The rise of Nur Hossain, prime suspect in the Narayanganj City Corporation (NCC) panel mayor Nazrul Islam abduction and murder case, has been one of the glaring examples of how the country's politics has turned into money making machines for some crooked politicians. Nur Hossain, vice-president of Siddhirganj Thana Awami League has amassed huge wealth at home and abroad with the blessing of local leaders of the major political parties--AL, BNP and Jatiya Party-- since late 80s. Nobody exactly knows how much wealth he now owns. Media reports say he has businesses and assets even in India and Malaysia. He was a truck driver in his early life. And now he is a councillor of the NCC, a public representative.
Political leaders who have protected Hossain have not given him the favour and protection as charity. The police administration could not take action against him although he faces around two dozens criminal charges. Many officials in the local administration including members of law enforcement agencies are also to be blamed. It is a vicious circle.
The alleged Tk 6 crore kickbacks given to Rab to abduct and kill Nazrul Islam tells us how some law enforcers have got involved in criminal activities due to the criminilsation of politics and the politicisation of the administration.
The way the premier on a May Day rally in Gazipur has accused the BNP of being behind the recent forced disappearances is really shocking. Trading blame game will in no way improve the law and order situation which has gone out of control. The Hasina government's promise to establish good governance will remain a far cry until her administration ensures safety and security of people by curbing the menace of abductions and forced disappearances.
Abductions and forced disappearances are on the rise since 2011. The crime control unit of police has recorded 972 incidents of abductions and disappearances in 2001. The number rose to 850 in 2012, 879 in 2013 and 196 in first three months of 2014. It may not be a complete picture. The figure may be higher than what we see now. Rampant abductions have made people panicked and they are feeling safe nowhere.
The government must make sure that rule of law is enforced, regardless of the political affiliation of individuals who have turned Narayanganj into a safe haven for goons and mafias. If the government can do so, it will brighten the image of the current regime that assumed power through a controversial and voter-less parliamentary election. The government's stern actions, if it can take, will send a strong message to the others who are carrying out unlawful and criminal activities elsewhere in the country. So, Narayanganj has also offered the government an opportunity to do something to regain people's confidence in it. If it fails to deliver on people's expectations, the rule of law will be facing more setbacks in the coming days.
The writer is Senior Reporter, The Daily Star.