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A photograph of Bogura-7 (Gabtoli-Shajahanpur) constituency MP Rezaul Karim Bablu went viral of Facebook on Friday. The Bangladeshi MP was posing with a brand new pistol with a smile on his face.

The MP is said to have bought the pistol for Tk 80,000 from a gun shop in Dhaka around a week ago and taken a license of the gun to ensure his security.

Rezaul Karim claimed that one of his followers took the snap when he was checking the pistol at the outlet and uploaded it on Facebook.

The MP said there is no legal restriction to upload the photograph of a licensed legal weapon in social media. One of his followers, who were with him, uploaded the photo of Facebook without telling him. His political opponents and a few journalists, who do not like him, made the photo viral on social media and disseminated the propaganda.

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Even if the gun is a licensed firearm, it was unwarranted that an MP should flaunt it.
Masudar Rahman, president of Bogura unit of Sachetan Nagorik Committee, a civic body of TIB

The incident drew huge criticism. A voter of Gabtoli upazila and former leader of Rajshahi University unit of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), Sahanur Shakil, said the lawmaker was showing off his gun on Facebook. This is not only showing the power of someone who has suddenly become powerful, but also presenting himself to the people as a ‘powerful person with a firearm’. There should be investigation into his source of money that he spent on buying a house, car and gun after being elected an MP.

He did not mention the amount of income from journalism either in that affidavit or tax return. His monthly income from agriculture and business was mentioned as Tk 3,000 and Tk 2,000

Independent MP Rezaul, elected from Bogura-7 constituency in the 11th parliamentary election in 2018, in the affidavit to the election commission said he is a journalist and also does business. He did not mention the amount of income from journalism either in that affidavit or tax return. His monthly income from agriculture and business was mentioned as Tk 3,000 and Tk 2,000.

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Speaking to Prothom Alo, president of Bogura unit of Sachetan Nagorik Committee, a civic body of Transparency International Bangladesh, Masudar Rahman said even if the gun is a licensed firearm, it was unwarranted that an MP should flaunt it.

Secretary of the civil society organisation, Sushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan) Badiul Alam Majumder told Prothom Alo that such behaviour was serious misconduct. Public display of a licensed gun reflects a very low mentality. Such an act is a hindrance to democracy and good governance.

The Shujan secretary also said people voted him to power to represent them, not to buy guns. People should be the security of an MP, people’s support and love is the most powerful thing for an MP. Making this photo with a gun viral on social media is an serious indiscretion.

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Additional deputy commissioner (revenue) of Bogura, Abdul Maleq told Prothom Alo that MP Rezaul had a license for the gun but showing it off on social media is a misconduct.

According to the affidavit Rezaul submitted to the election commission, he spent Tk 1.05 million in the election. Of the amount, Tk 50,000 was earned from his business while two sons-in-law gave him Tk 500,000 each as loan.