Barguna’s Taltali upazila parisad chairman Moniruzzaman alias Mintu allegedly assaulted a number of people including the Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO), the Officer-in-Charge (OC), a teacher, and a former BCL leader too, according to victims and an investigation report, Agencies report.
Mintu has also been accused of grabbing land and taking bribes. He is also president of upazila unit Jubo League, the youth front of ruling Awami League, the report also said.
The victims alleged that law enforcers are not taking any action against him. Those assaulted by Mintu filed a written complaint with the local government ministry early last year.
The divisional commissioner at the time, Md Shaheduzzaman, conducted an inquiry and found the allegations true.
Following the inquiry, the local government ministry secretary Abdul Malek on 6 September last year served a show cause notice asking why Moniruzzaman will not be suspended. Though five months have elapsed, no step has been taken against him.
On 25 December 2017, Moniruzzaman tried to grab land of the Taltoli health centre. The assistant Mahbubul Hasan opposed the move. Moniruzzaman and his associates allegedly beat up Mahmudul Hasan and broke his leg and arm too.
On the following day, the Taltoli police station refused to record the case, Mahmudul alleged.
Following a higher court order, police on 2 February recorded the case accusing 10 people including Moniruzzaman. His younger brother Tarekuzzaman and his another brother and also upazila unit Awami League general secretary Towfiquzzaman were also accused in case filed for extortion and assaulting. Two of the accused were arrested, but Moniruzzaman, his brothers and others are roaming freely.
Mahmudul was former upazila unit president and general secretary of Bangladesh Chhatra League, the student front of ruling Awami League.
Mahmudul alleged Moniruzzaman occupied a pond on three acres of the upazila health department. He grabbed more land and built a house for a person in exchange of money, Mahmudul added.
“As I opposed him, he transferred me to Mehendiganj of Barisal in May last year,” “Moniruzzaman also broke my arm and leg.” Mahmudul said, “They are threatening me to withdraw the case.”
Taltoli police station officer-in-charge Pulak Chandra Roy said the case is under investigation. “The police is trying to arrest the accused.”
According to the investigation report, Moniruzzaman allegedly assaulted the the UNO at the time Tofael Hossain, land official Jasim Uddin, Taltali madrasa office assistant Shajahan Mia, Rakhine leader Usit Mong, retired head master Sundar Ali Gazi, teacher Shahjahan Chowdhury, Taltali police station former OC Kamalesh Haldar, sub inspector Abdul Khalek and journalist Nuruzzaman Faruk.
More allegations of land grabbing and taking bribes were raised against him. Moniruzzaman, however, denied the allegations. “The allegations that are brought against me are false and fabricated,” Moniruzzaman told Prothom Alo.
He also said the allegations were aimed at humiliating him. “I have answered to the show cause notice,” Moniruzzaman added.
The divisional commissioner in his inquiry report mentions that all the allegations except one were found true.
The victims out of fear of the upazila chairman did not give their statements in the locality. They gave their statements in the divisional commissioner’s office. They also requested to keep their names secret as Moniruzzaman is highly influential. Even the administration and police officials are not spared, the victims said.
The victims also said Moniruzzaman has become rich by taking bribes and grabbing land. He has built a palace-like house, grabbing land of Rakhine people in the area, the victims alleged.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, local government division secretary Abdul Malek said, “I have got the answer of the show cause notice. As the chairman denied the allegations, a hearing will be held in presence of both sides.”
Upazila unit Awami League president Rezbi Ul Kabir said the image of the party is being tarnished by the controversial activities of the chairman and his associates.