The main opposition BNP yesterday lambasted the government for awarding a controversial deputy commissioner of police (DC) a medal, saying the ruling Awami League was “patronising state terrorism” using the police force.
"The ruling party has turned the police force into one of its wings by awarding the President Police Medal to DC Harun who had assaulted the opposition chief whip during hartal hours," BNP coordinator Tariqul Islam said.
The BNP leader was talking to journalists while leafleting the capital's Dholaikhal as part of the BNP-led 18-party opposition alliance's countrywide mass-contact programme.
Harun-ur-Rashid, DC of Lalbagh division in the capital, and 66 other police personnel were awarded Bangladesh Police Medal and President Police Medal on Tuesday for their “outstanding” role in maintaining law and order in 2012.
Harun, then additional deputy commissioner of Tejgaon division, beat up
Opposition Chief Whip Zainul Abdin Farroque on Manik Mia Avenue in the capital on July 6, 2011. Farroque was leading a group of opposition lawmakers marching towards parliament during a 48-hour hartal enforced by the opposition.
In reply to a query on Tuesday, Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir said the beating of Farroque had been taken into consideration in awarding the medal to Harun.
"He [Harun] did the right thing by obstructing the opposition chief whip. His job was to prevent anarchy and he did it successfully,” the minister added.
Referring to MK Alamgir's comment, Tariqul said, "With such remarks, he has exposed his autocratic attitude, and it will not do the nation any good."
Asked about the mass-contact programme, the BNP standing committee member said, “This is part of our preparations to blow the final whistle on the fall of the present government.”
Meanwhile, leaders of Gonotantrik Bam Morcha, an alliance of seven leftist parties, yesterday said the home minister had lost the right to remain in office.
His (MKA's) remarks after awarding the President Police Medal to someone known for “aggressive and violent behaviour” were irresponsible and reckless, said the speakers at a meeting at combine's office.
With such statements, the minister was in fact encouraging the law enforcers to harass opposition leaders, they said.
Moshrefa Mishu, general secretary of Gonotantrik Biplobi Party, Jonayed Saki, convener of Gono Sanghati, among others, spoke at the meeting.