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Sunday, August 11, 2002

Compiled by SDNP

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CPB to observe Nat'l Mourning Day on Aug 15

UNB,Dhaka, The Daily Star

Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) will observe the National Mourning Day on August 15 with due respect to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. CPB president Monjurul Ahsan Khan and general secretary Mujahidul Islam Selim in a statement yesterday declared the party's decision and urged all to observe the National Mourning Day in a befitting manner.

They condemned the government decision to cancel all official programmes of the National Mourning Day.

The CPB leaders termed Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib 'unparallelled leader' of country's independence movement and said the BNP-led government, formed with anti-liberation elements, was out to distort and disgrace the history of the War of Liberation.

They said the government was deliberately trying to wipe out the name of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib from state-run media and the national programmes of the Independence Day.

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Scrapping of Nat'l Mourning Day

Hasina accuses govt of sheltering 'killers'

UNB, Dhaka, The Daily Star

Opposition Leader Sheikh Hasina yesterday said the government's cancellation of National Mourning Day programme on August 15 and restriction on hoisting national flag at half-mast are "manifestations of solidarity" with the killers of Bangabandhu.

"The government of Begum Khaleda Zia wants to protect the heinous killers," she said. "Now it's a big question to the people: What is the relation between the Prime Minister and the Bangabandhu's killers?"

On her return from the US after a 25-day private visit, Hasina told reporters at the airport in the morning that when people last observed the August 15 as National Mourning Day, Khaleda Zia celebrated her "false birthday on that black day."

Replying to a query, the former prime minister outright rejected the allegation of corruption against her in the purchase of MIG-29 from Russia and a navy frigate from South Korea.

She said her government had saved US$165 million while procuring eight Mig-29s and also saved money in buying the frigate.

"Now the present government is planning to sell the Mig-29s and buy some latest aircraft for taking kickbacks," Hasina said and accused the previous BNP government (1991-96) of corruption while buying Airbus for Biman Bangladesh Airlines.

On a question about Awami League's cancellation of a scheduled meeting with Pakistan President General Pervez Musharaff, she said the formal meeting with a visiting President is a "courtesy."

The working committee, the highest policymaking body of Awami League, decided not to meet the General after reviewing the prevailing political situation in the country, she said. "It was the right decision by the working commit tee."

In this regard, the Awami League president was somewhat critical about the role of the party's International Affairs Secretary Abul Hasan Chowdhury, saying that before making a statement to the press he should have discussed the issue with the working committee.

About her reaction on the recent incident in the Dhaka University, she termed the recent police attack on the female students of Shamsunnahar Hall barbaric. This could not have happened without the permission of the highest authority, she said.

Hasina said even though the head of the government is a lady, police attacked the girls' dormitory at midnight and tortured the students. "We have no words to condemn such brutality."

Responding to a question about taking part in the presidential election process, she said the opposition has in fact nothing to be involved with the process. "The BNP has already removed an elected president. What the head of the government will want will happen."

"Whom she (prime minister) will want will be the president, and the president will be removed whenever she will so desire ... She may even want to establish a dynastic rule," Hasina added.

Replying to a question about the Awami League's agreement with the US-based National Democratic Institute (NDI), the Awami League chief said they made the accord with NDI for ensuring more accountability and transparency.

NDI would help Awami League during its programmes for the promotion of democracy in the country, she said and mentioned the "manipulations" in last general election.

"People's wishes were not properly reflected in the election results," she said mentioning the influence of "black money, muscle power and arms in the last election."

Central Awami League leaders, including presidium members, general secretary and the party MPs present in the capital received Hasina at the airport.

Hasina arrived at the Zia International Airport at 6:40am by a British Airways flight after a long visit to the UK and the US.

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Mourning Day cancelled to save Mujib killers:Hasina

by Staff Reporter, The Independent

Awami League President and Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Sheikh Hasina said yesterday that the cancellation of National Mourning Day on August 15 and imposition of ban on hoisting of national flag at half mast aimed at protecting the killers of Bangabandhu and his family members. "It now give rise to a question, quite logically, what is the relation of the BNP with the killing of Bangabandhu and the killers.

Talking to newsmen at the Zia International Airport on her return from a 25-day private visit to the USA and England Sheikh Hasina said, "BNP celebrates the birthday of its chief on August 15. The nation cannot expect anything better from one who can be dishonest with her date of birth. Khaleda Zia has no less than four birthdays known to people".

Sheikh Hasina endorsed her party's central committee's stand on not calling on Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf during his recent visit to Bangladesh.

She viewed that party's International Secretary and former state minister for foreign affairs, Abul Hasan Chowdhury's statement to the newspaper on the issue of meeting President Pervez Musharraf was unfair.

"He should not have issued statement against the decision of the Central Working Committee of AL. What the Working Committee decides in the light of prevailing circumstances is final. Nobody can go against this," she said.

AL Acting President Abdus Samad Azad and other central leaders including Zillur Rahman, Amir Hossain Amu, Tofail Ahmed, Begum Motia Chowdhury, Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, Abdur Razzak and Abdul Jalil received Sheikh Hasina at 6:30 am at the airport.

Awami League Chief informed the newsmen at the VIP lounge that she signed an agreement with NDI during her stay in the USA with a view to developing the party politics and strengthening democracy in the country in a systematic way. The agreement would also help ensure transparency and accountability of the party in matters of finance, she added.

"It is very important to know how a political party collects and spends money in a democratic country," she said alleging that BNP spent black money in the last general election and nobody could say the amount of money they spent to influence the election. She maintained that in the last nine months of its rule BNP did nothing but to accumulate money and try to destroy the opposition party.

Refuting the allegation of corruption in purchasing MiG-29 and Frigate, the former Prime Minister said that her government bought MiG-29 for 129 million US dollars and saved 165 million dollars. "MiG-29 and Frigate are technologically modern which are necessary for Bangladesh Air Force and Navy to guard country's sky and maritime boundary," she observed.

She alleged that during its past rule BNP purchased some old planes which crashed in their flight and killed at least 6 pilots. She blamed BNP for killing pilots terming it a party of 'widow makers'.

"We are aware of government's plan to buy new war planes by selling MiGs. Will they buy F-16 or F-18? We will see what amount of money is spent for that and how much of it is misused," she said.

Sheikh Hasina mentioned that BNP had been involved in scam not only in procurement of wheat, but also indulged in scandalous irregularity everywhere from October election to giving license for wine production.

Asked to comment on the Shamsunnahar Hall incident she said that it is the usual character of BNP to repress students. Earlier they ordered police and student cadres to attack the students in Jagannath Hall and the procession of female students in 1989.

Holding the present Prime Minister responsible for police atrocities on the DU female students at dead of night she said that the incident took place at the behest of the highest party command. She regretted that being a woman Khaleda Zia tortured the female students.

Hasina noted that there is no security of life and there is no safety of mothers, sisters and daughters in the present government's rule. She cited murder of Shihab, Bappi and Trisha as instances of insecurity in the society.

She congratulated shooter Asif for winning gold for the country in Commonwealth games. She mentioned that the shooting complex in BKSP was built during the past Awami League regime and the nation picked up its fruit now.

UNB adds: Responding to a question about their decision on taking part in the President's election process, she said the opposition has in fact nothing to be involved with the process. "The BNP has already removed an elected President. What the head of the government will want will happen."

"Whom she (Prime Minister) will want will be the President, and whenever she will so desire the President will be removed... She may even want to establish a dynastic rule," Hasina added.

The Awami League may not participate in voting for election of a new President and a Speaker but take part in the rest of House proceedings in the forthcoming parliament session.

Talking to the agency yesterday Deputy Leader of the Opposition Abdul Hamid advocate said seemingly there is no obstruction to their joining Parliament, but "who knows what obstruction the government may create on our way to the House?"

He thought that the main business of the autumn session would be to elect a new President since the post fell vacant with the resignation of Prof. Badruddoza Chowdhury on June 21.

"Our participation in the election of the new President would have been meaningful if they (BNP) had gone for electing a neutral personality to the country’s highest office following our example," Hamid said. " But if they elect a party man to the presidency, what is the use of joining the process?"

In reply to a question, the Deputy Opposition Leader pointed out several pressing issues that the opposition had wanted to discuss in the last session. The issues include law and order, price-hike of essentials, closure of Adamjee jute mills and unceremonious exit of the former President.

"But, of course, there are some more new issues that need to be discussed in Parliament," he said, adding that the opposition would press for discussion on police atrocities on female students of Shamsunnahar Hall of Dhaka University, wheat scandal, flood situation and relief, unabated price-hike and terrorism.

Opposition chief whip Abdus Shaheed told the agency that joining Parliament session would be decided by party chief Sheikh Hasina and the party after a review of the latest developments in the country.

To a question, he said there had not been any consultation with the ruling party on the formation of parliamentary standing committees on the ministries.

Shaheed alleged that the ruling party was delaying the formation of these vital committees because of possible reshuffle in the cabinet. "Those who would be dropped from the cabinet might be made chairmen of the standing committees," he observed.

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DU judicial probe

BCL, JSD demand deposition from Home Minister

by DU Correspondent,The Independent

Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), and the student wing of the Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD), staged demonstrations in front of the Judicial Commission office set up to investigate into the incident of Shamsunnahar Hall of the Dhaka University yesterday.

They demanded depositions from the Home Minister and State Minister for Home affairs before the commission about the incident and immediate re-opening of the university.

The leaders and activists gathered in front of the Dhaka College and brought out a procession from there that terminated in front the Judicial commission at National Academy for Educational Management (NAEM) building.

Presided over by Karim Sikder, central president of BCL the rally was addressed, among others by Ali Ahsan Mohammad Tarun and Mirza Mohammad Anwar Huq.

Meanwhile, the Commission re-examined three Assistant Proctors of the university at the Commission's office yesterday, on the 10th day of the inquiry.

The acting Vice-Chancellor Prof. AFM Yousuf Haider met with the member of DU Teachers Association (DUTA) yesterday to review the prevailing situation. The meeting decided to reopen the university immediately after creating a congenial atmosphere.

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