Why didn’t voters know about this?
This goes to show that the Election Commission didn't do its work properly. Data related to these cases are an essential part of the candidates' personal information, and it's the duty of the commission to inform the voters about this.
As the Narayanganj City Corporation (NCC) elections come to a close, it was found that at least 13 councillors with murder, drugs, arms or explosives-related cases against them won their respective ballots on Sunday.
Among the elected councillors, 14 are from Awami League, although a majority took part as independent candidates; nine are from BNP, who also stood as independent candidates, as the party did not officially take part in the polls.
Of the other three, two are from Jatiya Party, while a lone post was won by Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal (BSD).
Of them, eight of the BNP councillors have had such cases filed against them, although they claimed all the cases were politically motivated.
Among the AL winners, four councillors -- Matiur Rahman, Shahjalal Badal, Md Mizanur Rahman Khan and Ruhul Amin -- have had these cases filed against them, along with another councillor -- Israfil Pradhan -- an ex-BNP affiliate who switched allegiance to AL.
Of BNP's newly elected councillors, Iqbal Hossain, Golam Muhammad Sadril, Ohidul Islam, Shawkat Hashem, Sultan Ahmed Bhuiyan, Abul Kawsar, Maksudul Alam Khandaker Khorshed, and Md Nur Uddin Miya have multiple cases of these types filed against them.
BNP-affiliate Nur Uddin and AL-affiliate Shahjalal Badal are the brother and nephew, respectively, of seven-murder case convict Nur Hossain.
Nur Uddin was elected from Ward-4 for the first time, while Shahjalal was the incumbent councillor of Ward-3.
Nur Uddin, former VP of Siddhirganj Thana BNP, has had eight cases filed against him, while Shahjalal has 12. These include arms, drugs and extortion related cases. Of the cases, Nur Uddin has got relieved from two, while Shahjalal got relieved and acquitted from eight.
Mentionable, Kashimpur Central Jail authorities recently seized a cellphone from death-row convict Nur Hossain, who was allegedly working for his brother and nephew ahead of the polls, according to leaked audio clips.
Nur has been in jail since 2017, after he was sentenced to death in the case.
Meanwhile, AL's Matiur Rahman, who won the councillor's post of Ward-6, has had 23 cases filed against him. He was relieved from 20 and acquitted from the other three.
However, filing of another case against the incumbent councillor, also the convener of Siddhirganj Thana Jubo League, was recently postponed.
There are two cases against Abdul Karim of Ward-17, also an executive member of AL Mahanagar Committee, while Kamrul Hasan of Ward-18 is accused in three cases of fraudulence.
Meanwhile, Ward-13's BNP-affiliate councillor Maksudul Alam Khandaker Khorshed, brother of Taimur Alam Khandaker -- who lost in the mayoral polls against Selina Hayat Ivy -- is accused in at least 33.
Despite the astonishingly high number of cases against Khorshed, locals said he still has an enduring popularity in the area, especially due to his humanitarian work during the tougher days of the pandemic.
Khorshed also claimed that all the cases filed against him were politically motivated, as he belongs to the opposition party. He mentioned that he got relieved and acquitted from two cases.
Contacted, Badiul Alam Majumdar, secretary of Shujan (Citizens for Good Governance), said this only exposes the fragility of the Election Commission.
"This goes to show that the Election Commission didn't do its work properly. Data related to these cases are an essential part of the candidates' personal information, and it's the duty of the commission to inform the voters about this," he said.
"In this way, the EC did not uphold people's right to information. They didn't even upload the candidates' basic information on its website," Badiul added.