Dhaka plans 7 fast-track tribunals to try terrorists
November 06 2016 11:00 PM

By Mizan Rahman/Dhaka

Bangladesh will establish seven Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunals in seven divisions as fast-track courts for quick disposal of cases involving terrorism and militancy, officials said
“The law ministry has created posts of seven judges to be appointed in seven tribunals  … we have already obtained required approvals from the public administration and finance ministries for the initiative,” a spokesman of the ministry told newsmen.
He added that initiatives are under way to set up the first two tribunals in Dhaka and Chittagong and judges of these two fast-track courts are expected to be appointed ‘soon’ along with 10 other related officials and staff.
Officials, familiar with the process, said the finance division through a letter on November 24, 2015, approved 12 posts for the two tribunals in Dhaka and Chittagong including two judges.
In a subsequent development nearly 12 months later, the finance division two months ago approved appointment of 30 posts for five tribunals in Rajshahi, Khulna, Barisal, Sylhet and Rangpur. Of these five are of judges.
Law Minister Anisul Huq earlier this week said his office is seriously carrying forward the process for installing the special tribunals to ease the backlog of cases.
“But it is taking time as two other ministries have also a stake in the process while the secretary committee will have to give their approval … only then the appointments could be made,” Huq added.
Dozens arrested for attacks on Hindus: Police in Bangladesh have arrested dozens of people following fresh violence against Hindus, a senior officer said yesterday, after a spate of attacks prompted concerns the authorities were not doing enough to protect the country’s biggest minority, Reuters reports from Dhaka.
Hindu homes and temples in the Brahmanbairs district of eastern Bangladesh have come under attack during the last week, after a local youth allegedly shared a Facebook post that Islamic hardliners said denigrated the Masjid al-Haram - a holy site for Muslims.
Muslim hardliners protested and demanded action against the Hindu youth, who denies sharing the post. Police arrested the youth for hurting religious sentiment, but the arrest failed to defuse tension and quell the rioting.
Abu Zafar, the officer in charge of Nasir Nagar police station in the district, told reporters that so far 53 people had been arrested on suspicion of involvement in attacks and looting from Hindu homes.
Attacks on Hindus, who make up around 8% of the population, and other religious minorities are not uncommon in the mostly Muslim South Asian country, but the scale of the recent anti-Hindu violence is unusual.
Bangladesh’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has launched an investigation into the attacks. The head of its fact-finding committee said the violence was the result of a “pre-planned conspiracy”, and criticised local authorities for allowing the demonstrations that triggered the rioting to go ahead.
“The administration, including police, was negligent and callous in handling such a sensitive issue,” the NHRC’s Enamul Hoque Chowdhury said.
The violence comes amid international concern about rising Islamist militancy in Bangladesh and the growing influence of
Islamic State in the country.
In July, Islamists carried out an attack on a cafe in an upscale district of the capital, Dhaka, in which 22 people were killed - mostly non-Muslims and foreigners, including one
The Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council (BHBCUC) estimates more than 100 Hindu houses and 17 temples have been vandalised and looted since the violence began on October 30.
Rana Dasgupta, general secretary at the BHBCUC, said the violence was aimed at driving people from their homes.
“The purpose of the attacks is to free this soil from the minority community and also to occupy their properties and assets,” he said.

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