Nation this week
Thirty-four individuals, including 31 current or former students of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet), were taken into police custody from Tanguar Haor on charges of "conspiracy against the government and apprehension of violation of public safety." Police said the students were members of Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing, Shibir. They also claimed that the students gathered in the haor area under the leadership of Afif Anwar, the Baitulmal (finance) secretary of the Buet branch of Bangladesh Islami Chhatra Shibir.
Parents of the arrested students claimed in a press briefing the day after that the arrests were part of a deep conspiracy. Sunamganj Superintendent of Police Mohammed Ehsan Shah however told journalists that the arrested students were preparing for sabotage against the government, with the intention of violating public safety and causing loss of life and property. They were eventually released two days later on bail.
The Supreme Court asked the High Court to dispose of the rule that questioned a labour court's order to frame charges against Nobel Laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus and three other officials of Grameen Telecom in a case filed over labour law violation within two weeks. The apex court said the HC bench led by Justice SM Kuddus Zaman will hold a hearing on the rule for its disposal in two weeks.
A full bench of the Appellate Division of the SC headed by Chief Justice Hasan Foez Siddique passed the order after disposing of two separate petitions filed by the state and the Inspection of Factories and Establishments Department challenging the HC rule. Senior Advocate Khurshid Alam Khan, the lawyer for Inspection for Factories and Establishments Department, told the media that following the order, his client would not take any steps for proceeding with the case against Prof Yunus and others at the trial court until disposal of the HC rule.
The ongoing dollar shortage is threatening the purchase of natural gas from local gas fields operated by US-based company Chevron, according to Petrobangla officials. Petrobangla has been facing problems in clearing payments to Chevron Bangladesh since 2022. Amid shortage of dollars, Petrobangla has been making deferred and partial payments to Chevron since April 2022. As a result, the payments due to Chevron stood at $280 million between April 2022 and May 2023, according to an updated calculation by Petrobangla.
Petrobangla has asked the Bangladesh Bank through the Energy and Mineral Resources Division to arrange about $280 million by this month to clear the dues. Chevron operates three gas fields in the northeast of the country and is the largest producer of natural gas. About 1,300 million cubic feet of natural gas are being supplied by Chevron daily that accounts for 55 percent of the daily demand.
Khadizatul Anwar Sony, a reserved seat MP representing the ruling Awami League, was detained by law enforcement in Oman for attending a political meeting at the Haffa House Hotel in Muscat. Later, the Bangladesh embassy had to sign a bond to secure the release of the MP. Foreign Minister Abdul Momen, however, told newspersons, "We don't know about this. If any MP travels (to any country), it's in their personal capacity. We don't know anything about it."
Diplomatic and Bangladeshi community sources from Oman said the meeting of the MP with Awami League and its front organisations could not be held in Oman due to police obstructions. Police stopped the event and detained several people as it was organised without obtaining permission from the authorities. In Middle Eastern countries, citizens must seek permission from the police for any kind of rally or gathering. The authorities exercise special caution when foreigners wish to conduct a rally there.
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