Nangalkot OC 'earnestly requests' people to re-elect minister Kamal

OC Faruk Hossain speaks in the meeting on 15 August 2023.Collected

Defying official norms, the officer-in-charge (OC) of Nangalkot police station in Cumilla, Faruk Hossain, has urged the local residents to elect finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal for another term in the upcoming national polls.

He made the call at a discussion meeting held to commemorate the national mourning day on Tuesday. A 39-second video clip of his speech is now making rounds on social media platforms, drawing a huge public outcry.

The incident has sparked a debate about whether a government official can deliver such political speeches and raised concerns about their neutrality and ethical conduct during elections.

In his speech at the upazila parishad auditorium, OC Faruk said, “It is my earnest request that the people of Nangalkot upazila wholeheartedly elect him (finance minister) again.”

Faruk also highlighted the developments under the leadership of AHM Mustafa Kamal.

He said, “If I look back to the history, there were areas in Nangalkot without any roads and electricity. However, when he came, he won your hearts and guided you to the pinnacle of development. He has done everything for you.”

Finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal is the president of Awami League’s Cumilla Dakshin district unit. He was elected as a member of parliament from the Cumilla-10 constituency in 2008. Later, he became the planning minister in 2014 and the finance minister in 2018.

The discussion meeting was organised by the Nangalkot upazila administration on Tuesday afternoon, with upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) Raihan Mehbub in the chair.

Nangalkot upazila parishad chairman Shamsuddin, vice chairman Abu Eusuf Bhuiyan, along with other public representatives and government officials, attended the event.

In a conversation with Prothom Alo on Wednesday afternoon, OC Faruk said, “I spoke about development works undertaken by the prime minister and, at one stage, made the particular statement in the interest of development. What should I say now? My words are now being misconstrued.”

However, he declined to explain more as he was not in a good state of mind due to the demise of a relative.

In response to the issue, Ali Akbar Masum, former general secretary of Cumilla Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik (SUJAN), said the statement breaches the official code of conduct. Government officials are prohibited from making such statements as it does not fall within their responsibilities.

He emphasised that it is up to the voters who they will elect during the election. An OC cannot make such statements regarding the people’s fundamental rights, he said, asking why does he request the people? What are his responsibilities? 

Despite multiple attempts, the superintendent of Cumilla district police (SP), Abdul Mannan, could not be reached over the phone for his comment.