Nation this week
The amount of foreign currencies held by the country's commercial banks increased slightly by 4.5 percent in November, compared with that in the previous month amid various initiatives taken by the government to improve the situation. The gross foreign currency balance with the banks increased to $4,708 million in November, from $4,505 billion in October, according to Bangladesh Bank.
Bankers, however, said that the rise was not enough to improve the ongoing dollar crisis on the financial market as the commercial banks continued struggling in settling import payment obligations due to the shortage of the greenback. The growth in dollar reserve might be the outcome of a number of initiatives taken by the central bank as well as the government since April 2022 in order to restrain foreign currency expenditures, officials at the central bank said. Fresh opening of import LCs in July-September of FY23 decreased by 8.57 percent compared with that in July-September of FY22, the official data said.
The Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit of police arrested Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami ameer Shafiqur Rahman, raiding a flat in the capital's Basundhara residential area early Tuesday (Dec. 13). Police claimed that they had arrested Shafiqur over his suspected extremism link. He was placed on seven-day remand in CTTC custody by a Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate court in an extremism-related case filed with the Jatrabari police station. On November 9, Shafiqur's son Rafat Chowdhury was arrested in Sylhet in the same case.
So far, six people have been arrested in the case, said CTTC chief and additional commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, Asaduzzaman, in a briefing. He said that they had found Shafiqur's link with the new extremist outfit Jama'atul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiy. Apparently Rafat is a leader of the extremist organisation and has encouraged many young people to become extremists since 2021. There have been several meetings of the outfit in Shafiqur's Sylhet house. He was aware of the meetings and supported their activities, claimed Asaduzzaman.
US Ambassador Peter Haas was confronted by families of servicemen who disappeared during the regime of President Ziaur Rahman, while visiting the home of a BNP leader, Sajedul Islam Sumon, who is alleged victim of enforced disappearance, in the capital's Shahinbagh. Sumon's mother Afroza Islam Ankhi is the coordinator of Maayer Daak (A Mother's Call), an organisation of families who have disappeared in recent years under the Awami League government.
The families of the servicemen who became victims in the late Seventies-early Eighties organised under the banner Maayer Kanna (A Mother's Tears) to hand Haas a memorandum. Members of Maayer Kanna had started gathering outside Sumon's home before the arrival of the US envoy in the morning. As he left the home after staying more than half an hour, they confronted him and sought Washington's support in investigating the disappearance of their loved ones. Things got physical, but fortunately not violent, and the ambassador was able to get in his car and leave safely.
The government sent letters to the foreign missions in Dhaka explaining the reasons of arresting opposition BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and its standing committee member Mirza Abbas. The letter also explained the reasons for the clash between police and the leaders and activists of BNP in front of the party's headquarters at Naya Paltan in the capital on December 7.
They said 49 policemen were injured in the attack. One of them is in critical condition, the letter added. Regarding the arrest of Mirza Fakhrul and Mirza Abbas, the letter said the secretary general of the BNP and the party's standing committee member were arrested on allegation of planning indiscriminate violence and instigating the party activists to attack the law enforcers. Planning to orchestrate indiscriminate violence in Dhaka centring the 10 December rally as the government cannot allow anyone to hamper public safety and the country's law and order situation by organising indiscriminate violence.
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