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Wed, September 29, 2004

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58th birthday of Sheikh Hasina celebrated

STAFF REPORTER, The Independent

Awami League and its front organisations yesterday celebrated the 58th birthday of their leader Sheikh Hasina, who is now undergoing treatment in Singapore for her ear injuries she suffered in the August 21 grenade attacks at the Bangabandhu Avenue rally of the party.

The programmes of the day included discussion meetings, feeding the destitute, distribution of sweets and holding of milad and doa mahfils, praying for peace and prosperity of the country and for the long political career of Sheikh Hasina.

Speaking as the chief guest at a discussion meeting, acting president of the Awami League Zillur Rahman MP said his party chief and the Leader of the Opposition Sheikh Hasina is not only a personality but a symbol of national ideology who has become the target of assassination of the defeated forces of the Liberation War.

Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), the students’ wing of Awami League, organised the discussion meeting at the Comrade Moni Singh-Farhad Memorial Trust auditorium at Purana Paltan in the city. BCL president Liaquat Shikdar was in the chair at the discussion meeting.

Zillur Rahman, also a senior member of the Awami League Presidium who lost his wife and central AL leader Begum Ivy Rahman in the August 21 grenade attacks, said that the reason for which Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along with most of his family members were assassinated and the August 21 grenade attack on Sheikh Hasina to eliminate her were the same.

Recalling the national movements led by Bangabandhu in which BCL played a dominant role, Awami League general secretary Abdul Jalil MP, who attended the discussion meeting as the special guest, criticised the BCL leadership for their failure to come up to the people’s expectations at this crucial juncture of the nation.

AL organising secretaries Abdul Mannan and Akhteruzzaman and president of the Chhatra Oikya Jewel Ahmed, president of Chhatra Dhara Mahfuz Akram, president of the Chhatra Moitree Rafiqul Islam Sujon, joint convenor of the Chhatra Samity Mostaque Ahmed and assistant general secretary of JSD-backed Chhatra League Sajjad Hossain also spoke at the discussion.

The central Awami League and Bangabandhu Shishu Kishore Mela organised milad and doa mahfils on the premises of Bangabandhu Memorial Museum while Dhaka City Awami League, Sramik League, Krishak League, Mahila Awami League, Juba Mahila League and Awami Swechchasebak League also organised milad and doa mahfils at the party’s central office at Bangabandhu Avenue in the city on the occasion. Bangladesh Awami Juba League arranged a discussion meeting at its central office at Bangabandhu Avenue.

The Joi Bangla Sanskritik Oikya Jote distributed cooked food and sweetmeat among the destitute and organised a discussion meeting on the premises of Silver Dale Girls’ High School at Wari in the city. The Awami Sangskritik Forum distributed cooked food among the flood-hit people of Demra thana while Bangabandhu Sangskitik Jote arranged a discussion meeting followed by a milad mahfil at its Bijoynagar office.


3 years in office
BNP, alliance leaders meet today

STAFF REPORTER, The Independent

The leaders of the partners of the BNP led alliance government are scheduled to meet in Dhaka today to finalise the programme for celebration of its three years in office.

Besides the BNP, other partners of the alliance are Jamaat-e-Islami, Jatiya Party (Manjur )and the two factions of the Islami Oikyo Jote. The government headed by Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia took oath on October 10 in 2001.

Secretary General of the Jamaat-e-Islami and Social Welfare Minister Ali Ahsan Al Mujahedi and JP Secretary General Kazi Feroz are likely to lead the delegations of their respective organisations to the meeting to be held at the residence of BNP Secretary General and LGRD Minister Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan. Abdur Rab Chowdhury and Mufti Azharul Islam, who are the Secretary Generals of the two factions of the Islami Oikyo Jote are expected to attend the meeting. Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, who is due to lead the BNP’s team to the meeting will also preside over the session.


B. Chy, Kamal demand govt’s resignation

STAFF REPORTER, The Independent

Former president and Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh (BDB) chief Prof AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury and Jatiya Oikya Mancha (JOM) president Dr Kalam Hossain yesterday demanded immediate resignation of the government for what they called its failure to curb terrorism and contain corruption.

They made the demand at a joint press conference organised by the two organisations at the Jatiya Press Club.

The two leaders said their organisations would formally start work on October 1 for formulating a "National People’s Manifesto (Jatiya Gano Istehar) and publishing it in December. They said the top leaders of the two organisations will start tour of different districts from October 18 to know the views of people from different strata of life from national level to grass-roots level which would be beneficial in formulating the Manifesto aimed at bringing about a qualitative change in the present "sick politics".

Prof Badruddoza Chowdhury said once the People’s Manifesto is prepared it could be implemented by any party believing in democracy and secular politics "for bringing in a positive and qualitative change in the present dismal politics". He said the formulators of the Manifesto would not have any copyright of the Manifesto.

The former president said the present alliance government had failed to provide security to the people and hence it had no right to cling to power. Prof Chowdhury recalled that after the dastardly grenade attack on Awami League rally at Bangabandhu Avenue on August 21 he met Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina at her Sudha Sadan residence to express his condemnation against the attack and condolence to the families of those killed and injured. He said after that grisly incident the government had no right to stay in power.

Both Prof Chowdhury and Dr Kamal said they were working for restoration of people’s confidence in politics and politicians which had eroded due to terrorism and corruption by some political parties and politicians.

Prof Chowdhuyr said people were deeply frustrated and lost their confidence in politics and democratic system due to failure of some people in power.

Replying to a question Prof Chowdhury said he did not know whether there was any imperialist power now but added that in principle he was against imperialism.

Prof Chowdhury evaded a direct reply to a question as to whether they considered former President HM Ershad as an autocrat and Jamaat-e-Islami as a fundamentalist party.

Replying to a question Dr Kamal Hossain said there was no contradiction between the Awami League’s demand for resignation of the government and their demand. He said "we want to bring a positive change".

Replying to a question Dr Kamal Hossain said he had regrets that though he took a leading role in the formulation of the country’s constitution which provided for separation of judiciary from the executive branch from the date it came into effect, he could not implement it during his association in the then government.

Responding to another question Prof Badruddoza Chowdhury said when his former party BNP took a wrong course he tried to correct it but failed. He said he had no remorse for his any activity in the past and he was clear to his conscience. He said, "I am not responsible for the terrorism and corruption being committed by the powerful members of my former party".

BDB lawmaker Mahi B Chowdhury, party general secretary Major (retd) Abdul Mannan, JOM leader Saifuddin Ahmed Manik and Feroz M Hasan were present.

Mahi B Chowdhury MP also spoke on the occasion.

Replying to a question as to whether he supported military rule as he was a top leader of the party formed by a former army chief Prof Chowdhury said Zia formed the party after leaving the army and added "I never supported military rule."


No sign of end to DU deadlock soon
Students at their tether's end

SIDDIQUR RAHMAN SUMON, The Independent

Most of the students, teachers and the general staff of Dhaka University (DU) have expressed their strong resentment and worries over the unscheduled closure of the university, and urged the DU authorities to take fruitful initiatives to overcome the crisis.

This correspondent recently interviewed a number of teachers, students and staff of the DU, and also academicians, two former Vice Chancellors of Dhaka University and others concerned. All of them want to see the university open and function normally.

The impasse at the DU, which was created following an attack made by the pro-BNP Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) on a rally of pro-Awami League Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL)-led six opposition student organisations on September 11, has been continuing till today, with the students unable to attend classes, sit for examinations and do any research work.

The deadlock, which started from September 12, may run into an uncertain period as relationship between both the rival student organisations --- JCD and BCL, has turned so bitter that they appear to have reached a point of no return.

Eminent educationist, Professor Serajul Isalm Chowdhury expressed his concern over the grim development terming it 'very unfortunate'. "The public universities including Dhaka University are now beset with sessions jam and violence". He blamed the university authorities and also the government for their indifference towards public universities. "The lawmakers and the well-to-do people of the country usually send their wards either abroad or to private universities for studies," he deplored.

Former Vice Chancellor of the university Professor Muniruzzaman Miah also expressed his grave concern over the present stalemate at the university and he too termed it 'unfortunate'. He said, "this is really unfortunate; evidently it puts all efforts of the university out of gear and has created a very uncertain environment in terms of the future of the students". He continued, "one can only hope and pray that all concerned will make sincere efforts to end the present crisis, so that the university can function normally".

Former Vice Chancellor of the university professor AK Azad Chowdhury expressed his concern over the unscheduled closure of the university. The university authorities should be bold enough to take prompt action against the persons responsible for the September 11 incident on the campus so that the strike is withdrawn.

The president of Dhaka University Teachers' Association (DUTA) AAMS Arefin Siddique also spoke against the indefinite shutdown of the university. He, however, said that where law and order was critical, lives of teachers and students were under threat, academic activities should remain suspended.

The former president of the DUTA Professor Abul Khair said students were on the edge of a kind of breakdown. The authorities should adopt more diplomatic ways to enable the two rival student organisations to arrive at a consensus.

Professor AKM Shahidullah, Chairman, Political Science Department, suggest that student politics should remain confined mainly to students' interests; national politics should not be dragged to any educational institutions which could hamper the interests of the students and the nation.

Former Dean of Social Science Faculty and Director, Japan Study Centre, Professor M Ataur Rahman in his suggestion said that student politics should be mobilised for the greater interests of the students. "Student interests should be given the first priority", he said.

Many students expressed their deep anxieties to this correspondent over the deadlock at the university, which they termed 'unexpected'.

When asked, Wahidur Rahman, an MBA student of Marketting Department of the university, expressed his utter dismay and desperation by saying, "my family is waiting for me getting a job."

Wahid has passed six long years to complete his BBA and has been waiting for the opening class of MBA since February last.

Palash, a BBA student (six-semester) of the same department expressed his deep anguish by saying, "when my father asks me about my completion of studies I feel so embarrassed."

Seuli, Subhra and Sraboni, friends and classmates in Third Year at the English Department of the DU said that the university authorities and the politicians should be more sincere about the students' academic career.

When asked about the end of the ongoing impasse at the DU, Vice Chancellor Prof. SMA Faiz said that they sought cooperation of all concerned so that the crisis could be resolved.

He, however, could not give any definite time of ending the deadlock.

Meanwhile, six pro-opposition student bodies who had enforced the indefinite strike on the DU campus protesting attack on their rally on September 11, yesterday brought out procession and held rally on the campus demanding punishment to those JCD leaders and activists who were involved in the September 11 incident.

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