Gaibandha Jail authority accused of stripping and torturing female prisoners



District Correspondent, Barta24.com, Gaibandha
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

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Inside the Gaibandha District Jail, a female inmate was allegedly tortured by a prison guard after she stripped another woman of her clothes and tied her hands and feet for 'seeing illegal activities'. In order to keep the incident a secret, threats of death and disgrace are being given. The incident is being investigated after the complaint.

The victim is an under trail prisoner (UTP), 34 of Chou Pukuria village of Birganj upazila of Dinajpur district. She has been in Gaibandha jail for almost 5 years in a drug case.

Describing the horrific incident inside the Gaibandha District Jail, the mother of the victim utp has filed a written complaint with the Deputy Commissioner of Gaibandha to take better medical care, necessary measures to save life and dignity and to take legal action against the torturers. A copy of that complaint has been received by Barta24.com.

The accused in the incident are Gaibandha Jail Chief Warden (Subedar) Ashraful Islam and female inmate Meghla Khatun. Apart from this, the other accused are female prisoners Rehena and Alefah. Prison guards Tahmina, Shabana, CID Anees and Habildar Mustafa.

In the complaint given to the Deputy Commissioner on April 16, it is mentioned that UTP (34) has been in Gaibandha District Jail for almost 5 years in a case. A few days ago, during his stay in the jail, Subedar Ashraful Islam, who was working in Gaibandha District Jail, "saw illegal activities" between another female inmate. Because of this, Subedar Ashraful and the female inmate became angry with the victim and if she told anyone about the incident, they started showing fear and threats that she would be killed by suicide or died of heart attack inside the prison. It is alleged that the victim UTP repeatedly told them (Subedar Ashraful and the female inmate) not to tell anyone about the incident, but Subedar Ashraful and the female inmate were allegedly mentally torturing the victim in various ways inside the jail.

Apart from this, Subedar Ashraful tried to molest the victim several times by pulling her hands and her clothes, teasing her with bad proposals on different dates and times to hold her hostage. After failing to fulfill the wishes of Subedar Ashraful despite various temptations, her associates called the victim UTP’s husband to Gaibandha Jail. It is mentioned in the complaint that the accused broke up the family of the victim UTP by giving false and offensive information against her.

When the victim Hajti informed the Jail Superintendent about these incidents, Subedar Ashraful claimed that the Jailer is his man, he (Subedar) has transferred the Jailer to this jail by spending his own money. The district showed intimidation and threats claiming that he (Subedar) could not be prosecuted. At one point in the afternoon of March 20 this year, under the leadership of Subedar Ashraful, women prisoners Meghla Khatun, Rehena, Alefah and prison guards Tahmina and Sabana systematically beat Seema with sticks on her head, waist, chest, back, knees of both legs and other parts of her body in the inner balcony of the women's unit of the district jail. . Female inmate Meghla allegedly bit the victim's right arm and tore off the flesh.

Not only that, Subedar Ashraful, CID Anis and Habildar Mostafa gong entered the women's unit of the jail, dragged the victim out from the balcony of the women's unit, took her inside the cell, put on handcuffs and tied both her legs with a rope and stripped her naked with a stick on the sensitive parts of her body (two thighs). ), began to beat on the feet. At that time, the torturers threatened once again that if any of these incidents were revealed outside the prison, the victim UTP would be beaten to death and claimed to have died of a heart attack.

The complaint also mentioned that the mother of the victim UTP went to Gaibandha Jail several times to meet her daughter but was not allowed to meet her daughter. Finally, when the victim went to the court on the date of court appearance, the mother met the daughter. On that day, the victim UTP gave a harrowing account of the incident to the mother and showed the marks of injuries on various parts of the body.

When asked about these allegations, Ashraful Islam, the alleged chief Warden of Gaibandha District Jail, told Barta24.com on mobile phone, "I am not involved in the matter." I don't know why my name is coming up. The incident was a month ago. He claimed that the incident was during the duty of Mustafa, another chief Warden here. But I don't know why my name is there.

Barta24.com could not get his statement even though the current prison guard mentioned the name of the previous chief prison guard, Mustafa.

When asked about the complaint, the other accused female prison guard Tahmina Akhtar told Barta24.com on mobile phone that the complaint is completely false. Allegations have been made stating the opposite of what happened that day. At that time, he claimed that this prisoner made these false allegations with the help of a female prison guard named Arefin and her husband.

Besides, this prisoner is accused in several cases and in most cases there are several complaints and cases against him for raising hands on the administration. Jailer Tahmina also claimed that a woman named Shabana raised her hand on the Jailer on the day of the incident.

Javed Mehdi, Jail superintendent of Gaibandha prison, told Barta24.com that the ADM came to investigate yesterday. A report is being prepared against everyone involved in the incident.

In response to a question, he said that a matter has arisen between the parties and the opposition regarding the inside of the prison which cannot be said over the phone. However, action is being taken against everyone involved in the incident.

Additional District Magistrate (ADM) Md. Moshiur Rahman told Barta24.com that I investigated the matter after receiving the complaint. I will submit the investigation report to the Deputy Commissioner very soon. After that, the District Administration will take necessary action against those involved.

   

Gulistan is like a meeting place for pigeon lovers



Khondoker Asifuzzaman, Barta24.com, Dhaka
photo: Barta24

photo: Barta24

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At this time of heat, the body is burning with the intensity of the sun, but no one seems to care about it. Everyone's eyes are on the colorful pigeons lined up in cages on both sides of the road. This is like a gathering of pigeon lovers. I am talking about the pigeon market built on the road under the Gulistan Hanif flyover.

This pigeon market starts every Friday from 8 am on both sides of the road in the Kaptan Bazar area under the Hanif flyover. Pigeon lovers from different areas of the capital Dhaka bring their pet pigeons of different species to this market for sale. This haat, which is busy with the traffic of buyers and sellers since the morning, runs till 5 pm. According to buyers, sellers and locals, this is the oldest and largest pigeon market in the city.

Going to the spot, it can be seen that many people are sitting on both sides of the road in the Kaptan Bazar area with cages full of pigeons. Others are standing with pigeons on bicycles, motorcycles and vans. Buyers come from far and wide to collect their choice of pigeons.


Talking to the buyers and sellers to know the reason for such a presence in the Gulistan pigeon market, it is known that all types of pigeons of low price and quality are available in this market. Starting from a minimum of Tk. 400 per pair to Tk. 20 thousand per pair pigeons are found in this market. That is why this pigeon market in Gulistan is bustling with the presence of buyers and sellers.

According to pigeon lovers, this market has different breeds of pigeons like Milli Racer, Siraji, Bombay, Sabuj Gol, Laksha, Grizzle, Bogdadi, Sabzi Racer, Army, Giribaz, Potter breed pigeons (white, black and yellow), Jaga Pin and other domestic breeds. is available

In this market, Milli Racer Pigeons are sold at Tk. 1200/1500, Lahori Sirazi Tk. 500/3000, Bombay Tk. 500/700, Laksha Tk. 1000/1500, Grizel Racer Tk. 1500, Bogdadi Homa Tk. 800/1500, Sabzi Racer Tk. 1800/2000 are sold per pair.

Besides, according to the breed, size, shape, color, the price of a pair of green round pigeons is Tk. 500/5000 and each pair of army racers is sold up to Tk. 4000/20,000, said the sellers of Gulistan Pigeon Haat.


At present, the price of pigeons has decreased once, the traders said. They said that the price of the pigeon was sky high, it is worthless in today's market.

Gopal Ghosh of Jatrabari, who has been keeping pigeons for 36 years, told Barta24.com that he started keeping pigeons as a hobby. I got addicted, and I couldn't quit. But the pigeon has no respect. I sold a pair of Kala Beauty pigeons for Tk. 50,000 to Tk. 65,000 two years ago, but today's market price is Tk. 2000 to Tk. 3000.

As the reason for the decrease in price, he said, after the increase in the price of pigeon food, the price of pigeons suddenly dropped without our knowledge; probably influenced by the war in Ukraine.

Resident of Sanarpar Monir Hossain. He also came to the market on a motorcycle with several pigeons in cages. Since 1996, he has been raising pigeons. He is a jobber by profession. His hobby is pigeon breeding. He said that he made a home in the Sanarpar area by rearing these pigeons.

Monir Hossain said, he became addicted to pigeon breeding as a hobby. Since then, I spend my time in pigeon rearing without hanging out with my friends. There is hardship, but if you put in the effort, there is also gain. I am making a house in Sanarpar with the money of this pigeon breeding, I am buying 3 motorcycles. The motorcycle on which you see the pigeon is also bought with the money from the sale of this pigeon.


Student Abir Rahman came from Khilgaon in Rajasthan to buy pigeons. In the conversation, Abir said that he currently has 150 pairs of pigeons in his collection. The market price of which is Tk. 2,50,000 to Tk. 3,00,000.

Abir said, the pigeons in my collection are not very expensive. I wish to collect expensive pigeons from now on. That is the reason for coming to this market today. The pigeon you see in my hand is an Army Racer. I bought this pair for Tk. 5,500. Pigeon turn works like an addiction now. I don't like chatting anymore. I live with pigeons all day.

Although the traders of the Haat did not say anything publicly, some traders said that there is a pressing problem with the Haat system. Several businessmen who did not wish to be named told Barta24.com that whether pigeons are sold or not, traders have to pay Tk. 100 to Tk. 150 per cage and sometimes more to the lessee to sit in this market which becomes a lot of oppression on the traders. Not only that, those who buy pigeons from this market also have to pay 10% to the lessee according to the price of the pigeons, the traders said.


Due to this mismanagement day by day the presence of buyers and sellers in the capital's oldest and largest pigeon market is decreasing, traders present at the market told Barta24.com.

When asked to speak to the lessee in this regard, they could not be met and when asked to speak to the toll collector from the market on behalf of the lessee, he also refused to speak.

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Language Movement of Barak Valley: How far is full recognition?



Pradip Kumer Dutta
Language Movement of Barak Valley: How far is full recognition?

Language Movement of Barak Valley: How far is full recognition?

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We mean the language movement in Bangladesh after the British rule in Pakistan in 1948 and the movement to establish the status of the Bengali language through the self-sacrifice of twenty- two immortal language martyrs. February 21 is a landmark day for the world language movement. Bengalis of East Bengal were inspired by the success of that movement. The discriminatory treatment of Pakistan has fueled the independence movement. We got the freedom of Bangladesh as a result of many movements, struggles and above all the indescribable hardships of the great liberation war and sea-like sacrifices and infinite bravery.

Much later, towards the end of the 20th century, Mother Language Lovers of the World was formed in Vancouver, Canada, under the leadership of Bangladeshi Canadian expatriates Rafiqul Islam and Abdus Salam. With the initiative and tireless efforts of this organization and the overall cooperation of the Government of Bangladesh, the day has been recognized as International Mother Language Day in the World Assembly today. The pledge announced by the United Nations today is to establish every language in the world in a place of dignity and not to let even one of the existing 7,000 languages be lost. Meanwhile, many languages, along with their culture, archeology and history, have been erased from the face of the earth due to hegemony and lack of awareness among the masses.

Therefore, we have to understand, despite having a golden history and success of the language movement, only the Bengalis of Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) are not the only ethnic groups who have struggled and sacrificed their lives for the language. Half a millennium ago, the Spanish imperialist power in South America called Maya, Aztec, and Inca developed at that time. The nations of civilization were destroyed by genocide. They destroyed all the books of ten thousand local libraries. Today, only three books of the original Maya language are preserved (in Mexico City, Madrid and Dresden). Couldn't save the libraries and gradually destroyed their culture and ethnicity.

The Bengalis of Manbhum, a part of the Santal Pargana of the Bengal Presidency, have made a significant contribution to the preservation of the status of the language of the Bengali-speaking people. At the cost of many years of struggle, blood and life, they have established their demands. After that, the movement to protect the dignity of Bengali language started in Cachar, Assam. The first woman martyr Kamala Bhattacharya who gave her life for the Bengali language has lost her life in this movement.

In 1961, the Bengali people of Assam's Barak Valley joined the movement to uphold the status of their mother tongue. Although the majority of Barak's people speak Bengali, it was decided in 1961 to make Ahamia the sole state language of Assam. The Bengalis of Barak flourished. Bengali language got the status of one of the official languages of Barak Valley.

The Manbhum language movement has a long history. Manbhum district of Santal Parganas was Bengali dominated but belonged to Bihar for a long time. After India's independence, the Bengali speakers were under pressure due to the strictness of Hindi usage there. They jumped into the movement to uphold the dignity of the mother tongue. With the success of this movement which lasted for eight years from 1948, Purulia district was formed on November 1, 1956 with the Bengali speaking region of Manbhum. Purulia was taken from Bihar and merged with West Bengal. The door of using their mother tongue Bengali was opened before them.

Now back to the history of May 19. Assam's Barak Valley has been home to Bengali speaking communities since ancient times. At one time, most of the Dimasa people in this area belonged to the Cachar kingdom. Dimasa patronized royalty and Bengali language. Over time, when the British partitioned India, Sylhet, a part of Assam province, became part of East Pakistan. Cachar district is formed with part of Sylhet and Dimasa hilly and plain areas. This district has now been divided into four new districts namely Cachar, Hailakandi, Karimganj and North Cachar Hill District (Dima Hasao).

Since the partition of the country in 1947, the residents of Cachar district of Barak Valley have been subjected to discrimination. Assam is for the Ahamias and the Bengalis are outsiders there. That trend still exists. A class of politicians also floated in the tide of nationalism. The Bangalee Kheda Movement was also formed at one time. Even though those movements and violence were suppressed by the government, such problems kept cropping up from time to time.

After India's independence, members of the Assam State Legislative Assembly could speak in Bengali, Hindi or English. The first blow came on language. The Bengali people of Assam protested and resisted the declaration of Ahamiya as the only state language, the attempt to introduce it as a medium of education and the right to speak in Bengali in the Legislative Assembly. Assam State Government did not go for any acceptable solution. They adopted the policy of Ahmadiyya nationalism giving preference to narrow minded leaders. Bengalis also started organizing.

It can be assumed that the leaders of the movement were inspired by the success of the Dhaka language movement and Manbhum language movement. At the end of 1960, the Assam Legislative Assembly passed the Language Bill. The final nail has been hammered into the coffin. The Bengalis were blown away. The continuous movement continued. Satyagraha, non-cooperation, hartal, rail stop, Sankalpa Divas, Barak Valley became turbulent in the non-violent movement of Itakara. At one stage of this movement, on May 19, 1961, Satyagrahis, who had been agitating since dawn, gathered at the railway station of Barak, the center of Silchar. Thousands of student youth mobs occupied the railway station premises and railway lines. Unable to remove them, the government resorted to brutal repression. Police forces resorted to indiscriminate firing to disperse the crowd. A total of 11 students including the world's first female language martyr Kamala Bhattacharya were killed. They are known as eleventh language martyrs.

Their sacrifice was not in vain. In the Barak Valley, Bengali language gets the status of the second state language. Shaheed Minar with portraits of martyrs was installed in front of Silchar railway station. Along the way, Shahid Minar of the same shape later spread in the entire Barak Valley. Silchar railway station has been renamed as Janata Bhasha Shaheed Railway Station. However, it has not yet received full government recognition.

The self-sacrifice of activists including eleventh martyrs to protect the dignity of Bengali language has entered the pages of history. But do Bengalis of all areas have the right idea about this language movement? The answer is 'no'. It is our duty to take the initiative to tell the stories of their sacrifices so that the future generations will be inspired by their fighting spirit and learn to fight against all injustices. The eleventh language of the Barak valley remains a martyr. May the rights and dignity of all mother tongues including Bengali be upheld.

Many who participated in that movement are still alive. Many of those who led are alive. At the same time, it is not difficult to find witnesses. However, they will no longer be among us naturally within the next century. Now is the perfect time to record their interview. Adequate research needs to be done on the movement, its martyrs and martyrs' families. Heroes need to be honored appropriately. We still have a long way to go to uphold the status of Bengali language and Bengali speaking people globally. We need more heroes. A hero does not grow in the soil where the hero is not respected.

Author: Essayist and Traveler 

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In Malaysia, the cheated workers are getting Tk. two and a half crore



Special Correspondent, Barta24.com, South-East Asia
Pic: Collected

Pic: Collected

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733 Bangladeshi workers cheated in Malaysia's Johor Bahru will be paid more than Tk. two and a half crore for their unpaid wages.

Last February, 733 Bangladeshi workers were found in Johor Bahru. They were being made to work without pay for almost 4 months and were not given the promised work. Earlier, on February 5, the Johor Labor Department had set a deadline of 45 days to pay the wages of these workers. But at that time the authorities did not pay the fixed amount.

The Labor Department said the total amount of unpaid wages was 10 lakh 35 thousand 557 baht which is more than Tk. two and a half crore in Bangladesh currency.

Malaysia's Ministry of Human Resources said in a statement on Friday (May 17) that under Section 69(4) of the Employment Act 1955, the Johor Labor Department will now bring the employer to the Sessions Court to enforce the order issued by the Labor Court.

If the owner is found guilty, the company will be fined up to 50,000 ringgit or Tk. 25 lakh for each offense and must settle wages owed to the workers.

The ministry said that out of the total 10 investigations against the company, 4 cases have been allowed. The remaining 6 have been ordered for further investigation.

The company also revoked the quota for hiring foreign workers and blacklisted the employer from hiring new foreign workers.

The ministry also said that a total of 692 affected Bangladeshi workers have already been assigned to new workplaces through a special 'Employer Transition Process' (PTM). 

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US is not lifting sanctions against RAB



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com
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US State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedanta Patel said the sanctions imposed by the United States against the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and seven senior officers of the force for alleged human rights violations are not being lifted.

He said this at the regular press briefing of the State Department on Thursday local time in Washington.

He said, the US is not lifting the sanctions against RAB. These claims are false. The purpose of sanctions is to change behavior and promote accountability.

Earlier, Prime Minister's private industry and investment adviser Salman Fazlur Rahman told reporters in Dhaka last Tuesday (May 14) night, "The matter is related to the US Department of Justice, which is independent and separate from the White House and the State Department." They work independently.'

Salman F. Rahman said the White House and the State Department are in favor of lifting the ban on RAB, but it is up to the Judiciary.

"The matter is going through a process," Salman said after dinner with US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Donald Lu, who was on a three-day visit to Dhaka last week.

Notably, in January 2023, Donald Lew praised RAB's "extraordinary progress" in showing "respect for human rights" during his tenure.

At that time, he told reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "There has been a lot of discussion between us about RAB." If you've seen Human Rights Watch's statement this week, they recognized, and we recognized, tremendous progress in reducing the extrajudicial killings by RAB.'

"Which is great work," Lu added. This shows that RAB is capable of fulfilling the important duties of anti-terrorist and law enforcement forces by respecting human rights. 

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