Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated this year’s Amar Ekushey Boi Mela

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated this year’s Amar Ekushey Boi Mela, usually held in February, joining the inaugural ceremony at Bangla Academy virtually from Gono Bhaban. The fair will remain open from 3pm to 9pm on weekdays, and open at 8:30am on weekends, till April 14 at the Bangla Academy premises and Suhrawardy Udyan. The fair was postponed due to the pandemic.

This year's fair has been dedicated to the martyrs of 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh. The main theme is the "Birth Centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Golden Jubilee of Independence". The land earmarked for this year's fair has been expanded to 15,00,000 sft to accommodate Covid-19 social distancing requirements. A total of 834 stalls have been allocated to 540 organisations. Visitors to the fair will have to mask up at all times. Hand sanitisation booths have also been set up at all entrances for visitors.

 

Three patients died while being evacuated, and later a fourth also died, after a fire broke out at the dedicated COVID-19 intensive care unit of the Dhaka Medical College Hospital. DMCH director Brigadier General Nazmul Haque said that the 14 patients admitted in the ICU at the time of the fire were all on oxygen and ventilation support. He also said a "high pressure oxygen device” had exploded in the ICU just prior to the fire.

The fire originated at the ICU on the third floor of the new DMCH-2 building around 8:15am on Wednesday, according to the control room of the Fire Service and Civil Defence, adding that the blaze was extinguished within 45 minutes. Three separate probe bodies of the hospital, the Health Ministry, and the Fire Service were formed over the incident at the 3000-bed government hospital. The victims’ families alleged reluctance on the part of hospital staff to try and save the patients. Last May, five patients died in a devastating fire at a makeshift COVID-19 unit of United Hospital.

 

Several hundred supporters of Hefazat-e Islam attacked, vandalised and looted at least 75 Hindu houses in Sunamganj's Noagaon village over a Facebook post criticising a Hefazat leader's statement. Thirty-five houses were badly damaged, and 40 damaged partially in the attack, said Md Jahangir Hossain, deputy commissioner of Sunamganj, assuring the victims of help from the administration, and legal action against the perpetrators.

The attackers also vandalised several idols and looted valuables from the houses in the village under Shalla upazila, locals said, alleging that police were late in reaching the spot. Carrying locally-made weapons, Hefajat supporters from villages adjacent to Shalla upazila started gathered at a bazar in Noagaon and launched the attack. A case was filed in connection with the violence close to 30 hours after it happened. But no one had been arrested as of Thursday night.

 

Police submitted a chargesheet claiming that photojournalist Shafiqul Islam Kajol's main purpose was to tarnish the images of ruling party leaders and extort money from them by uploading fake information. After an almost year-long probe, Sub-Inspector Mohammad Russell Mollah of the Detective Branch filed the chargesheet with the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court of Dhaka. It was the second chargesheet to be filed against Kajol, who is accused in three cases under the Digital Security Act, all filed by ruling party members.

The chargesheet stated that Kajol published fake news on his Facebook account regarding the arrest and alleged crimes of expelled Jubo Mahila League leader Shamima Nur Papia. It alleges that Kajol made a Facebook post saying that Sumaiya Chowdhury Bonya was one of Papia's accomplices "in her illegal business of women and drugs". Following that post, Bonya, a member of the central committee of Jubo Mahila League, lodged the case with Kamrangirchar Police Station on March 11 last year.

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