Monday, July 9, 2007

Ministerial body visits Nachole

Attack on UNO Office
Ministerial body visits Nachole

A high-powered four-member ministerial committee last night went to Chapainawabganj from Dhaka to investigate the July 4 Nachole violence that left 10 persons including four government officials injured and government properties damaged.

The committee, headed by Anwar Faruk, director general of seed wing under agriculture ministry, is to start investigations today. Two joint secretaries from the same ministry and an additional divisional commissioner of Rajshahi are also on the committee.

Meanwhile, the three-member probe committee headed by Mustafizur Rahman, additional district magistrate of Chapainawabganj, submitted its report yesterday recommending punitive measurers against the Nachole Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) whose misconduct triggered the mob violence as well as the ones orchestrated the rampage from behind the scenes.

In its report, the committee said that a number of dishonest fertiliser dealers -- especially the ones obtaining controversial appointments during the past four-party alliance government -- and a few other individuals for their vested interests were out to smear the image of the present government by creating an artificial fertiliser crisis, said sources.

Law enforcement agencies have made a list of 10 individuals who were found to have ulterior political motives and played roles from behind to instigate violence by the fertiliser-seeking farmers, sources in the law enforcement agencies said.

Shahadat Hossain, deputy commissioner (DC) of Chapainawabganj, told The Daily Star that the probe report will be sent to the ministry concerned for further action.

The health condition of Nachole UNO Manjur Morshed, who received serious head injuries, deteriorated yesterday, said the DC, adding, "He is experiencing partial memory loss and visual impairment."

The UNO has been receiving medical treatment under personal arrangements and was yet to be admitted to a hospital, the DC added.

UNO of Chapainawabganj sadar upazila, Shafikul Islam, has been assigned with additional responsibilities of Nachole upazila.

A number of witnesses as well as government staff told the probe committee that the UNO's misconduct had led to the violence. UNO Manjur Morshed, talking to the probe team, however denied the allegations.

A government official said, "Aus cultivation period is already over. Farmers now are collecting urea for the upcoming Aman season and for other uses. The stock of urea is there should not be any crisis...."

There are many reasons why the demand for urea always runs so high. One of the reasons is, affluent farmers tend to stock up on urea for future cultivation. Besides, it is profitable to smuggle it to Myanmar or to sell it on the black market where a 50kg sack of urea is sold at Tk 400 to Tk 500 over the rate fixed by the government, the official explained.

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