Sensational and 'innovative' corruption was revealed in a Prothom Alo investigative report this April regarding the surrender of 80 ‘extremists’ in Joypurhat. The report pointed to a serious lack of coordination in the administration, which made this corruption possible. No one from the home ministry or the district police administration took the responsibility of drawing up the list of the extremists. The parliamentary standing committee on the home ministry should take an initiative in this regard. The committee members can summon the intelligence authorities or anyone concerned with the evidence they have.
Seven of the listed extremists were sentenced to death, either behind bars or fugitives. Why should an imprisoned person surrender - is a big question. The surrendered persons include terrors, drug traders, and leaders of district Swechhasebak League, a wing of ruling Bangladesh Awami League, and former and current leaders and activists of the BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh. They all were united with the help of the administration.
Investigations should be made into who determined the number of so-called extremists and how they were a threat to people of 16 districts. How could the political extremists of Purba Bangla Communist Party, founded in the sixties to establish communism in the country, remain such a big threat even after 50 years, that their surrender became so imperative now? Who brought this issue up? At whose behest was this plan prepared?
This incident suggests there is serious lack of coordination among the administrations of the state. Accountability, the lifeblood of administration, does not exist anymore, it seems. The superintendent of police himself said there are no extremists in Joypurhat. Yet they approved a list of 71 such extremists. This proves the administration was aware of the government's financial incentives for the so-called extremists. The mainstay of discipline in public administration is that no institution takes any decision unilaterally.
The ‘extremist-business’ cannot be considered as an isolated incident. This signals a weakening in the public administration. We need to know which acts of sabotage these extremists committed in those 16 districts, that forced the government to pay them Tk 100,000 each as incentive, and Tk 1 million to their leader for rehabilitating them and to release the arrested ‘extremists’.
There are reasons to suspect that this ‘extremist-business’ was the result of a strong entente of terrorists and corrupted government officials. Police, the intelligence, administration and political leaders, all were more or less involved in the incident. This incident also hints about permeation of crime in the state system. It is obvious that such systematic criminal acts are not limited to Joyurhat only.
Leaders of Joypurhat unit Awami League and Workers’ Party have to be thanked for acknowledging that there were no extremists in their area. Some of them alleged local MP was involved, though he denied. The central leaders of AL should first investigate the party’s involvement in the incident. A judicial inquiry committee should investigate the matter and make the result public. Those involved in this incident must be punished.