All eyes on HC

Order on Yunus ‘removal’ today; BNP asks govt to scrap decision
The High Court gives its order today on a writ petition of Prof Muhammad Yunus, who challenged his removal from Grameen Bank, amid calls at home and abroad for treating the Nobel laureate gracefully.
Bangladesh Bank sought to remove Yunus from the post of managing director of Grameen Bank for “holding on to the position without prior permission from the regulator.” Yunus’ removal from Grameen Bank set off an uproar in and outside the country.
The HC bench of justices Momtaz Uddin Ahmed and Gobinda Chandra Tagore on Thursday fixed March 6 for giving order on Yunus’ petition after a hearing, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told The Daily Star yesterday.
Yunus, who founded Grameen Bank three decades ago, went to the court on Thursday, and challenged a directive of the central bank that arbitrarily and unceremoniously removed him from Grameen without serving any show cause notice, said Yunus’ counsels.
The court set Sunday for a verdict on the petition of Yunus, who maintains that he had been appointed to the post in line with the laws that govern the bank — a sharp contrast to the claims of the central bank and the government.
Nine directors of the microfinance institution jointly filed another writ petition with the High Court, challenging the legality of Yunus’ removal.
Meantime, the main opposition BNP demanded withdrawal of the government decision to remove the microcredit pioneer from Grameen.
The government decision has angered Yunus’ well-wishers as well as thousands of Grameen borrowers and depositors, and the international community.
The government on Thursday clarified its stance on Yunus and Grameen Bank to diplomats and representatives of Bangladesh’s development partners, who seemed unconvinced by its arguments.
US Ambassador James F Moriarty did not hold back his country’s concern after his meeting with Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Thursday.
Senator John Kerry, chairman of the United States senate committee on foreign relations, has also expressed concern over Yunus’ removal from Grameen. He said the international community would keep a close eye on the situation.
Friends of Grameen, an international effort to save Yunus and Grameen Bank, has accused the government of plotting to take over the organisation that has 83 lakh borrowers in Bangladesh alone. Former Irish President Mary Robinson leads the effort.
Meanwhile, BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir demanded the government scrap its decision to remove Muhammad Yunus from the post of Grameen Bank managing director.
He termed the government move a blow to the rural people trying hard to change their lot by taking micro-credits from the Bank.
Fakhrul was speaking at a human chain arranged in protest at Yunus’s dismissal as the microfinance institution head. The 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner was relieved of his duties through a Bangladesh Bank letter on Wednesday.
Jatiya Ganotantrik Party (Jagpa) Chhatra League organised the event in front of the Jatiya Press Club in the capital.
Fakhrul Islam said Dr Muhammad Yunus himself is an institution who won Nobel Prize as he pioneered micro-credit, now acclaimed worldwide. He called the dismissal politically motivated.
He alleged the government is destroying all institutions of the country. They [the government] had looted a huge amount of money through share market scam. Even the country’s security system was hit hard by BDR mutiny.
Jagpa President Shafiul Alam Prodhan said Awami League also insulted great leaders like Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani and Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Haque in its earlier tenure.
He said the government had “removed” Yunus only to establish Indian supremacy over the country.
Speakers at a seminar in Chittagong threatened to go for a massive movement to protest the decision to remove Yunus from Grameen.
Hossain Zillur Rahman, former adviser to a caretaker government, and other speakers accused the government of tarnishing the image of the Nobel laureate and the country.
The whole world came to know about Bangladesh through the achievements of Prof Yunus, Zillur told the audience at Chittagong Zila Parishad auditorium.
“Prof Yunus is being denigrated now. We will not accept it.”
Salauddin Kashem Khan, trustee secretary of AK Khan Foundation, Saifuzzaman Chowdhury Javed, former president of Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), MA Salam, former senior vice-president of CCCI, and SM Abu Taiyab, club president of Chittagong, also spoke.
Chittagong City BNP President Ameer Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury at a roundtable said they would launch a movement to protest Yunus’ removal. Chattagram Unnayan Andolan, a pro-opposition forum, organised the roundtable in the port city.
Grameen staff and borrowers with the masses formed human chains in upazila and district headquarters across the country to protest Yunus’ removal from Grameen.
The human chains and protests were staged peacefully, report our correspondents.
In Lalmonirhat, human chains were formed at Aditmari, Hatibandha and Patgram upazilas as well as along the Lalmonirhat-Burimari highway.
Grameen members, borrowers and staff with people from all walks of life took part in the human chains and demanded the government review its decision, and allow Yunus to run Grameen for the sake of the poor.
Several hundred people formed a human chain and marched in Dinajpur demanding Yunus’ reinstatement in the post of managing director of Grameen. Tasmira Begum, a borrower of Dinajpur Grameen Bank unit, handed over a memorandum to the Dinajpur deputy commissioner.
Grameen employees formed a human-chain at Sapath Chattar in Chandpur and urged the government to cancel its decision.
Grameen borrowers and staff organised human chains also in other districts including Narayanganj, Narsingdi, Narail, Panchagarh, Brahmanbaria, Thakurgaon, Khagrachhari, Rangpur and Sirajganj.


Courtesy of The Daily Star

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