Safe haven for Rony, others

What Golam Maula Rony, a ruling Awami League MP, did on Saturday was nothing new and surprising at all. By mercilessly beating up two newsmen of Independent TV, Rony rather reminded people of the saga of some other ruling AL MPs’ unruly behaviour as well as controversial and criminal activities over the past four and a half years.
Their actions have undermined the image of parliament and of the government as well. But no exemplary action has been taken against any of those MPs. The reason was clear. All of them belong to the ruling AL camp, which has appeared as a safe haven for unruly and controversial MPs.
So Rony need not be worried much as he belongs to the same AL camp. In order to have his confidence boosted some more, he may revisit the incident caused by his colleague Kamal Ahmed Majumder in 2012.
Kamal assaulted a woman television journalist at Monipur High School and College at Mirpur in the capital where she had gone to seek his comment on the school authorities’ decision to charge admission fees way beyond the amount fixed by the government. Kamal is chairman of the school’s managing committee.
Kamal, who earned much of a bad name during the previous AL-led government’s tenure between 1996 and 2001 for many of his wrongdoings, did not have to face any action either from his party or the government. In a bizarre manner, he took the floor in parliament to claim his innocence and castigated the media for defaming him through running “false news”.
What could have been the fate of Kamal, Rony and others for their unruly behaviour had they not belonged to the ruling camp?
Imagine the fate of some BNP MPs, including Moudud Ahmed and MK Anwar, who were not spared. The law worked strongly against them. They were sent to jail on allegations of obstructing law enforcers in discharging their duties during the opposition-enforced political programmes.
There are many more examples of how the rule of law falls flat when it needs to be strong against the ruling AL MPs.
During the Teknaf upazila parishad election on January 22, 2009, AL MP Abdur Rahman Bodi unlawfully entered a polling centre and beat up three assistant presiding officers. In May the same year, Bodi manhandled advocate Rakhal Mitra, a rights activist of the district.
With no action taken against him, Bodi seemed to feel rather encouraged to behave in a more unruly manner. In July 2011, he assaulted a local school teacher when the latter protested Bodi’s move to grab part of the land belonging to a school.
In Pabna, AL MP Golam Faruk Khandaker Prince openly adopted a stance against the district administration in September 2010 when his alleged demand for recruiting his party men in government service was not met by the then deputy commissioner. Rebuffed, Jubo League and Chhatra League men attacked the administration officials, including a female magistrate, while the recruitment examinations were going on.
There is more. AL lawmaker Nurunnabi Chowdhury Shaon was sued over the killing of party leader Ibrahim Ahmed in the capital in August 2010. Local AL leader Ibrahim was reportedly shot with the MP’s licensed pistol.
Policemen, who have gone to the extent of beating up opposition MPs and journalists, were also assaulted by the ruling AL MPs.
In Dhaka, AL MP Ilias Uddin Mollah assaulted an on-duty policeman on June 30, 2010. The policeman filed a case against Ilias.
Another AL MP, Sheikh Afil Uddin of Jessore, assaulted the officer-in-charge of a police station of his constituency in August 2010.
And AL MP Captain (retd) Ghyas Uddin Ahmed in May 2012 opened fire on a crowd to thwart an agitation against him in his constituency in Mymensingh.
Newspapers have also run numerous reports over many other MPs’ unlawful and controversial activities in their constituencies. Apart from MPs, the ruling party men have also been involved in many unruly and violent activities.
Transparency International Bangladesh in October 2012 revealed more shocking findings. Ninety-seven percent of the 149 sitting MPs surveyed by the TIB were involved in “negative activities,” including being involved in or supportive of criminal activities, misuse of government funds and influencing government decisions.
And 70 percent of them were engaged in “criminal activities” like killing, land and river grabbing, extortion, tender manipulation and cheating. Many MPs even used their position to boost their income.
All these unruly and controversial activities have contributed largely to an overshadowing of many successes of the government. These also demonstrate how the AL and the government-led by it have miserably failed to uphold the rule of law, which is a pre-requisite for good governance.

Source: The Daily Star

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