B'desh's ex-interim head, army chief summoned

Dhaka: A parliamentary standing committee probing the 2007 campus violence in Bangladesh on Tueday summoned head of the then military-backed interim government and former army chief to explain their roles during the events.

On behalf of the parliamentary body, the parliament secretariat asked the then chief adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed and former army chief Moeen U Ahmed to appear before it.

"The parliament secretariat already sent letters to the (former chief adviser of the caretaker government) Fakhruddin Ahmed and (former army chief) general Moeen U Ahmed through the cabinet division and the armed forces division respectively," chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on education ministry Rashed Khan Menon told newsmen.

Menon, who also heads the ruling Awami League's left leaning ally Workers Party, said the two kingpins of the past military-backed interim regime were summoned through the government authorities as the parliament secretariat were unaware of their whereabouts.

The development came as the parliamentary body last month said they decided to "invite" the two as a sub-committee of the standing committee was investigating the matter.

The sub-committee was formed in August last year to probe the military action against students and teachers as violence sparked off in Dhaka University campus after a dispute on a trifling matter during a student football match at the varsity stadium.

It eventually spread across the capital and major campuses outside Dhaka in the subsequent three days, prompting authorities to enforce an indefinite curfew in the capital.

A total of eight teachers of Dhaka University and northwestern Rajshahi University were arrested for their role in sparking the unrest.

The violence left at least one dead and over 100 injured.

The then education adviser Ayub Quadri in his statement accused an intelligence agency of instigating the incidents.

The then chief of army general staff Sina Ibne Jamali and former official of the directorate general of forces intelligence (DGFI) gave their statements before the four- member committee yesterday as they were summoned earlier.

Menon said the two army officers told the committee that the DGFI had no role on their own in handling the situation as they acted on orders of the of the then chief adviser and the army chief at that time.