People loot relief goods in Jamalpur, Kushtia
Poor and unemployed people hit hard by ongoing public holiday reportedly looted relief materials in Jamalpur and Kushtia on Sunday. The group of poor people intercepted a relief truck and looted about 400 bags of rice and potatoes at Mukundapur area in Jamalpur town on Sunday. Locals said that the people facing food shortage and having no income due to countrywide shutdown gathered at Mukundapur area in the morning with a hope to get relief.
When a Jamalpur municipality truck carrying relief materials was passing by them, they intercepted the truck, and many of them desperately got on the truck at about 12:30pm. Hearing that the poor people were desperately taking away the bags of relief materials, many others from the adjacent places also rushed to the spot and also joined in the desperate move of taking away the relief, they said. At one stage, when the poor people left the road, the truck began to move with some sacks and many poor people gathered there, almost all elderly and women, did not get any, they said.
They said that the poor jobless people who desperately took away the relief materials were from Mukundabari, Palpara and Bajrapur areas of the district town. The municipality’s ward number 6 councillor Md Jamal Pasha, also a local Awami League leader, said that a municipality truck carrying 600 packets of relief materials, each having 10 kilograms of rice and 3 kilograms of potatoes, was scheduled to reach his area of Baniabazar in the town from the municipality office but a group of people stopped the truck at Mukundabari and looted about 400 sacks of them.
He alleged that the looters were members of opposition parties and none of them were poor people. Jamal said that he would take legal action against the looters. Jamalpur municipality mayor Mirza Sakhawatul Alam Moni told New Age that the relief materials were not looted, but those were distributed among the poor people. ‘There were a huge number of poor people there and they were desperate in getting relief. That is why such an incident occurred. It cannot be called “looting”,’ he said. No case was lodged in this connection until 8:00pm, Jamalpur police station officials said.
The New Age correspondent in Islamic University in Kushtia reported that the poor villagers, who had been suffering for the want of food, looted 26 sacks of government relief rice at Osmanpur union of Khoksha upazila in Kushtia on Saturday. Villagers said some people looted the rice at the end of a programme where union parisad chairman Anisur Rahman was distributing the relief among his own people, according to a list that included name of his party activists and well-off relatives.
Chairman Anisur Rahman said that the villagers led by one of his union parishad member looted 26 sacks of rice. He also said that most of the villagers were criminals. Khoksha police station officer-in-charge Mojibur Rahman, however, said that the helpless and poor people, who were real victims, looted the relief as their names were not included in the list prepared by the chairman.