“Relief taken back after photo session”: Mahfuz Miah made false allegation
It has been confirmed that the allegation made by the flood-affected Mahfuz Miah, that the organisers took away the relief he received from the hands of the minister, is not true. The complainant also admitted that he had made the claim out of frustration as he did not get relief that day.
Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister and local lawmaker Imran Ahmed on Saturday (May 21, 2022) went to Thanabazar in Sylhet's Companiganj upazila to inspect the flood situation and handed over relief to the flood-affected people. After the minister left the place, a scuffle broke out in demand of relief.
After the scuffle was controlled by police, Mahfuz Miah, a resident of Paschim Islampur union in the upazila, told The Daily Star that the relief he received from the hands of the minister was later snatched by the organiser.
Based on his allegation, The Daily Star published a report that day titled "After photo session with minister, Mahfuz's relief taken back". However, Companiganj upazila administration denied the allegation.
The Daily Star further looked into the matter by obtaining the list of relief recipients that day, photos of the minister's relief distribution, videos recorded during the scuffle and talking to Mahfuz Miah again.
Based on evidence and the complainant's statement later, it is now confirmed that he made false allegation.
Lushi Kant Hajong, upazila nirbahi officer of Companiganj, said, "Mahfuz Miah's name was not on the list. It's true that there was a scuffle after the minister left, but no one took back any relief from the listed relief recipients. The complainant made false allegation."
After reviewing the list of the relief recipients of Paschim Islampur union, Mahfuz Miah's name was not found among the 20 people on the list who received relief that day.
Reviewing various pictures and videos of the minister during the relief distribution, it was clarified that Mahfuz Miah was on the spot during the relief distribution but he did not receive relief from the minister. Rather, he was standing behind an elderly relief recipient.
Video footage during the scuffle shows that Mahfuz Miah himself snatched a sack of relief during the scuffle and was stopped by police while leaving the spot. Minutes later, he spoke to the media persons present at the scene.
The Daily Star once again spoke to Mahfuz Miah today, and this time, he admitted that he made false allegation.
"I was in line when the minister was handing out relief, but as my name was not on the list, I did not get any. After the minister left and the scuffle began, I managed to pick up one sack but the village police forced me to return it," he said.
Asked about his allegation on the spot, he said, "I made false allegation as I did not get relief and the relief I managed to pick up during the brawl was taken back."
UNO Lushi Kant Hajong said, "Among 200 listed people, the minister personally gave away relief to 12 people but that man (Mahfuz Miah), who was not on the list, made false allegation and questioned our relief distribution effort during the flood situation."
"There is enough relief for the flood-affected people, but we cannot distribute randomly. For transparency and making sure that everyone gets relief eventually, we made list and distribute accordingly," he said.