security Act.
Sri Lankan health, railway, port and other state workers were on a daylong strike Wednesday to protest against sharp increases in income taxes and electricity charges, as the island nation awaits approval of an International Monetary Fund package to aid its bankrupt economy. Most government hospitals around the country suspended their outpatient clinics because doctors, nurses and pharmacists were on strike. The railways operated fewer trains and armed soldiers guarded carriages and train stations fearing sabotage. Trade unions say the increase in taxes and electricity charges have hit them hard amid difficulties from the country's worst economic crisis. They have threatened to extend the strike indefinitely if the government fails to address their demands. Also Read: Sri Lanka leader says IMF deal imminent after China’s pledge The government says it was compelled to raise taxes to strengthen state revenue and electricity charges to cover production costs, key prerequisites to unlocking the proposed $2.9 billion IMF package. Authorities say they managed to operate some trains and most state banks despite the strike. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said last week the fund's board will meet on March 20 to consider the final approval of Sri Lanka's bailout package after China gave crucial debt restructuring assurances. Sri Lanka announced last year it was suspending repayment of its foreign loans amid a severe foreign currency crisis that resulted in shortages of fuel, food, medicines and cooking gas, along with long power cuts. The crisis led to street protests that forced then-President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to flee the country and resign. President Ranil Wickremesinghe, since taking over last July, has managed to end the power cuts and reduce shortages. The Central Bank has said the country's reserves have improved and Sri Lanka's rupee has started to strengthen after crashing last year. The Central Bank has wrested back control of foreign currency trade from the black market, the monetary authority says. However, critics say the strengthening of the currency might be linked to import controls and that it is bound to weaken once the country reopens for imports. Wickremesinghe told Parliament last week that difficult reforms are needed to remain on course with the IMF program. Sidestepping them, as the country has done on 16 previous occasions, could spell danger, he added, noting that any breakdown would compel Sri Lanka to repay $6-7 billion of foreign debt every year until 2029. However, he found no support from the opposition parties and the public, who say he is shielding the ousted Rajapaksa family from allegations of corruption, which they say caused the economic crisis, in return for their support for his presidency.