Don’t you know of my power?
A President's Gold Medal winning farmer's paddies were ruined by a Jubo League leader on Monday.
The JL leader, Abdul Wahab, general secretary of the ruling party associate organisation's Tanore Municipality unit, ran a tractor down the paddy field of Nur Mohammad, destroying 10 years of agricultural research work.
"What can you do if I ran a tractor down your field? Don't you know of my power?" farmer Nur Mohammad quoted JL leader Abdul Wahab as saying, as he and his aides surrounded him and beat him up.
They also restrained him until their rampage -- that affected some 62 paddy varieties -- ended.
The field is located in at Gollapara village under Rajshahi's Tanore upazila.
On the same day, Nur Mohammad tried to file a complaint with the local police, citing a Tk 15 lakh loss.
However, police refused to record the case as of yesterday, while the JL leader has kept on pressuring the farmer to agree on a settlement.
Wahab and his followers Anjan Malaker and Md Titu have paddy fields near Nur's field.
On Monday afternoon, as Anjan Malaker was about to take his loaded trolley through Nur's field, Nur stopped him and requested him to take an alternative route.
As a quarrel broke out, Wahab entered the scene and rebuked Nur in favour of Anjan.
"Every year, villagers use my land to transport their paddy, but they inform me ahead of time so that I can harvest with this in mind," Nur later told this correspondent.
"Most of my paddy have not ripened this year, which is why I asked Anjan to take another route," he said.
At one stage of the fracas, Wahab asked Nur to call whoever he can and stop him, Nur described in his complaint submitted to the police.
Meanwhile, Wahab summoned his associates and asked them to take Nur away.
They took Nur aside and beat him up while two tractors ran down his field, ravaging the paddy varieties.
The same night, Nur went to Tanore Police Station and submitted his complaint, accusing three named persons -- Wahab, Anjan, and Tipu -- and 25 unidentified people.
Contacted yesterday afternoon, Rakibul Islam, OC of the police station, told this correspondent they did not record the complaint as a case.
"I have not recorded the case as per his (Nur's) direction," he claimed. "He asked me to wait for a few days before recording the case so that they can settle the matter through arbitration."
"Besides, police need to verify the complaint before recording it. We cannot do it right now as most of our personnel are engaged on the local UP election," the OC said.
Meanwhile, talking to this newspaper, Abdul Wahab said the issue was not as big as Nur is making it to be. "He's exaggerating things a little bit."
However, when contacted again, Nur Muhammad said the claims of the OC and Wahab are not true.
"If I want to delay filing the case why would I submit it to the police at the earliest?" Nur asked. "I don't want anything else [out of court settlement] if the country's law doesn't work."
Nur Mohammad's (60) path to the President's Gold Medal started with a draught in Barind region, which pushed him towards researching and developing new varieties.
By turning his mud house into a laboratory, he invented 200 new varieties of paddy, including five draught tolerant ones, which are awaiting goverment recognition.
He received the Gold Medal in 2005 for his dedication to agriculture and went on to receive the Tir-Prothom Alo Agriculture Award in 2018.
"My loss is uncountable and it is only understandable to the researchers. The study would take only four more years to complete. Now I'll have to start all over again," he told this correspondent.
"Finding a new variety requires at least 14 years of study," he said.
Wahab said he knew about Nur Muhammad's achievement. "We honour him for that. But he has a tendency to not care for us."
Nur's relatives and neighbours later informed this correspondent that the JL leader and his aides are continuing to pressure and request Nur Muhammad to withdraw the case.
But talking to this correspondent yesterday, he said he's adamant to see the matter in court.