Sunday, April 19, 2009

JMB Torture Victims: MP's men return two cheques

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Local Awami League (AL) lawmaker's men in Bagmara yesterday returned only two cheques, each worth Tk 1 lakh, out of 19 they took away after prime minister's adviser HT Imam on Wednesday distributed those among the victims of Bangla Bhai-led gangs.

Coming under pressure following a report published in The Daily Star yesterday, former UP chairman and upazila AL treasurer Aminul Islam Chowdhury returned the two cheques to Manik Pramanik of Jhikra and Asir Uddin, a freedom fighter of Khalispur. Both Manik and Asir refused to talk to reporters.

Sources said the two were asked to give MP Enamul Haque's men half of the money after converting the cheques and also threatened not to talk to the media.

Soon after they were given the cheques at around 12:00noon, upazila AL General Secretary Zakirul Islam Shantu and upazila Jubo League President Abdus Salam took them to Bhawaniganj Bazar to show local journalists that the victims have the cheques, not them.

Ataur Rahman of Hamirkutsa, a torture victim, Parijan Bibi, wife of victim Rofikul Islam, and another victim Amjad Hossain Dugu, who did not hand over cheques to the MP's men, are still under pressure for giving the MP's men half of the grants.

When asked how the list of victims was prepared, Shantu said, "The victims applied for the grants and the lawmaker took necessary steps for getting them the grants."

He also said they are preparing a fresh list of victims and it will be completed within this month.

Asked whether any announcement was made seeking applications from the victims, he said it wasn't formally announced. However, 20 people have so far applied for grants.

Three cheques could not be distributed because of complications regarding names of victims, AL lawmaker Enamul Haque told The Daily Star.

"None of the victims would get any grant unless I had managed those for them. But a vested quarter is now trying to make it a big issue," said the MP.

Meanwhile, Shefaul Karim, deputy commissioner (DC) of Rajshahi, put the total number of cheques for the victims to 25 instead of 24 mentioned earlier by local MP Enamul.

When asked about allegations against the MP's men, the DC said he knew nothing about the matter.

"We have nothing to do with it. The affected people can file complaint with the prime minister's office from where they got the cheques, not with us," he said.

When contacted, the acting Superintendent of Police (SP) in Rajshahi Abdul Kuddus Chowdhury said, "No one has lodged any complaint with us in this regard."

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