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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2956

Bangladesh Election: To be or Not to be -----

Asian Tribune Report from Dhaka

Dhaka, 17 November, ( Asiantribune,com): One of the two main political parties in Bangladesh has criticised the interim government's preparations for next month's parliamentary vote, saying it would only take part in the poll if conditions improved.

"In fact the government has not implemented any of our proposals so far. So it is not possible for the BNP-led alliance to go to the polls," he told reporters after meeting with BNP leader Khaleda Zia at her party office. But BNP secretary-general did not say if the BNP had decided to boycott the election.

Government officials said they remained fully committed to hold the election on December 18, and hoped all parties would take part.

Government adviser cum spokesman Hossain Zillur Rahman said that if a congenial atmosphere prevailed ahead of the vote, the government would consider lifting emergency rule, imposed after widespread political violence before scheduled elections in January 2007. Khaleda's BNP have said emergency rule should be lifted immediately, and those leaders convicted or arrested for alleged corruption should be able to contest the vote.

The Awami League has already confirmed its participation in the polls - Rreuters
An Army retired General told that next few days are very critical for Bangladesh. In Bangladesh politics and election is a tussle between people's organization and Army sponsored political establishments.
Resurrection of Islamist Terrorist Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh
In the meantime, on Sunday, 16 November Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) seized 70 kg of explosives following the confessional statement of an ehsar (full time member) of the banned Islamist outfit Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) whom they arrested Saturday at Mirpur in the city.

They also seized 40kg of nitric acid, 150 cases of improvised grenades, a large quantity of bomb-making materials and equipment, and over 2,000 books on jihad raiding two houses in Mirpur and another house at Shanir Akhra in the capital.

Rab Additional Director General Col Gulzar Uddin Ahmed said, "The JMB stockpiled the explosives and the books as they were preparing for fresh attacks and recruitment."

Rab captured JMB ehsar Mohammad Hanif alias Kamal, 28, hailing from Nandorkandi of Matlab upazila in Chandpur, at his home at Kalshi of Mirpur.

Col Gulzar said Kamal is an ehsar of JMB's military wing. He is a close associate of present JMB chief Maulana Saidur Rahman.

Maj Momtajur Rahman, chief of the bomb disposal unit of Rab, told The Daily Star, "It is possible to make over 500 bombs with the seized explosives."

According to Rab officials, JMB chief Saidur was staying at a house in Mirpur-10 and he disappeared after Kamal was arrestedm reports the daily star . Fugitive JMB operatives have now become a matter of grave concern for the law-enforcement agencies which have no clue to their whereabouts and activities.

Their concern has recently increased as they received bits of intelligence information from across the country that the fugitives are now holding secret meetings under a new leadership.

Saidur Rahman took over as the new chief of JMB after JMB chief Abdur Rahman, second-man Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai and four other top JMB leaders were executed the report added.

On Friday Nov 7, Thirty-five eminent citizens in a letter to the chief adviser urged the advisory council of the government not to approve the "Mosque-based Child Education Project".

The civil society members strongly criticised the government move in this regard and sent the letter to Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed Tuesday with their arguments against the project.

The renowned citizens said, "The project is discriminatory and contradicts the constitution."

Quoting a few recent newspaper reports, they said Tk 650 crore has been allocated to provide pre-primary education to children in villages through 36,000 madrasa-maktab (Islamic elementary schools), 12,000 Quran centres and 15,000 resource centres under the project.

They said Tk 470 crore of the Tk 650 crore would be spent on salaries and allowances for 40,000 supervisors and 5,500 teachers who must be appointed from among the Imams of mosques and from other religion-based centres in accordance with the design of the project.

Signatories to the letter said it is very clear that their (the teachers and supervisors to be recruited) educational qualification is not as expected for educating children with a broad mind.

They said the project would curtail constitutional rights of children as the project would use worship places of a certain religion to teach children and children of other religion would not have access to those worship places.

They said the project was earlier included in the PRSP without consultation and beyond anyone's knowledge and later suspended. The project, after revival, has been sent to the advisory council for approval, the letter said.

They also said the project would foil achievements of the movement regarding equal rights for women.

They asked the chief adviser to take bold steps in this regard and uphold the constitution, reports the Daily Star.

- Asian Tribune -

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