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Bangladesh moves to retain Islam as state religion

News4u-News Desk- DHAKA, Bangladesh: Bangladesh will retain Islam as the state religion in amendments the government is proposing to its constitution, a government minister said on Tuesday.

A former military ruler declared Islam the state religion in 1988 by amending the charter, but it barely affected Bangladesh’s secular legal system mainly based on British common law.

The government says the proposed changes won’t affect the legal system. Inheritance and other family laws already are based on religion.

The decision was made late on Monday at a Cabinet meeting, the minister told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

A special government committee prepared proposals for the amendment, and the government will send those proposals to the parliament for passing as a law.

Bangladesh won independence from Pakistan in 1971 with help from India through a bloody nine-month war.

The original constitution was installed by independence leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the father of current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. After Rahman’s assasination in a military coup in 1975, military rulers made a series of amendments to the charter.

Some see the government’s latest action as a compromise by Hasina, who during her election campaign before December 2008 polls said she would restore the 1972 constitution if voted to power.

The original charter did not recognize any faith as a state religion, promised elimination of communalism and disfavored discrimination or persecution because of a person’s faith.

The new proposals want to restore those provisions of secularism but keep Islam as state religion.

Monday’s Cabinet meeting chaired by Hasina also endorsed equal status and equal rights for practicing other religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity, the minister said.

The Cabinet decided to keep the provision of state religion considering the national reality, the minister told AP.

The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia has campaigned that Hasina’s Awami League party is anti-Islamic. The country’s main Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami and its hardline allies also brand Hasina’s party as anti-Islamic.

Bangladesh has thousands of Islamic schools that advocate installation of Sharia laws, and a violent hardline group years ago bombed government buildings and courts demanding Sharia law. The government claims the group, Jumatul Mujahedin Bangladesh, was broken after its top leaders were hanged.

The government also proposed an amendment to cancel a constitutional provision that requires the government to hand over power at the end of its term to a nonpartisan administration. A former chief justice is usually chosen to head the three-month caretaker administration that conducts new elections.

The Supreme Court has ruled the provision in the 1996 constitution is undemocratic.

The next general elections is due in 2014, and opponents of Hasina say amending the consitution to remove that provision could lead to vote-rigging. AP

 

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Bangladesh rents African land to boost food output

News4u-News Desk-Dhaka,  (AFP) Bangladesh has leased tens of thousands of hectares of farmland in Africa as part of a government drive to improve food security in the poverty-stricken South Asian nation, an official said today.

Two Bangladeshi companies have leased 40,000 hectares (99,000 acres) of land in Uganda and Tanzania and another firm will sign a deal for a further 10,000 hectares in Tanzania this week, foreign ministry director Farhadul Islam said.

“The government strongly supports companies leasing farmland in Africa. The aim is to bring most of the farms’ output back to Bangladesh to ease food shortages,” he told AFP.

Bangladesh’s 150 million citizens have been hit hard by sharp increases in the price of rice, the staple grain, which was up by an average 50 per cent year-on-year in April, according to official figures.

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Islam be scrapped as state religion: B’desh minorities

News4u - News Desk : Dhaka, Bangladesh’s religious minorities, including Hindus, today demanded the scrapping of the provision that declares Islam as a state religion so as to restore the secular character of the 1972 constitution.

Rana Dasgupta, General Secretary of Hindu Boudhha Christian Oikya Parishad, a key organisation of religious minorities in Bangladesh, said the entire nation wanted the restoration of the spirit of secularism.

Dasgupta said the country’s nearly 2.5 crore minorities were “deeply concerned” as a parliamentary constitution amendment committee reportedly decided not to touch the provision that declared Islam as the state religion.

The Parisad warned of tough actions against plans to retain Islam as the state religion. It said Islam was incorporated as the state religion in 1988 when an autocratic regime was in power that wanted to divide the nation on religious lines.PTI

 

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27 people killed as ferry capsizes in Bangladesh

News4u-News Desk- Dhaka, (PTI) At least 27 people, mostly women and children, were killed today and scores went missing as a jampacked ferry capsized after colliding with a ship wreck in the river Meghna in eastern Bangladesh, officials said.

The ferry, carrying more than 150 passengers, was bound for Jamalganj from Bhairab when it sank after colliding with the wreckage of a trawler in central Brahmanbaria.

“A total of 27 bodies were recovered and search for more is underway,” additional police superintendent of Brahmanbaria district Faisal Ahmed in Dhaka told PTI.

Nearly 100 people on the overloaded double-decker ferry swam to shore, Ahmed, quoting residents of the nearby villages, said.

A team of divers from Dhaka was searching for more bodies and survivors.

The toll was expected to rise with some passengers believed to be trapped inside the ferry.

 

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Bangladeshi Islamists enforces strike over women policy

News4u-News Desk- Riot police in BangladeshMonday enforced a strict vigil in the wake of a nationwide general strike call by an Islamist group protesting the recently adopted women policy calling it anti-Islamic.

Riot cars carrying steel helmeted policemen patrolled the streets of Dhaka where major shopping malls, business establishments and schools were shut but public bus services and private vehicles plied in most parts of the city.
“Nearly 10,000 policemen along with (elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion) RAB troops will be on guard. We will not allow any attempt to create law and order situation,” a police spokesman told Indian media there as a faction of the Islamic Oikya Jote (IOJ) called the stoppage.
The nationwide strike came a day after one madrassa student was killed and dozens of people including policemen were injured in the southwestern city of Jessore as supporters clashed with the police while they were staging a street protest demanding the government to backtrack on the policy.
Several hundred IOJ activists, mostly students of religious schools staged street marches wearing skullcaps and carrying sticks chanting slogans against the policy announced last month after years of consultations with women activists, rights groups and Islamic scholars.
The IOJ faction led by controversial Islamist leader Fazlul Haque Amini, is an ally of ex-prime minister Khaleda Zia’s main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), which initially declined to extend support to the hartal.
But in an overnight development two days ago, BNP issued a statement saying being a pro-Islamic party it was always supportive to causes to uphold Islamic spirit and people’s religious sentiments.
The government leaders and religious scholars earlier said the women policy was in no way conflicting to Islamic edicts while Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said her government did and would never enact any law or policy contradicting the Quranic principles.
The other faction of the IOJ also rejected the stoppage calling it “illogical” as the policy suggested measures to ensure rights of women on the property they “inherited or earned” themselves, which rather upheld the Islamic spirit.

But the protesters said it was anti-Islamic propagating that the policy violated the Quranic laws by favouring female equality.
Hasina Sunday warned that Amini would be liable of “contempt of Quran” for spearheading a misleading campaign against the Women Policy through “misinterpretation” of the holy book.
“Neither in the past we enacted any law (or policy) against the Quran or Sunnah and nor we will do so in future. Yet he (Amini) is spearheading a campaign of falsehood for his political gains and even called a hartal,” she told a public rally the southeastern scenic Cox’s Bazar.
With an estimated 90 per cent Muslim population Bangladeshhas a secular legal system but in matters related to inheritance and marriage Muslims follow sharia law, which suggested women would get half of the property compared to their brothers only when the question of inheritance appears.
But the government leaders said the women policy did not contradict the shariah as it just suggested the women should get their due share in inherited property and would have full rights on the assets they earned through other means including businesses or jobs.

 

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Bangladeshi Islamists enforces strike over women policy

News4u - News Desk : Riot police in BangladeshMonday enforced a strict vigil in the wake of a nationwide general strike call by an Islamist group protesting the recently adopted women policy calling it anti-Islamic.

 

 

 

Riot cars carrying steel helmeted policemen patrolled the streets of Dhaka where major shopping malls, business establishments and schools were shut but public bus services and private vehicles plied in most parts of the city.

 
“Nearly 10,000 policemen along with (elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion) RAB troops will be on guard. We will not allow any attempt to create law and order situation,” a police spokesman told Indian media there as a faction of the Islamic Oikya Jote (IOJ) called the stoppage.
The nationwide strike came a day after one madrassa student was killed and dozens of people including policemen were injured in the southwestern city of Jessore as supporters clashed with the police while they were staging a street protest demanding the government to backtrack on the policy.
Several hundred IOJ activists, mostly students of religious schools staged street marches wearing skullcaps and carrying sticks chanting slogans against the policy announced last month after years of consultations with women activists, rights groups and Islamic scholars.
The IOJ faction led by controversial Islamist leader Fazlul Haque Amini, is an ally of ex-prime minister Khaleda Zia’s main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), which initially declined to extend support to the hartal.
But in an overnight development two days ago, BNP issued a statement saying being a pro-Islamic party it was always supportive to causes to uphold Islamic spirit and people’s religious sentiments.
The government leaders and religious scholars earlier said the women policy was in no way conflicting to Islamic edicts while Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said her government did and would never enact any law or policy contradicting the Quranic principles.
The other faction of the IOJ also rejected the stoppage calling it “illogical” as the policy suggested measures to ensure rights of women on the property they “inherited or earned” themselves, which rather upheld the Islamic spirit.

But the protesters said it was anti-Islamic propagating that the policy violated the Quranic laws by favouring female equality.
Hasina Sunday warned that Amini would be liable of “contempt of Quran” for spearheading a misleading campaign against the Women Policy through “misinterpretation” of the holy book.
“Neither in the past we enacted any law (or policy) against the Quran or Sunnah and nor we will do so in future. Yet he (Amini) is spearheading a campaign of falsehood for his political gains and even called a hartal,” she told a public rally the southeastern scenic Cox’s Bazar.
With an estimated 90 per cent Muslim population Bangladeshhas a secular legal system but in matters related to inheritance and marriage Muslims follow sharia law, which suggested women would get half of the property compared to their brothers only when the question of inheritance appears.
But the government leaders said the women policy did not contradict the shariah as it just suggested the women should get their due share in inherited property and would have full rights on the assets they earned through other means including businesses or jobs.

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Bangladesh court sentences 59 border guards

News4u - News Desk : A Bangladeshi court has sentenced 59 border guards to up to six years rigorous imprisonment for their involvement in the 2009 bloody mutiny which left 74 people, mostly military officers, dead.

The paramilitary court in southwestern Khulna handed down sentences ranging between four months and six years, to the rebel soldiers of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), now called Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), on mutiny charges.

The Special Court-12 of BGB headed by its Rajshahi Sector Commander Colonel M Ehia Azam Khan pronounced the verdict trying the accused under the BDR Act at a makeshift courtroom at sector headquarters of the frontier force.

The court also fined each of the convicts Taka 100 as it found them guilty of charges of February 25-26, 2009 mutiny when 74 people including 57 army officers serving the paramilitary frontier force were killed at its Pilkhana headquarters in Dhaka. PTI

 

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Midas Singh Dhoni

News4u-Sports Desk-

I was a high school kid when Kapil’s Devil won the World Cup, since then every world cup came and gone but the miracle, the touch , the class was missing somewhere, till this gentleman took over as India’s Captain to reach us on Top of of the rankings , may be in Tests , T2o’s ODI’s, every where.

Kapil Dev rightly said in his own way that best is yet to come after the Quarter Finals of the WC 2011, when India defeated OZ. In Semis it was Pak.

Yesterday right from the word go ,The body language of the Indians were like champs. Yuvi, Raina, Virat, even Sachin & Zaheer threw every thing to stop even a single run. Srilankans played well and amassed 274 which was a real good recovery after a lethal start by Indian Bowlers.

Chasing 275 for victory and loosing Sehwag & Sachin at 32 was a nightmare for Indian fans but the way young Brigade batted , it was as if they are there to prove their mettle. Virat (31) the young Hero proved his worth while Gambhir ((97) as always played briliantly after the departure of Virat our own Dhoni came on crease with a motive and determination to finish the game , with Yuvi on other side . I am sure all the critics sitting on all the news channel whoever commented on him for his decissions or his low form were given a suitable answer , with a winning hit for a Six we created the History again after 28 years.

Midas Singh Dhoni as rightly named by many has emerged as a real miracle to Team India, The coach Gary was always supportive but being on field and taking decissions and to be ready to face criticism of 121 billion people needs hell lot of guts, which fortunately our DHONI has .

We wish him all the luck and best wishes for the future and believe more of World Cups would come under his miraculous Captaincy…. Amein…

2011 cricket World Cup

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Bangla HC sets aside military court trial of 1971 war veteran

News4u-News Desk- Bangladesh High Court Tuesday set aside a controversial military court trial of 1971 Liberation War veteran colonel Abu Taher that sent him to gallows, calling the act a “cold blooded murder” by the then regime of president Ziaur Rahman.

“It was no trial at all… It was a cold blooded murder,” a two-member High Court bench comprising judges AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury and Sheikh Mohammad Zakir Hossain said in a verdict after protracted hearing on four identical writ petitions.

 

The verdict added: “Taher will be treated as a great patriot.”

 

The judgement held former president Ziaur Rahman, an army general turned politician who founded the now main oppositionBangladesh nationalist Party (BNP), responsible for executing Taher and said “he (Rahman) would have faced murder charge had he been alive”.

 

The court, however, asked the government to constitute a committee with reputed jurists, journalists and others concerned to investigate Rahman’s role also in the 15thAugust, 1975 coup in which the country’s founder Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was assassinated along with most of his family members.

 

The verdict came on the four writs filed by Taher’s family and political comrades in left leaning Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD), challenging the military law and regulations under which the military tribunal had been formed in 1976.

 

Taher, a Liberation War time sector commander who subsequently appeared as a left leaning politician on retirement from army, was the first Bangladeshi to walk to gallows in independent Bangladesh.

 

The military court tried Taher and handed down the death penalty on 17th July, 1976 while the 1971 veteran, who had lost a leg in the Liberation War, was executed on 21st July, only in four days after the verdict, in defiance of the jail code that suggests at least 21 days of time for executing death penalties after the judgement.

 

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Kayes improves quarter-final chances

News4u - Sports Desk : The ball didn’t turn much on a slow pitch in Chittagong but Netherlands’ batsmen didn’t have the skill to handle the nagging line and length from the battery of Bangladesh’s left-arm spinners. They stabbed, plodded and meandered to 160 and Bangladesh wrapped up a six-wicket victory in a virtual must-win match. Shafiul Islam was luckless in a probing opening spell that read 6-3-7-0 but he was instrumental in strangling the Netherlands batsmen before the spinners tightened the screws further. The result escalated the pressure on England, who have to beat West Indies to stay in the World Cup.

For a brief while, 6.5 overs to be precise, there was some fight in the chase but it evaporated as Imrul Kayes took control to push Bangladesh to victory in Chittagong. Bangladesh were on a wobbly 14 for 1, for the loss of Tamim Iqbal, in the seventh over but Junaid Siddique and Kayes broke free to force Netherlands out of the contest.

The total was too meagre to defend and it was due their middling effort with the bat that Netherlands lost this game. Whenever they tried to take initiative, as Tom Cooper and Alexei Kervezee did, it proved just a mirage as they got out immediately. Whenever they tried to steal some quick runs, they got involved in run-outs. Cooper had struck Shakib Al Hasan for two fours in the 25th over but he got out in the next over, run out due to a misunderstanding with Eric Szwarczynski. He rushed across for a single after pushing to point but couldn’t get back in time despite a wide throw from Shakib. Mushfiqur Rahim collected and swiveled to flick a direct hit. Kervezee crashed Rubel Hossain for two fours in the 33rd over but fell in the next, stumped off the bowling of Suhrawadi Shuvo. To add to their woes, four batsmen ran themselves out on a day when nothing went right for the Associate team.

Szwarczynski, the opener, dawdled for 68 balls but couldn’t convert the start into anything meaningful. Ryan ten Doeschate, dropped on 14 by Kayes, hung around for an unbeaten fifty but he lacked support. The innings lacked momentum from the start, after Shafiul’s inspired opening spell, and it went nowhere in the end.

It will remain a mystery how Shafiul didn’t pick up a wicket. He darted the ball in, straightened it outside off, slipped in yorkers, tried faster and slower bouncers and didn’t bowl a bad ball. He harassed the openers with movement but the ball either thudded high on the pad or missed the edge. It was one of those days. The first run off him was scored only in the 18th delivery, when he tried a slower one. Netherlands promoted Mudassar Bukhari to pinch some quick runs but Shafiul put him in his place in the 11th over. Two yorkers jammed the bottom of the bat, a bouncer pinged the shoulder and a slower one beat the waft.

Shafiul paved way for the spinners, Abdur Razzak, Shakib and Shuvo, who did what they normally do: hit a tight line and length, bowl a slew of dot balls, increase the pressure, and make the batsmen feel claustrophobic. Everything went according to their script.

Netherlands had a brief moment of joy in the chase when Bukhari breached the defences of Tamim with a delivery that straightened in the first over. He continued to bowl with heart, showed some skill and even sledged. He went past Kayes’ bat a few times and gave lip to Siddique, but just when the contest looked interesting, Bangladesh broke free.

It was the final ball of the seventh over and Siddique had just been sledged after Bukhari banged in a short delivery. Siddique responded with a flamboyant pull to collect a boundary and that was the moment that turned things around for Bangladesh. In the next over, he dragged the offspinner Adeel Raja, who opened with Bukhari and bowled a few tight overs, to the square-leg boundary. Soon Kayes, who was on 9 off 24 balls, pulled Raja for three runs and Bangladesh took control.

Post that, Kayes took ownership of the chase and started to roll out the big shots: he slapped Raja through covers, slashed a full toss from ten Doeschate over point, and drove Peter Borren through cover for successive boundaries in the 17th over. Though Siddique and Shahriar Nafees, who made a fluent 37 in his first game of the tournament, fell and Shakib combusted on arrival, Kayes stayed to finish the job.

Bangladesh 166 for 4 (Kayes 73*) beat Netherlands 160 (ten Doeschate 53*, Razzak 3-29) by six wickets CRICINFO

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