Officer shoves livestock department DG

An allegation has been leveled against an officer of director rank, accusing him of assaulting the director general of the livestock services department.

The incident took place at the livestock services department in the capital on 12 October.

The person against whom the allegation has been raised is Md Azizul Islam.

On the day of the incident, DG Md Emdadul Haque Talukder informed the fisheries and livestock ministry secretary Nahid Rashid about the matter in writing.

While talking to Prothom Alo, Azizul denied the allegation. Earlier, the fisheries and livestock ministry temporarily suspended Azizul on 5 October.

Azizul is the chief scientific officer (in-charge) at the virology wing of the livestock services department and has taken on duty as project director of 'Strengthening veterinary services to protect public health' project.

Sources said Azizul submitted a letter to withdraw his suspension order issued by the ministry. The letter will be sent to the ministry via the DG, but the DG didn't send it to the ministry. On the day of the incident, Azizul went to the office of DG so that the letter was sent to the ministry, but Emdadul was not at his room.

Saying that he needed to have an 'important discussion', Azizul took the DG to the room of a director (admin) of the livestock services department.

According to the DG's letter sent to the secretary, when the DG entered the room of the director, Azizul asked him to send the letter for the withdrawal of his temporary suspension. At the time, the DG said an administrative decision has to be taken to send the letter to the ministry.

Hearing this Azizul started shouting, the letter stated. When the director (admin) tried to control Azizul, he rushed towards the DG.

When the DG tried to leave the room, Azizul intercepted him and continued shouting. He also made a death threat. At one stage, he shoved the DG and assaulted him.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Azizul Islam termed the allegation false, fabricated, baseless and motivated. Claiming the allegation as a plot to tarnish his social image, he said, "I apologised, holding the hands of DG, asking him to send my letter to the higher authorities. But he alleged I shoved him, which is not true."

How the incident started

Agriculture minister Abdur Razzaque is the president of Bangabandhu Krishibid Parishad while Awami League joint general secretary AFM Bahauddin Nasim is the secretary general. Azizul is the follower of agriculture minister while Emdadul Haque is the follower of Bahauddin Nasim.

Azizul is the secretary general of Bangabandhu Veterinary Parishad. A source close to Azizul said a plan was taken by Bangabandhu Veterinary Parishad to organise doa mahfil and public feast to mark the national mourning day.

The plan was cancelled for various reasons including exchange of rude messages in the Whatsapp group of the livestock services department.
The source also said doa mahfil and discussion was organised at the premises of the livestock services department on 26 August. Bahauddin Nasim attended the event as chief guest. DG Emdadul Haque issued a letter and asked all officers of the department to attend the event.

On the following day, another doa mahfil and discussion was organised at the Krishibid Institution Bangladesh at Khamarbari and the agriculture minister Abdur Razzaque was present.

The DG and his followers were invited, but they did not attend. A conflict was ongoing over the matter between the DG and director Azizul. In sequel to this, other incidents including suspension of Azizul took place, the source thinks.

Another source said director of the strengthening the capacity of the livestock department, Md Anisur Rahman uploaded an audio on the WhatsApp group opened by the livestock services department.

It is heard in the audio that Azizul told a journalist to publish news against an officer of the livestock department. Rude and hate messages were exchanged in the WhatsApp group over the audio between Azizul and Anisur.

It is learnt the livestock services department formed a three-member committee over the incident of WhatsApp on 26 September. The committee was asked to submit a report within five working days.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, wishing not to be  named, an official of the livestock services department saide Azizul didn't cooperate with the chief of the investigation committee. Besides, after a meeting at the secretary, Azizul engaged in an altercation with DG Emdadul Haque and the chief of the inquiry committee in front of a high official of the livestock ministry.

Later, the DG was in the room of the livestock ministry secretary and at that time Azizul entered the room without permission. For these reasons he was suspended ahead of the inquiry report.
The chief of the inquiry committee is Malay Kumar Shur, director at the planning wing of the livestock services department. He declined to make any comment.

However, Azizul claimed he told the inquiry committee chief Malay Kumar to follow due process.

Allegation of exerting political pressure

Azizul is an officer of 19th BCS. He has been made director superseding six officers. There are allegations got the status of director by utilizing political influence and the livestock minister, secretary and the DG. As a result, other officials at the livestock services department are disappointed.

There are also allegations that Azizul used influence to become project director. Contract firm F International Traders submitted a letter to the fisheries and livestock ministry about Azizul's corruption and irregularities in the project.

Besides, the Anti-Corruption Commission is carrying out an investigation against Azizul on charges of gathering properties illegally.

When asked about these allegations, Azizul has not responded.

When contacted DG Emdadul Haque, he didn't respond.

Despite repeated attempts, it was not possible to talk to fisheries and livestock ministry secretary Nahid Rashid.

 *This report, originally published in Prothom Alo online edition, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam