Dhaka Courier

Four members of the United People's Democratic Front

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Four members of the United People's Democratic Front, or UPDF, the Chittagong Hill Tracts-based political party that was forced to take up arms after splintering over the last two years, were killed in two separate incidents of ‘gunfight’ with the army in two of the three CHT districts. On August 23, Shanti Priyo Chakma alias Sumon, 40, was killed in a reported gunfight with a patrol team of Bangladesh Army in Rangamati. The incident occurred in Sajek union of Baghaichhari upazila

Then on August 25, three more UPDF activists were killed in what the Army said was a shootout between the two parties at Baradom area under Dighinala upazila of Khagrachhari. A UPDF spokesman confirmed the identities of the three as members of UPDF. He also denied the occurrence of any shootout or gunfight, saying the trio were picked up in raids earlier, before being left for dead. If indeed the two incidents are part of a crackdown, it may indicate the Army have concluded that UPDF was behind the audacious, almost unprecedented attack on an Army patrol team in Rajasthali on August 18, that killed one of them.

 

According to information released by Bangladesh Bank, the government borrowed Tk 23,761 crore from the banking system in the first 5 weeks of the current fiscal, almost equalling the entire bank borrowing figure in the books from the 2017-18 fiscal, and already draining half the borrowing target for 2018-19.  The government borrowed Tk 26,446 crore in 2017-18. It has set a borrowing target of Tk 47,364 crore from the banking sources for 2018-19.

The government’s borrowing from banking sources does usually witness a spike at the beginning of every financial year - often to adjust to its higher expenditure in the last few months of the previous one. This time the spike has been significantly more pronounced due to payments falling due in relation to the construction of a number of ‘mega’ infrastructure projects.

 

The High Court ruled that the word “Kumari” (virgin) cannot be used before the bride’s name in “Kabinnama”, the Muslim marriage deed. The word -- unmarried -- will have to replace it, the court said. Delivering a verdict on a writ petition, the HC said one of the four words -- married, unmarried, widower or divorced -- has to be mentioned before the bridegroom’s name to indicate his marital status in the “Kabinnama” form.

The High Court bench of Justice Naima Haider and Justice Khijir Ahmed Chowdhury delivered the verdict following a writ petition filed by Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust.

BLAST filed the writ petition with the High Court in 2014, challenging the legality of column number five of the Kabinnama form, which restricted the options ahead of her before the drive. “Kumari, Widower and Divorced” before the name of the bride. In the petition, BLAST said Column 5 contradicts the right to privacy and is also discriminatory.

 

As August drew to its end, the dengue outbreak in the country could be said to have stabilised a bit - although only after 2019 was established as the deadliest year on record for the mosquito-borne virus. On August 27, the number of patients admitted into hospitals with dengue was recorded at 1,299 - a number that hadn’t strayed too far in the days preceding, including a drop to 1179 on August 24. At its peak, around the end of July/start of August, more than 2000 patients were getting admitted each day, with a highest of 2428 on August 7.  The government has confirmed 40 deaths so far, with its bureaucratic process of confirmation far behind the real figure that has topped 100 by most unofficial sources. The previous highest of 92 was recorded in 2001, the year of the first dengue epidemic. q

  • Vol 36
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  • Issue 8
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