Police seized more than 120 sacks of relief rice meant for the poor in Sarail upazila of Brahmanbaria on Wednesday night. Acting on tip-off, a team of police of Sarail Police Station led by Sub Inspector Md Monjur Ahmed raided a house at Deora village, adjacent to the residence of Shahjadapur Union Parishad Chairman Rafiqul Islam Khokon and seized the sacks of rice with the slogan "In Sheikh Hasina's Bangladesh, hunger will vanish'. Five people were detained from the spot while they were taking away the rice by a truck and a pick-up van.
The arrestees are Shakil (20), son of Joynal Mia, Rajon (20) son of Alkas Mia, Saifur Rahman (30), son of Golam Safar Ali, Masuk Mia (45), son of Abdul Malek Mia and Touhid Mia (50), son of Golam Rosul of Deora village.
SI Monjur Ahmed said, "On secret information, we conducted a raid on Wednesday in Deora village, recovered relief rice and detained five people in this connection. The arrestees have confessed that they took the rice from Shahjadapur UP office and kept the rice at Shajahan Mia's house." Though Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) and officer-in-charge (OC) of Sarail Police Station assured to take stern actions against the perpetrators including the UP chairman Rafiqul Islam Khokon, they have changed their tone in a mysterious manner.
They are allegedly trying to save Chairman Khokon. As a result, a discontent has grown among local people. Hafsa Hai, acting officer of Sarail food office, said UP Chairman Rafiqul Islam Khokon received the relief rice from the godown putting his signature. The chairman is solely responsible for this.
Abdul Momin, upazila poverty alleviation officer and tag officer of monitoring relief distribution in Shahjadapur UP, said, "As per rules, I was supposed to remain present during the distribution of relief rice among the VGD cardholders. But the chairman and secretary didn't inform me about the rice distribution."
Shahjadapur Union Parishad Chairman Rafiqul Islam Khokon could not be contacted as his cell phone was found switched off.
---Ashiqur Rahman Mito, Brahmanbaria
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