Saturday, February 19, 2005

BANGLADESH: Maoist Insurgency Report 12-19FEB [13 NEWS CLIPPINGS]

READ BANGLADESH MAOIST INSURGENCY REPORT 07-11FEB REPORT HERE

HEADLINE IN CLIPPINGS

01. PBCP man killed in ‘crossfire’

02. PBCP threatens to blast grenade at Ekushey fair
03. Khulna Rab on high alert as outlaws gets united to hit back
04. Additional SP of Khulna arrested
05. Khulna outlaw confesses to his role in bomb attack
06. Addl SP closed for outlaw link
07. Threat to newspaper agent for toll
08. 3 more killed in ‘crossfire’
09. Two killed in 'crossfire' - Total count now 230
10. PBCP leader held
11. Journalist Belal succumbs to bomb injuries PBCP-Maoist claims responsibility for attack
12. 'Crossfire' kills 3 more raising toll to 228
13. Injured Belal dies in CMH
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19/02/2005


01. PBCP man killed in ‘crossfire’


A regional leader of the underground Purbabangler Communist Party (Janajuddha) was killed in an encounter between elite force Cobra and his accomplices at a Chuadanga village Friday night.

The deceased was identified as Anwarul alias Jihad.

Tipped-off, the elite force encircled a house at Haidarpur village under the sadar upazila where Jihad and his accomplices were holding a meeting at about 8:30pm.

Sensing presence of the law-enforcers, the extremists began firing on them in their bid to flee. Cobra members also returned fire, triggering a gunfight.


18/02/2005

02. PBCP threatens to blast grenade at Ekushey fair

Panic seized the town of Kushtia yesterday evening after the Purba Bangla Communist Party (PBCP), in a fax sent to authorities, threatened to launch a grenade attack on Ekhushey fair in Kushtia University College.

PBCB faxed identical copies of a warning message to the deputy commissioner, assistant superintendent of police and local dailies at 4:00pm yesterday, saying it would blast grenades at the Ekhushey fair within two hours if the authorities failed to stop a gambling progra-mme organised by Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD).

People quickly fled the fair soon after the faxes arrived, leaving the grounds virtually empty, sources said.

In the faxed message, PBCB threatened to put an end to what it called JCD's many anti-social activities, including gambling.

"A huge number of police had been deployed at the fair place and stopped the gambling after receiving the fax," Sahabuddin Khan told this Daily Star Correspondent.

He admitted that JCD secretly organised gambling functions at the fair.

17/02/2005

03. Khulna Rab on high alert as outlaws gets united to hit back

Rapid Action Battalion-6 (Rab-6) has been put on high alert in the wake of reports that all the 12 outlawed organisations in southwestern region have united on a '20-point action programme' to avenge the killing of their cadres in 'crossfire'.

The action programme is mainly aimed at attacking the elite anti-crime force using remote-controlled explosive devices, sources said.

The outlaws' planned offensive will be led by Janajuddho faction of Purbo Banglar Communist Party (PBCP) that appears to have emerged stronger than the 11 other organisations.

Police sources said 50 extremists were killed in crossfire in Khulna region in the last one year.

Outlaws have killed around 3,000 people in the last 10 years and 300 in the last three years in the region, many of them from Khulna city and district. The victims included Journalists and political leaders.

Records available with police said Janajuddo cadres claimed responsibility for more than 100 murders in the last one and a half years. They also killed 14 policemen in Khulna and Bagerhat districts during the period.

Janajuddho shifted its main hideout to Khulna last month and is 'recruiting' drug addicts and wayward and jobless youths in the organisation, providing them financial support. They are being trained to carry out destructive activities using bombs and arms.

Meanwhile, a reported row between police and Rab in Khulna centring their authority is affecting maintenance of law and order, particularly containing murders. Officials of the two law enforcing agencies however termed it 'misunderstanding'.

Rab remained inactive in Khulna city in December and January for reasons yet to be known. Unconfirmed reports said police did not help Rab to nab criminals. But police alleged that Rab operated in an unauthorised way, affecting police action.

High officials of police and Rab-6 yesterday held a closed-door meeting to sort out the problems and create a congenial atmosphere to crush criminals.

Police-Rab row figured prominently at the meeting. It also took up exchange of fire between the two sides on Khulna judge's court premises on September 7 last year and assault of two Rab members by the additional superintendent of police at his office on Monday night, sources said seeking anonymity.

Deputy Inspector General of Police Abdul Aziz Sarker, Director of Rab-6 Lt Col Farhad Ahmed and metropolitan police commissioner Javed Patwary could not be reached over telephone for their comments on the meeting.

17/02/2005

04. Additional SP of Khulna arrested

The additional superintendent of police of Khulna, closed on Tuesday for allegedly harbouring an outlawed party operative, was arrested yesterday night.

The additional SP, Mofazzel Hossain, was brought to police headquarters in the capital and detained, police sources said. He was being quizzed there last night, the sources added.

Sources said Mofazzel, who allegedly assaulted Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) men at his office Monday night, may be implicated in the bomb attack that killed journalist Shaikh Belaluddin and injured three others on Khulna Press Club premises last week.

Mofazzel would be implicated in the case following a statement of Swadhin, an alleged outlaw held in suspicion of planting the bombs on Belaluddin's motorbike, the sources added.

Mofazzel assaulted a group of Rab men when they went to his office at around 10:00pm on Monday to arrest Hasan, an alleged cadre of PBCP Janajuddho faction, superintendent of police at Khulna said earlier.

The additional SP also fired two blank shots to restrain the Rab men from arresting Hasan. He said Hasan was a police informant.

A three-member committee, headed by Deputy Inspector General of Police Aziz Sarkar, is now investigating the incident.

17/02/2005

05. Khulna outlaw confesses to his role in bomb attack

Outlaw Swadhin of Purbo Banglar Communist Party's (PBCP) Janajuddho faction yesterday made a judicial confession of his involvement in bomb attack on Khulna Bureau chief of Dainik Jugantor Dip Azad on January 4.

He also confessed to the Court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Khulna to being involved in Monday night's incident at the office of Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) Mofazzel Hossain.

Rapid Action Battalion-6 (Rab) Monday held Swadhin and Hasan at the ASP's office where two Rab members were hurt as they grappled with Mofazzel and his guards to take hold of the PBCP cadres.

Swadhin and Hasan are suspected of making an attempt on the life of Dip Azad on January 4. The latter was under interrogation at the Rab headquarters in Khalishpur until yesterday.

Meantime, sources said the cellphone and official revolver of ASP Mofazzel were seized before he left for the capital, as he was closed to Dhaka Police Headquarters.


16/02/2005

06. Addl SP closed for outlaw link

An additional superintendent of police in Khulna was disciplined yesterday for allegedly harbouring an outlawed party operative and assaulting Rapid Action Battalion men.

Additional Police Super Mofazzel Hossain was closed to Dhaka Police Headquarters following a probe by Deputy Inspector General Abdul Aziz Sarker.

Mofazzel assaulted a group of Rab men when they went to his office at around 10:00pm on Monday night to arrest Hasan, an alleged cadre of PBCP Janajuddho faction, said Superintendent of Police in Khulna Habibur Rahman.

As Rab men got hold of Hasan, Mofazzel flew into a rage and shouted at them to let go of the Janajuddho cadre. He hurled abuses at the Rab men for entering his office without permission. He even shot two blanks to scare them into freeing Hasan, said Mofazzal's bodyguard.

Rab took Hasan to Khalishpur Rab Headquarters, where he was being quizzed till yesterday.

Sources said Mofazzel, who joined Khulna district as additional police super early last year, used to maintain a close contact with underground parties and criminals for financial gains. He was boozing with Hasan when the incident happened on Monday night, added the sources.


15/02/2005

07. Threat to newspaper agent for toll

Janajuddho cadres on Thursday threatened a newspaper agent for payment of illegal toll amounting to Tk 50,000 or face death.

The criminals warned Sekan-der Ali Patwary not to seek police help. After the threat, Patwary sought help of senior Khulna Metropolitan Police officials. He did not lodge any written complaint with police fearing reprisal.



14/02/2005

08. 3 more killed in ‘crossfire’

Three suspected criminals, including a top underground party leader, were killed in shootouts between their associates and the police and the Rapid Action Battalion in Dhaka, Chittagong and Kushtia on Saturday and Sunday. In Dhaka, a RAB squad encircled the house of Firoz Alam Pintu, on Haricharan Roy Road near Mill Barrack under Sutrapur in the capital at about 10:30pm Saturday.

But, Pintu and his associates opened fire on the battalion which the elite force returned. Hit by bullets, Pintu died on the spot, the police said. His associates got away, leaving Pintu and three firearms.

Pintu, also a reported leader of the BNP’s labour front, Jatiyatabadi Sramik Dal, had been absconding. Criminal cases were filed against him with the Sutrapur thana.

In Chittagong, Hossain Ahammad Munna alias Fayez Munna, an alleged criminal, was killed in a ‘shootout’ between the RAB and his associates at village Mirerkhil under Hathazari upazila early Sunday. Munna, 22, the second-in-command of Islami Chhatra Shibir-backed Gittu Nasirgroup, was shot dead when the RAB members went to recover arms along with him in the area at about 4:30am. The RAB men recovered five guns and 47 rounds of ammunitions from the spot.

In Kushtia, Mohidul Islam Shamim alias Mohit Malitha, 42, reportedly the second-in-command of Purba Banglar Communist Party (ML-Jonojuddha), died in a shootout between the police and his associates at village Lalongar under Daulatpur upazila early Saturday.


13/02/2005

09. Two killed in 'crossfire' - Total count now 230

A top leader of an outlawed political party and a wanted criminal were killed in 'crossfire' in Kushtia and Dhaka yesterday.

The dead are Mohidul Islam alias Samim Malitha, 46, the 'second-in-command' of Janajuddho faction of outlawed Purbo Banglar Communist Party (PBCP-ML), and Pintu, a wanted criminal of Dhaka.

With these, the count of deaths in 'crossfire' stands at 230.

Motiur Rahman Pintu was killed in crossfire during Rab action near Faridabad Madrasa in the capital last night.

Our correspondent reports from Kushtia: A Rab-1 team arrested Mohid at a club in Gulshan of Dhaka on Thursday night. He had reportedly been hiding there since August 30 last year when a court sentenced him to life imprisonment for murdering JSD (Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal) leader Kazi Aref Ahmed, said sources.

“At first, the outlawed leader introduced himself as Samim Malitha, but when Rab men challenged him, he disclosed his real name,” said a Rab source.

During interrogation at Rab-1 office, Mohid had admitted his involvement with PBCP.

Besides, he had confessed to possessing a large number of firearms hidden across different places in the south and northern region of the country. He had also admitted to having links with the murders of five JSD leaders including Kazi Aref, four BNP leaders, and two Awami League leaders, said a Rab source.

He, however, did not divulge the identity of his associates who are believed to be holed up in the capital as well as other places of the country, said the source.

Rab-1 men went to Kushtia on Friday morning and handed him over to Rab-6. Later Rab gave him to Kushtia sadar police.

Police said two contingents of police from sadar and Daulatpur police stations took Mohid to Aria of Daulatpur upazila. As the policemen reached near a betel plantation in Lalonnagar village, PBCP operatives opened fire on them at about 3:30am, Sahabuddin Khan, superintendent of police, Kushtia, said.

Police returned fire that resulted in a half-hour shootout. Meantime, Mohid while trying to flee the scene got shot and died on the spot, said a police source.

Hailed from Talbaria of Daulatpur upazila in Kushtia, Mohid got involved in underground politics by joining Jashod Gono Bahini, the offshoot of JSD, in early 1975. He was expelled from the party soon after the murder of JSD leader and former Mirpur upazila chairman Marfat Ali in 1992. Mohid joined PBCP politics in 1993. His involvement with Kazi Aref Ahmed murder on February 16, 1999 is believed to have accounted for his expulsion from the JSD, said sources.

When PBCP split up in 2002 Mohid aligned himself with Abdur Rashid Malitha Tapan alias Dada Tapan and formed PBCP-Janajuddho. The Janajuddho operatives led by Tapan-Mohid had reportedly been engaged in killing at least 300 people including politicians, businessmen, journalists, and rival cadres in southwestern and northern region, added the sources.

Operatives of outlawed communist outfits see the death as yet another blow to their 'two-decade-old struggle to establish socialism', said a local source.

Security was stepped up at different points across the southwestern districts yesterday. All police stations and outposts have been put on red alert.


13/02/2005

10. PBCP leader held

Members of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested a top listed criminal and regional leader of Purba Banglar Communist Party (PBCP) in Naogaon on the night of February 11.

He was identified as Tarique alias Rabiul Islam, an accomplice of PBCP leader Abdul Matin.

12/02/2005

11. Journalist Belal succumbs to bomb injuries PBCP-Maoist claims responsibility for attack

Daily Sangram Khulna Bureau Chief Shaikh Belaluddin yesterday succumbed to the injuries sustained in the February 5 bomb attack, for which the outlawed Purbo Banglar Communist Party (PBCP-Maoist) claimed responsibility last night.

Doctors at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in the capital declared the 48-year-old president of Khulna Metropolitan Union of Journalists (KMUJ) dead at 11:00am yesterday.

With this, the death toll of journalists in Khulna district rose to six and in the outlaw-infested southwestern region to 14 in the last 10 years.

Khulna Metropolitan Police last night arrested a man, who confessed to being involved in planting the bomb on Belal's motorbike parked on the Khulna Press Club (KPC) premises, said Deputy Police Commissioner M Akbar Ali. However, he did not disclose the name or any further details about the identity of the arrestee.

Belal had been on life support system at the CMH intensive care unit since he was helicoptered there from Khulna Medical College and Hospital on February 6, one day after the powerful bomb had exploded on KPC premises leaving four Khulna-based journalists critically wounded.

According to Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR) sources, Belal's condition worsened on Thursday night with cardiac attacks. After fighting a long battle, a medical board failed to save his life and he died an hour before midday.

His body was sent to Dhaka Medical College and Hospital morgue at 2:10pm. His brother-in-law GM Ilias Hossain received the body from there after an autopsy.

PBCP CLAIM

In a letter to two Khulna newspapers yesterday evening, the outlawed PBCP-Maoist claimed responsibility for the attack that wounded Belal, KPC President and daily Prothom Alo Khulna Bureau Chief Shaikh Abu Hasan, daily Jugantor Staff Photojournalist Shaikh Jahid Hossain and daily News Today Staff Reporter Tutul Ahmed.

According to our Khulna Correspondent, the letter signed by PBCP Khulna regional leader Sayed Hasan alias Sumon on behalf of the party's central committee said the attack was part of their ongoing operation to what they said was eliminate class enemies.

The letter said Belal was one of their 'class enemies', as he was a 'religious tout and extortionist'.

The bomb planted on Belal's motorbike exploded when he accompanied by Abu Hasan and Jahid was heading for the parking lot in the KPC lawn at around 9:15pm, witnesses said.

FUNERAL

The first namaj-e-janaza of Belal, who was also a rokon of the ruling coalition partner Jamaat-e-Islami, was held yesterday afternoon after Asr prayers at Baitul Mokarram National Mosque. Golam Azam, former ameer of Jamaat, led the prayer attended by a number of politicians, journalists and government officials, said BSS.

His body will be kept at the KPC for an hour from 10:00am today for people to pay their last respects to the slain journalist.

He will be buried in his ancestral graveyard at Royermahal village of Khalishpur upazila after another namaj-e-janaza in Khulna Circuit House Maidan after the Zohr prayers today.

The KPC has undertaken a three-day mourning programme including wearing black badges and hoisting black flags at the KPC and local newspaper offices since yesterday.

The KMUJ will hold a Qurankh-wani and a milad mehfil on February 14 and take out a mourning procession on February 15. The union will also organise a condolence meeting and a prayer meet at the press club on Sunday afternoon.

CONDOLENCE

The prime minister, a number of her cabinet colleagues and journalists yesterday expressed shock and sympathy at Belal's death after a week-long struggle for life at the CMH.

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia in a condolence message expressed her deep shock at the death and prayed for divine blessings for his eternal peace.

She also conveyed her heartfelt sympathy to the members of the bereaved family and said her government would do everything possible to identify the masterminds behind the heinous act.

"Shaikh Belal was a fearless and dedicated journalist," Information Minister M Shamsul Islam said in a message. He expressed his sympathy to the members of the bereaved family and prayed for the eternal peace of the departed soul.

Islam, who attended Belal's namaj-e-janaza at Baitul Mokarram, condemned the culprits, and said, "The government will mobilise all its efforts to bring them to justice to stop repetition of such killing of innocent people like Belal."

Social Welfare Minister and Jamaat-e-Islami Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid in a statement prayed for his eternal peace, conveyed sympathy to the bereaved family and sought divine blessings so that Belal's family members could get the strength to overcome the shock.

Senior leaders of Jatiya Press Club, DUJ and BFUJ also condoled the death.

PROFILE

Belal was born on December 3 in 1957 in his ancestral home at Royermahal. He was the eldest son of Shaikh Modasser Ali and Mannnujan Nesa.

Belal was president of Khulna City unit of Islami Chatra Shibir in 1983-84 and 1986-87. He was also once president of Khulna City unit of 'Phulkuri Ashar' and life-long president of Khulna Cutural Centre.

He started working as a journalist as Khulna correspondent of Dainik Sangram in 1988. He became its Khulna bureau chief in 2001.

Belal became a member of Jamaat central committee in 1997.

He was a permanent member of KPC and was elected president of KMUJ in 2002 and 2004.

DEATH TOLL

Journalists working in the five violence-prone districts of Khulna Division have been falling victims one after another to attacks of outlawed political outfits. Fourteen journalists were killed and around 50 others injured in the southwestern region in the last 10 years.

Belal was the latest in a long line of slain newsmen. His predecessors are:

1. Humayun Kabir Balu, editor of Dainik Janmabhumi and president of Khulna Press Club, killed on June 27, 2004.
2. Manik Chandra Saha, Khulna correspondent of Sangbad, killed on January 15, 2004.
3. Sarder Shukur Hossain of Dainik Anirban, killed on July 9, 2002.
4. Harunur Rashid Khokon of Dainik Purbanchal, killed on March 2, 2002.
5. SM Nahar Ali, Dumuria correspondent of Dainik Anirban, killed on April 18, 2001.
6. Shamsur Rahman, special correspondent of Janakantha in Jessore, killed on July 16, 2000.
7. Mir Ilias Hossain Dilip, editor of Birdarpan of Jhenidah, killed in 2000.
8. Rafiqul Islam Rafiq, reporter of Dainik Loksamaj of Khulna, killed on March 13, 1999.
9. RM Saiful Alam Mukul, editor of daily Runner of Jessore, killed on August 30, 1998.
10. Bazlur Rahman, staff reporter of Dainik Dinbadal of Chuadanga, killed on June 12, 1998.
11. Khandaker Rezaul Karim Reza, reporter of Dainik Sadyakhabar of Jhenidah, killed on July 16, 1998.
12. SM Alauddin, editor of Dainik Patradut of Satkhira, killed on June 19, 1996.
13. Muhammad Abdul Gaffar, staff reporter of Dainik Sfulinga of Jessore, killed on February 4, 1996.

12/02/2005

12. 'Crossfire' kills 3 more raising toll to 228

Three alleged criminals including a regional leader of outlaws were killed in 'crossfire' between their accomplices and police in the capital, Pabna and Chittagong early yesterday.

With this, the number of people killed in 'crossfire' between their accomplices and Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) and police rose to 228.

A constable was also injured in the shootout in the capital, and some illegal arms and ammunition were seized, police sources said.

The outlaw was killed in Pabna.

Dhaka

An accused in six criminal cases, Rahimullah Khokan alias China Khokan, 33, was killed in a gunfight between his associates and police in Sarakunja Residential Area on the bank of the river Buriganga at about 4:00am, police said.

The cases against him, filed with Hazaribagh and Lalbagh police stations, include one for murder and three under Arms Act.

Constable Ali Hossain suffered bullet wounds in his leg and was under treatment at Rajarbagh Police Lines Hospital.

Police seized a shutter gun, a pistol with two bullets, a pistol magazine and some bullets from the spot.

Duty Officer at Hazaribagh Police Station said that tipped off, a police team rushed to Sarakunja Residential Area. But a gang of seven criminals started firing on them indiscriminately. "To save themselves, our men returned fire. Rahimullah suffered bullet wounds in his head and chest," he said.

He was rushed to Dhaka Medical College and Hospital where doctors declared him dead.

Family version

Rahimullah's father Ramzan Ali however said his son, a confectionery shop owner, was an accused only in an assault case and was on bail. He was a close aide to a BNP lawmaker in the old city but was not involved in politics, Ramzan added.

He also said some people in plain clothes came to their Enayetganj Lane house Thursday noon and searched it for more than two hours. Then they took Rahimullah, who owns a confectionery near BDR Gate No. 1, with them.

"We tried to trace him out but failed. We came to know about his death from television news yesterday in the morning," he said.

Pabna

A regional leader of outlawed Purbo Banglar Communist Party (PBCP-Red Flag), Motleb Uddin Swapan, was killed in 'crossfire' with police at Sakharipara village in Ataikula thana early yesterday, our correspondent reports from Kushtia.

He was a listed criminal and an accused in 15 cases including 10 for murder.

According to Pabna police, they arrested Motleb from Puspopara village Thursday morning.

Acting on his confession, a contingent of police from Ataikula Police Station started for Puspopara taking Motleb with them to recover firearms. As police reached near Sakharipara graveyard at about 4:00am, PBCP cadres opened fire on them. Police then fired on them triggering a firefight between law enforcers and outlaws.

Police said Motleb was killed in the shootout while attempting to escape from the police van. They seized one shutter gun and four bullets from the spot.

Law enforcing agencies said 11 cadres of outlawed parties were killed in crossfire with police and Rab in the district in the last two months.

Chittagong

Our Staff correspondent in Chittagong reports: Salim alias Kana Selu, 38, an accused in 11 cases for murder, abduction and robbery and other crimes, was killed in 'crossfire' between police and his associates in Rangunia upazila in the district early yesterday.

Sources said district police arrested Kana Selu of Chandraghona ferry ghat area from Gohira under Anowara upazila Thursday evening.

He confessed to police that he had some illegal firearms including one AK-47 rifle under his possession at the port city's Halishahar Anandapur and at Haibbyer Gotta of Chandraghona in the district.

Police on Thursday night searched both the places taking Kana Selu with them but found no arms. Asked by the criminal, police also conducted a search at Nishchintapur in the same upazila in vain.

While the police team was returning from Nishchintapur, more than 20 accomplices of Kana Selu opened fire on them from inside forests at Segun Bagan near Kodala at around 3:00am. Police returned fire and Kana Selu received bullet injuries while trying to flee.

He was taken to Rangunia upazila health complex where doctors declared him dead, police said.

Our Kushtia correspondent reports: Rab-6 personnel are quizzing here three arrestee top cadres of Janajuddho faction of the PBCP, including its second-in-command Shamim alias Mohid.

Mohid, sentenced to life imprisonment in the JSD (Jatyia Samajtantrik Dal) leader Kazi Aref Ahmed murder, and two other cadres -- Taher and Mujibur -- were arrested by Rab-1 from a club at Gulshan in Dhaka on Thursday night.

A team of Rab-6 arrived in Kushtia at about 3:00pm yesterday and started grilling them, a Rab official said seeking anonymity.

Police and Rab sources said Mohid, who was a Ganobahini cadre of the JSD, joined the PBCP (Janajuddho) faction after the killing of Kazi Aref. Mohid is also an accused in 15 other cases, 12 of them for murders.

The three cadres were involved in criminal activities in Kushtia, Meherpur, Chuadanga and Jhenidah districts. They also occasionally visited Khulna where their commander Tapan Malitha lived before he was killed in West Bengal of India a few months back, the sources mentioned.


12/02/2005

13. Injured Belal dies in CMH

The Khulna bureau chief of Sangram, Sheikh Belaluddin, wounded in a bomb attack on February 5, died in Combined Medical Hospital in Dhaka on Friday.

Hospital sources said the condition of Belal deteriorated further on Thursday. ‘He was declared dead at about 11:00am,’ the Sangram chief reporter told New Age on Friday.

After the post-mortem examination at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital morgue, the body was first taken to the Jamaat office at Purana Paltan.

His janaza was held at the Baitul Mokarram Mosque. People from a cross-section of society, including information minister and information secretary, joined the janaza.

The minister for information, M Shamsul Islam, told newsmen that the culprits must be brought to book and punished. ‘We have taken steps to arrest the people responsible so that no such incidents take place.’

Belal’s brother-in-law, Golam Parwar MP, hoped the killers would be arrested and punished. ‘The government has taken steps and we hope all the killers will be punished.’

The body of Belal, who was also president of the Khulna Metropolitan Journalists’ Union, was kept in BIRDEM Hospital.

It will be taken to his village home in a helicopter Saturday morning for burial. Another janaza will be held at the Khulna Circuit House before burial in his family graveyard.

Belal and three other journalists, including the Prothom Alo bureau chief, Sheikh Abu Hasan, were injured when a bomb went off in front of the Khulna Press Club on February 5.

The bomb blew up two motorcycles parked inside the club premises.

Belal was admitted to Khulna Medical College Hospital where he had surgeries.

As his condition deteriorated, he was flown into the capital in a helicopter the next day was admitted to Combined Military Hospital.

The bomb attack sparked off widespread protests by journalists in Khulna and the capital.

Journalists have been going out on demonstrations demanding the arrest of and punishment for the culprits. The police are yet to make any headway in their investigation.