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Bangladesh Police Investigate Local Islamists in Publisher Attacks

Іnjured publisher Ahmed Rahim Tutul is carried on a stretcher to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Oct. 31, 2015.

Іnjured publisher Ahmed Rahim Tutul is carried on a stretcher to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Oct. 31, 2015

Police in Bangladesh say they are investigating a local radical Islamist group in the latest deadly attacks on two publishers in the capital, Dhaka.

Senior police officials say they suspect the banned group Ansaullah Bangla Team (ABT) carried out Saturday’s attacks.

But another militant group, al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent, also claimed responsibility.

Publisher Ahmed Rahim Tutul and two writers were shot and stabbed by three men in their office at the Shudhdhoswar publishing house Saturday in Dhaka.  All three were hospitalized, and Tutul was in critical condition, police said.

In a second attack, publisher Faisal Arefin Deepan, of the Jagriti Prokashoni publishing house, was found hacked to death in his office.

Both of the publishers involved had published works by Bangladeshi-American blogger and writer Avijit Roy, who was killed in an attack on the Dhaka University campus while walking with his wife in February.  ABT had claimed responsibility for the blogger’s killing.

Dozens of teachers, students, writers and protesters rallied Sunday at Dhaka University to protest the attacks.

Bangladeshi youth shout slogans as they protest the killing of Faisal Arefin Deepan, a publisher of secular books, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Nov. 1, 2015.

Bangladeshi youth shout slogans as they protest the killing of Faisal Arefin Deepan, a publisher of secular books, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Nov. 1, 2015

The latest attacks come amid fears about the rise of extremist Islamic groups in Bangladesh.  At least four atheist bloggers have been murdered in the country this year.

(Source / 01.11.2015)

IT chief at Bangladesh Coca-Cola unit arrested as Islamic State suspect

An IT manager at a subsidiary of Coca-Cola Co was one of two men arrested in Bangladesh on suspicion of planning to fight for Islamic State in Syria, police and company sources said on Monday.

The pair were detained during a raid in the capital Dhaka on Sunday night, said Sheikh Nazmul Alam, a senior official of the police detective branch.

One man, Aminul Islam, was the information technology head of a multinational company, and worked as a regional coordinator for Islamic State, while the other, Sakib Bin Kamal, was a teacher at a school in Dhaka, he added.

A police official and a company source told Reuters that Islam worked at International Beverages Private Ltd, a Coca-Cola unit. The company source, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case, confirmed the arrested man was the head of IT, and said he had been absent from work for several days.

In a statement, the subsidiary said it was aware of media reports that the employee, whom it named as Aminul Islam Baig, had been arrested. “We will fully cooperate with the law enforcement agencies as required,” it said.

Police official Alam said the suspects had confessed to having persuaded at least 25 students to join IS, the militant group that has captured large parts of Syria and Iraq.

At least 12 people have been arrested in Bangladesh in recent months for suspected involvement with IS, and reports of its growing influence have raised fears across South Asia.

It remains unclear whether militants organising under its name are acting on their own or as part of a centralised initiative from the Middle East.

Bangladesh, whose population is around 90 percent Muslim, is already on alert after three secular bloggers including a U.S. citizen, Avijit Roy, were killed by radical Islamists since February.

In a separate development on Monday, the interior ministry banned Ansarullah Bangla Team, a group which has claimed responsibility for the killings, as an extremist militant organisation.

(Source / 25.05.2015)

How aid restrictions impact Rohingyas

Limited humanitarian access continues to have an adverse effect on the lives of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees in southeastern Bangladesh. Aid workers and activists say Rohingya communities fear that what little support they have might disappear as a result of threats made by the Bangladeshi government to further limit humanitarian activities. “When we hear the humanitarians might leave I feel really bad. Whatever [medical] treatment and support we get, we wouldn’t get it anymore,” said Munrul Indrus, a Rohingya employee of an international humanitarian organization in the Cox’s Bazar area, who declined to give his real name. “At least now we have a latrine and running water and some [medical] treatment – none of those would be there anymore,” he told IRIN.

According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), there are more than 200,000 Rohingyas in Bangladesh, of whom only 30,000 are documented and living in two government camps assisted by the agency, both within 2km of Myanmar. The vast majority live in informal settlements or towns and cities with scant or no assistance. UNHCR is only allowed to assist those who registered before 1992, when the process was discontinued by the government, leaving most Rohingya – an ethnic, linguistic and religious minority who fled en masse from neighbouring Myanmar decades ago – undocumented. Under Myanmar law, the Rohingya are considered stateless. This leaves the hundreds of thousands who arrived subsequently in Bangladesh without access to documentation or registration, and living in what Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) describes as “deplorable conditions,” in their latest activity report.

Violence against women a major concern
“When one of the local men broke into my house and started to rape me, all of my neighbours knew it, but they didn’t do anything because they know there is no justice system for refugees,” said Binara Salil (not her real name), 38, a Rohingya mother of three who lives in a UNHCR-administered camp.
She reported the rape to the camp administration and the UNHCR immediately afterwards, but it was two to three months before a security guard was stationed temporarily at her home, and the perpetrator was never punished. Experts also point to growing violence against the Rohingyas, stressing the need for access to justice.
The environment around some of the Rohingya settlements has become more aggressive recently, “with fights breaking out and an increase in violence against women,” Melanie Teff, a senior advocate for Refugees International, told IRIN from London. “Without registration or any legal status in Bangladesh, refugees who fall victim to such violence have no legal recourse,” she said.

Desperate situations call for desperate measures
Without food aid, unregistered people are forced into illegal activities to survive.
“We have latrines and water, but people also need housing and food. As we don’t have it, we have to go find work to pay for it,” said Indrus. In January 2013, the UNHCR released a statement saying that “people [living outside the official camp] have found informal ways to survive without government or UNHCR support.”
But such coping methods can also put people in danger of abuse and arrest. “Whenever we leave our homes to seek work, there are now two check posts even before we reach the first town. If we get caught, the police ask us for money or send us to jail,” said Indrus.
In Bangladesh, one of the most densely populated countries in the world, “strong competition over work, living space and resources is inevitable at a local level [and] the stateless Rohingya are left highly vulnerable,” MSF reported in 2010.

(Source / 25.11.2013)

Bangladesh top Islamist jailed for 90 years for war crimes

Islamist leader Ghulam Azam (pictured) was sentenced for wartime atrocities on Monday in Bangladesh.

A special Bangladesh court on Monday sentenced a top Islamist to 90 years in prison for masterminding atrocities during the 1971 war of independence against Pakistan.

Ghulam Azam, 90, the wartime head of the largest Islamic party, Jamaat-e-Islami, and now its spiritual leader, was found guilty of all five charges by the controversial International Crimes Tribunal.

“He has been sentenced to 90 years in prison or until his death for the charges,” prosecutor Sultan Mahmud told AFP.

The sentence came amid violent clashes in cities across Bangladesh between his supporters and police.

(Source / 15.07.2013)

Several hurt in Bangladesh war crimes protest

Jamaat-e-Islami activists clash with police in capital Dhaka demanding halt to country’s war crimes trials.
Clashes have rocked the main commercial district in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, as police battled with opposition protesters demanding a halt to the country’s war crimes trials.

At least a dozen people were injured by rubber bullets during the clashes, a medical official told the AFP news agency on Wednesday.

Police and witnesses said the clashes – in an area that houses top banks, the main stock market and insurers – began after the supporters of Bangladesh’s largest Islamic party, Jamaat-e-Islami, tried to hold marches.

They torched a bus and attacked vehicles with police reacting by firing rubber bullets, witnesses said. Television footage showed police in armoured vehicles and wielding fire-arms chasing protesters.

“At least 100 people have been arrested,” sub-inspector Rafiqul Islam said.

Jamaat activists also resorted to violence in the port city of Chittagong, Dhaka based The Daily Star said.

“It’s an unfair process, we have demanded that there should be an international tribunal under the auspices of the United Nations to hold fair trial, so that everybody could accept the judgment,” Abu Baker Molla, Jamaat-e-Islami spokesman, told Al Jazeera from London.

Ongoing protests

Wednesday’s violence comes a day after more than a dozen people were injured, including the editor of a leading daily, in similar clashes between the police and protesters.

Demonstrations over the trials have left seven people dead since last month.

The protesters have been demanding a halt to the trials of Jamaat leaders for crimes including genocide and rape, which they are alleged to have committed during the country’s 1971 war of independence against Pakistan.

A senior Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah was sentenced to life imprisonment last week for mass murder, while former leader Abul Kalam Azad was sentenced to death in absentia, last month.

Eight other Jamaat officials, including its leader and deputy leader, are also being tried along with two officials of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

Tens of thousands of protesters rallied across Bangladesh last week, demanding the execution of Mollah.

The opposition has called the trials politically motivated, part of a wider vendetta against their leaders.

The government says that three million people were killed during the war, many by pro-Pakistani militias whose members allegedly included Jamaat officials. Independent estimates put the figure much lower.

(Source / 13.02.2013)

The Hidden Genocide


Earlier this year a Buddhist woman was raped and murdered in western Myanmar. The authorities charged three Muslim men.

A week later, 10 Muslims were murdered in a revenge attack. What happened next was hidden from the outside world.

Bloodshed pitted Buddhists against minority Rohingya Muslims. Many Rohingya fled their homes, which were burned down in what they said was a deliberate attempt by the predominantly Buddhist government to drive them out of the country.

“They were shooting and we were also fighting. The fields were filled with bodies and soaked with blood,” says Mohammed Islam, who fled with his family to Bangladesh.

There are 400,000 Rohingya languishing in Bangladesh. For more than three decades, waves of refugees have fled Myanmar. But the government of Bangladesh considers the Rohingya to be illegal immigrants, as does the government of Myanmar. They have no legal rights and nowhere to go.

This is a story of a people fleeing the land where they were born, of a people deprived of citizenship in their homeland. It is the story of the Rohingya of western Myanmar, whose very existence as a people is denied.

Professor William Schabas, the former president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, says: “When you see measures preventing births, trying to deny the identity of the people, hoping to see that they really are eventually, that they no longer exist; denying their history, denying the legitimacy of their right to live where they live, these are all warning signs that mean it’s not frivolous to envisage the use of the term genocide.”

(www.aljazeera.com / 30.01.2013)

45 teachers injured in IU BCL attacks


KUSHTIA: At least 45 teachers were injured in a attack of Bangladesh Chhatra League at Islamic University, Kushtia on Saturday noon.

In the attack, Teachers’ Association President of the University Professor Dr Nazibul Haque was also injured.

Of the injured teachers are Professor and Doctorate, said a spot account of the incident.

Witnesses said the leaders of the teachers association were talking to journalists at teachers lounge over the situation of campus.

All on a sudden, Chhatra League activists–Japan, Lenin, Liton, Elias, Titu, Sajib, Jani, Ratan, Shamim, Jahirul, Shafiq, Mithun and Dilu–attacked the teachers.

They had broken lock of the faculty and entered teachers lounge. After that, they threw brickbats and beat up the teachers. Later, they vandalized the office room.

Later, IU Proctor Dr Aktarul Islam Zillu rushed in and took the situation under control.

On November 19 in 2012, the Chhatra League, front organization of ruling Awami League, activists attacked the teachers of the varsity.

(www.banglanews24.com / 12.01.2013)