Shekhor-Biren dispute behind Magura clashes

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Rozina Islam | Aug 10, 2015

A report of the special branch of police has revealed that recent clashes and murders in Magura have been set off by a dispute between the prime minister’s assistant personal secretary (APS-2) Saifuzzaman Shekhor and state minister Biren Sikdar, in a local power tussle.

The special branch prepared the report following clashes between two groups of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) in which an expectant mother Nazma Begum was bullet-hit and her unborn child was also wounded in the womb. The report was sent to the home ministry on 4 August.

The report said the recent spate of clashes and deaths in the villages, ward and union level of Magura were sparked off by a dispute between two senior leaders of Magura Awami League.

Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal confirmed receiving the report.

“The local police administration informed us about the matter and we are taking necessary steps,” he said.

Home ministry sources said the report stated that a long-standing dispute existed between the PM’s APS Saifuzzaman Shekhor and state minister for youth and sports Biren Sikdar, both wanting sole dominance over the politics of Magura district Awami League.

The conflict took a serious turn on 21 July over the by-election of Magura sadar upazila parishad. The local leaders simply change sides to suit their interests. Instigated by senior leaders, the political situation of the district is steadily deteriorating.

According to the report, Saifuzzaman Shikhor is supported by Magura-1 MP Abdul Wahhab, AL general secretary of Magura district Pankaj Kumar Kundu, Magura sadar upazla chairman Rustom Ali, former acting president of district AL Tanzel Hossain Khan, former joint general secretary Haji Golam Mawla, former assistant office secretary Abdul Mannan, district Chhatra League president Rezaul Islam and general secretary Mehedi Hasan.

State minister Biren Sikdar’s group includes former sadar upazila chairman and district AL vice president Abu Nasir (Bablu), district Sechchasebak League joint general secretary Rana Osman, municipal AL general secretary Baki Imam, former information and research affairs secretary of Chhatra League Sharif, and joint convenors of Magura government college Chhatra League, Zahirul and Nazmul.

State minister Biren Sikdar admitted that he has bitter relations with Saifuzzaman Shikhor.

He said, “Shikhor’s father was the former elected parliamentarian from the seat in which I am the elected now. That is why they are peeved. However, everyone is well aware of their misdeeds in the area.”

The report said, Nazma Begum, woman who was eight months pregnant, was hit by a bullet during clashes between members of Bangladesh Chhatra League at Doarpar in Magura town.

BCL leader Baki Imam’s uncle Momim was killed in he exchange of fire.

Nazma was later operated on to retrieve the baby from her womb, at Magura Sadar Hospital.

A bullet pierced the body of the unborn baby while inside her mother’s womb.

The baby was later transferred to the paediatric surgery department at DMCH on Sunday night after her condition deteriorated.

Police arrested a total of six people over the incident.

On the same day, supporters of state minister – Mostafa member, Moktar, and Nannu’s group – clashed with Shikhor’s supporters- Zahoor Mia and Lalan group, where a man named Nannu Sheikh was killed and 16-17 others were injured. Another clash in Dahorshingra village left 20 people injured.

The report also said, the reputation of Awami League and its student organisation Chhatra League was tarnished after the BCL clash in which the pregnant woman was injured. It said the central leadership should resolve the dispute of Magura district AL immediately. If not, the situation is likely to deteriorate, harming the image of the government further.

State minister and local MP Biren Sikdar meanwhile had said it was not a political clash. The dispute took place while distributing the money of a tender deal. The mother and the unborn child were incidentally injured during the clashes.

He claimed that two brothers of Shikhor were involved with the incident. He also accused Shikhor’s people of being involved in the drug trade.

Meanwhile, Shikhor did not reply to his mobile phone on Saturday night and Sunday. He also did not reply to the text the messages sent to his phone.