BNP’s city mayors being removed

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Rozina Islam | Mar 01, 2015

Ariful Huq ,Mosaddeq Hossain, MA MannanThe city mayors, who were elected with supports from the BNP, are being removed from their posts.
Their removal is being initiated in the backdrop of one case after another being lodged against them.

Sylhet city mayor Ariful Huq has been summarily dismissed. Gazipur city corporation’s mayor  is likely to be replaced by Awami League-backed Asadur Rahman.

Rajshahi mayor Mosaddeq Hossain has gone into hiding after several cases including of sabotage, were filed against him. There are two cases against Khulna mayor Mohammed Muniruzzaman. He has been “unwell” in a private hospital in Dhaka. He visited Khulna once within this time.

Several sources in the government say, action is being taken against the elected mayors, by filing cases against them and accusing them of involvement in the hartals, blockade and setting vehicles on fire. They have fled in fear. Awami League leaders take advantage of this and stand in as panel mayor.

Political advisor to the prime minister HT Imam told Prothom Alo, “All the cases were criminal. Some were clearly involved in criminal activities. Arif was arrested in the Kibria murder case and his statement was taken under section 164. There was nothing else to be done. There are several cases against the Rajshahi mayor. Gazipur’s Mannan has been a criminal for long. He had attacked police during the Hefazat incident. So mayor or not, you will have to pay for you crimes.”

Advisor to BNP chairperson and mayor of Gazipur MA Mannan was recently arrested from his house in Baridhara and was taken on remand. Several sources in the local government division have said, when charge-sheets are submitted concerning the cases filed against MA Mannan, he will be removed from the post of mayor. The charge-sheets are being prepared.

A court order had suspended Asadur Rahman’s panel mayor post. However, last week the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court declared him to be the lawful mayor. So now the obstacle to his being acting mayor has been removed. Asadur Rahman, councillor of ward no. 43 (Pagar, Tongi) is a close associate of former mayor Azmat Ullah Khan. He told Prothom Alo, the Appellate Division verdict went in his favour. The verdict was submitted to the local government division on Thursday. According to the rule, among three panel mayors, the first one is made acting mayor.

He may be given responsibility of mayor. This was confirmed by local government division additional secretary Ashok Madhab Roy. Rajshahi City Corporation sources said that the city corporation branch of the local government division issued a letter to the corporation inquiring about the cases against mayor Mosaddeq Hossain. Within the span of one month, the Rajshahi mayor applied twice to the local government division for permission to travel abroad. Then the local government division wrote to the Rajshahi police commissioner, inquiring about the case against him. The police has not replied as yet.

Rajshahi metropolitan police commissioner Mohammed Shamsuddin refused to make any official comment in this regard. However, senior secretary of the home ministry Mozammel Huq Khan told Prothom Alo, it is the city corporation that will take a decision regarding the dismissal of Rajshahi mayor. The home ministry can arrest anyone if there is a case against him.

On the other hand, local government expert Tofail Ahmed has criticised the removal of elected people’s representatives by filing cases against them. Speaking to Prothom Alo, he said, “The government itself claimed that it had conducted a free and fair local government elections. So why will an elected representative not be allowed to work? This is a bad precedent. If cases are filed in such a manner, this will have a detrimental impact on the Dhaka and Chittagong city corporation election.”

After he became Rajshahi mayor, 16 cases were filed against Mosaddeq. He has gone into hiding since 22 January. An executive officer of the city corporation said he is giving his decisions on financial matters from an unknown place. Cases have been filed against him regarding the murder of police constable Siddharth and also under the explosive substances act. He has also been accused of instigating and directing various anti-state acts of sabotage.

Two cases were filed against Khulna city corporation mayor and city BNP general secretary Mohammed Muniruzzaman and he has been in Dhaka since then. Chief executive officer of Khulna city corporation Abdul Hannan Biswas said that he was in Dhaka on administrative work. Panel mayor Anisur Biswas told Prothom Alo yesterday, “The mayor has retained authority over financial dealings and so everything has slowed down. Nothing is moving.”

Sylhet city corporation: The BNP-backed mayor of Sylhet city corporation Ariful Huq Chowdhury has been removed from his post, having been charged in the former finance minister SAMS Kibria murder case. City corporation sources says, without any mayor, no work is being done. The mayor is presently behind bars.

Chief executive officer Enamul Huq is presently the mayor. He told Prothom Alo, “I have reduced administrative complication somewhat. Salaries and allowances have been paid. But I can’t do the work of a people’s representative.”

Second member of the panel mayors, councillor Saleh Ahmed Chowdhury, had taken over as mayor by virtue of a letter handing over power from mayor Ariful Huq Chowdhury. But first member of the panel mayors Rezaul Hasan Kayes Lodi challenged him, using a letter from the ministry. The letter, issued on 7 January, instructed Kayes Lodi to take over after the dismissal of mayor Arif. The city corporation is now in a dilemma over the conflict between these two councillors.

On 11 January when Kayes Lodi went to take up office, Saleh Ahmed and his supporters stopped him. Saleh Ahmed approached the court to take over this office. The court has issued an injunction.

In June 2012, elections to the Rajshahi, Sylhet, Khulna and Barisal city corporation elections were held. The next month elections to the Gazipur city corporation were held. BNP-backed contestants won in all five city corporations. Now with the BNP-led alliance in a continuous movement, these elected mayors are facing a volley of cases. They have gone into hiding.