Environmental activist Sheikh Saifullah of Keshabpur upazila in Jashore on Saturday filed a general diary (GD) with Keshabpur police station seeking security after a phone conversation between the officer-in-charge of the police station Md Jasim Uddin and local member of parliament Shaheen Chaklader was leaked.
Sheikh Saifullah is from Satbaria village in the upazila. He works with the non-government Bangladesh Environment Lawyers Association (BELA). He filed a writ petition with the High Court against an illegal brick factory, Messer’s Super Bricks, in the locality. The court issued directives to shut down the factory. This move made Shaheen Chaklader, lawmaker of Keshabpur upazila (Jashore-6) and general secretary of Awami League’s Jashore unit, furious.
Around two weeks ago, the MP talked to OC Jasim Uddin over phone. He asked the OC to explode bombs at the police station and file a case against Saifullah accusing him of the explosion aimed at committing robbery. The MP further told the OC that if he can’t do that, he could ask plainclothesmen to explode bombs at the brick factory and make Sheikh Saifullah accused in the case.
Saifullah’s GD statement said, on 29 January he came to know through an online news portal that the local MP Shaheen Chaklader is putting pressure over mobile phone on the OC of Keshabpur police station to file a fabricated lawsuit against him. He was among the local people who submitted evidences against the illegal brick factory in Satbaria village. He is feeling insecure because of the phone conversation between the OC and the MP.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, Keshabpur police station OC Jasim Uddin said Saifullah has filed a GD with the police station. All necessary measures will be taken to ensure his safety.
Local businessperson Faruqul Islam is the owner of the brick factory. He set up the factory on agricultural land by the Satbaria market in the upazila in 2017. Local people said there is a government health complex and a girls’ school are near the brick factory. There are many houses in the area too.
Farmers and local people have been staging demonstrations against setting up the factory from the very first as the black smoke destroys the environment and people have been suffering from breathing complications and other diseases. The factory had no NOC of the environment directorate and deputy commissioner. Faruqul allegedly beat up farmers for demonstrating.
On 21 December last year, executive magistrate of the environment directorate Rozina Akhter ordered to demolish the chimney of the kiln and unbaked bricks. Earlier, the factory was closed thrice in May 2017, 15 November 2018 and 21 May 2020 as per the directives of the High Court.
Faruqul allegedly kept the brick factory open by ‘managing’ the local politicians and administration for four years. Few businessmen close to Faruqul said he is a supporter of ruling Awami League but he does not hold any post. He used money to ‘manage’ things. Faruqul allegedly got the favour of previous MP of the constituency as well.
However, in an interview with Prothom Alo on Friday, Shaheen Chaklader claimed that the leaked audio is tampered. He did not talk like that to the OC.
Speaking to Prothom Alo on Saturday, brick factory owner Faruqul Islam said, “I don’t know what the MP told the OC.”
He claimed, “Saifullah in known as a terrorist in the area. He files lawsuits with the High Court if anything happens at all. He has shut down my brick factory by filing a case. I have incurred loss. I had requested MP Shaheen bhai to settle the matter. Maybe that’s why he said something.”
Shaheen Chaklader, general secretary of Awami League’s Jashore district unit, was elected an MP in a by-election held at the Jashore-6 constituency on 14 July last year following the death of former lawmaker and state minister for public administration Ismat Ara Sadique.
Shaheen Chaklader also served as the chairman of Jashore sadar upazila.