Jaha Alam, a jute mill worker who languished in jail for three years on the basis of false or incorrect accusations filed by the Anti Corrupt Commission in no less than 26 corruption cases, was finally released on the directions of the High Court. While he was arrested in connection with the cases filed by the ACC for misappropriating huge sums of money from Sonali Bank, Abu Salek, said to be the one the ACC should have accused, remains free till today.
At the gate of the Kashimpur Central Jail-2 in Gazipur, Jaha Alam told reporters that he wanted the ACC officials responsible for his imprisonment, plus anyone who testified falsely against him to be punished, and sought compensation from the state for his wrongful imprisonment.
Chief of Army Staff General Aziz Ahmed announced that Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia will be signing a defence pact after all, indeed as early as February 14, to further bolster military cooperation. Under the proposed deal, Bangladesh will deploy two battalions of troops numbering some 1,800 for defusing/removing landmines along the Saudi border with Yemen. The CAS disclosed this while visiting the newly constructed chancery of the Bangladesh Embassy in Riyadh.
A defence deal between the two countries had long been floated, even pushed by the Saudi government. Notably a pact was close to being inked during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit last October, but deferred in the end. Now following General Ahmed’s separate meetings with Saudi Assistant Minister for Defence Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Ayash and Chief of Joint Forces General Fayyad bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili this week, the deal is said to be ready.
Gross mismanagement marred the first day of this year’s Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and equivalent examinations, as candidates at various centers across the country were given the wrong question paper sets during their Bangla I exam, the first exam of the year.
The centre secretaries were held to be at fault in most cases. Only after the mistake came to light did the authorities replace them with the correct ones meant for 2019 examinees, working in the equivalent of ‘injury time’ in footballing parlance to make up the time lost, or run the exams again. But in at least two districts, the mistake went unacknowledged on the day, placing hundreds of students in uncertainty.
The role of the police as a potential force for good in society came into sharp focus again, as part of Police Week. The annual shindig of the civilian security force commenced with a highly publicised set of demands placed before the prime minister, who was said to have responded positively to all of them. The demands include a rise in compensations -- from Tk 5 lakh to Tk 15 lakh if a policeman is killed in action and from Tk 1 lakh to Tk 8 lakh for sustaining grievous injuries, lifelong rations for two family members upon retirement of a policeman, and of a separate medical corps for the police force.
In another part of town, rights activist Sultana Kamal, revealed that two out of every three prisoners in Bangladeshi prisons are kept confined without trial.