Awami League MP orders bomb blast to frame environmental activist

Chaklader give these directives to the OC of Keshabpur police station Jasim Uddin over mobile phone two weeks ago. He called for a case to be filed against Saifullah, an environmental activist of the area and who works with the non-government Bangladesh Environment Lawyers Association (BELA).

Recently Saifullah filed a writ petition with the High Court against the brick factory, Messer’s Super Bricks, which is being run illegally in the area. He also brought a court order against the brickfield. This angered Shaheen Chaklader.

Identifying himself as a member of the standing committee on the ministry of environment, forests and climate change, the member of parliament told OC Jasim Uddin to explode a bomb at the police station in the night, then file a case against Saifullah. He told him to send plainclothes police to create the explosion at the brick kiln, then lodge a robbery case. “A case must be filed, that’s final,” he insisted. He scolded the OC, saying “Why does Saiful go to the court to file cases repeatedly. What do you do as an OC?”

When contacted, Shaheen Chaklader told Prothom Alo on Friday night that he never had any such conversation with the OC. Someone had tampered and made up the conversation. “I am the lawmaker of a Jamaat-dominated area. Someone here manufactured it. Such conversation didn’t take place. The OC also told me no such conversation took,” he added.

OC Jasim Uddin said he doesn’t remember the conversation with the MP. He said he often talks to the MP for various reasons and can’t recall everything.

‘Messer’s Super Bricks’ is located in North Satbaria village of the upazila. Locals said the rules and regulations were violated in to setting up the brick kiln. Local resident Saifullah filed the petition at the court to close the brick kiln.

Saifullah told Prothom Alo that we he was scared. He contacted BELA’s head office in Dhaka. He doesn’t know what to do now.

An audio clip of a conversation between the OC and the lawmaker went viral on social media. Many demanded action protesting the lawmaker’s remarks. Some also made fun of it. Some said many people face such false cases in the country. Taking action against these false cases would be a deterrent for further false cases.

A police officer of Jashore said they heard of the conversation. The court’s orders would be followed in this regard. No influence will work, they said. They said the police will look after the security of the petitioner, Saifullah. Initially, the OC was found to have a justified stand in the conversation, but they were looking into it further, the official added.

A by-election was held at the Jessore-6 constituency on 14 July last year following the death of former lawmaker and state minister for public administration Ismat Ara Sadique. The general secretary of Awami League’s Jashore district unit, Shaheen Chaklader won the by-polls. He also served as the chairman of Jessore sadar upazila.

Excerpts of conversation between Shaheen Chaklader and OC Md Jasim Uddin

OC: Assalamalaikum sir.

Shaheen Chaklader: Who is Saifullah of Satbaria, do you know him?

OC: There is someone Saifullah in Satbaria. Sir, Saifullah went to BELA to file a case over the brick kiln. Sir, he is a bad guy.

Shaheen Chaklader: You must create a bomb blast at the police station tonight. Then you must file a case against him. Can you do it? If you are the OC here, you must do it. Or else, where will you do it? That is final. If you can, keep the area calm. I am a member of standing committee on the ministry of environment forest and climate change. Nobody has the power here. How does he (Saifullah) go repeatedly (to file cases). What do you do?

OC: Sir, he brings the High Court’s papers repeatedly.

Shaheen Chaklader: What nonsense is this about High Court? Let the court say what it wants. Don’t we have the game on control?

OC: Sir, it’s the High Court…

Shaheen Chaklader: If you became an OC, you have to be dynamic. The OC of Bagherpara came to me today. I’m transferring him to Chaugachha again. Do you know the OC of Bagherpara?

OC: Sir, why won’t I know him? Mamun?

Shaheen Chaklader: Talk to him (Mamun). I am bringing him to Chaugachha. You use anyone, do anything and get this done tomorrow, okay?

OC: Sir, okay. What happened, sir? Is he creating a disturbance again?

Shaheen Chaklader: What disturbance will he cause? I am with the forest and environment office. Whose dares to come here? I am saying that you play a game then bring him inside (the jail). Don’t you understand?

OC: Sir, I will take care of it.

Shaheen Chaklader: What sort of officer are you, God alone knows. If you are given a task, you can’t do it.

OC: (laughing), sir. I do all tasks, sir.

Shaheen Chaklader: You do all tasks, do you? Then go to any brickfield, if necessary, send plainclothes police, then they come back after blasting bombs there.Then say, the attack was carried out for robbery purposes. Someone did it. Just fabricate something.

OC: Sir, have you seen the BELA document. It is from the High Court.

Shaheen Chaklader: I will take care of BELA. I, too, am a member of standing committee.

OC: Sir, the document of the High Court.

Shaheen Chaklader: What has the High Court said?

OC: Sir, a document arrived from the High Court yesterday.

Shaheen Chaklader: What does it say?

OC: I will show it to you tomorrow. Sir, I will send it to you by WhatsApp tomorrow morning. Sir, the High Court gives a clear directive to shut down Super Bricks.

Shaheen Chaklader: I will not close any brickfield except those located near schools and colleges in our area. No matter who orders, I won’t do it.

OC: Sir, first see the paper. Sir, see what is written.

Shaheen Chaklader: Alright, okay.

Executive director of BELA, Syeda Rizwana Hasan, told Prothom Alo that Saifullah is one of their network members. She said that the lawmaker siding with a brick kiln owner indicates just how dangerous the situation is for the people who work for the environment. Action against the lawmaker is necessary to create pressure on the police. This lawmaker doesn’t want to obey the court. How can he continue as a lawmaker, she asked.

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