Protesters run riot

189 artifacts bound for France taken to airport: Protesters run riot as bid to stop transportation fails
Police arrests two of the protestors in the city
yesterday while they were trying to stop transportation of
relics from the National Museum for an exhibition in France.
Protestors banging their fists on the windscreen of the car
carrying the relics. Focu
Ignoring the protest and demonstration of hundreds of art connoisseurs, ten crates containing 189 rare and invaluable archeological artifacts of Bangladesh were taken out of the National Museum yesterday morning and sent to the Zia International Airport amid heavy police presence.
These artifacts, representing Bangladesh's ancient history, will be bound for Guimet Museum in Paris, via a Air France flight (AF 6731) 12:05pm today.
Breaking the emergency rule, protesters assembled in front of the National Museum gate at Shahbagh in the morning learning that the artifacts were being removed from the National Museum secretly.
Witnesses said the artifacts were removed through a large covered van and forklift truck of Homebound Packers and Shippers at the order by the French Embassy in Dhaka.
Trucks and forklift went to the National Museum premises secretly in the early hours of morning. But the news leaked and protesters gathered thronged outside the museum. Under heavy police presence Homebound vehicles (Dhaka Metro Uma 11-0814, Pho 11-3634, U 14-0187) and forklift truck, bearing "Save The Children Cyclone and USAID Sidr Emergency Relief" signs were used to take away the priceless items. As the protesters were watching as the artifacts being loaded onto Homebound trucks, they requested the media to disseminate the news and prevent the artifacts from being taken away in such a manner.
At one stage, the protesters, including artists, archeologists and students of the nearby Fine Arts Institute locked in a clash with police when they tried to intercept the Homebound covered van to take out the artifacts. Police also charged batons on the protesters when they pelted brickbats on the police.
Shekhar Shashwata, an archeologist was arrested by police, while some media professionals were roughed up. Later, the protesters were able to get Shekhar released from the Shahbagh police custody. He was released upon a signed undertaking by those demanding his release.
Shahbagh thana officer Morshed who arrested Shekhar, claimed he "knew nothing about what was happening across the road."
The artifacts were collected from five different museums in the country--National Museum in Dhaka, Barind Research Museum in Rajshahi, Mahasthangarh Archaeological Museum, Mainamoti Archaeological Museum and Paharpur Archaeological Museum. Amongst the objects are one copy of Prajna Paramita (Buddhist manuscript), terracotta heads dating back to the 4th century, bronze sculpture of Lokanath of the 8th century, stone sculptures of Nataraj, Mahamaya, Chamunda, Kalyansundar, Panchamukha Shiblinga, Surja, Nabagraha, Shyamatara, Marichi and others of the 10th century.
The artifacts also include a wood sculpture of Lokanath of the 11th century and headgear of the 2nd Shah Abbas of Persia of the 18th century.

Country back to pre-Jan 11 situation

Friday, June 27, 2008 07:11 AM GMT+06:00
News from The Daily Star

Khaleda Against Local Body Polls First
Govt wants to take country back to pre-Jan 11 situation
Detained BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday said the government wants to take the country back to the pre-January 11 situations by holding the local body elections before the parliamentary polls ignoring opinions of all political parties.
"All major and minor political parties including the Awami League want the national elections first. But ignoring the opinions the government wants to hold the local body elections first which will take the country back to the pre-January 11 situations," she told journalists after yesterday's trial proceedings in the Niko graft case against her and 10 others at a special court.
"By holding the local body elections, the government plans to form a party of its chosen people and cling to power by electing them," she said.
Judge Khandaker Kamal Uz-zaman of Special Court-9 yesterday set July 7 for the next hearing on charge framing in the case.
Khaleda was produced before the court at 10:05am.
She told reporters that her party wants to cooperate with the government, but it has to create a favourable atmosphere first for holding the parliamentary elections.
"We want to cooperate, we want an acceptable election with participation of all political parties. But before that, the government will have to lift the state of emergency to ensure a congenial atmosphere for the election," she said, adding, "Creating that atmosphere is the duty of the government and it has to prove its neutrality by treating everybody equally."
She said, "Several parliamentary elections were held under caretaker governments in the past without the state of emergency in place. The present caretaker government will also have to lift the emergency if it wants to hold a free and fair election."
Questioning the government's willingness to hold the parliamentary election, Khaleda said there should not be any obstacle to holding the election in October.
Justifying her call for holding the parliamentary polls by October, she said the Ramadan, Hajj and Eid-ul-Azha would all take place after October and that is why it would not be wise to hold the national election after October.

The former premier said the government in its one-and-half-years rule has left the country entangled in enormous problems and only an elected government can help the nation out of those problems.
Referring to the achievements of the BNP-Jamaat-led alliance government, Khaleda said, "Now the economy has seen a slide and the GDP has come down to 5 percent from 7 percent."
Coming back to local government polls, she said BNP wants other elections too but those will have to be held after the parliament elections.
Demanding overseas treatment of her detained sons and all other detained ailing politicians including Awami League leader Mohammad Nasim, the BNP chief said, "All citizens of the country are equal to me and all the detained politicians who received overseas treatment earlier and seek treatment now should be sent abroad."

As the court sat at 10:10am yesterday, the prosecution said they wanted to open the case since the day was fixed for charge framing.
But opposing the prosecution, the defence attorneys said they would move to the High Court (HC) against the special court's rejection of the defence petition for adjournment of the Niko graft case.
Judge Kamal Uz-zaman asked the defence to let the court move with the case as the case is exceptional.
But the defence lawyers sought adjournment again, saying the hearing on charge framing would be infructuous (ineffective) if the HC stays the trial proceeding.
The defence lawyers told the court that they yesterday received the HC order saying the petition would be dealt with when the HC resumes on June 29 after the summer vacation.
The prosecution said the defence can surely go to the higher court but there was no obstacle to opening the case yesterday. They said they have been stuck at the point from where they started. They appealed to the court for opening the case.
When the court asked the prosecution to open the case the defence said, "If you [the judge] open the case in this way, it might seem to us that we will not get justice from you."
After about 30 minutes of heated exchanges, the court adjourned the hearing on charge framing and fixed July 7 as the next date for it.
Eight other accused in the case including former law minister barrister Moudud Ahmed and former state minister AKM Mosharraf Hossain were also produced before the court yesterday.
On December 9 last year, the Anti-Corruption Commission filed the case with Tejgaon Police Station against Khaleda and 10 others for abusing power in awarding a gas exploration and extraction deal to Canadian company Niko.

Taslima Nasreen

Nasreen withdraws controversial portion of her book
Taslima Nasreen
Tossed around from place to place, Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen Friday announced that she was withdrawing some controversial writings from one of her novels that had triggered violence and demands that she be expelled from India.
"I am withdrawing controversial lines in 'Dwikhandita' (split into two), written in 2002 with the memory of Bangladesh in the 1980s when military threw out secularism in the country.
"I wrote the book in support of the people who defended secular values. I had no intention to hurt anybody's sentiment. Now since some people in India claim that it hurts their sentiments, I am withdrawing some lines from the book," Nasreen told PTI over telephone from an undisclosed location.
Her announcement came in the wake of a statement in Parliament by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee who, while assuring shelter to her in India, had asked her to refrain from expressions that may hurt the sentiments of the people in the country. Ever since violence broke out in Kolkata last week, there have been demands from Muslim outfits that the visa of Taslima, who has been living in India for the last two years, should be revoked and she be expelled.
Facing death threats over her writings considered "anti-Islamic", she left Bangladesh in 1994 and had been visiting India intermittently.
'Dwikhandita', her autobiographical novel on socio-religious issues of Bangladesh, was banned by the West Bengal government for some time before Calcutta High Court had intervened to lift it.
The Bangladeshi writer hoped that from now on, there would be no controversy and "I'll be able to live peacefully in this country."
Nasreen was virtually bundled out of Kolkata on the night of Thursday last week after violence there and was flown to Jaipur.
Next morning, she was brought to Delhi by road and after a couple's of days' stay in Rajasthan House, the writer has been shifted to a safe house in an undisclosed location by central security agencies.
Nasreen said that he also requested the publisher of 'Dwikhandita', 'People's Book Society', not to circulate copies of the book still in its possession.
"I have asked my publisher to bring out the next edition of the book deleting those controversial lines," the writer said.
Confirming this, a spokesman for the publisher said, "We will withdraw 30 to 40 copies, already in circulation, from the market and in the next edition we will delete three controversial pages of the book."
Meanwhile, Communist Party of India (CPI) has welcomed Nasreen's move, saying it would "facilitate her return to West Bengal".
"This is a very correct step she has taken. She believes this step will help bring in normalcy. I also think this would assuage the feelings of those who have been hurt," party leader Gurudas Dasgupta said here.


Amra Korbo Joy!