By shooting the 10-year old boy, Sourav, who went for a walk with his uncle on last Friday morning, ruling Awami League MP Manzurul Islam Liton has made a place for himself in the club of controversial and unruly MPs who have been in discussion for all the wrong reasons.
Before Manzurul, AL MP Captain (retd) Ghyas Uddin Ahmed in May 2012 shot at a crowd. There is a difference between their actions though. Ghyas shot at a crowd that was agitating against him in his constituency in Mymensingh. Manzurul shot at Sourav as the boy got scared and started running away from the MP's SUV in his home town in Gaibandha.
Then the case of AL lawmaker Nurunnabi Chowdhury Shaon is a little different. He was sued over the murder of a party leader, Ibrahim Ahmed, in the capital in August 2010. Local AL leader Ibrahim was reportedly shot with the MP's licensed pistol.
AL lawmaker from Natore-2 Shafiqul Islam Shimul snatched away “a criminal” from Rab custody immediately after his arrest in Natore town on the night of August 11. A number of local AL leaders and journalists witnessed the incident.
In Dhaka, AL MP Ilias Uddin Mollah assaulted an on-duty policeman on June 30, 2010. The policeman filed a case against Ilias. But that did not stop him getting re-elected as an MP of the current parliament.
Another AL MP, Sheikh Afil Uddin of Jessore, assaulted the officer-in-charge of a police station of his constituency in August 2010. He also became an MP of the current parliament.
There is also AL MP Abdur Rahman Bodi, who has been a glaring example of how a ruling party lawmaker enjoys unlimited immunity and freedom.
This August Bodi again beat up a government official in his constituency in Cox's Bazar. He punished Mostofa Minhaz, Ukhia upazila engineer, for not attending an Upazila Parishad meeting.
Bodi has kept assaulting people in his constituency since 2009 right after he became an MP. The list is long, school teachers, forest and bank officials, a Roads and Highways official, a freedom fighter and a lawyer among many others were assaulted by him. He had to face little trouble for these offences. The only reason seems that he is an MP of the ruling AL.
Ruling AL MP Pinu Khan's son Bakhtiar Alam Rony has done something more outrageous. On an April night, he shot and killed two people in the capital's New Eskaton only because he didn't like being stuck in Dhaka's notorious traffic jam.
But no exemplary action has been taken against any of them. This keeps the culture of impunity going and their unruly activities keep undermining the image of the parliament.
It would seem that the formulation of a code of conduct for MPs and its strict enforcement is an urgent need.
But unfortunately, a move to have a code of conduct has fizzled out some time back.
AL MP Saber Hossain Chowdhury, who is now president of Inter-Parliamentary Union, had placed a bill in the ninth parliament in 2010 seeking the formulation of a code of conduct. The parliamentary standing committee on the private members' bills and resolutions had also recommended passing of the bill to ensure ethical standards for lawmakers. But the parliament has ignored the recommendation. The bill placed in the last parliament has lapsed with expiry of the tenure of the ninth parliament in January 2014.
The lack of any code of conduct and the existing culture of impunity allow some MPs to keep doing controversial acts and break and bend rules at a cost to the honour and dignity of our parliament.