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Bangladesh Centre for Development, Journalism and Communication (BCDJC)

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February, 2006

 

JMB threw bombs four cinema hall in Mymensingh:
About three years ago, eight militants of the Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), the banned Islamic militants group, threw bombs in four-cinema halls in Mymensingh. The attack led by Salahuddin Salehin, the Mymensingh District Commander of JMB. Eight militants took part in the mission. This information confirmed through a confessional statement given by Moinul Islam, the arrested JMB militant, on 8 February in the Mymensingh Court . After his statement the investigation has turned into a new way and that would lead the police to find prove against JMB's involvement in this attack, Daily Bhorer Kagoj quoted Mymensingh S.S.P (circle) Md. Rafiqul Islam.

In these four separate attacks that held on 7 December 2002 in Purabi, Ajanta, Chayabani and Aloka cinema hall, 19 people were killed, 20 were physically disabled and more than 30 people were critically injured. Four separate cases were filed at that time. Police later arrested Saber Hossain Chowdhury, political advisor of the opposition party leader Sheikh Hasina, Professor Motiur Rahman, senior AL leader and Secretary of district Awami League along with other opposition party leaders, journalists Enamul Haque Chowdhury (Reuters stringer who later sacked from job), few employees of those four cinema halls and many more people as suspect.

Saber Hossain Chowdhury, Professor Motiur Rahman and journalist Enamul Haque Chowdhury were accused in the case filed with police to have connection with this blast. Shahriar Kabir and Muntasir Mamun were also arrested as suspects of the attack and accused of sedition. They were also taken in remand for several times. Many people were also thrown into jail as suspect.

In the confessional statement under section 164 before the first class magistrate court, Moinul said that he joined JMB through Abdul Awal, son-in-law of the chief of JMB Shyakh Abdur Rahman. Abdul Awal is the resident of Hapania of Gabtali Upazila of Bogra. His father's name is Yakub Ali. Although he confessed about the involvement of eight militants in the attack but at the same time has rejected all allegation against him.

Moinul was arrested first in 2003 after a bomb blast in Khetlal of Joypurhat and released on bail five months later. In 2005, he again arrested while trying to blow bomb experimentally in Lauhatichar in Nagarpur in Tangail. Since then, for last seven months he has been detained in Tangail jail custody. On 5 February, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) took him Mymensingh for remand. Recently, CID brought all arrestees in remand for questioning on Mymensingh bomb blast. S.S.P (circle) Md. Rafiqul Islam expressed his hope to reach the plotter of the bomb blast to bring them to trial, after getting the statement and evidence. However, the Bhorer Kagoj writes that Dr. Kamal Hossain, lawyer of politicians and writers accused in the case, are now waiting for the record of confessional statement given by the JMB members.

 

Journalists ignored of getting information:
Journalist was refused to get access to information on fertilizer from one of the government department of agriculture. Md. Golam Hossain, Deputy Director of Khulna Agriculture Extension Department told journalists that they don't have the authority to speak with reporters or provide any information on fertilizer without having due permission from the Director General of the department. Mr. Hossain also requests reporters to contact the Director General for further information.

 

DU authority don't permit debate in Valentines Day:
The University of Dhaka authority refused to give permission for a debate in observance of 'Valentines' Day' at the university campus. The authority had shown cause of security as there was a bomb blast in the previous year in a same kind of programme. A group of teachers and a part of administration executives raised a strong appeal against any debate in the name of Valentines Day.

Dhaka University Debating Society (DUDS), like the previous years, organized a debate as a part of the valentine day programmes. The university authority, earlier, also forced organizers to erase the word 'Valentines Day' from their publicity banner. Rashedul Alam Rasel, General Secretary of DUDS said they stopped the debate programme paying respect to the condition of the authority. He also said that they had organized the debate with proper consultation with the authority. He is not aware what instigate them to take such decision.

On 14 February of 2005, three bombs were exploded in the debating programme of Dhaka University Debating Society that held under the monument "Shoparjito Shadhinota" in T.S.C. Nine people was injured in that blast. After that Police seized another three fresh bombs near the spot. A case had filed with the Ramna police station. Police and CID (Criminal Investigation Department) jointly investigate the case and final report were submitted four months later on 16 June 2005 . CID is investigating the case.

 

Janakantha correspondent fled away in fear of police harassment:
BIKASH CHOWDHURY, Dainik Janakantha correspondent in Patia, 30 kilometer from the port city Chittagong , is hiding in fear of police harassment. He is not able to stay home or around. The harassment is for publishing a news report on few brickfields on 6th February issue of Dainik Janakantha where he raises the issue of burning smuggled wood illegally. Jahedul Haque, the owner of the brickfield who is also the Jubodal (ruling party student wing) leader, instigated police for filing the case against the reporter. Police raided his home several times to arrest him. Bikash Chowdhury threatened not to run the report when he went to take picture of the brickfield. They did not allow him to do so.

On 10th February after publishing the news, Rehana Akhter, one of the relatives of the owner Zahedul Haque, filed an extortion case against the reporter. Before that, Janakantha correspondent filed a general diary on police station. Abdur Ohid, Officer-in-charge of local police station, took the case without any prior investigation or taking any legal action against them. The complainant states in the complaints that the reporter demanded Tk. 2 hundred thousands from a field where development work were ongoing that funded by the city council and Local Member of Parliament.

Gazi Shahjahan Jewel, the local Member of Parliament, is not aware of any such incidences when Dainik Janakantha reporters from the Chittagong bureau office contacted him. He also assured them to take care of the matter immediately. ow Bikash Chowdhury fled his area to avoid police harassment. He consulted with his lawyer. So he was advised to solve the problem through negotiation with local MP Gazi Shahzahan Jewel.

 

Follow-up: Gautam murder case - Charge sheet given, warrant against the escaped:
The charge sheet of Gautam murder case was received in the court of Md. Jashim Uddin Khan, 1st class magistrate of Faridpur. Besides this, warrant issued against the five escaped perpetrators. The next date of the case was fixed up on 1st March.

The five perpetrators are: Asif Imran, Qazi Murad, Asif Imtiaz Bulu, Jahid Khan and Kamrul Islam Apon. Police yet arrested four other perpetrators among five and they are- Asad Bin Qader, Tamzid Hossain Babu, Abu Taher Apollo and Rajib Hassan Mona. The Court rejected their application for bailment.

 

Dulu criticized journalists again:
On 14th February, Asadul Habib Dulu, State Minister for the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief criticized journalists in the national parliament. He made allegation against the journalists that they demean the status of the government.

In parliament, the opposition party alleged that government was failed to tackle the "Monga crisis" in northern districts of Bangladesh and the ruling party MP of Rangpur district bought his cadres panjabi from the relief money. In answer of this allegation, Dulu ignored government's failure and criticized Sheikh Hasina, opposition party leader and also the journalists. He said, some journalists went the Monga area from Dhaka and they used instigated words there. The journalists did so for demean the status of the government.

 

JS okays tele-tapping as AL walks out:
Amid strong protests from the opposition lawmakers and despite their walkout en masse, the Jatiya Sangsad on 12 February passed a bill allowing intelligence and law enforcement agencies to tap telephone conversations. Opposition members in a line opposed the bill and said the law is unconstitutional and against the fundamental rights of citizens, as it will infringe on their right to privacy. They also apprehended abuse of the law by the officials who will tap telephone conversations. The opposition lawmakers also initiated a motion for non-approval of the President's Ordinance promulgated in last December. But, the motion was rejected in a voice vote.

On the other hand, Post and Telecommunications Minister Aminul Haque, who proposed the passage of the Bangladesh Telecommunications (Amendment) Bill 2006, assured the opposition members that there would be no abuse of the law, rather it will help tackle criminal activities. Senior AL lawmaker Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim termed it 'a black law' and apprehended abuse of it. He asked the government to withdraw the bill.

Another AL lawmaker and former home minister Mohammad Nasim said the law would be a weapon for the government to harass opposition leaders. "Besides, the officials, who will be in-charge of tapping telephonic conversations, will abuse the authority and become involved in blackmailing," he said. Krishak Sramik Janata League lawmaker Abdul Kader Siddiqui joined the protest and asked for taking public opinion on the bill. He rejected the government's claim that the law would help tackle criminal activities including militancy and said, "Militant activities are under the control of the government, and the government can stop it."

"Militant attacks have virtually stopped after the prime minister's dialogue with some political parties and professional bodies. This has proved that the militancy is under the government's control," he said. "To stop militancy and criminal activities, tele-tapping is not necessary" It's the government's sincerity which matters," he added. Jatiya Party (Ershad) lawmaker Moshiur Rahman Ranga also apprehended abuse of the law and asked the government to withdraw it. On the government's part, Law Minister Moudud Ahmed argued militants use the mobile phone facilities in their activities and so the law is necessary to tackle the situation. "This is an emergency matter and the government is going to enact the law for the interest of the country and its people," he said.

According to Moudud, there is nothing to be worried about, as there are provisions to stop misuse of the law. Earlier, during a scrutiny by the parliamentary standing committee on law ministry, AL lawmakers Abdul Hye and Panchanan Biswas gave notes of dissent against the bill, saying it would curb people's freedom of speech.

 

Dainik Sangbad editor gets anticipatory bailment:
On 12 February, The High Court granted anticipatory bailment of Bazlur Rahman, editor of Dainik Sangbad. At the same time, Court also issued a rule to the government to show cause why he would not get permanent bailment.

Bazlur Rahman came to the bench that consists of Justice Mohammad Abdur Rashid and Justice Mizanur Rahman Bhuiyan and applied for bailment.  It is noted that, Dainik Sangbad published a report on month July of 2005 titled, "Conflict among local BNP members in Jamalpur." The report said that Mosharrof Hossain, member of Jamalpur district BNP, had a case against him while he was in Kuwait . This is why he had to return to Bangladesh and join politics.

After the news published in newspaper, Mosharrof Hossain filed a defamation case against Bazlur Rahman, editor of Dainik Sangbad and Utpal Kanti Ghosh, correspondent who did the report. Barrister Rukonuddin Mahmud appears before the court on behalf of the petitioner.

 

Journo Harun Killing - All 3 accused acquitted on weak evidence:
Khulna Divisional Special Trial Tribunal on 7 February acquitted all of the three charge-sheeted accused in journalist Shaikh Harun-ar-Rashid murder case. Judge Mohammod Abdus Samad delivered the verdict, the first one in a journalist murder case in Khulna . The acquitted are Mohammad Shahin, Shaikh Moktar Hossain alias Baby and Mohammad Amjad Hossain alias Kala Amjad. Kala Amjad was killed by rivals on July 13 last year in Khulna city while Moktar Hossain Baby has been absconding after his release on bail from the High Court last year.

Mohammad Shahin, who was present in the court to hear the judgment, ordered to be released from Khulna district jail the same day morning if he is not wanted in any other case, jail sources said. The accused have been acquitted, as their involvement in the murder could not be proved from statements of prosecution witnesses recorded during the trial, the judge observed in his judgment.

Shaikh Harun-ar-Rashid, a senior reporter of Dainik Purbanchal published from Khulna city, was gunned down at 7:30pm on March 2, 2002 at Mujgunni under Khalishpur thana when he was going to his office by motorcycle. His brother-in-law Morol lodged an FIR with Khalishpur Police Station on March 3 naming none as accused.

The case was later transferred to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for investigation. Assistant Superintendent of Police Mawla Boksh, who investigated the case, submitted charge sheet against the three on March 3 last year. Ten others, including Gazi Kamrul, the second-in-command of outlawed Biplobi Communist Party, were also arrested as suspects in the murder case but their names were not included in the charge sheet.

The case was transferred to Speedy Trial Tribunal on September 29 last year from the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge-2. Statements of 12 out of 29 prosecution witnesses were recorded during the trial, tribunal sources said. Complainant of the murder case Morol broke down in tears hearing the judgment that acquitted the accused. Wife of the slain journalist Minara Begum expressed her sense of insecurity as one of the three acquitted gave her death threats several times for not withdrawing the case. "I have not got justice," she said.Khulna Press Club leaders demanded re-investigation of the case and necessary steps for holding the trial again.

The accused in the murder case were acquitted due to failure of the state to conduct the case properly and CID's defective investigation, Khulna Press Club President Liaquat Ali and General Secretary A K Hiru said in a statement to the press.

 

BNP leader filed case against three dailies:
A ruling party leader Fakir Abu Bakkar Siddiqui, of Melandaha in Jamalpur district and Chairman of Nayanagar Union Parishad (Union Parishad is the first tier of the local government) filed a defamation case against Dainik Bhorer Kagoj, Dainik Prothom Alo and local correspondent of Dainik Shamokal including editors and publishers of the dailies for publishing a news report on him.

On 14 January, Dainik Bhorer Kagoj published a report in its country-news page titled " BNP leader humiliated on a Eid prayer in Melandaha". The news describes how Abu Bakkar Siddiqui said after the Eid Jamat Abu Bakkar Siddique gave his speech on development issue. When he used awful words then the present people insulted him. This news published on Dainik Prothom Alo, Dainik Shamokal including other national and local dailies. He applied this complaint on Jamalpur lower court-2 on 02 February. Justice Shawkat Ali received the complaint and ordered officer-in-charge of Melandaha thana to enquire the whole incident and prepare report on 22 March.

 

4 newsmen hurt by BNP cadres in Comilla:
Four journalists including two ruling BNP men when they were covering the news of Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia at Bijoypur under newly enacted Comilla Sadar (South) Upazila on 7 October. Sources said, hundreds of supporters of former MP Haji Aminur Rashid Yasin who is also nomination seekers from BNP of Comilla- 9 constituencies came to Bijoypur area for joining the Prime Minister programme. The supporters of sitting MP Monirul Haque Chowdhury attacked on the procession; resulting five supporters of Yasin group were injured. At the moment, the on-duty photojournalists tried to covering the news but the followers of Munirul Haque beat the journalists.

Among the injured; Md. Sadek Hossain, photographer of Dainik Prothom Alo and Bahar Uddin Raihan, photographer of the Dainik Shamokal was admitted to Comilla Sadar Hospital . The two others journalists Gaziul Haque Shihag, Bureau Chief of the Dainik Prothom Alo and Omar Faruki Taposh, President of Comilla Photojournalists Association released after first aid.

The agitated journalist caught red-handed Abdur Rahman, president of Bijoypur Union Jubo Dal and handed him over to Comilla police. Following the incident, local journalists meet demonstration meeting at Sadar Hospital gate in the town and demanded immediate arrest the others activists and give exemplary punishment them who engaged the heinous activities.

Among others former vice president of Comilla Press Club Nasir Uddin, Bakin Rabbi, Mobarak Hossain and Sayed Mahmud Parvez was addressed the rally. Later, the members of Comilla journalist Association brought out a demonstration in the town.

 

BNP MP sent legal notice against four newspapers:
Md. Amzad Hossain Sarker, a Member of Parliament of the ruling party BNP sued four newspapers on defamation. He accused those newspapers to run a false news that he tortured a Hindu minority member- Bidhan Roy. The lawmaker demanded Tk. 20 crore as penalty. On 31 Janurary, M. Obydur Rahman lawyer of the ruling party member has sent the legal notice from the Nilphamari Judges Court on his behalf. The four newspapers are: Daily Shamokal, Daily Janakantha, Daily Korotoa and Daily Sangbad.

The notice reveals that on 28 January four newspapers published a news report that one BNp activist of Syedpur, a sub-district of Nilphamari, town up north of the country, beat a businessman of a religious minority community due to hanging the picture of his political opponent Mahfuzur Rahman at his shop. The lawmaker took it personally and became furious on newspapers.

The legal notice says the news was false and it published intentionally to defame him in society and it was an outburst of jealous of his popularity. But the Nilphamari correspondent run the news without thorough investigation locally and from any other source in Syedpur. As these news report undercut his image in the society so that he demands Tk. 5 crore from each of the four newspapers. Legal Action would start if his demand were not fulfilled in seven days, legal notice says.

 

Jubodal cadre beat journalists in Panchagar:
On 31 January, a Jubodal (youth wing of ruling party) cadre Liton beat A. RAHMAN MUKUL, president of Panchagarh Press Club and correspondent of Dainik Janakantha in broad daylight to publish a news report in his newspaper on the same day. Besides this, the two top leaders of district Jubodal and their team member threatened the journalist to get him out from Panchagarh town if he doesn't withdraw the published news within the next 24 hours.

Dainik Janakantha and other newspaper published a report on 31 January that Awami (the opposition party) lawyer was injured in an attack of Jubodal (youth wing of ruling party) and Chattradal (student wing of ruling party) members. The news said that S.M. Saleh Liton, Secretary of district Jubodal, beat Advocate Abu Bakkar Siddique- member of Awami lawyer's association and Legal secretary of district Awami League, with few other members of Jubodal and Chhatradal. Liton got ferocity on this and he attacked A. Rahman Mukul in front of the Panchagarh Paper House of the Chaurangi Circle of the town. He scolded him badly at first. At a moment, he beat Mukul and also tried to stop his breath fastening his throat. Later people near by rescued Mukul and admitted him local Hospital.

The journalists of Panchagarh condemned the incident. They organized a silence protest meeting and gave memorandum to Deputy Commissioner and Police Super. They also demanded the arrest and punishment of accused Jubodal leaders. Journalist Mukul filed a case on Panchagarh police station in this connection.

 

Mirza Abbas files defamation case against Prothom Alo editor, publisher:
Public Works Minister Mirza Abbas yesterday filed a defamation case against the editor and publisher of Prothom Alo for running a news item on January 5. Abbas along with his counsel appeared before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court, Dhaka at about 12:30pm and filed the case.

After hearing, Metropolitan Magistrate Syed Mohammad Mujibul Haq recorded his (Abbas) statements, took the case into cognisance and issued summons against the daily's Editor Motiur Rahman and Publisher Mahfuz Anam to appear before the court on February 16. In his plaint, Abbas said the news item headlined ''Public works minister has objection to a police complex being built at Razarbagh'' and run by the national daily is false, baseless and concocted.

The news has tarnished the minister's image and status in the society. Moreover, it created a bad impression of him among the people of the country as well as of his constituency. The news also led to a misunderstanding between him and the police department, Abbas added. Besides, the daily did not publish properly the rejoinder sent by the complainant. The defendants appear to have connived to publish the report with an intention of bringing him into disrepute, Abbas said.

 

Journalist rescued from a jute-made bag:
On 3 February, MD. SYDUR RAHMAN, Roving Correspondent of Dainik Ittesal was rescued from jute made bag where he found fastened his hands and legs. The incident happened on Charmalgaon village of Dhankathi Union under Damodda Upazila of Shariatpur. He was immediately admitted to a local hospital unconscious. A local source says that, a child first identifies the abandoned bag near a mosque of the village of Charmalgaon . As informed, the local people found Sydur Rahman pouring a piece of soil on his mouth into the bag.

His brother-in-law informed that Sydur Rahman continue a case relating to a land dispute case with his neighborhood and his relatives. Mainul Islam, Officer in Charge of Damodda police station informed that no one made any complaint with them about the issue. To protest the incident, the journalists of Shariatpur arranged a protest meeting at Battala of the town. There they condemned and demanded the punishment of the perpetrators.

 

Two Barisal journos get bail:
A court here in Barisal, south of the country, on 2 February granted bail to two journalists in a case lodged by authorities of the 'Amar Bazar', a shopping complex owned by Destiny-2000. Barisal Sadar Upazila Court First Class Magistrate Munim Hassan granted the bail to Ferdous Sohag, staff reporter of Daily Jai Jai Din and his brother Tawhid Sourav, staff reporter of Ajker Barta, a local daily.

Earlier, a case was lodged against the staff of 'Amar Bazar' for detaining and torturing three journalists, Tawhid Sourav, Sayed Menon and Nazmul, on January 22. The journalists went there to collecting information about sale of adulterated food. Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) rescued the injured journalists by breaking locks and arrested two 'Amar Bazar' staff.

The market authorities filed a false case of toll collection against Sohag and Sourav on January 25. The magistrate ordered Barisal Central Police Officer-in-Charge (OC) to investigate. However, without any investigation Sub Inspector Nasir recorded a criminal case against Sourav and Shohag, allegedly without investigation, sources claimed.

 

Correspondent of Dainik Prothom Alo threatened again:
An employee of Krishi Bank was threatened Sattar Azad , Bianibazar Correspondent of Dainik Prothom Alo again. He was given threat to the same person 22 November 2005. The correspondent received the threat for publishing the news about corruption.

 

Journalist injured in terrorist attack in Raypur:
Purnachandra Das, journalist of Dainik Manobzamin was severely injured in terrorist attack in Raypur. On 6 February, he was attacked while returning home. He was admitted to Upazila Health Complex. The witnesses said, the perpetrators led by Delwar and Jubodal (Youth wing of ruling party) member Faruq occurred this attack. He motive of the attack was not immediately cleared. No police complaint was lodged since the report preparing today.



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