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Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina become neighbours...in prison
September 04, 2007 12:52 IST
They were archrivals once. Now, the two former Bangladesh premieres have become neigbours, that too in jail.
Former prime minister Khaleda Zia, who was arrested on Monday on graft charges, has been kept just yards away from Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina. The two former prime ministers are lodged at a makeshift prison in Dhaka's Parliament Complex, officials said on Tuesday. The prison is a seven-room building that was originally meant to be the parliament speaker's residence.
Deputy Inspector General of Prisons Major Shamsul Haider Siddiqui said 62-year-old Zia did not look perturbed and was smiling as she asked the prison attendants for her daily requirements.
"Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia have been provided the same facilities as per the jail code," he said.
Understandably, the former premiers don't have to face any of the hardships of a regular jail inmate, thanks to the 'facilities' provided to them.
"Zia will stay in a room on the first floor with plenty of air and light. The rooms have been refurbished with beds, a dressing table, sofa sets, ceiling fans, air conditioners, a fridge, a television set and utensils," said Siddiqui.
To keep up with national and international happenings, the two leaders are provided with seven newspapers, said Siddiqui.
Hasina has been lodged in the jail since her arrest on July 16 in connection with two extortion cases.
Additional police personnel and elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion troops have been mobilised around the complex to beef up the security, while dozens of guards and female attendants have been deployed for the two leaders.
Law adviser Moinul Hossain had earlier said that the authorities were careful about the status of Zia and Hasina, arrested under the military-backed government's anti-graft drive, but added, "the law will take its own course".