The Textbook Festival, marking the distribution of free textbooks among school and madrasah students, began across the country on the morning of New Year’s Day. Millions of schoolchildren joined the festivity at schools and madrasas across the country to receive books free of cost for their new classes on the first day of the new year.
Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid began handover of newly printed books among students at Azimpur Government Girls' School and College around 9:30am. Later around 11:00am, Primary and Mass Education Minister Mostafizur Rahman Fizar started distributing textbooks to pre-primary and primary students at Dhaka University's central playground. Earlier on December 24, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formally inaugurated the distribution of free textbooks.
Garment workers staged a demonstration in Malibagh area of Dhaka following death of their two fellows in a road accident, also on New Year’s Day. The agitating workers also vandalised 40 vehicles and torched two others on DIT Road in Chowdhury Para protesting the accident. Two garments workers -- Meem, 13, and Nahid Parvin Poly, 19, -- died as a bus of ‘Suprabhat Paribahan’ hit them near Malibagh rail crossing area around 1:30pm, said Inspector Md Bachchu Mia, in-charge of Dhaka Medical College Hospital police outpost.
Hearing the news, several hundred workers of garment factory ‘MH’ took to the street and vandalised 40 vehicles. They also set fire to two other vehicles, witnesses said. Biplob Kumar Sarkar, deputy commissioner of Tejgaon division of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, told reporters that a traffic police official was injured as the agitating RMG workers hurled brick chips during the demonstration.
Families demanded the return of four youths who they say were picked up by plainclothes men ahead of the general election. The “missing” are: Abu Khaled Mohammad, 25, third year student of Bangla at Asian University; Borhan Uddin, 26, English student at Stamford University; Rezaul Khalek, 24, final year student of Pharmacy at Manarat University; and Syed Maminul Hasan, 27, former student of Dhaka's Unani Ayurvedic Medical College.
The four were picked-up by plainclothes police in Farmgate area on December 29 a day before the general election, their family members claimed in a press conference at Bangladesh Crime Reporters Association. The victims were returning together from finishing a shopping at Aziz Super Market in Shahbagh, the families said. They also urged the law enforcers to produce them before the court if the missing persons were allegedly involved with any crime. Dhaka Metropolitan Police and RAB both denied detaining them. The families came to know of the incident from a fifth friend who was on the bus they were detained from, but seated separately from the other four.
A day after a case was filed against two local journalists under the Digital Security Act for running reports on election results of Khunla-1 constituency with ‘false’ information, police arrested one of them. Hedait Hossain Mollah, Khulna correspondent of Dhaka Tribune and online portal Bangla Tribune, and City Editor of local newspaper Dainik Probaho, was picked up by plainclothes police from Gallamari area in the city. Later, a court sent him to jail.
Mahbubur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Batiaghata Police Station, said Upazila Nirbahi Officer and Assistant Returning Officer Debashish Chowdhury filed the case with his police station on Monday night against Hedait and Rashedul Islam, Khulna Bureau Chief of the Dainik Manabzamin and newly elected vice-president of Khulna Press Club. According to the case statement, Bangla Tribune and Manabzamin published reports headlined ’22,419 more than total votes cast in Khulna-1’ based on false and fabricated information.