The overall situation in Cox's Bazar is now edgy since the death of retired army major Sinha Md Rashed Khan in police firing. People are worried due to the killing in the name of anti-drug campaign for so long but has been too afraid to speak up. They are now publicly criticising it and talking about stopping crossfires. Cox's Bazar Chamber of Commerce president and district civil society president Abu Morshed Chowdhury spoke to Prothom Alo about the matter.
How do you see the situation in Cox's Bazar after Rashed Khan was killed?
Any killing is a very sad affair. It is utterly condemnable. But people are happy with what happened after the killing. People are now able to express their anger. They could not speak for so long for fear of the police. They are opening up now. The government has spent millions of taka in the name of controlling the drug menace. But people could not know what happened in Cox’s Bazar in the name of eradicating drugs.
Did you notice the lack of coordination among the forces after this murder?
I think a state of disbelief has been created here. In fact, if there was transparency in everyone's work from the beginning, such a situation would not have emerged. We should not forget that both the law enforcement agencies are important for the state and its people. It would be very bad if the organisations are made questionable in trying to save a handful of people. It is not expected.
What is urgent at this moment?
In most of the organisations, a handful of officials are involved with wrongdoings. Those who are involved in such offenses should be brought under the law in the interests of the country. No one can be unjustly protected.
we have never dug for the root of drugs. We only talked about the carriers. There are lot more than just the carrier and the seller
You live in Cox's Bazar. You are also the leader of the businesspeople of the district. Tell us from that experience, why drugs are not stopped from Cox's Bazar?
The reason is, we have never dug for the root of drugs. We only talked about the carriers. There are lot more than just the carrier and the seller. We never paid attention to that. Why did phensedyl smuggling stopped in Bangladesh? How did it happen?
See, yaba comes from Myanmar. We need to talk to Myanmar to stop it.
What is your advice on curbing drug?
My proposal is to form a joint team. If a team could be formed with all the forces, then everyone would work together. Now the operations are scattered. If there was such a team, no one like Sinha would have had to die.
How is yaba spreading from Rohingya camps?
Look, they only carry it. They have no network in this country. They are just bringing yaba and handing it over to someone else. There must be someone who is patronising them. Then again, if so many people are left unemployed for days, what will they do? They will get involved in various crimes whenever they get the opportunity. That is what the history of the whole world says.
What do you think needs to be done to make Cox's Bazar liveable?
It is a border and tourist area. All such areas are prone to crimes. Piecemeal development plans will not work here. Development must be coordinated. Only then Cox's Bazar will be changed.
*Abu Morshed Chowdhury is the president of Cox's Bazar Chamber of Commerce and president of District Civil Society. This interview, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Farjana Liakat