Bangladesh approves Hindu property restoration act

The Bangladeshi parliament has passed a landmark bill that will enable the return of property seized from the country’s Hindu minority.

The land was taken under a controversial law enacted in the 1960s.

It was implemented by the East Pakistan administration before Bangladesh became independent in 1971.

The law, initially known as the Enemy Property Act, allowed the authorities to take over land and buildings of Hindus who migrated to India.

Under its terms, property belonging to millions of Hindus who fled to India was confiscated.

The law came into effect in 1965 when Pakistan and India fought a brief war.

The act was renamed as the Vested Properties Act after independence.

The Vested Properties Return (Amendment) Bill 2011 now enables Hindus to reclaim their property taken over by the government and individuals.

“There are some good provisions but it doesn’t go far enough to address our demand that all the properties seized or taken over until recently should be returned to their rightful owners,” Supreme Court lawyer Subrata Chowdhury told the BBC.

Exodus

Hindu community leaders say that even after the independence of Bangladesh in 1971 the law was still used to discriminate against them.

Human rights groups and civil society activists have long urged successive governments to repeal the act.

The governing Awami League made an electoral promise in 2008 that confiscated properties would be given back to the original owners.

Experts say that while the changes to the law are welcome, it will be impossible to return all the land because some of it was confiscated more than 40 years ago.

Most of it appears to have been taken over by Muslims with links to the main political parties.

The government says that it will soon publish a list of properties that were seized. It that any Hindus wanting to make a claim will have 90 days to do so.

It is estimated by one prominent academic that about 400 to 500 Hindu people are migrating daily from Bangladesh.

Professor Abul Barkat told the BBC that if the current rate continues, Bangladesh will no longer have a Hindu community in 25 years’ time.

Canadian business, investment to grow in Bangladesh

Canada is exploring ways to increase and diversify
investment and business cooperation with Bangladesh, which currently enjoys
duty-free access to Canada for its exports, mainly textiles.

“In an
international survey by Japan Bank for International Cooperation in the year
Bangladesh was placed fifteenth in the international ranking of potential
countries for investors and businessmen,” Masud Rahman, President of
Bangladesh-Canada Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told Reuters in an interview
on Thursday.

He said currently Canadian investment in Bangladesh,
including in energy and textile sectors, totaled over $300 million and it can be
increased manifold if Canadian businesses could be lured to take advantage of
incentives that Dhaka offers to them.

In 2009, Bangladesh’s ranking (for
business potential) was 28th, Rahman said.

“Bangladesh offered a number
of lucrative incentives for new investors like tax holiday, hundred percent
expatriation of profit, easier visa process, work permits and cash
incentives.

“Companies from Canada are seriously asking for information
on pharmaceuticals, information and communication technology, plastic goods that
are growing fast in Bangladesh,” he said.

Besides, Canada is a world
leader for hydro power production and Bangladesh can seek Canadian engagement in
its efforts to harness hydro power to overcome its energy shortages, the chamber
chief said

DCC split protesters clash with cops

Staff of Dhaka City Corporation clashed with police in front of the Nagar
Bhaban in the city yesterday when police attempted to foil their protest against
splitting the DCC into two parts.

 

Wounded in the clash, four policemen and a DCC employee took treatment at
Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH).

 

Agitating DCC workers claimed seven to eight employees were injured in the
clash, which ended around 12:30pm.

 

The clash ensued around 11:00am when a group of DCC officials and employees
tried to enter the Nagar Bhaban, which houses the DCC offices, with a procession
to express their solidarity with their colleagues, said Reaz Sheikh, a witness
of the incident.

 

“Police swooped on the protesters with batons, injuring one in the head,” he
said.

 

Over a thousand DCC officials and employees were observing a three-hour work
abstention from 9:00am inside the Nagar Bhaban premises then.

 

The DCC workers were agitating under the banners of ‘Dhaka City Corporation
‘Karmakarta-Karmachari Samonnay Parishad’.

 

Members of different bodies of DCC officers and employees including ‘Dhaka
City Corporation Sromik-Karmachari League’, ‘Jatiyatabadi Sromik-Karmachari
Union’, ‘Paribahan Chalok O Sromik-Karmachari Union’, ‘Scavenger and Workers’
Union’, ‘Karmachari Sangsad’, ‘Class IV Karmachari Kalyan Samity’, ‘Officers’
Association’, and ‘Bidyut Karmachari Samity’ took part in the protest.

 

After the police attack that continued for a few minutes, the DCC men rushed
inside and joined those holding a rally there.

 

A large group of demonstrators tried to get out to take their injured
colleague to hospital but police did not let them.

 

The demonstrators then started throwing brick chips at the law enforcers,
forcing them to retaliate the same way, turning the road in front the Nagar
Bhaban into a battlefield.

 

After about 10 minutes, leaders of the agitating DCC men calmed them down and
continued their work abstention till the noon.

 

Syed Nurul Islam, additional deputy commissioner (ADC) of Ramna zone, told
reporters said they do not try to foil any peaceful protest. “When they tried to
obstruct vehicular movement, we just tried to clear the road. But they attacked
us,” he said.

 

DCC employee Qaiyum, 22, who works for the transport section, and four
wounded policemen – Nayek Monju, 35, and constables Amzad, 22, Shawapan, 23, and
Obaidul, 22, received injuries and took treatment at the DMCH.

 

A man who took Qaiyum to the hospital said some outsiders first attacked them
with brick chips and police joined with them.

 

A large number of police and Rab men have been deployed to avoid further
clash.

 

SM Mosharraf Hossain, leader of Bangladesh City and Municipality Employees’
Federation, said police attacked a peaceful procession when it was entering into
the Nagar Bhaban.

 

Jahangir Alam, leader of another union, claimed at least seven to eight
people were injured in police attack.

 

The demonstration was part of a scheduled protest programme announced on
Wednesday, said Mesbahul Karim, convener of the parishad and also an executive
engineer of the DCC.

 

Following the cabinet nod on October 31, the LGRD state minister on Wednesday
placed a bill in parliament seeking necessary amendments to the Local Government
(City Corporation) Act, 2009 for implementing the government decision to split
Dhaka City Corporation into two parts.

Matia says:Govt in tune with rice price sensitivity

The government has full knowledge of Aman and Boro production, existing price of rice and paddy, and is in tune with the interest of the farmers, agriculture minister Matia Chowdhury said on Saturday.

Addressing a policy dialogue on ‘Rice and Paddy Price Instability’ at CIRDAP auditorium in the capital, she said the price of Aman rice shows an upward trend before the harvest each year. This price escalation factor is especially prevalent in the country’s southern region, Matia said.

“But this year, the price of rice has remained stable because the government initiated a Tk 350-million special credit programme to encourage farmers to grow Aush in the southern region,” she said.

Matia said many people, especially NGO and international donor representatives, indulge in tall talks about the prices of rice and paddy but no one comes forward with rice to help when the price goes up to Tk 45 per kilogramme. “We, the public representatives, have to consider the interest of the people, so you should think before advising us,” she said in a way of criticism for the international donor organisations.

Disapproving of the role of non-government development organisations and international agencies, especially those dealing with food and agriculture, Matia said these agencies seldom consider the interest of the people while suggesting policies.

Non-government development organisation BRAC, Bangladesh Rice Foundation (BRF) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) jointly organised Saturday’s dialogue. Among those present at the event were agriculture secretary C Q K Mustaq Ahmed, food secretary Barun Deb Mitra, executive director of BRAC and BRF chairman Dr Mahabub Hossain.

Dhaka to go to Int’l court if needed: Minister

Water Resources Minister Ramesh Chandra Sen said on Saturday Bangladesh will go to international courts, if necessary, to settle the Tipaimukh Dam issue for the country’s existence.

 

As a friendly country, Bangladesh trusts India, the minister said.

 

“But if India ignores Bangladesh, we will write against it and go to international courts to preserve our existence,” he told reporters after attending a seminar at the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh (IEB) in the city.

 

Retired Engineers’ Association of Bangladesh Water Development Board organised the seminar titled ‘River Management and Flood Control Activities in Bangladesh with Potentials and Problems of Dredging’.

 

Replying to a question about the next Joint River Commission meeting, the minister said the meeting will be held soon.

 

Bangladesh has already informed India that it is ready for the meeting, he said.

 

During Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Bangladesh in September, he assured Bangladesh of not taking up any project harming the people of Bangladesh.

 

But it has already signed a contract on Tipaimukh hydroelectric project.

Litterateur Rasheed Karim dies at 86

Rasheed Karim, a renowned novelist, died of a heart attack at the city’s Ibrahim Cardiac Hospital in early Saturday. He was 86.

 

He left behind his wife, one daughter, and a large number of relatives, friends and well-wishers to mourn his death.

 

His namaz-e-janaza will be held on Bangla Academy premises at 4:00pm on Saturday.

 

He will be buried at Mirpur Intellectual Graveyard after Maghrib prayers.

 

Karim, born in Kolkata in 1925, completed his BA degree from the Kolkata Islamia College.

 

He received Bangla Academy Award, Ekushey Award, Adamjee Award and many other awards for his contribution in the Bangla literature.

 

Karim wrote many novels including ‘Uttam Purush’, ‘Prasanna Pashan’, ‘Amar Jata Glani’, and ‘Prem Ekti Lal Golap’.

BNP’ll reunite divided DCC: Khoka

Sadeq Hossain Khoka, the mayor of Dhaka for far longer than his five-year term, has called for election to an undivided city corporation.

“I will not run in the next DCC polls and will resign as soon as the poll schedule is announced,” Khoka said in a press briefing at the National Press Club on Saturday noon.

Khoka said that he is ready to join dialogue with the government over the proposed bifurcation if they want to discuss the issue.

“BNP will re-unite Dhaka if it is divided when it comes to power,” he said.

A bill was tabled on Nov 23 in parliament to split the DCC into two separate entities after a Cabinet approval.

The government proposes a new northern city corporation with 36 of the total 92 wards and the southern one with the remaining 56.

The bill’s passage will lead to the abolition of the DCC and appointment of two administrators for the two parts. The current mayor and councillors will have to vacate their offices.

Opposition BNP, however, alleges that the government decision is ‘politically motivated’ and that Awami League wants to post their ‘own people’ in the two city corporations.

Khoka has been venting his opposition to the proposal at various forums since the government made its plan public.

Rumours were rife that Khoka had called the press conference on Saturday to announce his resignation.

Khoka was elected the DCC mayor in 2002 and did not have to quit because of the failure of the government to hold the election.

“I will deliver my duties as long as it is legal for me,” he said.

Terming the decision of bifurcation as a ‘bolt from the blue’, Khoka said that the ‘absurd’ decision would be harmful for the metropolis and its citizens.

“To divide the city corporation is to divide the hearts of the citizens in two,” Khoka said.

He is, however, not sure about the reason why the government wants to divide the DCC.

Dhaka, once merely a small town dating from the 4th century, first received principal city status in 1608 during the reign of Mughal emperor Jahangir, and then it was named Jahangirnagar.

Dhaka became Dacca Municipality on Aug 1, 1864. It was made the capital of the then East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, in 1947.

In 1978, it was made Dhaka Municipal Corporation and later Dhaka City Corporation in 1990.

“The government’s decision is influenced by my popularity. They cannot appoint another mayor without removing me first,” Khoka told the journalists.

He also said that he does not wish to cling to his mayoral post after his tenure ends. He could not but remain the mayor as the city corporation polls were not held due to the government’s lack of cooperation.

Khoka told the press that when he came to the office, the DCC was burdened with Tk 6.31 billion debt, “but now the debts have been paid off and the DCC has Tk 37.08 million in its fund”

KFC Super League kicks off

State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Dr. Shireen Sharmin (3rd from R) speaks during the opening ceremony of the KFC Women’s Super League at the Birshreshtha Shaheed Mostafa Kamal Stadium in Kamalapur.

Jessore got off to a winning start in the KFC Women’s Super League with a 2-0 win over  in the opening match at Birshreshtha Shaheed Mostafa Kamal Stadium, in Kamalapur yesterday.

Jessore dominated the show from the outset and took lead in the 13th minute through Sharifa Khatun while forward Sheuli Khatun doubled that score ten minutes later with a powerful right-footer.

After the brace, Jessore created a lot of opportunities throughout the game but failed to capitalize on those chances and had to settle being content with the 2-0 margin.

Earlier, State Minister for Women and Child Affairs Shireen Sharmin Chowdhury declared the eight-team tournament open while Akku Chowdhury, the Executive Director of Transcom Foods and Iqbal bin Anwar, deputy director of RB Group, were present among others.

“We are organizing this tournament with a view to help empower women by engaging them in active sports,

Khaleda leading 3rd road march

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia is leading the party’s third road march towards Khulna from the capital on Saturday, aiming to drum up public support for reinstating the caretaker government system.

 

Khaleda, leader of the opposition in the House, set off from her Gulshan residence around 10:18am and it took nearly ten minutes to reach Uttara from where the cross country caravan set out officially.

 

The road march comes over a month after the second one towards Chapainawabganj.

 

Our correspondent who is with the caravan to cover the event reports: The road march began with nearly 800 vehicles carrying members of the four-party alliances from the capital.

 

The cross country caravan will pass through Pabna, Kushtia, Jhenidah and Jessore before reaching Khulna.

 

The BNP chief will stay at Jessore Circuit House tonight and resume the march towards Khulna tomorrow.

 

On the way, Khaleda is scheduled to address three roadside rallies at Dasuria in Pabna, and in Jhenidah and Jessore district towns and address a public meeting in Kushtia today.

 

The two-day programme will end with a public meeting on Khulna Circuit House premises at 3:00pm tomorrow.

 

However, local BNP and its allies including Jamaat-e-Islami have set up hundreds of arches on roads to welcome the leader of the opposition in different areas, report our district correspondents.

 

Earlier on October 10, Khaleda led her first road march towards Sylhet and the second towards Chapainawabganj on October 18 and 19 in efforts to mobilise public support for restoring the caretaker government system.

 

The system was scrapped through the Fifteenth Amendment to the constitution in June this year, providing for the incumbent administration to oversee general elections.

 

The BNP chief on many occasions has said her party would not participate in the upcoming parliament elections if it is not held under a caretaker government.

 

AL leaders including its President Sheikh Hasina, who is also the prime minister, maintains the next national polls will be held under the current government.

 

As part of the protest, Khaleda in September announced three road marches towards Sylhet, Chittagong and Rajshahi. The Chittagong march was later postponed while the one towards Rajshahi was redirected to Chapainawabganj.

 

Party’s acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, however, said earlier they would organise road marches towards Chittagong and Barisal as well.

 

 

GURU: A Successful Human Being.

what you should do to become successful, but I would argue that it’s more about who you are that makes the biggest impact.  It’s the decisions we make on a daily basis, the habits we naturally form in our lives that determine the level of success we can achieve.  Who we are determines how we react to life, even when we’re not consciously in the act of ‘being successful’.

1. An Independent Nature
If we rely too much on those around us for assistance and/or support we will be setting ourselves up for disappointment in the future.  This is not to say that we shouldn’t look to others for help when the time is right, but crafting our pursuits in such a way that requires the intervention of another is like handing over the keys and getting in the back seat.  Our friends and colleagues may help open the doors of opportunity, but it is our own responsibility to take the wheel.

2. Self Confidence
Every decision we make in life will have some kind of effect on future outcomes.  If our choices our filtered through fear and doubt, we can be assured of the life we are trying to avoid.  Trust your instincts and listen to your heart.  When you make a mistake, don’t look at it as reason for doubt, but instead, realize the opportunity for wisdom as you continue to push ahead.

3. Persistence
It’s been 5 years since I started my consulting business.  5 years of long hours and hard work.  Many times did I consider throwing in the towel when things didn’t go my way.  But every year that’s gone by, every road block I’ve pushed through, my business has grown as my resolve to make it a success has strengthened.  Persistence is not an optional trait for those who desire success, but an essential attitude that must be embraced!

4. A Big Imagination
When I think of some of the greatest ‘achievers’ in American history I see great innovators and people of purpose.  Names like Henry Ford, Walt Disney and Bill Gates come to mind.  From cars to cartoons to computers, their personalities were as diverse as their pursuits.  But one thing they share is the wonderful ability to see what’s not yet visible to the naked eye.  It was the imagination of Henry Ford that first painted the picture of a car in every garage, and Bill Gates, a computer in every home.  And it was Walt Disney who continues to inspire millions with the idea that ‘anything is possible’.

Those with inevitable success can see the unseen.  They’ve become successful in their minds before they laid their first brick.

5. A Thick Skin
I’m a people pleaser at heart and can be devastated by disappointment.  But as a necessity in business, I’ve grown a thick skin that allows me to deflect defeat while maintaining my focus.  Whether in corporate conflict or the liabilities of life, it is those with a strong armor who will maintain their momentum.

6. Clarity Of Self Understanding
If you don’t know who you are, you will never truly know what you’re capable of.  It is in our daily pursuits that we need accurate information on our strengths and weaknesses to succeed.  Because being blind sided by your own inability or missing out on your true talents will bring nothing more than failure and frustration.

7. Clarity Of Intent
Continuing with the analogy of Ford, Disney and Gates, we can see three individuals with very clear intentions.  No one ever questioned Ford’s intentions of filling the roads with his Model T’s.  Disney was never far from his pursuits of capturing our imaginations.  And even when no one believed in his dream of populating every home with a PC, there was never a question of Gates greatest goal.

8. Focus
There’s a lot of talk about multi-tasking and single tasking when it comes to getting things done.  But however you go about accomplishing your goals, focus must be at the core of your character.  Successful people have the knack for deflecting distraction and keeping their nose to the grindstone.  It is our drive that pushes us forward and keeps our momentum, but without focus we will just be moving for the sake of motion.

9. Optimism
Many of the traits mentioned thus far would not be possible without this key ingredient.  Without being able to constantly see the cup as half full, we would never be able to stay focused.  Being blind to that silver lining would paralyze our persistence.  So it is absolutely crucial that our minds maintain a positive outlook on life and never give in to the destruction of defeat.  Optimism is at the heart of a successful human being!

10. Passion
Success can be obtained by many, but maintaining the drive to reach our goals requires a passion for pursuit and a lust for life.  We can create a to-do list and set our goals with the best of them, but without this necessary habitual hunger, we will most certainly fail to bring to the table the results we imagined.

Police event draws more than 150 people

AMMANFORD Neighbourhood Policing Team staged a successful multi-cultural event on Sunday at the Aman Centre.

The event brought together more than 150 people from diverse backgrounds and ethnic origins to improve community engagement and cohesion.

Those present included representatives from volunteer groups, youth groups, food outlets, businesses and Amman Valley residents originating from Wales, England, France, Turkey, China, Italy, Bangladesh, India, Africa and Thailand.

Attendees enjoyed a range of activities, including African drumming, cooking demonstrations, food sampling and performances by Amman Valley School of Dance and soloist Bethany Blackford-Jones.

Entertainment also included quizzes, a raffle and input from the Neighbourhood Policing Team about hate crime and contacting officers.

Early feedback indicated that the event was an overwhelming success.

The Neighbourhood Policing team would like to thank everyone who attended, along with the Community Safety Partnership’s Kate Thomas for funding the event.

Ammanford Police Sergeant Theresa Ross said: “This event highlights support for diversity and encourages people to be themselves.

“It is important we recognise and understand the needs of the communities that we serve.”

Officers, including PCSOs, police officers, special constables and members from Dyfed- Powys Police Senior Management Team attended the event in their free time to help make the day a huge success.

Another multicultural event is planned for March 4 and PS Ross is calling on any interested parties to contact the Neighbourhood Policing Team or their local officer on 101.