.The land office of Keraniganj, Dhaka, has taken a unique initiative for hassle-free land services. Any sort of information to land issues will be provided over phone by the office of South Keraniganj revenue circle in Dhaka’s Keraniganj upazila. Similarly, complaints can be lodged over the cell phone too. Upazila assistant commissioner on Monday announced that land owners can call the land office with their queries at cell phone number 01933444055.According to the land office, land owners can receive this service on weekdays, from Sunday to Thursday. The number will be active from 9pm to 5 pm. The number will remain switched off during the weekend and the public holidays. Any complaints and information will be noted down and owners will be contacted later. Rakib Hasan, assistant commissioner of South Keraniganj revenue circle, said, “We want to reduce people’s sufferings. Land owners come to the land office for information and with complaints. From now on nobody will need to come physically here for information and complaints. They can do it over phone”Moriruzzaman, a deed writer of south Rajendrapur in Keraniganj, said, “This service will save time and money. We will certainly benefit from it and it should not stop.” He called the given number and received necessary information, he said.Rakib Hassan assured that the service will continue.Pradeep Kumar Das, joint secretary of the land ministry, has appreciated the AC’s efforts in providing service to the clients. He said the ministry would support any unique idea regarding land services, adding that, “We will appreciate it if others experiment similarly.”According to the land ministry, certain decisions have been taken to conduct such initiatives like arranging land fairs in a similar manner as as tax fairs, observing land weeks, arranging a help desk in each land office, and so on. *This report, originally published in Prothom Alo online, has been rewritten in English by Farjana Liakat.
BNP chairperson and former prime minister Khaleda Zia appears before a Dhaka court on Tuesday to give her last self-defence statement in a graft case. Photo: BNPBNP chairperson and former prime minister Khaleda Zia on Tuesday claimed that she never misused her good offices during her stint as prime minister and said the graft cases were filed to “politically harass” her.Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chairperson Khaleda was giving her last day’s self-defence statement during the arguments in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case in the special judge court of Bakshibazar in Dhaka.Read more: Khaleda granted bail in graft casesClaiming that all the allegations against her are “concocted” and “not proved”, the former prime minister said the graft cases were filed to “politically harass” her, the chief of country’s major political opposition camp.She said, “All the cases against me are concocted and not proved. I strongly deny all the allegations. During my stint as the prime minister, I never misused the authority in any means, didn’t exert unjust influence of my post.“[During the tenure] 6 Moinul Road [Dhaka cantonment] is my familial residence. All of my family members used to stay here. This is not the official residence of the prime minister.“Being the prime minister, I did not misuse my good offices to exert any influence on anyone subordinate to me. I never gave any unfair order to anybody.“I neither became financially benefited nor made anyone financially benefitted while I was the prime minister. I discharged my duties with utmost integrity and honesty and neither breached any law nor committed any offence.“I am completely innocent and deserve to be acquitted of this case,” claimed Khaleda.And saying these, Khaleda told the court that she wanted to conclude the statements in her defence with the verse 135 of Surah An-Nisa and then she read it out.The verse reads: “O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.”Earlier, Khaleda got bail in the Zia Orphanage Trust and Zia Charitable Trust graft cases after she had surrendered before the makeshift court.On 30 November, the court issued arrest warrants against Khaleda cancelling her bail in the cases.The special judge court erected in Bakshibazar of the capital in a makeshift manner is trying the former prime minister in the two graft cases – one filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) during the military-backed emergency government in 2008 and the other by ACC during the past government led by Khaleda’s archrival prime minister Sheikh Hasina in 2011.
People from all walks of life pay their last respects to noted sculptor and freedom fighter Ferdousi Priyabhashini at the Central Shaheed Minar in Dhaka on Thursday. Photo: Syful Islam/Prothom AloPeople from all walks of life paid their last respects to noted sculptor and freedom fighter Ferdousi Priyabhashini at the Central Shaheed Minar on Thursday.Priyabhasini was given a guard of honour at the central Shaheed Minar premises when her body was taken there around 11:00am. Her body was kept there for one and a half hours so that people can pay their tributes to the eminent sculptor.Artistes, political leaders and activists of different socio-cultural organisations converged on the area to say goodbye to Priyabhashini, reports UNB.Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader placed a wreath on her coffin.“She had sacrificed a lot as a freedom fighter, she is a bright example for the new generation. Her sculptures added new dimensions to art,” Quader said while talking to reporters after placing the wreath.Information minister Hasanul Haque Inu said, “She was an example of courage for the women who are struggling in the society in different sectors. She used to raise her voice about women’s rights.”Her daughters- Fuleshwari Prionandini, Rotneshwari Priyadarshini and two sons- Karu Titas and Kazi Shaker Turjo were present at the Shaheed Minar.Fuleshwari Prionandini said her mother had struggled throughout her life. “It is our pride that our mother’s last address will be beside Jahanara Imam.”Her namaz-e-janaza was held at Dhaka University’s central mosque after Zohr prayers. She will be buried at Mirpur Martyred Intellectuals Graveyard beside the grave of martyr Jahanara Imam.Ferdousi Priyabhashini, who had been suffering from multiple health complications, breathed her last at Labaid Hospital in the city on Tuesday.
A demonstrator chants slogan during quota reform demonstration. Prothom Alo file photoThe agitating students who had been demanding a reform in the existing quota system on Thursday suspended their demonstrations until a gazette is published abolishing quota.The leaders of the Sadharon Chhatra Odhikar Raksha Parishad announced the decision on Thursday morning, a day after prime minister Sheikh Hasina declared in the parliament that there would be no quota in the public service jobs.“We have stopped the demonstrations honouring the prime minister’s declaration,” said Hasan Al Mamun, a convener of the platform.On Wednesday, the PM in the parliament said that there would be no quota in the public services, amid countrywide protests from the students who demanded recruitment on the basis of merit.“Since no one wants the quota, I think, there should be no quota,” Sheikh Hasina said in reply to a supplementary question from Awami League member of parliament Jahangir Kabir Nanak.
Holey Artisan cafe after the attack. Prothom Alo File PhotoThe charge sheet of the militant attack at Gulshan’s Holey Artisan Bakery in the capital on 1 July 2016 will be submitted to the court next month as investigation into the matter reached its final stage, say police.The Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit of the police has investigated the militant attack which killed 20 people, mostly foreign nationals, and two police officials, according to BSS. Talking to BSS, Md Monirul Islam, chief of CTTC, said, “The investigation into the radical attack has almost been completed with revealing the involvement of 21 operatives of the militant outfit- neo-Jama‘atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (neo-JMB) – in the carnage.”The CTTC chief said, of the 21 JMB operatives, 13 were killed in a series of nationwide anti-militant drives by the law enforcement following the brutal attack.“We have so far arrested seven persons for their direct involvement in planning and execution of the attack. Six of them have given confessional statements under the section 164,” said Monirul Islam, an additional commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP).A total of 20 people, including five foreign nationals, who were held hostages in the cafe, by the attackers on that tragic night, also gave confessional statement before the court narrating their horrible experience of the incident, he added.DMP commissioner Md Asaduzzaman Mia said, “We have become clear about everything from planning to execution of the attack after a thorough investigation into the matter.”According to the investigators, the arrested accused are: Rakibul Islam Regan, Hadisur Rahman Sagor, Jahangir Hossain Rajeeb alias Rajeeb Gandhi, Aslam Hossain Rashed alias Rash, Abdus Sabur Khan alias Sohel Mahfuj, Mizanur Rahman alias Baro Mizan and professor Hasnat Karim of North South University (NSU).Police also found direct involvement of two other fugitive suspected militants, Mamunur Rashid alias Ripon and Shariful Islam Khaled, a former student of the English department of Rajshahi University (RU).Khaled is also a charge-sheeted accused in the RU professor Rezaul Karim murder case.Five militants, who directly carried out the attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery, were killed in a joint operation by law enforcers on the spot, the investigators said.Eight top leaders of the neo-JMB-Tamim Chowdhury, Nurul Islam Marjan, major Zahidul Islam, Sarwar Jahan, Tanveer Quaderi, Md Mizanur Rahman alias Chhoto Mizan, Abu Rayhan alias Tareq and Basharuzzaman alias Choklet, were also later killed in the nationwide anti-militant operations after the deadly attack.
Prime Minister Sheikh HasinaPrime minister Sheikh Hasina has said the government is aware of intrusion of many foreigners into Bangladesh under cover of relief workers.Such intrusion, she added, might lead to trafficking of children and women, sexual abuse, terrorism and many other social problems.”The government is issuing special-category visas for relief workers to address the problem,” she said when Canada’s Special Envoy to Myanmar Bob Rae met her at her hotel suite in Toronto on Monday.The prime minister urged the envoy to bring it to the government’s notice if there is any difficulty in getting visa by foreign relief workers for working in Rohingya shelter camps. “The government is cautiously dealing with the matter as many foreign nationals are working in the Rohingya camps after coming to Bangladesh with tourist visas,” she said.The prime minister’s press secretary Ehsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meeting.He said Bob Rae informed the prime minister that he has prepared a report on his visit to the Rohingya shelter camps in Bangladesh made in November 2017.During the visit, Bob said, he himself saw the situation and conditions Rohingya Muslims were facing fleeing violence in Myanmar.”Hosting more than one million people is a big challenge,” Bob Rae observed, saying they are closely working with the Bangladesh government to address the Rohingya issue.The press secretary said Sheikh Hasina and Bob Rae discussed the sufferings Rohingya might undergo during the coming monsoon as the area they have taken shelter is prone to natural calamities, including mudslide and flood.The prime minister informed the envoy about Bangladesh’s disaster management preparedness, saying a trained group of people along with law enforcement agencies, border guards, army and political party workers is ready to tackle any situation.Later, deputy premier of Saskatchewan and trade and export development minister Gordon Wyant, QC and immigration and career training minister Jeremy Harrison made met prime minister Sheikh Hasina at her hotel room.They discussed matters relating to trade and investment and recalled Canada’s very special trade relations existing with Bangladesh for many years.They congratulated the prime minister for Bangladesh’s economic successes in recent years under her dynamic leadership, showing keen interest in enhancing the trade relations and technology transfer, particularly green technology.Sheikh Hasina recalled the historical relations between Bangladesh and Canada since Bangladesh’s independence and said the two countries have many scopes to further strengthen cooperation in various areas, particularly in education and nursing sectors.Later, a business delegation, led by president and CEO of Commercial Corporation of Canada, made a courtesy call on the prime minister. The delegation was included a number Bangladeshi-origin Canadian businessperson.The prime minister urged them to invest in Bangladesh taking the opportunities of the country’s very liberal trade regime. A trade delegation from Bangladesh would soon visit Canada to explore the trade and investment potential, she said.Foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali, the prime minister’s principal sectary Md Nojibur Rahman, chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Board (Bida) Kazi Md Aminul Islam, foreign secretary Md Shahidul Haq and Bangladesh high commissioner to Canada Md Mizanur Rahman were present.
Donald TrumpThe UN Security Council has to be ready to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs, US president Donald Trump said Monday, calling status quo “unacceptable.”“The council must be prepared to impose additional and stronger sanctions on the North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile programs,” Trump said while hosting UN Security Council ambassadors at the White House.“This is a real threat to the world,” he said. “North Korea is a big world problem. And it’s a problem we have to finally solve.”
Visiting US principal deputy assistant secretary for South and Central Asia, Alice Wells addressing a press conference in Dhaka on MondayThe US administration called upon the government to fulfill its commitment to holding a free fair, credible and participatory election that reflects the will of the Bangladeshi people.A senior US state department official also asked Dhaka to protect civil liberties, especially freedom of speech and press.“Bangladesh’s future success depends upon strengthening of its democratic institutions and governing structures,” visiting US principal deputy assistant secretary for South and Central Asia, Alice Wells said at a press briefing at a city hotel on Monday.Highlighting the importance that the US government placed on Bangladesh’s role in its Indo-Pacific Strategy, she said the governments of the two countries were very much aligned in their visions for a ‘free, open, rules-based and interconnected region’Ambassador Alice Wells mentioned that in recognition of Bangladesh’s role in supporting the Indo-Pacific strategy, the US recently announced $40 million in foreign military financing for Bangladesh.Its aim is to enhance its coastal radar system, modernise and enhance its patrol boat fleet and provide training in support of expanded maritime interdiction, all part of the Bay of Bengal initiative, she added.Asked if the US Indo-Pacific Strategy was aimed at countering China, she rejected the view and said it was a ‘very comprehensive strategy’ for a free and open Indian Ocean, involving military ties, trade and investment.Pointing out that $26 trillion would be required for development in the region, she added, “This could not be done by one country alone.”The US official insisted that Washington would like to see all countries involved in the exercise, but ensuing proper labour standards and avoiding predatory debt which had been faced by certain countries in the region.In reply to a query about the elections in Bangladesh, the US official said during her discussions with the Bangladesh government officials, she had underscored the US support for free, transparent and contested elections. “The choice of the Bangladesh people should be reflected in the election,” she said, “and so our efforts are to ensure that the conditions exist for this to happen.”Ambassador Alice Wells expressed concern at the recently enacted Digital Security Act, saying there was need for the civil society and the government to discuss the law and to make any necessary changes.“It was important to have a law in this regard, but not at the cost of democracy and development,” she said.About the independence of the election commission in Bangladesh, she said it was important for the government and the commission to take all steps for a transparent, fair and contested election. “It is deeply in Bangladesh’s interests to have a free and far election.”Referring to her visit to the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar, the US official commended the generosity of the government and the people of Bangladesh in responding to the humanitarian crisis. She said the US was committed to assisting Bangladesh in responding to the crisis and has provided over $345 million in humanitarian assistance specifically in Bangladesh since August 2017.“We continue to call upon the government of Burma (Myanmar) to create conditions for the Rohingya to return voluntarily to their former places of residence in Burma in safety and with dignity,” she said, adding, “We also continue to call for accountability for those responsible for the violence in the Burmese security forces.”Prior to her current assignment, Alice Wells also served as US ambassador to Jordan, the US minister-counselor for political affairs in Moscow, the political officer at the US embassy in New Dehli, in Islamabad and in Riyadh.
Shahidul Alam. File photoNoted photographer Shahidul Alam has been granted bail by the High Court.The bench of justices Sheikh Abdul Awal and Bishnudeb Chakrabarti passed the order on Thursday afternoon.”There are no legal obstacles to Shahidu’s release from jail now,” said his lawyer Jyotirmoy Barua.Attorney general Mahbubey Alam, however, has said that they will appeal to the Appellate Division.Detectives picked up Shahidul Alam from his Dhanmondi residence on 5 August on charges of ‘using electronic media to instigate disorder in the country-and spreading fabricated information and rumours via social media’.A case was filed against him with Ramna police station on 6 August.
Logo of BNPBangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) on Sunday raised a complaint with chief election commissioner KM Nurul Huda that police are still arresting their leaders and activists across the country ahead of the 11th parliamentary elections, reports UNB.”The countrywide arrest continues against BNP leaders and activists. Police are carrying out their arrest business across the country,” BNP vice chairman major (retired) Hafizuddin Ahmed Bir Brikram told newsmen after submitting its complaint before the CEC at the latter’s Nirbachan Bhaban office.Hafiz said BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir sent him to the Bangladesh Election Commission.He said they demanded the election commission take measures for stopping such activities ahead of the election slated for 30 December.The BNP leader said the CEC assured them of taking measures over the cases filed after the announcement of the election schedule.