Saturday, October 23, 2004

Bangladesh: Saying NO to the Mighty Emperor


"Arrest those first who are giving shelter to criminals and are lobbying in favour of arrested criminals,” a businessman said at the meeting. The business leaders alleged that “silent extortion” has increased recently and extortionists are now following new strategies for extortion."We cannot give you the names and addresses (of extortionists), as you cannot ensure security of our lives,” a businessman was quoted to have told State Minister for Home Lutfozzaman Babar on Thursday. “It is an endless story if we describe how many ways we have to pay toll and bribe,” another businessman was quoted to have said. They said it was not possible to go to a police station without a broker. Babar, however, differed with the views and said various steps have already been taken by the government to check extortion and other criminal activities.


BABAR’S REQUEST FOR INFO ON EXTORTIONISTS
Security concern prompts businessmen to say no
EHSANUL HAQUE

Some business leaders on Thursday refused to provide the state mimnister for home affairs with the names and addresses of extortionists on ground of the formers’ security.

"We cannot give you the names and addresses (of extortionists), as you cannot ensure security of our lives,” a businessman was quoted to have told State Minister for Home Lutfozzaman Babar on Thursday.

Babar wanted the names and addresses of extortionists from the business leaders when they called on him at his office.

The delegation included representatives of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Bangladesh Chamber of Industry and other leading trade bodies.

"Arrest those first who are giving shelter to criminals and are lobbying in favour of arrested criminals,” a businessman said at the meeting.

The business leaders alleged that “silent extortion” has increased recently and extortionists are now following new strategies for extortion.

They, however, expressed satisfaction over the activities of the Rapid Action Battalion and asked for expansion of the activities of the battalion.

Describing their experiences in facing extortionists, criminals and corrupt government officials, the businessmen appealed to Babar to check these activities.

“It is an endless story if we describe how many ways we have to pay toll and bribe,” another businessman was quoted to have said. They said it was not possible to go to a police station without a broker. Babar, however, differed with the views and said various steps have already been taken by the government to check extortion and other criminal activities.

“These problems cannot be solved overnight and you have to cooperate with the government,” Babar said.

Citing security grounds, the business leaders said that it was difficult for them to extend cooperation. They said the government should sit with different quarters at least two months before Ramadan and Durga Puja to control law and order as well as the prices of essentials.

About price hike, Babar said it is the commerce ministry that can look into the matter.

He said the home ministry would issue letters asking banks to seek police protection while doing large transactions like salary and bonus of different organisations.

"Although top criminals are not present now, they were not arrested,” said Abdul Awal Mintoo, the FBCCI president.

“The government has to take necessary steps to stop silent extortion” he continued while talking to newsmen after the meeting. Babar said he had been informed of silent extortion and the government has already taken steps to check it.

“But organised extortions have come down due to stern actions of law enforcing agencies,” Babar told newsmen after the meeting.

New Age 22/10/2004