How many more lives will be lost over dispute of local leadership?

Prothom Alo illustration

Recently, news of violence, clash and murder dominate newspapers, and most of these incidents took place over personal and group feuds. Those incidents have no direct link to politics either. Such as criminals shot dead a four-year-old child on the father’s lap in Noakhali the day before Pahela Baishakh, the first day of Bangla calendar and local journalist Mohiuddin from Cumilla were killed by drug dealers.

Two people, who were killed in a clash over toll collection in Jhenaidah, were involved in Awami League. According to Prothom Alo report, two youth were killed and two others injured in a clash between two groups over collecting toll at Chowgachha bus station of Kotchandpur municipality in Jhenidah on 14 April. The deceased are Jibon Hossain, 22, son of Feroz Hossain of Talmil para, and Akhtar Hossain, 23, son of Abu Taleb of Alanggi village. Police detained two persons - Emon Hossain and Kamal Hossain over the incident.

According to witnesses, municipality toll is collected from the small vehicles while entering into the city via Chowgachha bus station. On Thursday, Emon Hossain and his associates were collecting toll at the bus station. Another group came to the place and tried to control the toll collection at around 10:00am. At one stage, two groups locked into the clash and attacked each other with sharp weapons. Supporters of municipality mayor Shahduzzaman Selim had long been collecting the toll but a faction of his supporters split out a month ago and joined the group of upazila Awami League Shahjahan Ali’s group.

Difference in opinions will exist over leadership but why would such disagreement take a form of violence? Shahjahan Ali secured the party ticket on the last municipality election and that is another reason of factional rivalry in Awami League. Shahduzzaman Selim contested the polls defying the party directives and won the election for which he was expelled from the party.

Extreme internal feud mars the ruling party not only in Kotchandpur but also across the country. Awami League leaders claim they would organise the party and hold the national council at the end of this year. Such is the example of organising the party; two or more factions exist everywhere; each leader tried to corner his/her opponent to take control of the party. Many times, police also face obstacles. When police take action against criminals, at least a faction of the ruling party prevents it. Why has the party, that claims to be the guardian of democracy, been involved in so internal feud? When will its leaders wake up after how many lives will be lost?

We demand punishment to the suspects of the double murder in Kotchandpur.