Power office attacked: Why did BCL members hit engineers?
As the country grappled with increasing load-shedding, the government took steps to bolster security at various electricity offices to shield them from infuriated consumers. However, a recent incident at the Northern Electricity Supply Company (NESCO) office in Kaliganj Upazila of Lalmonirhat was not the result of consumer anger or protests.
Instead, it stemmed from an attack and vandalism carried out by leaders from the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), who sought to penalise an allegedly "disobedient engineer."
As reported by Prothom Alo, this event unfolded due to NESCO's Executive Engineer, Rocky Chandra Roy, declining to meet Rakibuzzaman Ahmed at the premises of Anwesha Sanskritik Group, a local club located in the vicinity of Tushbhandar Railway Station. Rakibuzzaman Ahmed is the son of the Social Welfare Minister and a Member of Parliament representing the Lalmonirhat-2 (Aditmari-Kaliganj) constituency.
According to Rocky Chandra Roy, on the afternoon of the previous Thursday, Shahinur Islam, the meter reader of their office, informed him that Rakib had requested a meeting at the club later that evening. Shahinur conveyed that due to the illness of two of his relatives at home, he couldn't comply with the request.
On Monday afternoon, while Rocky Chandra Roy was at the chief engineer's office in Rangpur, Shariful, the president of the Kaliganj Upazila Chhatra League, once again urged him to attend the club's meeting. However, Rocky was unable to comply as he was out of town at the time.
The incident doesn't conclude here. Around 2:00pm on Tuesday, Chhatra League leaders sought an explanation from the executive engineer, Rocky Chandra Roy, for not attending the meeting. He responded, "It is not in line with the office decorum for me to go just because the minister's son has called."
Following this, Shariful Islam, Nurunnabi, and others unleashed unspeakable verbal abuse on him and proceeded to vandalize the office cabinet. They shattered the digital attendance machine and even physically assaulted sub-assistant engineers. In the midst of this chaos, employees also were beaten up.
Chhatra League leaders and activists launched an attack on the electricity office in Rakibuzzaman’s name. However, Rakibuzzaman Ahmed unequivocally denied any responsibility for the incident. He maintains that he shares a positive relationship with executive engineer Rocky Chandra Roy. He alleges that individuals like Shariful Islam, the president of the Upazila Chhatra League, and others orchestrated the event, falsely using his name.
If Rakibuzzaman indeed shares a strong rapport with the executive engineer, why he didn't opt for a direct conversation instead of involving BCL leaders and workers. As the leader of the district's Awami League, there are boundaries on his ability to contact the executive engineer or any other government official. Holding the position of a minister's son doesn't grant unfettered privileges.
Such attack not only happened on the executive engineer's office by a group of Chhatra League leaders and activists, such incidents tend to manifest in scenarios related to all tenders or development projects.
In fact, just a day prior to this incident, a Chhatra League leader at Chattogram University named Raju Munshi physically assaulted the university's chief engineer failing to extract toll money. Notably, Raju Munshi, a student from the 2011-12 academic year, continues to occupy a room in the hall despite his student status having lapsed long ago.
NESCO has taken the initiative to form a three-member inquiry committee to probe the incident. The expectation is that this investigation will uncover whether the Chhatra League leaders carried out the attack using the minister's son's name or if he was indeed involved. Interestingly, the officer-in-charge of the Kaliganj police station mentioned not having received a formal complaint.
The question arises: in an incident with public witnesses and tangible evidence, why is a written complaint necessary? It is indeed their responsibility to promptly initiate legal action against those responsible for damaging state property. The individuals behind the attack on the NESCO office should be swiftly apprehended.