Law and order in Narayanganj town has sharply deteriorated after the Osman brothers became MPs in the one-sided January 5 elections, says city Mayor Selina Hayat Ivy.
Herself an Awami League leader, Ivy notes that under the control of Shamim Osman and his late brother Nasim Osman local goons had a free rein to pursue their own agenda while the administration remained subservient to the Osman brothers. In the process, a section of administration officials gained from various illegal practices like drug dealing and unsocial activities. This has allowed various crimes to go unchallenged.
Also, the ruling AL has become very sharply divided there due to the politics of domination by Shamim Osman on one side and his opponent Ivy on the other.
The split has became so manifest that yesterday's hartal in the town protesting pro-AL lawyer Chandan Sarker's abduction and killing, called by the town's lawyers, was not practically observed by the pro-ruling party lawyers.
“None of the past murder cases has been resolved,” said Ivy, sharing her views with The Daily Star on why suddenly there is a surge of abductions and murders in the town.
“There has been no investigation; no arrest of the real culprits,” she said, referring to the sensational 2012 killing of Toki and many others in recent years.
“We have been talking for long about who are sheltering the criminals in the town, but without any effect.”
Like many others in Narayanganj, Ivy came down hard on the police administration, some of whose top officials have been replaced recently.
“The administration does not cooperate with me. For instance, all the footpaths of the town have been occupied by hawkers in the last six months and they cannot be evicted because the MP [Shamim Osman] has asked the police not to. The DC office also does not cooperate with me,” she said.
“Criminal activities have spread in Narayanganj gradually over the last 25 years -- first by criminals like Zakir Khan under the protection of Nasim Osman and then by criminals like David. Both Zakir and David later joined the BNP. The patrons of these criminals belonged to the same family. But later, these crooks changed parties. Criminals like 'Tower' Selim, Sweet or David were later killed in crossfire.”
Ivy, who won the 2011 mayoral election by defeating Shamim Osman who was blessed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, observed that the town was reasonably peaceful in 2009 and till the murder of Toki in 2012. Since then many murders and abductions have taken place, but the police did not do their job professionally.
In many cases, the force was busy framing innocent people, including relatives of Ivy.
The city mayor also noted that over the years, Shamim Osman has tried to push out other strong AL leaders like Nazma Rahman and SM Akram.
Ivy herself is one of those popular leaders facing strong pressure from Shamim.
On the abduction and killing of Nazrul Islam, she said both Nazrul and his accused killer Nur Hossain were backed by Shamim Osman. Unlike Nur, Nazrul came from the AL grassroots.
“Those involved in criminal activities actually do not belong to any political party. They use the political parties for criminal purpose,” she said.
“To change things in Narayanganj, the government must decide to punish the criminals, no matter which party they belong to. And this has to be done lawfully, not through any crossfire or not out of political vengeance. The drug and crime rings must be busted.”