Nangalkot OC withdrawn as he requests to reelect finance minister

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

The authorities have withdrawn the officer-in-charge (OC) of Nangalkot police station in Cumilla, Faruk Hossain, as he ‘earnestly requested’ the people to reelect finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal in the upcoming national polls.

An official order was issued on Thursday evening, but it came to light on Friday. He was replaced by Debashish Chowdhury, OC of Sadar Dakshin model police station.

However, Cumilla superintendent of police (SP) said it is a regular transfer. Generally, an OC serves in a police station for one and a half years, and it has been 21 months since he was posted in the police station.

It is my earnest request that the people of Nangalkot upazila wholeheartedly elect him (finance minister) again.
OC Faruk told a meeting

“As an incident took place, anyone can relate it with the transfer,” he added.

Defying official norms, OC Faruk Hossain urged the local residents to elect finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal for another term in the upcoming national polls.

He was addressing a discussion meeting held to commemorate the national mourning day on Tuesday. A 39-second video clip of his speech went viral on social media platforms, drawing a huge public outcry.

The incident 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.

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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.