Saturday, January 21, 2006

Highlights 21st January 2006

40,000 Arabic speaaking Hindu students in West Bengal Madrassas: Fourteen-year-old Badal Das' favourite poem is Fil Ibtehal, an Arabic sonnet. His brother, Sajal, fluently reads out from a short biography of Mahatma Gandhi in Arabic. There is nothing surprising about the two brothers' knowledge of Arabic—they study at the Matikona High Madrassa in West Bengal's Birbhum district. Nor are the two curiosities in the madrassa—they are among the nearly 40,000 Hindu children studying in madrassas across the state. Indeed, it is West Bengal's 508 madrassas that are the curiosities—they are quite unlike those elsewhere in the country and the world. Apart from the fact that they have so many Hindu students, there's not a single mullah teaching in them. More remarkably, they are co-educational—girls actually outnumber boys in them, and they sit and study in the same classrooms with them, something taboo in madrassas anywhere else. In fact, there's little difference between the madrassas and other schools in West Bengal....more in OUTLOOK

Bangladesh to introduce anti-terrorist law: Bangladeshi government, which is facing terrorist activities by the Islamist militants, is going to make an anti-terrorist law.The draft of the law and other preparatory works to make the law have already been completed, an official in the Ministry of Law and Parliamentary Affairs confirmed on Saturday. The law will be placed before parliament in its next session, which is going into session from next Monday Jan. 23. It will provide stiff punishment for terrorist acts, including death punishment, the official said wishing not to named. He said the government is making the law to tackle the situation of terrorism, which rocked the country since Aug. 17 last year, blasting about 500 bombs across the country almost simultaneously that killed three persons and injured about 150 more in Xinhuanet

Bangladesh, U.S. likely to set up Counter-Terrorism Bureau: Bangladesh and the United States are likely to set up an institutional framework of Counter-Terrorism Bureau to enhance Dhaka's capability to effectively deal with the terrorism and militancy. Local news agency UNB quoted a high official of Foreign Ministry as saying on Friday that U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs Christina Rocca will arrive here on Jan. 26, carrying a letter of President Bush. Rocca will discuss with Bangladeshi officials about the modalities of the proposed Bureau. "Modalities of the proposed Counter-Terrorism Bureau or Unit would be discussed during Rocca's upcoming visit," the official preferring anonymity was quoted as saying. He, however, could not say if Dhaka and Washington would sign any instrument or protocol during Rocca's visit.....more in Xinhuanet


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