Ruling Awami League’s member of parliament (MP) from Chattogram-16 constituency, Mustafizur Rahaman Chowdhury has openly carried arms while taking part in a procession of his party which has sparked a controversy again.

Even the leaders of his own party have condemned such an act, saying it has tarnished the image of the party. Meanwhile, the representatives of civic society have termed this as a ‘show of power’.

However, whether the pistol that the MP carried was legal or not was confirmed 24 hours after the incident.

Speaking to Prothom Alo on Tuesday evening, Banshkhali police station’s officer-in-charge (OC) Md Kamal Uddin said, “The pistol that the MP was carrying is legal. MP Mustafizur Rahaman Chowdhury has shown me the legal documents.”

However, the police official didn’t want to comment on whether carrying arms openly like this is legal or not.

The district administration says a certain number of conditions are imposed while issuing licences of weapons. One of the major conditions is not to intimidate anybody with the arms.

Speaking to Prothom Alo in this regard, Chattograms deputy commissioner Mohammad Fakhruzzaman said, “I will investigate whether he (MP Mustafizur Rahaman Chowdhury) intimidated someone or not.”

Ruling party MP Mustafizur Rahaman Chowdhury was carrying a pistol during a procession which was brought out following a rally organised by Chattogram Awami League protesting against the “death threat to the prime minister” by a BNP leader in Rajshahi.

A video of the incident went viral on social media, which shows MP Mustafizur Rahaman Chowdhury walking alone ahead of the procession carrying a pistol in his right hand. There were policemen in front of him. Therefore, a question has been raised as to why he had to carry a gun in a police cordon.

Prothom Alo tried to reach MP Mustafizur Rahaman Chowdhury several times for his comments in this regard, but he didn’t respond.

However, Banshkhali upazila Awami League’s general secretary Abdul Gafur said, “MP Mustafizur Rahaman Chowdhury didn’t aim the gun towards anybody. He just carried it.”

All the controversies about MP Mustafizur

Mustafizur Rahaman Chowdhury Rahman was elected the MP of Chattogram-16 constituency with the nomination from the Awami League. He was re-elected for the second term in 2018. He got involved in a number of controversies after becoming the MP. He is also the president of Banshkhali upazila Awami League.

On 1 June 2016, he called the then upazila polling officer Zahidul Islam to the office of upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) and beat him up for not assigning the person of his choice as the polling officer in the union parishad (UP) election.

Zahidul Islam filed a case over the incident. He is now posted in Gosairhat upazila in Shariatpur.

Speaking to Prothom Alo over the phone, Zahidul Islam said, “The final report of the case has been submitted. The case would have been re-investigated if I filed a naraji petition. But it’s tough for me to go back to Chattogram and continue the case leaving my work.”

In 2019, a video went viral on social media in which Mustafizur Rahaman Chowdhury was seen making indecent remarks about Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader.

He again raised controversy in August 2020 saying there was no liberation war in Banshkhali. Lastly, he carried a weapon openly in a procession. The party leaders say this has tarnished the image of the party.

When asked, Chattogram Awami League’s (South) unit general secretary Mofizur Rahman told Prothom Alo, “The party is embarrassed with his activities.

District freedom fighter commander and Banshkhali Awami League leader Abdur Razzak said, “He did this deliberately to embarrass the party.”

Akhtar Kabir Chowdhury, general secretary of Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan) in Chattogram said, “What he did is simply not acceptable. A MP cannot carry arms openly like this for no reason. Mustafizur Rahaman Chowdhury did this to display his power. He has insulted the Jatiya Sangsad by his activities."

*This report appeared on the print and online versions of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Ashish Basu