Bengal Classical Music Festival 2017 cancelled

Bengal Foundation Chairman Abul Khair

Abul Khair, chairman of Bengal Foundation, announces the cancellation of this year’s festival at a press conference at the Hotel Westin in the capital. Photo: Sheikh Mehedi Morshed

 

In what is arguably the biggest blow to the country’s cultural development, the Bengal Classical Music Festival for this year has been cancelled, due to the unavailability of its venue, Army Stadium.

Bengal Foundation made the announcement in a press conference at the Hotel Westin in the capital today.

The press release says the Army Sports Control Board (ASCB) on August 31 had denied allotment of the Army Stadium from November 20-28 (with the event going on from November 23-27) to Bengal Foundation, citing the arrival of the Pope to Bangladesh at the time.

When it was known that the Pope was arriving on November 30 and his main programme would not be held at the Army Stadium, Bengal Foundation reapplied for the venue on September 9 but no progress was made in that regard.

Due to the stature of the festival and the extensive preparation required, the organisers have decided to cancel this year’s festival.

An illustrious lineup of artistes were confirmed to perform at the festival, including Pt. Jasraj, Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Asia’s first Grammy winner Vidwan Vikku Vinayakram, a Western Classical Symphonic Orchestra (to perform with Pt. L Subramaniam), along with festival regulars Pt. Ajoy Chakravarty, Ustad Rashid Khan, Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pt. Ulhas Kashalkar, Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan and Kaushiki Chakravarty.

Pick observers with no political affiliation, CEC asks monitors

election commission monitors

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda on Sunday, October 22, 2017, advises local election monitoring organisations not to appoint political activists as observers. Photo: Mohammad Al-Masum Molla

 

Election observing organistions should be careful in appointing its observers so that no persons with political affiliation get the job, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda said today.

The CEC made the call while giving an inaugural speech during a dialogue with organisations’ official at the Nirbachan Bhaban in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in Dhaka around 11:00am.   

“Election observers can work as supporting organisations, if electoral rules are followed properly during the polls,” Munira Khan, president of Fair Election Monitoring Alliance (Fema), told reporters after a two-and-half-hour meeting with the EC.

 

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda
Photo: Mohammad Al-Masum Molla

Meanwhile, another election observing organisation, Election Working Group’s (EWG) Coordinator Aliuzzaman said, “We urged the EC to take action against those election monitoring organisations are affiliated with political parties.

 

The meeting ended around 1:30pm today.

CEC Nurul Huda urged the election monitors to also be careful so that the election would not be hampered by their inspection.

A total of 33 election monitoring organisations are invited for the discussion with Election Commission (EC) today.   

EC is holding the dialogues with political, civil and media regarding the 11th parliamentary polls.

‘Shooting at Chittagong’: Transport workers protest AL man’s detention

Ctg transport workers protest AL man’s detention

Transport workers on Sunday, October 22, 2017 block Hathazari bus stand area in Chittagong for around three hours protesting detention of an Awami League man. Photo: Prabir Das

 

Transport workers today blocked Hathazari bus stand area in Chittagong for around three hours protesting the detention of Awami League (North District) activist Manjurul Alam, who allegedly shot a Jubo League man last night.

Manjurul Alam, a member of north district Awami League and also a leader of Bangladesh Roads Transport Worker’s Federation, was detained last night from the gate of Officer’s Club in the port city after he fired shots at Jubo League (South District) man Joynal, reports our Chittagong correspondent quoting Officer-in-charge of Kotwali Police Station Jashim Uddin.

Manjurul and Joynal got into an altercation after getting out from the Officer’s Club around 12midnight and at one stage Manjurul pulled out his pistol and fired at Joynal’s leg, the official said.

Meanwhile, owing to the three and a half hour long blockade at Hathazari Bus stand, many long-distance buses to Bandarban, Khagrachhari and Rangamati could not leave the station.

The blockade was removed around 12:00pm, said Additional Superintendent of Police (Hathazari circle) Abdullah Al Masum.

Rain to persist for 2 days more

Rainy weather in Bangladesh

 

Due to a depression in the Bay, Dhaka has been experiencing moderate to heavy rain since early today, causing immense sufferings to the dwellers.

The Met office recorded 30mm rain between 6:00pm and 9:00pm in Dhaka.

The highest amount of rain, 56mm, has been recorded in Shreemangal of Moulvibazar district, said an on duty meteorologist of the Bangladesh Meteorological Department.

The rainy is likely to persist till the day after tomorrow throughout the country, he said.

Many thoroughfares of Dhaka went under water, causing trouble for school and office-goers.

Light to moderate rain/thunder showers accompanied by temporary gusty/squally wind is likely to occur at most places over Dhaka, Khulna, Barisal and Chittagong divisions and at many places over Rajshahi, Rangpur, Mymensingh and Sylhet divisions with moderately heavy to very heavy falls at places over the country, according to the Met office's 24-hours forecast commencing at 9:00am today. 

 

The well-marked low over West central Bay and adjoining area intensified into a depression over the same area (Near lat 16.5°N and long 86.5°E), and it is likely to intensify further and move in a North/Northwesterly direction, says the bulletin. 

CEC praises AL for development

Awami League leaders were in electoral talks with the Election Commission yesterday at the Nirbachan Bhaban in the capital. Photo: Collected

 

Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda yesterday said the Awami League has taken the country to the "highway of development".

“The crown is on Sheikh Hasina's head for expanding science and technology and preserving the environment through ensuring development in education, social, economic and infrastructure in every sector. Today, Bangladesh has become a middle-income country under the leadership of the prime minister," he said.  

According to the CEC, almost all the laws and regulations of the Election Commission were formulated during the tenure of the AL government and his office was enjoying more freedom in comparison to ECs in many other countries.

He lauded the AL and Hasina this way at the start of yesterday's dialogue between the commission and the party at the Nirbachan Bhaban in Agargaon.

Led by General Secretary Obaidul Quader, a 22-member AL delegation placed an 11-point proposal to the EC during the formal talks on the upcoming national elections.

Emerging from the around two-and-a-half hours meeting, Quader said their discussion was "positive and constructive" and that they placed the proposals for a fairer, more neutral and acceptable election.   

He also said the CEC termed the proposals "neutral".

The proposals included introduction of electronic voting machines (EVMs), ensuring proper execution of existing electoral laws and regulations to prevent the use of illegal money and muscle power, taking strict action against public servants for irresponsible behaviour and appointing presiding and assistant presiding officers only from government officials.

The AL also requested the EC to ensure transparency and be careful in appointing local and foreign observers.

On the deployment of armed forces during the polls, the party referred to Section 129 to 131 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and army rules which say army may be deployed in aid of civil power. 

The AL also proposed not to go for any fresh demarcation as the party thinks it might create legal complications.

Along with the proposals, the party handed over a document to the commission where it mentioned another 11 proposals for holding a free, fair and neutral election.

These proposals included keeping the administration and the law enforcement agencies under the supervision of the Election Commission during the polls and  limiting the election-time government's jurisdiction to the essential routine work only.

Earlier on January 11, the party had placed an 11-point proposal during its dialogue with President Abdul Hamid on the formation of a new EC.

Asked whether he discussed the CEC's recent comment on Gen Ziaur Rahman with the EC, Quader said, “We asked [it] and got our answer. But [we] don't want to say anything in this regard. If needed, the Election Commission will come up with the explanation."

Sources in the meeting, however, said there was no discussion on the matter during yesterday's talks.

During the EC's electoral talks with the BNP on Sunday, the CEC lauded the party's founder Ziaur Rahman, which aggrieved many AL leaders. That day, Huda said Ziaur Rahman restored multi-party democracy in the country.

The sources said during yesterday's meeting, many AL leaders advised the CEC to remain careful while making any comments as those might be misinterpreted.

One of the leaders told The Daily Star that they requested the CEC to "consider himself as a constitutional post instead of a person before making comments".

At his introductory speech, CEC Nurul Huda said after the assassination of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Awami League had to face a tough time when Sheikh Hasina returned from abroad and took the helm of the party.

“Awami League participated in the national polls in 1986 and Sheikh Hasina became a member of parliament,” he added.

The AL formed governments under her leadership in 1996, 2008 and 2014.  He also said trials of Bangabandhu killing case and war crimes cases were held under her leadership.

The CEC also talked about the history of Bangladesh, the 1952 Language Movement, Mass Uprising in 1969, the country's independence and Bangabandhu's role in achieving the independence.

After its meeting with the commission, the 22-member AL team met Hasina at the Gono Bhaban, the official residence of the prime minister, last night।

There, the PM said her party did everything possible so that a neutral election can take place and termed the proposals placed by AL "people's proposals".  

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