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Bangladesh: Professor’s Slaying Angers Colleagues, Students

A.F.M. Rezaul Karim Siddique was hacked to death while heading to campus Saturday morning

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A man holds a portrait of professor A.F.M. Rezaul Karim Siddique, who was hacked to death by unidentified attackers in Rajshahi, northern Bangladesh, April 23, 2016. Image source: www.benarnews.org

Faculty at a university in northwestern Bangladesh said they were planning to boycott classes scheduled for Sunday and Monday in anger over a colleague’s grisly murder by suspected militants.

Rajshahi University English professor A.F.M. Rezaul Karim Siddique was hacked to death while heading to campus Saturday morning, in a murder whose motive remained unclear but that bore the hallmarks of machete-killings of secular writers, bloggers and intellectuals, police said.

Seven such killings at the hands of suspected Muslim radicals took place between February 2013 and April 7, 2016, with six occurring within the past 14 months. The Islamic State extremist group claimed responsibility for the professor’s murder, the U.S.-based SITE Intelligence Group tweeted on Saturday, although Bangladeshi officials have vehemently denied that IS has a presence in their country.

“We will bring out a protest rally tomorrow, and the teachers will boycott all classes on Sunday and Monday in protest of the killing,” Shateel Siraj, former joint secretary of the Rajshahi University Teachers’ Association, told BenarNews on Saturday after faculty members held an emergency meeting.

Rajshahi University students who were incensed at news of the killing of Siddique – known as a lover of poetry who was trying to start a music school in his village – staged a protest rally on campus earlier in the day demanding that his killers be arrested and prosecuted.

Saturday’s killing in Rajshahi, a riverfront city located some 200 km (124.2 miles) from Dhaka, was in fact the second hacking to death of a professor from the campus in less than 18 months. But the murder of sociology professor A.K.M. Shafiul Islam in November 2014 stemmed from a personal conflict with a student and was not religiously motivated, police told BenarNews.

At least two suspects who were arrested in the Islam homicide case and are now standing trial on murder charges tried to throw police off their trail, by creating a Facebook page where they posted messages that made it look like militants were behind the sociology professor’s killing, police said.

‘Militants may be killers’

Siddique, 61, was attacked by machete-wielding suspects around 7:40 a.m. as he was walking from his home to catch a bus to the university, Golam Saqlain, an assistant police commissioner at the Bolia police station in Rajshahi district, told BenarNews.

“The killers hacked him on the neck from behind. They hit at least three times. [A] two-third portion of his neck was severed from the body,” Saqlain said.

His attackers may have fled the scene on a motorbike, police said.

“The way the bloggers in the past were hacked to death, Professor Rezaul was killed in the similar fashion. So, we suspect that some militant groups could have been involved in the murder,” Rajshahi Metropolitan Police (RMP) Commissioner Md. Shamsuddin told reporters.

Police were still trying to pinpoint a motive, according to Saqlain who is part of a six-member team investigating Siddique’s murder.

“We have yet to ascertain what group could have killed him. Besides, we are also investigating whether any other causes led to the murder,” he said.

‘Very simple and soft-spoken’

Hasan Imam, a sociology professor at Rajshahi, described Siddique as a quiet man who had no enemies and was not a political activist.

“He was a very simple and soft-spoken person; so personal enmity is unlikely to be the cause. Rajshahi University is making news headlines at the cost of our colleagues. We do not know who is going to be the next [target],” Imam told BenarNews.

According to Siddique’s brother, Sirajul Karim Siddique, the professor had never received any death threats.

“He had been involved in writing and trying to set a music school in his village Dargamaria,” he told reporters.

Dargamaria lies in Bagmara, a sub-district of Rajshahi where the banned Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) emerged in 2002-2003, and is now among militant groups being targeted by Bangladeshi authorities in an ongoing anti-terror crackdown.

Bagmara is also where a suicide bomber attacked a mosque frequented by minority Ahmadiyya Muslims on Dec. 25, killing himself and injuring three worshipers.

Credits: Benarnews.com

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Facebook Suspending Accounts of Rohingya Activists: Report

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Facebook suspends Rohingya activists accounts
Facebook. Pixabay

Sep 21, 2017: Facebook is reportedly removing posts and suspending accounts of activists who are documenting the “ethnic cleansing” of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, Daily Beast has reported.

The activists said their accounts are frequently being suspended or taken down and hoped that the social media giant would let them speak the truth.

Myanmar considers the Rohingyas illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh, whereas Bangladesh considers them Myanmar citizens.

The Myanmar government does not use the term “Rohingya” and does not recognise the people as an official ethnicity, which means they are denied citizenship and effectively rendered stateless.

“We want Facebook to be a place where people can share responsibly and we work hard to strike the right balance between enabling expression while providing a safe and respectful experience,” Facebook spokesperson Ruchika Budhraja told Daily Beast on Wednesday.

“In response to the situation in Myanmar, we are carefully reviewing content against our Community Standards,” Budhraja added.

Also Read: Melbourne Sikhs join protests in Australia against Rohingya Muslims massacre 

Besides repeatedly disabling his accounts, an activist who uses the name Rahim said Facebook has also removed individual posts he put on the site about Rohingya refugees.

“We removed this content because it doesn’t follow the Facebook Community Standards,” read a message from Facebook.

There are several such examples being reported across Myanmar.

After revealing that fake Russian accounts bought nearly $100,000 of political ads during the 2016 US presidential election campaign on its platform, Facebook has handed over more details to American Special Counsel Robert Mueller.  (IANS)

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Patient Suspected to Kill Indian Doctor in the US

A second case of the killing of an Indian doctor in Kansas has shocked the masses

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doctor
In addition to providing psychiatric care, Dr Achutha Reddy also treated chronic physical pain and expounded a system he called "Absolute Yoga". (IANS)

Kansas, September 15, 2017 : An Indian doctor was stabbed to death in Kansas state of the US. One of his patients has been arrested as a suspect in the stabbing death, according to police.

Achutha Reddy’s death in Witchita on Wednesday is the second killing this year of an Indian in Kansas where Srinivas Kuchibhotla was shot dead in February. Both hailed form Telengana.

The 21-year-old man, who was arrested as a suspect in Reddy’s killing, was identified as Umar Rashid Dutt in jail booking records, according to TV station KAKE.

The attack on Reddy, 57, began in his clinic and ended in a nearby lane as the fleeing doctor was chased down by the assailant, the police said.

Reddy, who introduced yoga in his treatment, was mourned by fellow doctors and the community, who held him in esteem.

Police Lieutenant Todd Ojile said on Thursday in a media briefing video posted on the Wichita Police website that the office manager of Reddy’s Holistic Psychiatric Services heard a disturbance in the doctor’s office on Wednesday evening around 7 p.m. and saw the assault taking place when he went in.

The manager tried to stop the attack allowing Reddy to flee, but he was chased by the assailant and killed in a second assault in an alley behind the clinic, Ojile said.

He said that Reddy had several stab wounds and was pronounced dead by the emergency medical team that responded.

The suspect was arrested near a country club a short time later, when a security guard alerted police to a man covered with blood in a car, Ojile said.

He was still in custody on Thursday morning and Ojile said the case was likely to be given to the district prosecutor’s office on Friday afternoon.

Pending the filing of formal charges, police did not give out the arrested man’s name, which was found by the media in jail records.

According to TV station KAKE, a Wichita State University spokesman said Dutt was a former student and was last enrolled in the spring of 2015.

The Wichita Eagle newspaper said that Reddy, who graduated from Hyderabad’s Osmania Medical College in 1986, did an internship at St. Louis University in 1994 and a residency at the Kansas University School of Medicine-Wichita in 1998.

He practiced in Wichita for more than two decades and opened his own practice in 2003, the newspaper said.

In YouTube videos Reddy said that in addition to providing psychiatric care he also treated chronic physical pain and expounded a system he called “Absolute Yoga”.

He said that he had suffered chronic back pain for 10 years and that led led him to conduct research and develop the system which emphasised having the “right mindset”.

Fellow doctors and members of the community said his death was a loss to society.

The Wichita Eagle newspaper quoted Denis Knight, president of the Medical Society of Sedgwick County, as saying: “The Medical Society is heartbroken over the loss of Reddy.”

Achutha Reddy’s wife, Beena Reddy, is also a doctor and Denis said: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to her. Reddy’s death is a tragic loss to our community.”

The newspaper quoted Brenda Trammel, a psychotherapist at his clinic, as saying: “Reddy was an amazing, compassionate man who was kind and loving to anyone he met. He had a gift of knowing what each and everyone of us needed and gave it freely.”

April Marie Schlenker from Kansas State University said in a post on TV station KAKE’s site: “Reddy was so unique to any one else I have ever met in the therapy/psychiatric world. He connected almost instantly with people. His eyes held wisdom and secrets and joy.”

A former patient, Maria William, wrote, “He was always a good and caring doctor for his patients. Reddy you will be greatly missed by many people. Fly high with the angels.”

While some posters demanded hanging the killer or taking strong measures, a medical professional, Pedro Murati, said: “In these sad times we must remember what Achutha would have wanted after such a horror.”

Projecting “anger towards the mentally ill would be the last thing on his mind”, he added.

In February, Kuchibotla’s killing in Olathe by a white man shouting: “Get out of my country”, has been denounced as a white racist hate crime, but Reddy’s does not fit that description.

Kuchibotla’s killer, Adam Purinton, 51, has been charged with first-degree murder and with attempted murder in shooting and injuring Alok Madasan (IANS)

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Top 10 highlights of Abu Salem sentencing for the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case: Abu Salem gets life sentence, Feroz Khan and Tahir Merchant gets death penalty

The duration of punishment for the alleged gangsters of the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts - Abu Salem, Taher Merchant, Feroz Abdul Rashid Khan, Karimullah Khan, and Riyaz Siddiqui was announced today

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Highlights of Abu Salem’s sentencing
Highlights of Abu Salem’s sentencing. IANS

New Delhi, September 7, 2017: It has been 24 years since the atrocious 1993 Mumbai serial blasts happened. Finally, a special Terrorist and Disruptive Activity (TADA) Court court in Mumbai announced today the duration of sentence against the gangster Abu Salem and four other convicts- Taher Merchant, Feroz Abdul Rashid Khan, Riyaz Siddiqui, Karimullah Khan. Abu Salem and Karimullah Khan were given life imprisonment by the court whereas Feroz Khan and Tahir Merchant were given a death sentence. Riyaz Siddiqui is given 10 years of imprisonment.

Also Read: Flashback to Terror: 1993 Mumbai Blasts Judgement to Hail on June 27 After 24 Years

The mastermind behind the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case was Mustafa Dossa, the blasts took lives of 257 people and injured 713 others. On 16th June 2017, Mustafa Dossa was convicted by the Court. But, the case against Mustafa Dossa was later closed as on June 28 he died due to a fatal cardiac arrest while the sentencing arguments were in the process in court. The CBI did claim that Mustafa Dossa’s role in the Mumbai serial blasts was “more severe” than Yakub Memon (he was hanged in July 2015 in the same case). The other claim made by CBI was that the “main conspirators” were Mustafa Dossa, Taher Merchant, and Feroz Khan.

Top 10 Highlights of Abu Salem’s sentencing:

  • The court said that Abu Salem’s ‘close proximity’ to chief conspirators of the case Anees Ibrahim (Dawood Ibrahim’s brother) and Mustafa Dossa, made him transport and conceal arms and ammunition at various places.
  • The court said, “Feroz Khan is not Hamza Khan as claimed by him. He is the same Feroz Abdul Rashid Khan, who was declared a proclaimed offender in this case in 1993.” The court noted that Feroz was in fact ‘a prominent member’ of the Dossa gang and was also ‘actively involved’ in smuggling of arms and ammunition to India.
  • According to ANI reports, Ujjwal Nikam, Public Prosecutor said: “Convicts will get set-off for the time they have served in jail.”
  • Abu Salem and Karimullah Khan were sentenced to life imprisonment due to 2 separate counts each. The court ordered Salem and Karimullah to pay Rs 2 lakh fine.
  • Feroz Abdul Rashid Khan and Tahir Merchant were given the death sentence. As per CBI, “Feroz and Tahir were the main conspirators.”
  • Riyaz Siddiqui was given 10 years of imprisonment. He had been found not guilty of conspiracy but was convicted under section 3 (3) of the TADA(P) Act as he provided a vehicle to Abu Salem for transporting the vehicles.
  • Abu Salem was sentenced to life imprisonment by TADA court on charges of conspiracy and murder which were proven against him. After him, Karimullah Khan was sentenced to life imprisonment.
  • The death penalty could not be awarded to Abu Salem as he was extradited from Portugal in 2005 and India had signed an extradition agreement with Portugal.
  • “The TADA court had earlier convicted all of them except Riyaz Siddiqui under charges including murder, criminal conspiracy and other sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) – TADA Act, Explosive Substances Act, Explosives Act and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
  • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) asked for a death sentence for Feroz, Merchant, and Karimullah, and for Salem and Siddiqui- life imprisonment.

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