ADC Harun: AL to take steps with caution

ADC Harun

Governing Bangladesh Awami League (AL) is embarrassed over the assault of three leaders of its student wing, Bangladesh Chhatra League, inside the Shahbagh police station in the capital earlier this week. The policymakers of the party also have been in a dilemma as police force, civil administration and BCL are involved with the situation. AL considers all the three quarters as “sensitive” especially before the upcoming 12th parliamentary elections. That is why the party is thinking hard before taking any step.

AL sources said BCL leaders and activists across the country reacted at the organisation’s social media pages and other forums when photos of three critically injured leaders went viral. The photos made the AL leaders, who were involved with BCL before, disturbed. Many incumbent BCL leaders and activists phoned and sent messages to the AL leaders expressing their resentment at being treated in such a way. Some of them requested firm steps in this regard.

The central leaders of Bangladesh Awami League and Bangladesh Chhatra League, however, so far acted in a restrained manner. They also tried so that the matter could be resolved from within the police and the government.

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But Awami League did not take the interview given by additional deputy commissioner (ADC) Sanjida Arfin at a private channel three days after the incident, very well. AL thinks the interview has revealed a ‘stance’ of the police over the suspended ADC Harun or Rashid. This interview has worsened the situation and created a fear of reaction among administration cadre and BCL.

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AL sources said the party did not want the issue of torture on BCL leaders and personal feud between ADC Harun and president’s assistant personal secretary (APS) Azizul Haque to come to the spotlight. Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan, inspector general of police Chowdhury Abdullah Al Mamun and Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) commissioner Khandakar Golam Faruque expressed their observations on the issue carefully. They were trying to deal with the issue carefully considering its sensitivity. But the tendency of taking sides by all three groups concerned—police, administration and BCL—has led the incident to spread like wildfire which ultimately tarnished the image of the government and ruling party. AL did not want such a situation with the next general election is only three and half months away.

President’s APS Azizul Haque on Saturday night had an altercation with ADC Harun at BIRDEM Hospital. Azizul took BCL leaders on the spot. The police later took three BCL leaders to Shahbagh police station and beat them mercilessly. The three leaders beaten by police were: Anower Hossain, organising secretary of the BCL central committee, Sharif Ahmed, BCL central science affairs secretary and DU’s Shahidullah Hall unit general secretary and DU’s Bangabandhu Hall unit president Mahbubur Rahman. Of them, Anower is still receiving treatment at a hospital. The victims alleged that ADC Harun led the attack on them in the room of the officer in charge (investigation) inside Shahbagh police station.

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A former leader of BCL and currently an AL leader talked with Prothom Alo on condition of anonymity. He is not holding any post of the ruling party but trying to grab the ruling party ticket for the next general election. He said beating BCL central leaders at the police station while AL is running the country is somewhat unprecedented. The incident spread like wildfire among the BCL leaders-activists throughout the country. If the issue is not settled in an honorable way, a student would think twice before joining the ruling party student wing BCL which would not bode well for AL. On the other hand, police and administrations are strongly backing AL for its stay in power for the last 15 years. So, AL is not in a position to aggrieve any of the three sections ahead of the next election. The sooner the issue gets settled, the better for AL.

A source of AL central committee said important ministers and leaders of AL refrained from making any public comment on the issue. None except AL’s joint secretary AFM Bahauddin Nasim went to hospital to see the injured BCL leader Anower. This created confusion among the party ranks of AL and BCL on the stance of the party on the issue. The aggrieved ruling party men got somewhat assured after the home minister’s remarks and meeting of DMP commissioner with BCL president Saddam Hossain and secretary Sheikh Wali Asif. The anger of leaders-activists of BCL somewhat tapered off after Harun was suspended.   

The source added that the government does not want to take any action hastily in the incident so as to avoid the risk of further aggrieving any of the three organisations involved. That’s why the decision of transfer and suspension of ADC Harun was changed repeatedly. The role of the president’s APS in the issue might come to the fore and organisational action might be taken against BCL leaders in days to come.

Asked, AFM Bahauddin Nasim told Prothom Alo it would have been better had the incident not happened in the first place. Now as the incident took place, the government bodies are working on it. Due action would be taken against anyone involved in the incident.