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Phone tapping becomes an issue in Bangladesh

Main opposition party Awami League has said it will oppose the law and repeal it if the party comes to power in the next election.

india Updated: Apr 10, 2006 13:50 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

Bangladeshi Law Minister Moudud Ahmed has cited security measures to justify a law to provide for phone tapping, but has admitted that it could be misused.

The Bangladesh Telecommunication (amendment) Act, 2006, allows intelligence men to tap telephones.

Main opposition Awami League has said it will oppose the law and repeal it if the party comes to power in the next election, the Daily Star reported.

But Moudud told a roundtable conference the government had no ulterior motive behind passing the act.

He admitted: "There is scope for misuse of this law. That's why the home minister or state minister for home will have to issue a written order in case of tapping the conversation of a particular person."

Citing the recent arrests of two key Islamist militants, Sheikh Abdur Rahman and Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai, as part of the government's current drive, he said: "Everyone would like to see the militants being rooted out and the law was enacted to fight growing terrorism.

"We must keep in mind in what circumstances we enacted such a law. There was an emergency-like situation in the country. And there was no scope for pre-legislative consultation as it was necessary to make a quick decision," he explained.

Awami League lawmaker Suranjit Sengupta said his party would repeal the law if voted to power.

He said in justification: "Now let's get rid of this unconstitutional law as the major militant leaders have been caught."

Participating in the discussion, Additional Attorney General Fida M Kamal said there has not been any attempt so far to challenge the law.

Human rights organisation Odhikar and national daily New Age organised the discussion.

First Published: Apr 10, 2006 13:44 IST