Barguna sadar Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Gazi Tarique Salman was not only harassed through a defamation case, but also by the local administration over his printing of an invitation card with an image of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman drawn by a child.
On April 3, the UNO was first served with a show cause notice from the divisional commissioner of Barisal, when the former was serving as the UNO of Agailjhara upazila in Barisal. Salman responded to the notice, which claimed the image had disrespected Bangabandhu.
On April 18, the then divisional commissioner of Barisal Md Gaus issued a letter in response to Salman’s answer.
The letter read: “Gazi Tarek Salman has responded to the show cause notice and explained why the card was printed with a picture of the Father of the Nation without proper respect. His answer was not satisfactory.”
On May 24, Salman was transferred from Agoiljhara to Barguna, joining in June.
When asked about Salman’s transfer, the deputy commissioner said: “After receiving a complaint from an important person, the divisional commissioner instructed me to seek an explanation from Salman. Accordingly, I issued the notice to which Salman responded.”
“However, I did not respond to Salman’s reply, the divisional commissioner did,” he added.
Also Read- Awami League suspends party man who sued UNO
Then divisional commissioner Md Gaus said: “Some party men came to me and complained about the card and the picture. There was no written complaint.”
“The picture was printed on the back page of the card instead of the front page, which violates the rules issued for printing Bangabandhu’s picture. Thus Salman’s answer was marked as unsatisfactory,” he added.
Advocate Obaedullah Saju, Awami League Barisal city unit religious affairs secretary, filed a Tk5 crore defamation case against Salman at the Barisal Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court on June 7.
Salman was sent to jail regarding the case on July 12 and was released on bail on July 13.
The portrait, drawn by a student of class five in Barisal, was selected through an official competition on the occasion of Bangabandhu’s birthday and printed on the back of an invitation card for the local administration’s Independence Day official event.
Awami League has since suspended Saju from his post as Barisal city unit Religious Affairs secretary, after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed extreme dissatisfaction at the mistreatment of UNO Salman over an act that she said “should be considered praiseworthy.”
The story was first published on Bangla Tribune.