DHAKA: The nation will of course welcome the year 2014. But there were some remarkable events the country experienced in 2013 to give a look.
The major events are as follows:
War Crimes verdicts & Mollah’s execution:
Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah, convicted in war crimes cases, was executed at Dhaka Central Jail on December 12.
He was the first war crimes convict who had walked to gallows at 10:01pm on the day for committing crimes against humanity during Liberation War in 1971.
On December 8, International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) issued death warrant and sent it to the jail authority.
Besides, International Crimes Tribunal awarded death sentences to Abul Kalam Azad, also known as Bachchu Razakar, on January 21, Jamaat leader Delwar Hossain Sayeedi on February 27, Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid on July 17, BNP lawmaker Salauddin Quader Chowdhury on October 1 and, Chowdhury Moinuddin and Ashrafuzzaman Khan on November 3.
The tribunal found 91-year-old Ghulam Azam, spiritual leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, guilty of masterminding atrocities during the country’s 1971 war of independence. Although the offences warranted death penalty, the tribunal 15 instead sentence 90 years in jail, out of consideration for his advanced age. The ICT also found BNP leader Abdul Alim guilty of crimes such as murder, genocide and loot. It said the 83-year old deserved death for the war crimes but handed down the life sentence to him considering his age and disability.
President Zillur Rahman dies:
President Zillur Rahman died on March 20 in 2013 in Singapore, closing the curtains on a colourful career lasting more than six decades.
The life that the political giant lived ended at the age of 84 at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, where he had been undergoing treatment for respiratory problems and other complications since March 11.
As the news spread, condolences poured in on the social media, and the government declared a three-day national mourning.
Gonojagoron Mancha, a platform of common people, formed on February 5 demanding capital punishment of all war criminals amidst many expectations and criticism.
People from different walks of life are inspiring the protesters to continue their movement till their demand is not met.
People from different ages, religions and profession under the banner of ‘Bloggers and Online Activist Network’ started demonstrating at Shahbagh intersection in the capital demanding capital punishment to all war criminals.
Emergence of Hefajat :
In 2013, Hefajat-e-Islam became headlines after holding large rallies asking the government to take action against the Shahbag protesters, who are demanding capital punishment of Bangladesh liberation war criminals.
On May 5, 2013, Hefajat arranged a siege and rally at the capital city, Dhaka in the demand of their 13-points including banning the woman right of work outside, execution of so-called atheist bloggers and stopping Shahbag protests. At least 4 people were killed during their violent protest.
Rana Plaza Collapse:
On April 24, the collapse of an eight-story building of garment factories killed 1,127 workers in Savar, on outskirts of the capital city.
It served as a horrific reminder of the poor conditions that define an essential industry, which employs about four million people in Bangladesh. The disaster forced discussions, domestically and internationally, of reform in factories that supply major retailers across Europe and America.
Cancellation of JSP:
US President Barack Obama has suspended long-time US preferential trade benefits, or GSP status, for Bangladesh in a mostly symbolic response to dangerous conditions in the garment industry that have cost more than 1,127 lives in this year.
Since then, coalitions of companies in North America and Europe have banded together, including Gap Inc., Macy’s and Wal-Mart Inc., which joined the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, to develop new safety and working codes for their suppliers. The Alliance has launched a five-year, nearly $50 million initiative to set new standards, according to a spokesperson. The undertaking "will lead to significant fire and building safety improvements for factory workers by creating common standards,” Wal-Mart spokesman Kevin Gardner wrote in an e-mail.
A Dhaka court awarded death to 152, including a deputy assistant director of Bangladesh Rifles, and life imprisonment to 161 others on November 5 for their role in the February 2009 carnage at Pilkhana, Headquarters of the paramilitary force now renamed Border Guard Bangladesh.
Over four and half years after the brutal killings that left 74 people including 57 army officers, the court handed another 262 people, who include BDR jawans, rigorous imprisonment ranging from three to 10 years.
The rest 271 accused were acquitted as their involvement with the carnage could not be proved.
The judgment in the much-talked-about crime, which shook the whole nation for its brutality unleashed over two days beginning on February 25 morning, came six days after it was first scheduled for pronouncement .
Biswajit Killing verdict:
A Dhaka court on December 18 awarded death penalty to eight men and life imprisonment to 13 others for their involvement in much-talked-about tailor man Biswajit murder case.
Speedy Trial Tribunal-4 judge ABM Nizamul Haque pronounced the verdict.
All the convicts are the activists and leaders of Chhatra League of Jagannath University.
On December 9, 2012, a group of Chhatra League leaders and activists killed a 24-year-old tailor Biswajit in the old part of the capital on during the opposition 18-party’s road-blockade programme across the country.
Grameen Bank Bill:
On November 10, President signed the Grameen Bank Bill-2013 into a law, which makes the microcredit institution accountable to the central bank.
According to Grameen Bank Ordinance of 1983, the Bank was obligated to submit a financial report every year only to the government but now it will have to submit another to the central bank.
Now, the government holds 25 percent and other shareholders the remaining 75 percent of the bank’s shares.
Nobel Laureate Dr. Mohammad Yunus had been the MD of Grameen Bank since its inception in 1983, until the government removed him from the position in March 2011.
BDST: 1850 HRS, DEC 31, 2013
Edited by: Rubaiat Saky, Senior Newsroom Editor / SM Salahuddin, Output Editor